The Hebrew word חֶסֶד (chesed) has no precise English equivalent. Its richly embedded layers of meaning are as follows: ‘mercy, loving-kindness, steadfast love, compassion, loyalty, and so on. It is a unique word unlike the other Hebrew word for love אַהֲבָה (ahavah) which describes love in a more general sense.

But חֶסֶד (chesed) denotes God’s persistent and unconditional tenderness and kindness, a relationship in which He seeks after humankind with love and mercy.

Therefore, it articulates both God’s loyalty to His covenant and His love for His people along with a faithfulness to keep His promises.


Dr. Aravind Jeyakumar Moniraj is serving as the Associate Professor and HOD, Department of Old Testament at Gurukul Lutheran Theological College and Research Institute in Chennai.

For Other Articles by Dr Aravind
40 Hebrew Words for Forty Days – Day 5