Word Summary
diathēkē: testament, will, covenant
Original Word: διαθήκη
Transliteration: diathēkē
Phonetic Spelling: (dee-ath-ay'-kay)
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Short Definition: testament, will, covenant
Meaning: testament, will, covenant
Strong's Concordance
covenant, testament.

From diatithemai; properly, a disposition, i.e. (specially) a contract (especially a devisory will) -- covenant, testament.

see GREEK diatithemai

Thayer's Greek Lexicon
STRONGS NT 1242: διαθήκη

διαθήκη, διαθήκης, (διατίθημι);

1. a disposition, arrangement, of any sort, which one wishes to be valid (German Verordnung, Willensverfugung): Galatians 3:15, where under the name of a man's disposition is meant specifically a testament, so far forth as it is a specimen and example of that disposition (cf. Meyer or Lightfoot at the passage); especially the last disposal which one makes of his earthly possessions after his death, a testament or will (so in Greek writings from (Aristophanes), Plato, legg. 11, p. 922 c. following down): Hebrews 9:16f

2. a compact, covenant (Aristophanes av. 440), very often in the Scriptures for בְּרִית (Vulg.testamentum). For the word covenant is used to denote the close relationship which God entered into, first with Noah (Genesis 6:18; Genesis 9:9ff (cf. Sir. 44:18)), then with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their posterity (Leviticus 26:42 (cf. 2 Macc. 1:2)), but especially with Abraham (Genesis 15 and Genesis 17), and afterward through Moses with the people of Israel (Exodus 24; Deuteronomy 5:2; Deuteronomy 28:69 ()). By this last covenant the Israelites are bound to obey God's will as expressed and solemnly promulged in the Mosaic law; and he promises them his almighty protection and blessings of every kind in this world, but threatens transgressors with the severest punishments. Hence, in the N. T. we find mention of αἱ πλάκες τῆς διαθήκης (הַבְּרִית לוּחות, Deuteronomy 9:9, 15), the tables of the law, on which the duties of the covenant were inscribed (Exodus 20); of κιβωτός τῆς διαθήκης (הַבְּרִית אֲרון, Deuteronomy 10:8; Deuteronomy 31:9; Joshua 3:6, etc.), the ark of the covenant or law, in which those tables were deposited, Hebrews 9:4; Revelation 11:19; of διαθήκη περιτομῆς, the covenant of circumcision, made with Abraham, whose sign and seal was circumcision (Genesis 17:10ff), Acts 7:8; of τό αἷμα τῆς διαθήκης, the blood of the victims, by the shedding and sprinkling of which the Mosaic covenant was ratified, Hebrews 9:20 from Exodus 24:8; of αἱ διαθῆκαι, the covenants, one made with Abraham, the other through Moses with the Israelites, Romans 9:4 (L text Tr marginal reading διαθήκη) (Sap). 18:22; Sir. 44:11; 2 Macc. 8:15; Epistle of Barnabas 9 [ET]; (cf. Winer's Grammar, 177 (166))); of αἱ διαθῆκαι τῆς ἐπαγγελίας, the covenants to which the promise of salvation through the Messiah was annexed, Ephesians 2:12 (συνθηκαι ἀγαθῶν ὑποσχέσεων, Wis. 12:21); for Christian salvation is the fulfillment of the divine promises annexed to those covenants, especially to that made with Abraham: Luke 1:72; Acts 3:25; Romans 11:27; Galatians 3:17 (where διαθήκη is God's arrangement, i. e. the promise made to Abraham). As the new and far more excellent bond of friendship which God in the Messiah's time would enter into with the people of Israel is called, חֲדָשָׁה בְּרִית, καινή διαθήκη (Jeremiah 38:31 ()) — which divine promise Christ has made good (Hebrews 8:8-10; Hebrews 10:16) — we find in the N. T. two distinct covenants spoken of, δύο διαθῆκαι (Galatians 4:24), viz. the Mosaic and the Christian, with the former of which (τῇ πρώτη διαθήκη, Hebrews 9:15, 18, cf. 8:9) the latter is contrasted, as καινή διαθήκη, Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24 (in both passages in R G L (in Matthew in Tr also)); Luke 22:20 (WH reject the passage); 1 Corinthians 11:25; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 8:8; κρείττων διαθήκη, Hebrews 7:22; αἰώνιος διαθήκη, Hebrews 13:20; and Christ is called κρείττονος or καινῆς or νέας διαθήκης μεσίτης: Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 12:24. This new covenant binds men to exercise faith in Christ, and God promises them grace and salvation eternal. This covenant Christ set up and ratified by undergoing death; hence, the phrases τό αἷμα τῆς καινῆς διαθήκης, τό αἷμα τῆς διαθήκης (see αἷμα sub at the end) (Hebrews 10:29); τό αἷμα μου τῆς διαθήκης, my blood by the shedding of which the covenant is established, Matthew 26:28 T WH and Mark 14:24 T Tr WH (on two genitives after one noun cf. Matthiae, § 380, Anm. 1; Kühner, ii., p. 288f; (Jelf, § 543, 1, cf § 466; Winers Grammar, § 30, 3 Note 3; Buttmann, 155 (136))). By metonymy of the contained for the container παλαιά διαθήκη is used in 2 Corinthians 3:14 of the sacred books of the O. T. because in them the conditions and principles of the older covenant were recorded. Finally must be noted the amphiboly or twofold use (cf. Philo de mut. nom. § 6) by which the writer to the Hebrews, in Hebrews 9:16f, substitutes for the meaning covenant which διαθήκη bears elsewhere in the Epistle that of testament (see 1 above), and likens Christ to a testator — not only because the author regards eternal blessedness as an inheritance bequeathed by Christ, but also because he is endeavoring to show, both that the attainment of eternal salvation is made possible for the disciples of Christ by his death (Hebrews 9:15), and that even the Mosaic covenant had been consecrated by blood (Hebrews 9:18ff). This, apparently, led the Latin Vulg. to render διαθήκη wherever it occurs in the Bible (i. e. in the New Testament, not always in the Old Testament; see B. D. under the word , and B. D. American edition under the word ) by the wordtestamentum.