Hebrew Pronunciation [beh REET]

HCSB Translation: covenant

Uses in the OT: 287


“And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone”

(Deuteronomy 4:13)


Berith probably relates to an Akkadian word pointing to covenants (Gen. 6:18) as bonds, a fundamental implication being obligation. Berith also denotes treaty (Jos. 9:15) or agreement (Isa. 33:8).  People confirmed covenants by oath (Gen. 21:22- 27); word, testimony, counsel, agreement, and law are associated terms.  Covenants initiated relationships implying love, friendship, loyalty, goodness, peace, and brotherhood. People entered covenants by “cutting” (making) them, originally cutting apart animals (Gen.  15:9- 10; Jer. 34:18).  

“Cut a covenant” appears as form an alliance (Psa. 83:5) or cut a deal (Isa. 28:15).  Other ceremonies were sacrifices (Ex. 24:3- 8), meals (Gen.  26:26- 31), sharing salt (Lev. 2:13), and shaking hands (Ezk. 17:18).  Covenants were between men, with God, and figuratively with animals (Hos. 2:18). God dealt with mankind through two important kinds of covenant, an obligatory one modeled after suzerain-vassal treaties (e. g., Mosaic), and a promissory one comparable to royal grants (e. g., Davidic).


Word Studies courtesy of the Holman Christian Standard Study BibleUsed with permissions from B&H Publishing Group, A Division of LifeWay Christian Resources.