This week we will delve into the concept of HESED, a Hebrew word that permeates the book of Ruth.
Hesed can be translated a lot of different ways; steadfast love, lovingkindness, mercy, love, and kindness are all words used to describe this term. It’s very hard to pin down the concept in English.
And while we will delve into that more on Sunday, here’s the interesting part that I’m wrestling with today;
In Joshua 2 we read the story of the spies infiltrating the city of Jericho. As they find a place to stay, they make a deal with Rahab the prostitute.
She hides them but she asks for special treatment.
12 “Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Joshua 2:12
The literal translation of this in Hebrew is more like swear that you will show HESED to my family because I have shown HESED to you.
Rahab is demonstrating faith in Yahweh and is calling on His people to emulate the HESED that He has shown them by returning it to her.
The spies respond in kind.
14 “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the Lord gives us the land.”
Again, we will treat you with HESED when the LORD gives us the land.
And they do.
Rahab the prostitute will be spared. She will become a member of the Israelites as they overcome the land of Canaan.
And Rahab will find a husband in a man named Salmon.
And together they will have a son … and name him Boaz.
And the entire book of Ruth will be a beautiful story of this man showing HESED to a couple of poor, barren widows.
Because when the Bible talks about God’s HESED enduring forever, it is passed through generations. All the way down to me and you.
Have a great day!