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People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Covenant. An agreement or mutual contract made with great solemnity. The Hebrew word bireth, for covenant, means "a cutting," having reference to the custom of cutting or dividing animals in two and passing between the parts in ratifying a covenant. Genesis 15:1-21; Jeremiah 34:18-19. In the New Testament the corresponding word is diathékç, which is frequently translated testament in the Authorized version. In the Bible the word is used: 1. Of a covenant between God and man; as God's covenant with Noah, after the flood. The Old Covenant, from which we name the first part of the Bible the Old Testament, is the covenant of works; the New Covenant, or New Testament, is that of grace. 2. Covenant between tribes, Joshua 9:6; Joshua 9:15; 1 Samuel 11:1, or between individuals, Genesis 31:44. In making such a covenant God was solemnly invoked as witness, Genesis 31:50, and an oath was taken. Genesis 21:31. A sign or witness of the covenant was sometimes framed, such as a gift, Genesis 21:30, or a pillar or heap of stones erected. Genesis 31:52. God's covenants, from the beginning, have been with his people and their seed—with Adam, Genesis 2:17; Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:22; with Noah, Genesis 9:9.; with Abraham, Genesis 17:7; Genesis 22:18; with the Jews, Exodus 6:4; Exodus 19:5; Exodus 20:6; Exodus 34:27; Leviticus 26:9; Leviticus 26:42; Leviticus 26:45; Deuteronomy 4:9; Deuteronomy 4:37; with Christians, Acts 2:39; Ephesians 6:2. A covenant of salt, Numbers 18:1-32; Numbers 19:1-22; 2 Chronicles 13:5, was a compact in which salt was used in its ratification.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Covenant'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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