The Hebrew word חֶסֶד (checed) occurs 248 times in 241 verses, and in 28 of the 39 OT books. Clearly, it is an important theme.

The word first appears in Genesis 19:19

Now behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have magnified your lovingkindness (checed), which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, for the disaster will overtake me and I will die.

But in Leviticus 20:17, the meaning seems to be opposite:

If there is a man who takes his sister, his father's daughter or his mother's daughter, so that he sees her nakedness and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace (checed); and they shall be cut off in the sight of the sons of their people.

Is chesed an auto-antonym?

Consider the Hebrew word "elohim".

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God [elohim] created the heavens and the earth.

Exodus 12:12 "On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods [elohim] of Egypt. I am the LORD.

The meanings behind these two usages of "elohim" are quite opposite to each other.

  • 2
    See chesed. – Lucian Jun 10 at 7:18
  • 1
    +1 for referencing auto antonym. I had no idea such a term existed, but it is clearly a fact of grammar. – Nigel J Jun 10 at 12:49
  • 2
    See also Proverbs 14:34 for the less common meaning of chesed. – Susan Aug 2 at 20:48

In Hebrew Tanakh - [Bereishit (Genesis) 19:19] states : "Your-Kindness" ( cHased-kha ,חַסְדְּךָ֗), not cHesed (חֶ֣סֶד). * cHesed (חֶ֣סֶד) is "Disgraceful" in [Vayikra (Leviticus) 20:17].

| improve this answer | |
New contributor
ctaylorgraphics is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.
  • "Khasdekha" your-kindness.. It is from the same word as khesed, just "declined" to show 2 person possessiveness. These are all the same words. – elika kohen 18 hours ago
  • Why pronounce the Chet (ח) in Chesed (חֶסֶד) as khesed with a Khaf (כ)? The verse in [Vayikra 20:17] has (חֶסֶד) with a Chet - correct? – ctaylorgraphics 17 hours ago

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.