Sunday, March 04, 2007
Forever his mercy?
The Hodu cry of the Hillel (Psalm 118:1) says: "howdu layhwah ciy ´ tOV ciy l',owlaM Has'DO." - " Let us give thanks to Yahwah for [he is] good; for forever [is] his mercy."
Now, Websters defines "mercy" as: benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant.
The remainder of Psalm 118 describes how Yahwah will provide a means for the writer (David) to destroy his enemies. Hardly an act of mercy.
The Hebrew word translated as "mercy," is chesed from the root chasad, a primative Hebrew root meaning, to bow by bending the neck.
But, can an all-powerful God be described properly as "bowing" rather than "merciful?" The answer, of course is yes! Once one understands that the semitic concept of chesed is more closely translated as "committed." God is committed to Shalowm. God has promised shalowm for those who take up his name. He is committed to this promise and this shalowm.
In the Hillel, David is praising this committment.
Forever is his commitment!