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Grace in the Torah
From: Hebraic Heritage Newsgroup
From: Greg Killian
Law and Grace
By Greg Killian
In this study I would like to explore the relationship between law
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,
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
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
In the above verses, we find that Abraham receives God's grace right
after he had obeyed God and circumcised himself and his whole
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
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
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
In Genesis 19 we see God's grace being bestowed on
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
Genesis 32:3-6 Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
In this section, the tribes of Gad and Reuben find grace. Remember
that these are the righteous children of those who left
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.
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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