"love" = AHAV and RA

ANDREW SMITH (smitha@scnc.aaps.k12.mi.us)
Wed, 22 May 1996 15:09:13 -0400 (EDT)

[1] Proverbs 18:24 seems to be comparing and contrasting two types of
relationships, the AHAV which is a spiritual and strong connection, and
the RA, which is comradery (your "buddies").

[2] Readers of NT Greek know that NT authors formed AGAPE into a
technical term, and contrasted it with EROS/PHILOS/STORGE.

[3] The NT usage is weakly hinted in the LXX, but the contrast is not as
strong, and AGAPE had not yet been made into a technical term.

[4] It is difficult to find a consistent usage of Hebrew words for "love"
which parallels the conceptual mapping of the NT (many have tried, and
while a few patterns of usage do emerge, it is not clear cut, especially
because such terms as CHESED do not map easily onto the sematic fields of
English words).

[5] Despite the lack of a global mapping of the NT concepts onto the
TANAKH, might we not at least posit that Proverbs 18:24 offers at least a
localized occurence of the same distinction which NT authors drew (i.e.,
AGAPE vs. other "love words")?

[6] Thus Proverbs 18:24 tells us that AHAV is a spiritual love which
denies itself and makes sacrifices to benefit the object of that love,
while RA is merely a buddy or companion in whose company one find's oneself?

[7] This would be confirmed by the way in which Moses used the word RA
("love thy neighbor as thyself"): RA is merely one's neighbor. RA is
not the one who will sacrifice her/his self for another.