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Yeshua: The Hebrew Word for Jesus

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Torah, Prashat, Commentary

Grace in the Torah

From: Hebraic Heritage Newsgroup
To: Hebraic Heritage Newsgroup
Subject: Law and Grace - Old Testament (TaNaKh)
Date: Tue, 5 Jan 1999 15:50:53 -0800

From: Greg Killian
To: Hebraic Heritage Newsgroup
Subject: Law and Grace

Law and Grace

By Greg Killian

In this study I would like to explore the relationship between law and
grace. First let's find the definition for "grace". The word, grace,
is first used in Genesis 6:8:

Genesis 6:8 But Noah found GRACE in the eyes of the LORD.


2580 chen, khane; from 2603; graciousness, i.e. subj. (kindness, favor) or objective (beauty):-favour, grace (-ious), pleasant, precious, [well-] favoured.

----------------- Dictionary Trace --------------

2603 chanan, khaw-nan'; a prim. root [comp. 2583]; prop. to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior; to favor, bestow; causat. to implore (i.e. move to favor by petition):-beseech, X fair, (be,
find, shew) favour (-able), be (deal), give, grant (gracious [-ly]), intreat, (be) merciful, have (shew) mercy (on, upon), have pity upon, pray, make supplication, X very.

The Midrash Rabbah contains some insights on this verse:

Midrash Rabbah - Genesis XXVIII:8 8. R. `Azariah said in R. Judah's name: All acted corruptly in the generation of the Flood: the dog [copulated] with the wolf, the fowl with the peacock; hence it is written, For all flesh had corrupted their way, etc. (Gen. VI, 12). R. Julian [Lulianus] b. Tiberius said in R. Isaac's name: Even the earth acted lewdly; wheat was sown and it produced pseudo-wheat, for the pseudo-wheat we now find came from the age of the deluge. R. Johanan said: We learnt: The judgment of the generation of the Flood lasted twelve months: having received their punishment, are they to enjoy a portion in the World to Come?-Said R. Johanan: The Holy One, blessed be He, will boil up in Gehenna every single drop which He poured out on them, produce it and pour it down upon them. Thus it is written, What time they wax hot, they vanish (Job VI, 17), which means, they will be destroyed absolutely by scalding water. As well their love (Eccl. IX, 6)-i.e. they loved idolatry; As their hatred (ib.): they hated the Holy One, blessed be He, and provoked His jealousy; Is long ago perished, neither have they any more a portion in the world [to come] on account of everything that was done [by them] under the sun (ib.). FOR IT REPENTETH ME, etc. R. Abba b. Kahana observed: FOR IT REPENTET H ME THAT I HAVE MADE THEM AND NOAH-surely not! Even Noah, however, was left not because he deserved it, but because he found grace: hence, BUT NOAH FOUND GRACE IN THE EYES OF THE LORD.

Genesis 6:5-9 The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that
he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth--men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air--for I am grieved that I have made them." But Noah found FAVOR/GRACE in the eyes of the LORD.
This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.

Notice, in Genesis 6:5-9, that Noah found God's grace, but, he was a righteous man. This is the opposite of those who did not find God's grace: they were evil all of the time. So, GRACE is associated with righteous behavior.

All of the following Torah verses use this Hebrew word, grace. Lets look at each of them so that we can gain some insight as to how this word is used:

Genesis 17:27- 18:5 On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him. Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised, And his son Ishmael was thirteen; Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that same day. And every male in
Abraham's household, including those born in his household or bought from a foreigner, was circumcised with him. The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and
bowed low to the ground. He said, "If I have found FAVOR/GRACE in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way--now that you have come to your servant." "Very well," they answered, "do as you say."

In the above verses, we find that Abraham receives God's grace right after he had obeyed God and circumcised himself and his whole
household. The following verses indicate that Abraham obeyed the law:

Genesis 26:1-6 Now there was a famine in the land--besides the earlier famine of Abraham's time--and Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines in Gerar. The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, "Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, Because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws." So Isaac stayed in Gerar.

Here, we see that Abraham was justified by grace trough faith, but, he still obeyed God's requirements. Commands, decrees, and Torah. God seems to give grace to those who are obedient to God's Torah, yet even the Torah observant, like Abraham, do not deserve the grace. Grace comes by faith, but faith is demonstrated by righteous actions.

Genesis 19:15-21 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, "Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished." When
he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them. As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, "Flee for your lives! Don't look back, and don't stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!" But Lot said to them, "No, my lords, please! Your servant has found FAVOR/GRACE in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can't flee to the
mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I'll die. Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it--it is very small, isn't it? Then my life will be spared." He said to him, "Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of.

Genesis 30:25-30 After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, "Send me on my way so I can go back to my own homeland. Give me my wives and children, for whom I have served you, and I will be on my way. You know how much work I've done for you." But Laban said to him, "If I have found FAVOR/GRACE in your eyes, please stay. I have learned by divination that the LORD has blessed me because of you." He added, "Name your wages, and I will pay them." Jacob said to him, "You know how I have worked for you and how your livestock has fared under my care. The little you had before I came has increased greatly, and the LORD has blessed you
wherever I have been. But now, when may I do something for my own household?"

In Genesis 19 we see God's grace being bestowed on Lot. This is interesting because the last verses of chapter 18 indicate that God is going to protect the righteous of Sodom:

Genesis 18:20-33 Then the LORD said, "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous That I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know." The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD.
Then Abraham approached him and said: "Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing--to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?" The LORD
said, "If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake." Then Abraham spoke up again: "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, What if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city because of five people?" "If I find forty-five there," he said, "I will not destroy it." Once again he spoke to him, "What
if only forty are found there?" He said, "For the sake of forty, I will not do it." Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?" He answered, "I will not do it if I find thirty there." Abraham said, "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?" He said, "For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it." Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can
be found there?" He answered, "For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it." When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

So, Lot is considered righteous, therefore he receives grace.

Genesis 32:3-6 Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. He instructed them: "This is what you are to say to my master Esau: 'Your
servant Jacob says, I have been staying with Laban and have remained there till now. I have cattle and donkeys, sheep and goats, menservants and maidservants. Now I am sending this message to my lord, that I may find FAVOR/GRACE in your eyes.'" When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, "We went to your brother Esau, and now he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him."

We all remember the story of wicked Esau trying to kill his righteous brother, Jacob. Again, in the above verses, we see that the righteous find grace.

Genesis 33:1-11 Jacob looked up and there was Esau, coming with his four hundred men; so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel and the two maidservants. He put the maidservants and
their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear. He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother. But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept. Then Esau looked up and saw
the women and children. "Who are these with you?" he asked. Jacob answered, "They are the children God has graciously given your servant." Then the maidservants and their children approached and bowed down. Next, Leah and her children came and bowed down. Last of all came Joseph and Rachel, and they too bowed down. Esau asked, "What do you mean by all these droves I met?" "To find FAVOR/GRACE in your eyes, my lord," he said. But Esau said, "I already
have plenty, my brother. Keep what you have for yourself." "No, please!" said Jacob. "If I have found FAVOR/GRACE in your eyes, accept
this gift from me. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably. Please accept the present that was brought to you, for God has been gracious to me and I have all I need." And because Jacob insisted, Esau accepted it. Then Esau said, "Let us be on our way; I'll accompany you." But Jacob said to him, "My lord knows that the children are tender and that I must care for the ewes and cows that are nursing their young. If they are driven hard just one day, all the animals will die. So let my lord go on ahead of his
servant, while I move along slowly at the pace of the droves before me and that of the children, until I come to my lord in Seir." Esau said, "Then let me leave some of my men with you." "But why do that?" Jacob asked. "Just let me find favor in the
eyes of my lord." So that day Esau started on his way back to Seir.

Genesis 34:1-12 Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land. When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and violated her. His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her. And Shechem said to his father Hamor, "Get me this girl as my wife." When Jacob
heard that his daughter Dinah had been defiled, his sons were in the fields with his livestock; so he kept quiet about it until they came home. Then Shechem's father Hamor went out to talk with
Jacob. Now Jacob's sons had come in from the fields as soon as they heard what had happened. They were filled with grief and fury, because Shechem had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by
lying with Jacob's daughter--a thing that should not be done. But Hamor said to them, "My son Shechem has his heart set on your daughter. Please give her to him as his wife. Intermarry with us; give us your daughters and take our daughters for yourselves. You can settle among us; the land is open to you. Live in it, trade in it, and acquire property in it." Then Shechem said to Dinah's
father and brothers, "Let me find FAVOR/GRACE in your eyes, and I will give you whatever you ask. Make the price for the bride and the gift I am to bring as great as you like, and I'll pay whatever you ask me. Only give me the girl as my wife." Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob's sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Shechem and his father Hamor.

In this story, we have a wicked man who wants grace from Dinah's family. He does not find grace, but rather death. Again, we see a link between righteousness and grace, or rather the opposite: the wicked find no grace.

Genesis 39:2-5 The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found FAVOR/GRACE in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the LORD
blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the LORD was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field.

Here, righteous Joseph finds grace.

Genesis 39:19-23 When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, "This is how your slave treated me," he burned with anger. Joseph's master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison, The LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him FAVOR/GRACE in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph's care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.

Righteous Joseph again finds grace.

Genesis 47:23-30 Joseph said to the people, "Now that I have bought you and your land today for Pharaoh, here is seed for you so you can plant the ground. But when the crop comes in, give a
fifth of it to Pharaoh. The other four-fifths you may keep as seed for the fields and as food for yourselves and your households and your children." "You have saved our lives," they
said. "May we find FAVOR/GRACE in the eyes of our lord; we will be in bondage to Pharaoh." So Joseph established it as a law concerning
land in Egypt--still in force today--that a fifth of the produce belongs to Pharaoh. It was only the land of the priests that did not become Pharaoh's. Now the Israelites settled in Egypt in the region of Goshen. They acquired property there and were fruitful and increased greatly in number. Jacob lived in Egypt seventeen years, and the years of his life were a hundred and forty-seven. When the time drew near for Israel to die, he called for his son Joseph and said to him, "If I have found favor in your eyes, put your hand under my thigh and promise that you will show me kindness and faithfulness. Do not bury me in Egypt, But when I
rest with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried." "I will do as you say," he said.

In the above story, all of the hungry people find grace, and righteous Jacob finds grace.

Genesis 49:33 - 50:6 When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people. Joseph threw himself upon his father and wept over him and kissed him. Then Joseph directed the physicians in his service to embalm his father Israel. So the physicians embalmed him, Taking a full forty days, for that was the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days. When the days of mourning had passed, Joseph said to Pharaoh's court, "If I have found FAVOR/GRACE in your eyes, speak to Pharaoh for me. Tell him, 'My father made me swear an oath and said, "I am about to die; bury me in the tomb I dug for myself in the land of Canaan." Now let me go up and bury my father; then I will return.'" Pharaoh said, "Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear to do."

Exodus 3:20-22 So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go. "And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians."

Exodus 11:1-4 Now the LORD had said to Moses, "I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely.
Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold." (The LORD made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself
was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh's officials and by the people.) So Moses said, "This is what the LORD says: 'About midnight I will go throughout Egypt.

Here, all of God's people find grace.

Exodus 12:35-36 The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. The LORD had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the
people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.

Exodus 33:12-17 Moses said to the LORD, "You have been telling me, 'Lead these people,' but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, 'I know you by name and you
have found favor with me.' If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people." The LORD replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." Then Moses said to him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with
me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?" And the LORD said to Moses, "I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name."

Here they not only find grace, but God indicates that He "knows" them by name.

Exodus 34:8-14 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. "O Lord, if I have found FAVOR/GRACE in your eyes," he said, "then let
the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance." Then the LORD said: "I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you. Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down
their Asherah poles. Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

Righteous Moses finds grace.

Numbers 11:10-15 Moses heard the people of every family wailing, each at the entrance to his tent. The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. He asked the LORD, "Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers? Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, 'Give us meat to eat!' I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now--if I have found FAVOR/GRACE in your eyes--and do not let me face my own ruin."

Righteous Moses, again, finds grace.

Numbers 32:4-7 The land the LORD subdued before the people of Israel--are suitable for livestock, and your servants have livestock. If we have found favor in your eyes," they said, "let
this land be given to your servants as our possession. Do not make us cross the Jordan." Moses said to the Gadites and Reubenites, "Shall your countrymen go to war while you sit here?
Why do you discourage the Israelites from going over into the land the LORD has given them?

In this section, the tribes of Gad and Reuben find grace. Remember that these are the righteous children of those who left Egypt.

Deuteronomy 24:1-4 If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, And if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, And her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, Then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the LORD.
Do not bring sin upon the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.

In this passage, grace is denied to the wicked.

After looking at each of these passages, it appears that the righteous find grace, not because they deserve it, but rather because God is favorably disposed towards those who obey Torah.

I have listed the rest of the verses in the TaNaK which contain our word "grace":

RUT 2:2, RUT 2:10, RUT 2:13, 1SA 1:18,

1SA 16:22, 1SA 20:3, 1SA 20:29, 1SA 25:8, 1SA 27:5, 2SA 14:22, 2SA 15:25, 2SA 16:4,

1KI 11:19, EST 2:15, EST 2:17, EST 5:2,

EST 5:8, EST 7:3, EST 8:5, PRO 3:4, PRO 5:19, PRO 11:16, PRO 13:15, PRO 17:8, PRO 22:1, PRO 28:23, PRO 31:30, PRO 1:9, PRO 3:22, PRO 3:34, PRO 4:9, PRO 22:11, ECC 9:11, ECC 10:12, JUD 6:17, PSA 45:2, PSA 84:11, JER 31:2, ZEC 4:7, ZEC 12:10, NAH 3:4

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