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Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words

Favor

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A. Noun.

Râtsôn (רָצֹן, Strong's #7522), “favor; goodwill; acceptance; will; desire; pleasure.” The 56 occurrences of this word are scattered throughout Old Testament literature.

Râtsôn represents a concrete reaction of the superior to an inferior. When used of God, râtsôn may represent that which is shown in His blessings: “And for the precious things of the earth and fullness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush” (Deut. 33:16). Thus Isaiah speaks of the day, year, or time of divine “favor”-in other words, the day of the Lord when all the blessings of the covenant shall be heaped upon God’s people (Isa. 49:8; 58:5; 61:2). In wisdom literature, this word is used in the sense of “what men can bestow”: “He that diligently seeketh good procureth favor: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him” (Prov. 11:27). In Prov. 14:35, râtsôn refers to what a king can or will do for someone he likes. This word represents the position one enjoys before a superior who is favorably disposed toward him. This nuance is used only of God and frequently in a cultic context: “… And it [the plate engraved with “holy to the Lord”] shall be always upon his [the high priest’s] forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord” (Exod. 28:38). Being “accepted” means that God subjectively feels well disposed toward the petitioner.

Râtsôn also signifies a voluntary or arbitrary decision. Ezra told the people of Israel to do the “will” of God, to repent and observe the law of Moses (Ezra 10:11). This law was dictated by God’s own nature; His nature led Him to be concerned for the physical well-being of His people. Ultimately, His laws were highly personal; they were simply what God wanted His people to be and do. Thus the psalmist confessed his delight in doing God’s “will,” or His law (Ps. 40:8). When a man does according to his own “will,” he does “what he desires”: “I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his willand became great” (Dan. 8:4). In Ps. 145:16, the word râtsôn means “one’s desire” or “what one wants” (cf. Esth. 1:8). This emphasis is found in Gen. 49:6 (the first occurrence): “… And in their self-will they [brought disaster upon themselves].”

B. Verb.

Râtsâh (רָצָה, Strong's #7521), “to be pleased with or favorable to, be delighted with, be pleased to make friends with; be graciously received; make oneself favored.” This verb, which occurs 50 times in the Old Testament, has cognates in Ugaritic, Aramaic, Syriac, and Arabic. Gen. 33:10 contains one appearance of this word: “… thou wast pleased with me.”

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Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Favor'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/vot/f/favor.html. 1940.

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