“For He Is Good’ -- By: Alan R. Millard

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 17:1 (NA 1966)
Article: “For He Is Good’
Author: Alan R. Millard

“For He Is Good’

A. R. Millard

The discovery and publication of a number of ancient treaty texts during the past decade or so has opened a new phase in the investigation of the covenant or treaty theme in the Old Testament. Two types of study have arisen from this, comparison of entire covenant ‘documents’ and their formulation within the Bible and without, and examination of the meanings of particular terms found in covenants.1 Among the Words most recently discussed is טובה, which is found, by analogy with the use of its cognate in Aramaic and Akkadian, to denote ‘friendship (made by treaty)’ in some passages in the Old Testament.2

Far ore common than the abstract טובה in Hebrew is the adjective טובdescribing the quality of ‘goodness’, whether as a physical state or an abstract attribute, in many occurrences. However, in one phrase it is possible that a more definite concept is inherent טוב when considered in the light of the special usage of טובה. The phrase is in the summons to worship, ‘O live thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures for ever’. חסד is well known that ‘mercy’ (or ‘loving- kindness, constancy), חסד, is frequently employed in connection wit God’s covenant with Israel,3 so the parallelism of חסד with טוב might indicate a similar association in the latter word. his ‘summons’ occurs in the context of praise to God

at the accomplishment of a task such as bringing the Ark to Jerusalem, dedicating the Temple in Solomon’s reign, and relaying its foundations after the Exile (1 Ch. 16:34; 2 Ch. 5:13; 7:3 ; Ezr. 3:11), in hymns of praise recounting the activity of God on behalf of His servants in preservation from perils and return to the sanctuary, in giving victory, in the national history of the Exodus and Conquest (Pss. 107:1 118:1, 29; 106:1; 136:1), and at restoration from exile (Je. 33:11). Inheren...

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