Love in the Old Testament

“And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.” (Genesis 29:20)

It is well known that “love” in the New Testament almost always means unselfish agape love. The Greek word for sexual love or romantic love, eros, is never used at all in the New Testament. Even marital love is ideally agape love in its main expression, as in Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”

In the Old Testament, on the other hand, there are about a dozen different Hebrew words used for “love,” and these often have wide variations in meaning, depending on context, often including romantic love as one of them. For example, Jacob’s willingness to work for Laban seven years in order to obtain Rachel for his wife clearly must have involved a high degree of romantic love on his part. He also loved her sister Leah, after Laban insisted he marry her first, but “he loved also Rachel more than Leah” (Genesis 29:30).

Several different “love” words are used in the Song of Solomon, as Solomon and his bride frequently speak of their romantic love for each other. There is no doubt that God approves of such love when it is pure and true and involves self-sacrificing agape love as well. “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). The word for “whoremonger,” incidentally, is also often translated “fornicator” and can refer to any kind of sexual activity (some may call it “love,” but this is a caricature) outside of monogamous, man-and-woman, lifelong marriage.

The greatest love of all, of course, in both Old and New Testaments, is God’s love for the men and women He has created and redeemed. HMM

The Latest
NEWS
Delicate Spider Fossil Discovered
Discovering fossil spiders has become fairly common.1 Each time they have been 100% spiders, not vague evolutionary ancestors with partial or transitional...

NEWS
A T. rex Swimming with Sharks?
The last time I checked, sharks didn’t swim on land. Most shark species inhabit saltwater oceans. Maybe tyrannosaurs swam some, but they didn’t...

NEWS
"Ancient" Fossil Still Has Hagfish Slime Residue
Hagfish look creepy. They can act creepy, too. Having no bones, they tie themselves into sliding figure eight knots that help them tear mouthfuls of...

CREATION PODCAST
What Do We Do With Darwin Day?
Many secularist and humanist organizations celebrate February 12 as Darwin Day, a day set aside to honor Charles Darwin and his legacy. But is Darwinism...

NEWS
Meteorite Impact Observed During Lunar Eclipse
On January 21, 2019, during a total lunar eclipse, astronomers and amateur stargazers alike saw a small meteorite strike the lunar surface.1 The collision...