What Does the Hebrew Word Hesed Mean?
When someone says “I Love you!” how does that make you feel? In general, we all feel happy and joyful when someone says I love you. What if the person who said it to you was your crush, spouse, mother, or father? The relationship between you and that other person matters when it comes to love, doesn’t it?
When my husband types out a text to me: “I love you!” I have a different reaction than when a friend sends me a message with those same words. Both make me feel loved, but because of the deeper intimacy with my husband, the words hold more value.
What if I told you God loves you?
Maybe you are walking through a hard season and you think, “It sure doesn’t feel like God loves me right now…” Friend, I’m here to tell you that God not only loves you, but He is not angry with you nor does He hold you at a distance.
In the Bible, there are a lot of words used for love. One of the Hebrew words we find there is the word “Hesed.” This is more than just an emotional feeling or deep affection. This word means God loves us according to His covenant.
What does God’s “covenant-keeping” love mean?
Hesed is one of the deepest words to communicate God’s amazing love for His people. This is a special word used to describe God’s love in the Old Testament. In English, it means God’s loving kindness, mercy, and compassion. It holds the idea of an unconditional and completely faithful love. Here is what it looks like in Hebrew:
This idea of God’s “hesed” love is one I studied while I wrote the Bible study for my, “Let’s Read the Bible” community. First, I looked at one story that reflects God’s covenant-keeping love. In it we see God declare Himself this type of love. On the mountain, where Moses received the Ten Commandments, God declares this:
Notice in this translation (NKJV) the word for “goodness” is actually our word, hesed. It means more than just loving goodness. God uses this word to explain that His goodness and His love would all be wrapped around His covenant.
His promises to you and me are the basis for His love. Do you know what that means? It means we cannot mess up enough, we cannot sin enough. If we are Christians, God says He will love us based on HIS PROMISES.
In the book of Psalms, we find a lot of examples of God using this word “hesed” to describe His love. These are the three I recommend you look up and study.
If you would like to go deeper into this idea of God’s love, join our community and sign up for the course, “Let’s Read the Bible.” You’ll find teaching videos, detailed workbooks, and more. There is not only this study but over a dozen more studies to choose from. Join us here!