by Arlene Berg
CHESED – pronounce with the guttural "ch" and two short "e’s." The accent is on the first syllable.
CHESED – Hebrew for "grace, mercy, lovingkindness."
Chesed has a much deeper meaning than this, though! In relation to Israel and the Jewish people, chesed denotes God’s steadfast, loyal, covenant love for His chosen people.
Jeremiah 31:3 reads, "The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with LOVINGKINDNESS (CHESED) have I drawn thee." A Jewish Tenach, or the Hebrew Scriptures (The Jerusalem Bible published in Jerusalem in 1969), translates Jeremiah 31:3 as follows: ". . .I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore I HAVE REMAINED TRUE to thee." – CHESED – God’s loyal, steadfast, covenant love to His people!
Psalm 89:28 states, "My MERCY (CHESED) will I keep for him (David) for evermore, and my COVENANT shall stand fast with him." Verse 33 states that God will not "utterly take" His "LOVINGKINDNESS (CHESED)" from David. Verse 34 says that God will not break His covenant with David.
Isaiah 55:3 says, "Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an EVERLASTING COVENANT with you, even the sure MERCIES (CHESED) of David."
Psalm 98:3 states, "He hath remembered His MERCY (CHESED) and His truth toward the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God." Interestingly, the Hebrew word for "salvation" is "yeshuat," directly related to "Yeshua," Jesus’ Hebrew name.
Isaiah 54:10 says, "For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my KINDNESS (CHESED) shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD, who hath mercy on thee." The Jerusalem Bible beautifully translates "kindness" as "faithful love."
G-d’s faithful covenant love to His chosen people is shown most dramatically in the prophet Jeremiah, chapter 31. In verse 31 (verse 30 in some Jewish translations), the prophet begins talking about a New Covenant that G-d would make one day with His people. "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, which, my covenant, they broke, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD; But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD, for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." – Jeremiah 31:31-34.
In the Brit HaChadasha, or New Covenant, we read the following in Hebrews 9:15: "And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament (covenant), that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament (covenant), they who are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance."
"Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he hath poured out his soul unto death; and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." – The Hebrew Scriptures, Isaiah 53:12.