The Word “Grace” in the Old Testament

“Grace” is one of those prominent New Testament (NT) words which are not as easily found in the Old Testament (OT).  This is not because such words are not prominent in the OT, too, but because of translation issues.  The purpose of this post is to help you see better where the word “grace” shows up in the OT and how it is translated into English, at least in the New American Standard Bible (NASB).  (The NASB is one of the most literal English translations, so finding such words in less literal translations would be even harder.)

The Strong’s Concordance number for “grace” is 5485– charis.  That word is translated in the NASB NT in the following ways (the number of occurrences of each is shown parenthetically):  blessing(1), concession(1), credit(3), favor(11), gift(1), grace(122), gracious(2), gracious work(3), gratitude(1), thank(3), thankfulness(2), thanks(6).  You can see that while the 156 occurrences of 5485 are translated in a variety of ways, the most common way, by far, is as “grace”  (i.e. 78% of the time).

The list of OT verses below is taken from the ABP Lexical Concordance, which is an interlinear translation of the Septuagint (LXX).  Specifically, this is the ABP’s list of the occurrences of charis 5485 in the OT.  (The ABP includes in this listing the 8 occurrences of charin 5484, which is the accusative form of charis 5485.)  To the right of each chapter-verse citation I have shown how the ABP translates the verse, making bold the English word translated from the Greek charis 5485.  Then following in italics is the NASB OT translation of the verse.  Thus this list is a correlation of ABP and the NASB.  More precisely, it is the correlation of ABP occurrences of charis 5485 in the OT with the NASB OT translation of those occurrences.

The ABP shows 79 verses in which the Greek word charis 5485 (and charin 5484) occurs in the OT.  Where the word occasionally occurs more than once in a single verse is it noted by an asterisk immediately after the chapter-verse citation.  And, of course. there will be more than one English word highlighted in the verse in those cases.

When it comes to which word in the NASB OT translation correlates to charis 5485, it is an inexact science.  This is because the NASB, like most English translations, translates the OT from the Hebrew (Masoretic Text – MT) and not the Greek (LXX).    In most cases, it’s quite clear which word in the NASB OT verse applies to the word for “grace” in the corresponding LXX verse, but in others some educated guesswork is involved.  In any case, you will be able to see both translations and judge for yourself.

Here then is the list of all 79 verses in the Old Testament containing at least one occurrence of the word that is usually translated “grace” in the New Testament. The ABP version is given first (followed parenthetically by Strong’s word number used and the transliteration of the word), and then comes the NASB version in italics. In both cases, the word in question is put in bold print.

Genesis 6:8  –  But Noah found favor before the LORD God.  (5484 charin)

But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

Genesis 18:3  –  And he said, O Lord, if surely I found favor before you, you should not go by your servant.  (5484 charin)

and said, “My Lord, if now I have found favor in Your sight, please do not pass Your servant by.

Genesis 19:19  –  since your servant found favor before you, and you magnified your righteousness, which you do unto me, that my soul may live, but I will not be able to come through safe into the mountain, lest evils overtake me and I die.  (5484 charin)

“Now behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have magnified your lovingkindness, 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;

Genesis 30:27  –  And Laban said to him, If I found favor before you, could I foretell even – God blessed me in your entrance.  (5484 charin)

But Laban said to him, “If now it pleases you, stay with me; I have divined that the LORD has blessed me on your account.”

Genesis 32:5  –  And came to me oxen, and donkeys, and sheep, and manservants, and maidservants.  And I sent to announce to my master Esau, that your servant might find favor before you.  (5484 charin)

I have oxen and donkeys and flocks and male and female servants; and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find favor in your sight.””‘

Genesis 33:8  –  And he said, What are these to you, all these camps which I have met?  And he said, that your servant should find favor before you, O master.  (5484 charin)

And he said, “What do you mean by all this company which I have met?” And he said, “To find favor in the sight of my lord.”

Genesis 33:10  –  And Jacob said, If I found favor before you, take the gifts by my hands!  Because of this I saw your face, as if one may have seen the face of God, and you shall think well of me.  (5484 charin)

Jacob said, “No, please, if now I have found favor in your sight, then take my present from my hand, for I see your face as one sees the face of God, and you have received me favorably.

Genesis 33:15  –  And Esau said, I will leave behind with you some of the people of the ones with me.  And he said, Why this?  It is enough that I found favor before you, O lord.  (5484 charin)

Esau said, “Please let me leave with you some of the people who are with me.” But he said, “What need is there? Let me find favor in the sight of my lord.”

Genesis 34:11  –  And Shechem said to her father, and to her brothers, I want to find favor before you, and what ever you should have said we will give.  (5484 charin)

Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, “If I find favor in your sight, then I will give whatever you say to me.

Genesis 39:4  –  And Joseph found favor before his master.  And he was well-pleasing to him, and he placed him over his house; and all as much as was his he gave through the hand of Joseph.  (5484 charin)

So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge.

Genesis 39:21  –  And the LORD was with Joseph, and he poured down upon him mercy; and he gave to him favor before the chief jailer.  (5484 charin)

But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer.

Genesis 43:14  –  And my God give to you favor before the man, even to send your brother, the other one, and Benjamin.  For as much as I indeed have been made childless, I have been made childless.  (5484 charin)

and may God Almighty grant you compassion in the sight of the man, so that he will release to you your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.”

Genesis 47:25  –  And they said, You have delivered us; we found favor before our master, and we will be servants to Pharaoh.  (5484 charin)

So they said, “You have saved our lives! Let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s slaves.”

Genesis 47:29  –  And the days approached for Israel to die.  And he called his son Joseph, and said to him, If I have found favor before you, place your hand upon my thigh!  and you will do for me a charity and truth – that is to not entomb me in Egypt.  (5484 charin)

When the time for Israel to die drew near, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “Please, if I have found favor in your sight, place now your hand under my thigh and deal with me in kindness and faithfulness. Please do not bury me in Egypt,

Genesis 50:4  –  And when the days went by of the mourning, Joseph spoke to the mighty ones of Pharaoh, saying, If I found favor before you, speak into the ears of Pharaoh!  saying,   (5484 charin)

When the days of mourning for him were past, Joseph spoke to the household of Pharaoh, saying, “If now I have found favor in your sight, please speak to Pharaoh, saying,

Exodus 3:21  –  And I will give favor to this people before the Egyptians.  And whenever you might run from them, you will not go forth empty.  (5484 charin)

“I will grant this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be that when you go, you will not go empty-handed.

Exodus 11:3  –  And the LORD gave favor to his people before the Egyptians, and they treated them.  And the man Moses became exceedingly great before the Egyptians, and before Pharaoh and before his attendants.  (5484 charin)

The LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Furthermore, the man Moses himself was greatly esteemed in the land of Egypt, both in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and in the sight of the people.

Exodus 12:36  –  And the LORD gave favor to his people before the Egyptians, and theyfurnished to them; and they despoiled the Egyptians.  (5484 charin)

and the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have their request. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.

Exodus 33:12  –  And Moses said to the LORD, Behold, you say to me, Lead this people!  But you manifested not to me whom you shall send along with me.  But you said to me, I know you above all, and you have favor with me.  (5484 charin)

Then Moses said to the LORD, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people!’ But You Yourself have not let me know whom You will send with me. Moreover, You have said, ‘I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’

Exodus 33:13*  –  If then I have found favor before you, reveal to me yourself knowingly!  that I might see you, how ever I should be found in favor before you; and that I might know, that this nation is your people.  (5484 charin  5484 charin)

“Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people.”

Exodus 33:16  –  And how will it truly be made known that I have found favor by you – I and also your people, unless you are going with us, and both I and your people will be glorified by all the nations as many as are upon the earth?  (5484 charin)

“For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”

Exodus 33:17  –  And the LORD said to Moses, And this word which you have said I will do to you, for you have found favor before me, and I know you above all.  (5484 charin)

The LORD said to Moses, “I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name.”

Exodus 34:9  –  And he said, If I have found favor before you, let my LORD go with us!  For the people are hard-necked.  And you shall remove the sins, and our lawless deeds, and we will be yours.  (5484 charin)

He said, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go along in our midst, even though the people are so obstinate, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your own possession.”

Numbers 11:11  –  And Moses said to the LORD, Why do you afflict your attendant?  And why have I not found favor before you to place the thrust of this people upon me?  (5484 charin)

So Moses said to the LORD, “Why have You been so hard on Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all this people on me?

Numbers 11:15  –  But if so you do to me, kill me with my removal, if I have found favor with you, that I should not see my ill-treatment.  (5484 charin)

“So if You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once, if I have found favor in Your sight, and do not let me see my wretchedness.”

Numbers 32:5  –  And they said If we find favor before you, give this land to your servants for a possession, and do not cause us to pass over the Jordan!  (5484 charin)

They said, “If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants as a possession; do not take us across the Jordan.”

Deuteronomy 24:1  -And if any take a woman and should live with her, and it shall be if she should not find favor before him, for he finds in her an indecent thing, then he shall write to her a certificate of divorce scroll, and he shall put it into her hands, and he shall send her from out of his house.  (5484 charin)

“When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house,

Judges 6:17  –  And Gideon said to him, And if I found favor in your eyes, then you shall give to me a sign that you spoke with me.  (5484 charin)

So Gideon said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me.

Ruth 2:2  –  AndRuth the Moabitess said to Naomi, I should go indeed into the field, and gather among the ears of corn after of whom ever I should find favor in his eyes.  And she said to her, Go, O daughter!  (5484 charin)

And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after one in whose sight I may find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.”

Ruth 2:10  –  And she fell upon her face, and did obeisance upon the ground, and said to him, Why is it that I found favor in your eyes to recognize me, and I am a stranger?  (5484 charin)

Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your sight that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”

Ruth 2:13  –  And she said, May I find favor in your eyes, O my master; for you comforted me, and because you spoke in your heart to your maidservant; and behold, I shall be as one of your maidservants.  (5484 charin)

Then she said, “I have found favor in your sight, my lord, for you have comforted me and indeed have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants.”

1 Samuel 1:18  –  And she said, Your maidservant found favor in your eyes.  And the woman went her way, and ate with her husband, and drank, and her face was not downcast any longer.  (5484 charin)

She said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.

1 Samuel 16:22 –  And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David indeed stand before me, for he found favor in my eyes!  (5484 charin)

Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David now stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight.”

1 Samuel 20:3  –  And David answered Jonathan, and he said, In perceiving, your father sees that I have found favor in your eyes. And he said, Let not Jonathan know this lest he should prefer him! But as lives the LORD, and as lives your soul, that as I said, the space if filled up between me and between your father unto death.  (5484 charin)

Yet David vowed again, saying, “Your father knows well that I have found favor in your sight, and he has said, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, or he will be grieved.’ But truly as the LORD lives and as your soul lives, there is hardly a step between me and death.”

1 Samuel 20:29  –  And he said, Send me indeed, for we have a sacrifice of the tribe in the city, and my brethren gave charge for me.  And now if I have found favor in your eyes,  I will go forth indeed and see my brethren.  On account of this he does not come unto the table of the king.  (5484 charin)

for he said, ‘Please let me go, since our family has a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to attend. And now, if I have found favor in your sight, please let me get away that I may see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.”

1 Samuel 25:8  –  Ask of your servants! and they will tell you.  Let us your servants find favor in your eyes!  for upon a good day we come.  Give indeed what ever your hand should find to your servants, and to your son David!  5484 charin)

‘Ask your young men and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we have come on a festive day. Please give whatever you find at hand to your servants and to your son David.'”

1 Samuel 27:5  –  And David said to Achish, If indeed your servant has found favor in your eyes, give indeed to me a place in one of the cities of the ones in the country!  and I shall settle there.  For why does your servant settle in a city reigning with you ?   (5484 charin)

Then David said to Achish, “If now I have found favor in your sight, let them give me a place in one of the cities in the country, that I may live there; for why should your servant live in the royal city with you?”

2 Samuel 14:22  –  And Joab fell upon his face upon the ground, and did obeisance, and blessed the king.  And Joab said Today your servant knows that he found favor in your eyes, O my master, O king, for my master the king did the matter for his servant.    (5484 charin)

Joab fell on his face to the ground, prostrated himself and blessed the king; then Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, O my lord, the king, in that the king has performed the request of his servant.”

2 Samuel 15:25  –  And the king said to Zadok, Return the ark of God unto the city!  If I should find favor in the eyes of the LORD, and he returns me, then he shall show it to me, and its beauty.  (5484 charin)

The king said to Zadok, “Return the ark of God to the city. If I find favor in the sight of the LORD, then He will bring me back again and show me both it and His habitation.

2 Samuel 16:4  –  And the king said to Ziba, Behold, I give to you all as much as is Mephibosheth’s.  And Ziba said, I do obeisance, may I find favor in your eyes, O my master, O king.  (5484 charin)

So the king said to Ziba, “Behold, all that belongs to Mephibosheth is yours.” And Ziba said, “I prostrate myself; let me find favor in your sight, O my lord, the king!”

1 Kings 11:19 –  And Hadad found favor before Pharaoh, exceedingly.  And he gave to him a wife, the sister of his wife – the older sister of Tahpenes.  (5484 charin)

Now Hadad found great favor before Pharaoh, so that he gave him in marriage the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen.

1 Kings 14:16  –  And the LORD gave Israel favor from the sins of Jeroboam, who sinned and who led Israel into sin.  (5484 charin)

“He will give up Israel on account of the sins of Jeroboam, which he committed and with which he made Israel to sin.”

2 Chronicles 7:21  –  [no reference to 5484 or cognate found]

Esther 2:9  –  And the young woman pleased him, and she found favor before him.  And he hastened to give her the beauty treatment, and her portion, and the seven young women being exhibited to her from the royal palace.  And he treated her well, and her handmaidens in the chamber of the women.  (5484 charin)

Now the young lady pleased him and found favor with him. So he quickly provided her with her cosmetics and food, gave her seven choice maids from the king’s palace and transferred her and her maids to the best place in the harem.

Esther 2:15  –  And in the fulfilling the time, Esther the daughter of Abihail, brother of the father of Mordecai, entered to the king.  Not one thing she disregarded which the eunuch keeper of the women gave charge to her.  For Esther was found in favor by all the ones seeing her.  (5484 charin)

Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai who had taken her as his daughter, came to go in to the king, she did not request anything except what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the women, advised. And Esther found favor in the eyes of all who saw her.

Esther 2:17  –  And the king loved Esther passionately, and she found favor above all the virgins; and he placed upon her the feminine diadem.  (5484 charin)

The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor and kindness with him more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.

Esther 5:2  –  And as the king saw Esther the queen standing in the courtyard, that she found favor in his eyes; and the king stretching out to Esther the golden rod, the one in his hand, that Esther approached and touched the tip of the rod.    (5484 charin)

When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she obtained favor in his sight; and the king extended to Esther the golden scepter which was in his hand. So Esther came near and touched the top of the scepter.

Esther 5:8  –  if I found favor before the king, let the king and Haman come upon the morrow to the banquet which I shall prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do the same!  (5484 charin)

if I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and do what I request, may the king and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king says.”

Esther 6:3  –  And the king said, What glory or favor did we do for Mordecai? And the servants of the king said, We did not do for him one thing.  (5484 charin)

The king said, “What honor or dignity has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” Then the king’s servants who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.”

Esther 7:3  –  And answering she said If I found favor before the king, let him give life to my request, and my people to my petition.    (5484 charin)

Then Queen Esther replied, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me as my petition, and my people as my request;

Esther 8:5  –  And Esther said, If it seems good to you, and I found favor, let it be sent forth to return the letters being sent from Haman, the ones having been written to destroy the Jews who are in your kingdom.  (5484 charin)

Then she said, “If it pleases the king and if I have found favor before him and the matter seems proper to the king and I am pleasing in his sight, let it be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews who are in all the king’s provinces.

Psalm 45:2  –  More beautiful in beauty than the sons of men.  Favor was poured out on your lips.  On account of this God blessed you into the eon.  (5484 charis)

You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Psalm 84:11  –  For the LORD loves mercy and truth.  God shall give favor and glory.  The LORD will not deprive good things to the ones going in innocence.  (5484 charin)

For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
The LORD gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Proverbs 1:9  –  for you shall receive a crown of favors for your head, and a collar of gold around your neck.  (5484 charitwn)

Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head
And ornaments about your neck.

Proverbs 3: 4  –  and you shall find favor.  And think beforehand on the good things before the LORD and men!  (5484 charin)

So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.

Proverbs 3:22  –  that your soul should live, and favor should be around your neck; and it wil be healing to you flesh, and care to your bones;  (5484 charis)

So they will be life to your soul
And adornment to your neck.

Proverbs 3:34  –  The LORD resists the proud, but gives favor to the humble.  (5484 charin)

Though He scoffs at the scoffers,
Yet He gives grace to the afflicted.

Proverbs 4:9  –  that she should give a crown of favors to your head, and should shield you with a crown of luxury.  (5484 charitwn)

“She will place on your head a garland of grace;
She will present you with a crown of beauty.”

Proverbs 5:19  –  Let your hind of friendship and your filly of favors, consort with you!  and in particular let her be esteemed by you, and be with you at all time!  For in this friendship you will be accommodated a great deal.  (5484 charitwn)

As a loving hind and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
Be exhilarated always with her love.

Proverbs 7:5  –  that she should keep you from the strange and wicked woman, if she should put words for you for favor.  (5484 charin)

That they may keep you from an adulteress,
From the foreigner who flatters with her words.

Proverbs 8:17  –  I love the ones being fond of me; and the ones seeking me shall find favor.  (5484 charin)

“I love those who love me;
And those who diligently seek me will find me.

Proverbs 10:32  –  The lips of just men drop favors; but the mouth of the impious is perverted.  (charitas 5484)

The lips of the righteous bring forth what is acceptable,
But the mouth of the wicked what is perverted.

Proverbs 11:27  –  The one contriving good things seeks good favor; but the one seeking evil things, evil shall overtake him.  (5484 charin)

He who diligently seeks good seeks favor,
But he who seeks evil, evil will come to him.

Proverbs 12:2  –  Better the one finding favor from the LORD; but a man who is a lawbreaker shall be silenced.  (5484 charin)

A good man will obtain favor from the LORD,
But He will condemn a man who devises evil.

Proverbs 13:15  –  Good understanding gives favor; but to know the law is of good consideration; but the ways of the disdaining end in destruction.  (5484 charin)

Good understanding produces favor,
But the way of the treacherous is hard.

Proverbs 15:17  –  Better hospitality of vegetables with friendship and favor, that a fete of calves with hatred.  (5484 charin)

Better is a dish of vegetables where love is
Than a fattened ox served with hatred.

Proverbs 17:8  –  Instruction to the ones employing it is a favorable wage; and where ever it shall turn, the way shall be prosperous.  (5484 charitwn)

A bribe is a charm in the sight of its owner;
Wherever he turns, he prospers.

Proverbs 17:17  –  For all time let the friend exist to you!  let the brethren be profitable in distresses!  for this favor they were born.  (5484 charin)

A friend loves at all times,
And a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 18:22  –  The one who found a good wife, found favors; and he received happiness from the LORD.  The one who casts out a good woman, casts out good things; but the one holding on to an adulteress is foolishly and impious.  (5484 charitas)

He who finds a wife finds a good thing
And obtains favor from the LORD.

Proverbs 22:1  –  A good name is more preferred than many riches; and good favor over silver and gold.  (5484 charis)

A good name is to be more desired than great wealth,
Favor is better than silver and gold.

Proverbs 25:10  – lest indeed the friend should berate you; and your fight and hatred do not go away, but will be to you equal of death!  Favor and friendship frees, which you give heed to yourself! that you should not be reviled.  But keep your ways conciliatory!  (5484 charis)

Or he who hears it will reproach you,
And the evil report about you will not pass away.

Proverbs 28:23  –  The one reproving a man’s ways shall have favors, rather than the flatterer with the tongue.  (5484 charitas)

He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor
Than he who flatters with the tongue.

Proverbs 30:7  –  Two things I ask from you; you should not remove favor from me before my dying;  (5484 charin)

Two things I asked of You,
Do not refuse me before I die:

Ecclesiastes 9:11  –  I turned, and I beheld under the sun, that not to the light of foot is the race; and not to the mighty ones in battle; and indeed not to the wise is the bread; and indeed not to the discerning ones is the riches; and indeed not to the ones knowing favor; for a season and a meeting shall meet with them all.  (5484 charis)

I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all.

Ecclesiastes 10:12  –  The words of a wise mouth carry favor; but the lips of a fool shall sink him;  (5484 charis)

Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, while the lips of a fool consume him;

Ezekiel 12:24  –  For there will no longer be any false vision, nor one using oracles for favor in the midst of the sons of Israel.  (5484 charin)

“For there will no longer be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel.

Zechariah 4:7*  –  Who are you great mountain before the face of Zerubbabel to set up?  And I will bring forth the stone of the inheritance of its favor equaling my favor.  (5484 charitos and 5484-1473 charita autas)

‘What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!””‘

Zechariah 6:14  –  But the crown will be to the ones waiting, and to the ones profitable of her, and to the ones recognizing her, and for the favor of the son of Zephaniah, and for a psalm in the house of the LORD.  (5484 charita)

“Now the crown will become a reminder in the temple of the LORD to Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah and Hen the son of Zephaniah.

Zechariah 12:10  –  And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the ones dwelling Jerusalem a spirit of favor and compassion.  And they shall look to me, because they treated me despitefully; and they shall beat over him with a beating of the breast, as over a beloved one; and they shall grieve with grief as over the first-born.  (5484 charitos)

“I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.



As for the ABP OT:

The Greek word charis 5485 is identified in 79 verses of the OT.  In one verse (2 Chronicles 7:21), I could find no trace of the word.  That leaves 78 verses, of which two (Exodus 33:13 and Zechariah 4:7) have a double occurrence of the word.  That amounts to 80 occurrences of the word in 78 verses.

These 80 occurrences are all identified as 5484 (which is the accusative form of 5485).  (I do not know what accounts for this difference.)  The 80 occurrences break down as follows:  “charin” 63, “charis” 6, “charitwn” 4, “charitas” 3, “charita” 2, and “charitos” 2.

In terms of translation from Greek to English, 73 of the 80 are translated as “favor,” 6 as “favors,” and 1 as “favorable.”  Thus “grace” in the NASB NT shows up as “favor” in the ABP OT.

As for the NASB OT:

The Hebrew equivalent of the Greek word charis 1585 can be identified in 69 of the 80 verses.  That is, in 11 verses it is too difficult to determine which English word is the translation of the Hebrew equivalent of charis 5485.  Of those 69 remaining verses, in 54 cases the equivalent word is translated as “favor” 54 times, as “grace” 7 times, as “graceful” 2 times, and as “gracious” 1 time.  In the remaining 5 verses the word is translated in various ways (“pleases,” “”compassion,” “account,” “dignity,” and “adornment”).

The primary conclusion to be drawn is that when the Old Testament speaks of “favor” (or of “grace”) and the New Testament speaks of “grace” they are often, if not usually, talking about the same thing.

See also Notes on the Word “Grace” in the NASB.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

7 Replies to “The Word “Grace” in the Old Testament”

  1. Grace- its a girls name today and the name of a statue of three Greek classical goddess’s as one can see in the Greek-Roman exhibit in the Metropolitan museum in NYC.
    Some suspect the name is contaminated with the above and always use the original Hebrew ‘favor’!
    re: name substitution- this is nothing new as the very names of YAHWEH and His Son YAHuShua has been- reduced to the Greek name Esous/Latin Esus and finally the English J-esus!

    Always best to begin at the beginning and Hebrew is the way- Bo YAHushua!

  2. I was into this issue because somebody have posted about grace and obedience that Noah have obeyed and not by grace that save them. My thought was the word saved by “grace” was from the time Jesus died on the cross. He, Jesus, being used as a “sacrifice” to save us from our sins. That being said, the word “grace” was use in the NT referring to the sacrificial death of the Son of God and maybe the reason why “grace” was not use in the OT but by other terms not related to Jesus’ death.

  3. I was looking for the word count for chen, grace in the “Old Testament” compared to the “New Testament”. I’ve counted before and found the count much higher in the OT as in the NT.
    The teaching that grace came only through “Jesus” comes from an added word from the translators regarding John 1:14 where “but” is added. G-d’s grace is revealed in His 13 attributes Ex. 34:6,7 and in the Aaronic Blessing. Paul addresses the assemblies with the covenental attributes of grace and peace. The Abrahamic Covenant ratified by the blood of the Lamb!

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