Breet or b’rit in Hebrew means “covenant, league, confederacy”
Used with the most common verb, karat כרת meaning ‘to cut
“But I will establish (cut) my covenant with you (Noah)” (Genesis 6:18, Complete Jewish Bible).
“But with you (Noah) will I establish (cut) covenant (b’rit)” (Genesis 6:18, New International Bible).
“That day ADONAI made (cut) a covenant with Avram …” (Genesis 15:18, CJB).
“The Lord made (cut) a covenant (b’rit) with Abram” (Genesis 15:18, NIV).
Hebrew Word Pictures
ב Bet – ‘A House’ means ‘a house’ or ‘family.’
ר Resh – ‘A Head’ means ‘authority’ or ‘leader.’
י Yod – ‘A Closed Hand’ means ‘a finished work.’
ת Tav – ‘Crossed Sticks’ means ‘sign’ or ‘covenant’.
The Hebrew Word Picture for b’rit – house authority finished work of the covenant sign
There are many different covenants in Scripture. There was a covenant with Noah regarding the destruction of the earth and mankind, a covenant with Abraham and the promise of Land and descendants, a covenant with Isra’el as a nation, a covenant with Aaron and an eternal priesthood (Exodus 28), and a covenant with King David for an eternal kingship (2 Samuel 7:11-16, Psalm 89:3-4, 29, 34-36). None of these covenants were replaced by new ones.
There was no specific covenant made with Moses called the Mosaic covenant. Moses was only an intercessor between God and Isra’el; a type and shadow of Messiah Yeshua. Unlike Abraham, Aaron, and David, who received a personal covenant promise with God, the covenant with Isra’el was made through Moses, not with Moses. It applied to him in as much as it applied to all the people of Isra’el.
Covenants are expressions of loving relationship and promises that two parties make with one another.
“Y’honatan made a covenant with David because he loved him as he did himself. Y’honatan removed the cloak he was wearing and gave it to David, his armor too, including his sword, bow and belt” (1 Samuel 18:3, CJB).
Covenants are eternal, never changing. They can be ‘re-newed’ as in the case of the covenant with Isra’el because Isra’el had broken covenant. God said that he would ‘renew’ the covenant (Jeremiah 31). The ‘renewal’ of the covenant would not be a ‘removal’ of a covenant, but the ‘renewal’ would result in a change of heart so God’s ‘word, statutes, and precepts’ would be written on the hearts of the people (Ezekiel 36).
The ‘new covenant’ in Hebrew is b’rit chadashah. This can be literally interpreted as the ‘new cutting’. When a Jewish boy is circumcised, it is called a ‘brit’. So, the ‘renewed covenant’ can also be called the ‘renewed circumcision’ which is what the prophets foretold and Paul spoke about in Romans 2.
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