cov·e·nant /ˈkʌvnənt, ˈkʌvə-/
Cov·e·nant v. i. [imp. & p. p. Covenanted; p. pr. & vb. n. Covenanting.] To agree (with); to enter into a formal agreement; to bind one's self by contract; to make a stipulation.
Jupiter covenanted with him, that it should be hot or cold, wet or dry, . . . as the tenant should direct. --L'Estrange.
And they covenanted with him for thyrty pieces of silver. --Matt. xxvi. 15.
Syn: -- To agree; contract; bargain; stipulate.
Cov·e·nant, v. t. To grant or promise by covenant.
My covenant of peace that I covenanted with you. --Wyclif.
1. A mutual agreement of two or more persons or parties, or one of the stipulations in such an agreement.
Then Jonathan and David made a covenant. --1 Sam. xviiii. 3.
Let there be covenants drawn between us. --Shak.
If we conclude a peace,
It shall be with such strict and severe covenants
As little shall the Frenchmen gain thereby. --Shak.
2. Eccl. Hist. An agreement made by the Scottish Parliament in 1638, and by the English Parliament in 1643, to preserve the reformed religion in Scotland, and to extirpate popery and prelacy; -- usually called the “Solemn League and Covenant.”
He [Wharton] was born in the days of the Covenant, and was the heir of a covenanted house. --Macaulay.
3. Theol. The promises of God as revealed in the Scriptures, conditioned on certain terms on the part of man, as obedience, repentance, faith, etc.
I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. --Gen. xvii. 7.
4. A solemn compact between members of a church to maintain its faith, discipline, etc.
5. Law (a) An undertaking, on sufficient consideration, in writing and under seal, to do or to refrain from some act or thing; a contract; a stipulation; also, the document or writing containing the terms of agreement. (b) A form of action for the violation of a promise or contract under seal.
Syn: -- Agreement; contract; compact; bargain; arrangement; stipulation.
Usage: -- Covenant, Contract, Compact, Stipulation. These words all denote a mutual agreement between two parties. Covenant is frequently used in a religious sense; as, the covenant of works or of grace; a church covenant; the Solemn League and Covenant. Contract is the word most used in the business of life. Crabb and Taylor are wrong in saying that a contract must always be in writing. There are oral and implied contracts as well as written ones, and these are equally enforced by law. In legal usage, the word covenant has an important place as connected with contracts. A compact is only a stronger and more solemn contract. The term is chiefly applied to political alliances. Thus, the old Confederation was a compact between the States. Under the present Federal Constitution, no individual State can, without consent of Congress, enter into a compact with any other State or foreign power. A stipulation is one of the articles or provisions of a contract.
n 1: a signed written agreement between two or more parties
(nations) to perform some action [syn: compact, concordat]
2: (Bible) an agreement between God and his people in which God
makes certain promises and requires certain behavior from
them in return
v 1: enter into a covenenant
2: enter into a covenant or formal agreement; "They covenanted
with Judas for 30 pieces of silver"; "The nations
covenanted to fight terrorism around the world"
a contract or agreement between two parties. In the Old
Testament the Hebrew word _berith_ is always thus translated.
_Berith_ is derived from a root which means "to cut," and hence
a covenant is a "cutting," with reference to the cutting or
dividing of animals into two parts, and the contracting parties
passing between them, in making a covenant (Gen. 15; Jer. 34:18,
The corresponding word in the New Testament Greek is
_diatheke_, which is, however, rendered "testament" generally in
the Authorized Version. It ought to be rendered, just as the
word _berith_ of the Old Testament, "covenant."
This word is used (1) of a covenant or compact between man and
man (Gen. 21:32), or between tribes or nations (1 Sam. 11:1;
Josh. 9:6, 15). In entering into a convenant, Jehovah was
solemnly called on to witness the transaction (Gen. 31:50), and
hence it was called a "covenant of the Lord" (1 Sam. 20:8). The
marriage compact is called "the covenant of God" (Prov. 2:17),
because the marriage was made in God's name. Wicked men are
spoken of as acting as if they had made a "covenant with death"
not to destroy them, or with hell not to devour them (Isa.
(2.) The word is used with reference to God's revelation of
himself in the way of promise or of favour to men. Thus God's
promise to Noah after the Flood is called a covenant (Gen. 9;
Jer. 33:20, "my covenant"). We have an account of God's
covernant with Abraham (Gen. 17, comp. Lev. 26:42), of the
covenant of the priesthood (Num. 25:12, 13; Deut. 33:9; Neh.
13:29), and of the covenant of Sinai (Ex. 34:27, 28; Lev.
26:15), which was afterwards renewed at different times in the
history of Israel (Deut. 29; Josh. 1:24; 2 Chr. 15; 23; 29; 34;
Ezra 10; Neh. 9). In conformity with human custom, God's
covenant is said to be confirmed with an oath (Deut. 4:31; Ps.
89:3), and to be accompanied by a sign (Gen. 9; 17). Hence the
covenant is called God's "counsel," "oath," "promise" (Ps. 89:3,
4; 105:8-11; Heb. 6:13-20; Luke 1:68-75). God's covenant
consists wholly in the bestowal of blessing (Isa. 59:21; Jer.
The term covenant is also used to designate the regular
succession of day and night (Jer. 33:20), the Sabbath (Ex.
31:16), circumcision (Gen. 17:9, 10), and in general any
ordinance of God (Jer. 34:13, 14).
A "covenant of salt" signifies an everlasting covenant, in the
sealing or ratifying of which salt, as an emblem of perpetuity,
is used (Num. 18:19; Lev. 2:13; 2 Chr. 13:5).
COVENANT OF WORKS, the constitution under which Adam was
placed at his creation. In this covenant, (1.) The contracting
parties were (a) God the moral Governor, and (b) Adam, a free
moral agent, and representative of all his natural posterity
(Rom. 5:12-19). (2.) The promise was "life" (Matt. 19:16, 17;
Gal. 3:12). (3.) The condition was perfect obedience to the law,
the test in this case being abstaining from eating the fruit of
the "tree of knowledge," etc. (4.) The penalty was death (Gen.
This covenant is also called a covenant of nature, as made
with man in his natural or unfallen state; a covenant of life,
because "life" was the promise attached to obedience; and a
legal covenant, because it demanded perfect obedience to the
The "tree of life" was the outward sign and seal of that life
which was promised in the covenant, and hence it is usually
called the seal of that covenant.
This covenant is abrogated under the gospel, inasmuch as
Christ has fulfilled all its conditions in behalf of his people,
and now offers salvation on the condition of faith. It is still
in force, however, as it rests on the immutable justice of God,
and is binding on all who have not fled to Christ and accepted
CONVENANT OF GRACE, the eternal plan of redemption entered
into by the three persons of the Godhead, and carried out by
them in its several parts. In it the Father represented the
Godhead in its indivisible sovereignty, and the Son his people
as their surety (John 17:4, 6, 9; Isa. 42:6; Ps. 89:3).
The conditions of this covenant were, (1.) On the part of the
Father (a) all needful preparation to the Son for the
accomplishment of his work (Heb. 10:5; Isa. 42:1-7); (b) support
in the work (Luke 22:43); and (c) a glorious reward in the
exaltation of Christ when his work was done (Phil. 2:6-11), his
investiture with universal dominion (John 5:22; Ps. 110:1), his
having the administration of the covenant committed into his
hands (Matt. 28:18; John 1:12; 17:2; Acts 2:33), and in the
final salvation of all his people (Isa. 35:10; 53:10, 11; Jer.
31:33; Titus 1:2). (2.) On the part of the Son the conditions
were (a) his becoming incarnate (Gal. 4:4, 5); and (b) as the
second Adam his representing all his people, assuming their
place and undertaking all their obligations under the violated
covenant of works; (c) obeying the law (Ps. 40:8; Isa. 42:21;
John 9:4, 5), and (d) suffering its penalty (Isa. 53; 2 Cor.
5:21; Gal. 3:13), in their stead.
Christ, the mediator of, fulfils all its conditions in behalf
of his people, and dispenses to them all its blessings. In Heb.
8:6; 9:15; 12:24, this title is given to Christ. (See DISPENSATION.)