What is "lovingkindness" (Psalm 103:4)?

4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

Psalms 103:4

ESV - 4 Who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.

Clarify Share Report Asked October 07 2019 My picture Jack Gutknecht

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
My understanding is that the Hebrew word translated in English as "lovingkindness" is equivalent to the Greek word that is expressed as "grace" in the New Testament.

To me, the verse cited in the question illustrates this by associating "lovingkindness" with "tender mercies". Both of these terms deal with love shown toward another that is not associated with anything that the object of that love has done to deserve or merit it, but that is based purely on the will of the person or being offering the love, and that even contains an element of mercy in disregarding or overlooking negative things that the object of love has done.

October 08 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
The Hebrew word for lovingkindness is חֶסֶד. Transliterated it is "hesed" or "chesed." (Hebrew words must be read from right to left).

The Lord is full of lavish, lovingkindness toward His children! The Hebrew root for the words “tender mercies” means the way a fetus is cherished, given tender care, and protected inside the womb. God cherishes you and me, and He keeps vigil over us to give us continual, tender care. As a mother would give her life without hesitation for the life of her child, you can know that Jesus gave His life to purchase abundant as well as eternal life for you. If He redeemed you with His very life, is there anything good that He will withhold from you (Romans 8:32)? apostleswomen.squarespace.com

One can also gain some sense of the "variegated" meaning of hesed by observing the Biblical effects or associations of hesed on individuals (some contexts speak of Israel) -- drawn by God's hesed (Jer. 31:3), preserved by God's hesed (Ps. 40:11), revived according to God's hesed (Ps. 119:88), comforted by God's hesed (Ps 119:76), looking for forgiveness of one's sins through God's hesed (Ps. 51:1), receiving mercy through God's hesed (Israel = Isa. 54:8), heard by God on the basis of His hesed (Ps. 119:149), to be pondered in worship (Ps. 48:9), expecting God's hesed when in affliction (Ps. 42:7,8), crowned with God's hesed (Ps 103:4).

The phrase, "with lovingkindness," occurs at least twice literally:

Psa. 103:4:
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

Jer. 31:3:
The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

James Montgomery wrote this beautiful and wonderful hymn, 

"O Bless the Lord, My Soul": 

Then bless His holy Name,
Whose grace hath made thee whole,
Whose lovingkindness crowns thy days!
O bless the Lord, my soul!

[a site where you can hear this hymn sung by a choir]

July 29 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Add your Answer

All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.

What makes a good answer? ▼

A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.

  1. Adhere to the eBible Statement of Faith.
  2. Your answer should be complete and stand-alone.
  3. Include supporting arguments, and scripture references if possible. Seek to answer the "why".
  4. Adhere to a proper tone and spirit of love and understanding.
  5. For more info see The Complete Guide to eBible
  1. 4000 characters remaining