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good (Tobh, Tubh, yaTabh; agathos, agathon, kalos, kalon): In English "good" is used in various senses, most of which are represented in the Bible.
(1) In the Old Testament the commonest word is Tobh, occurring very frequently and translated in a great variety of ways. Of the different shades of meaning, which frequently run into each other, the following may be distinguished: (a) Possessing desirable qualities, beneficial, agreeable, e.g. "good for food" (Gen 2:9); "We will do thee good" (Nu 10:29); Who will show us any good?" (Ps 4:6); "good tidings of good" (Isa 52:7). (b) Moral excellence, piety: "to know good and evil" (Gen 3:22); "that which is right and good" (Dt 6:18a; 1 Sam 12:23); "good and bad" (1 Ki 3:9, the Revised Version (British and American) "evil"); "Depart from evil and do good" (Ps 37:27); "a good man" (Prov 12:2); compare Isa 5:20; Mic 6:8, etc. (c) Kind, benevolent: "The men were very good unto us" (1 Sam 25:15); "Give thanks unto Yahweh; for he is good" (1 Ch 16:34); "the good Yahweh" (2 Ch 30:18); "God is good to Israel" (Ps 73:1); "Yahweh is good to all" (Ps 145:9), etc. (d) Serviceable, adequate, sufficient: "saw the light that it was good" (Gen 1:4; so 1:10,12 etc.); "not good that the man should be alone" (Gen 2:18); in the frequent phrase, "if it seem good" (1 Ch 13:2; Est 5:4, etc.), sometimes rendered, "if it please" (Neh 2:5,7; Est 1:19, etc.). (e) Not small or deficient (full, complete): "a good old age" (Gen 15,15; 25:8); "a good dowry" (Gen 30:20); "good ears," "years," "kine" (Gen 41:24,26,35); "good understanding" (1 Sam 25:3); "good trees--"land" (2 Ki 3:19,25), etc. (f) Not blemished, fair, honorable: "tender and good" (Gen 18:7); "good kids" (Gen 27:9); "good report" (1 Sam 2:24; compare 2 Ki 20:3; Jer 24:2); and the renderings "fair" (Gen 26:7, etc.), "beautiful" (2 Sam 11:2), "pleasant" (2 Ki 2:19), etc. (g) Pleasure-giving, happy: "glad of heart" (1 Ki 8:66; Est 5:9); sometimes in the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) translated "merry" (Jdg 16:25; 1 Sam 25:36; 2 Sam 13:28; Prov 15:15, the Revised Version (British and American) "cheerful"), etc.
Changes that may be noted in the Revised Version (British and American) are such as, "good" for "ready" (Isa 41:7); "I have no good beyond thee" for "My goodness extendeth not to thee" (Ps 16:2); "goodly" for "good" (Ps 45:1); "good" for "goodness" (Ps 107:9); "good" for "well" (Zec 8:15).
Tubh means something good, e.g. "the good of the land" (Gen 45:18,20; Dt 6:11; Job 21:16, the Revised Version (British and American) "prosperity").
YaTabh, "to do good," occurs several times, as, I will surely do thee good" (Gen 32:12); "to do good" (Lev 5:4); "Make your ways and your doings good," the Revised Version (British and American) "amend" (Jer 18:11; Zeph 1:12, etc.).
Numerous other Hebrew words are rendered "good" in various verbal connections and otherwise, as "to bring good tidings" (2 Sam 4:10; Isa 40:9, etc.); "take good heed" (Dt 2:4; 4:15; Josh 23:11); "make good" (Ex 21:34), etc.; "good will" (ratson, Dt 33:16; Mal 2:13); "what good?" the Revised Version (British and American) "what advantages?" (kishron, Eccl 5:11); "good for nothing," the Revised Version (British and American) "profitable" (tsaleah, Jer 13:10), etc. In Jer 18:4, "as seemed good to the potter," the word is yahsar, which means literally, "right."
(2) In the New Testament the words most frequently translated "good" are agathos and kalos. The former, agathos, denotes good as a quality, physical or moral. Thus, "He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good" (Mt 5:45); "good gifts" (Mt 7:11); "Good Master (the Revised Version (British and American) "Teacher") .... Why callest thou me good? none is good save one" (Mk 10:17 f; Lk 18:18 f; compare Mt 19:16 f); "they that have done good" (Jn 5:29). Sometimes it is equivalent to "kind" (thus Tit 2:5 the Revised Version (British and American)); to agathon is "that which is good" (Lk 6:45; Rom 7:13; 1 Thess 5:15; 1 Pet 3:13), etc.; "that which is honest," the Revised Version (British and American) "honorable " (2 Cor 13:7); "meet" (Mt 15:26; Mk 7:27); "worthy," the Revised Version (British and American) "honorable" (Jas 2:7); agathon is "a good thing," as "good things to them that ask him" (Mt 7:11); Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" (Jn 1:46), etc.; agathoergeo (1 Tim 6:18), and agathopoieo (Mk 3:4; Acts 14:17), etc., "to do good."
Kalos is properly, "beautiful," "pleasing," "useful," "noble," "worthy" in a moral sense, e.g. "that they may see your good works" (Mt 5:16); "She hath wrought a good work on me" (Mt 26:10; Mk 14,6); "the good shepherd" (Jn 10:11,14); "Many good works have I showed you" (Jn 10:32); "good and acceptable before God" (1 Tim 5:4; the Revised Version (British and American) omits "good"); "the good fight" (2 Tim 4:7); "good works" (Tit 2:7); "the good word of God" (Heb 6:5). But it is often practically equivalent to agathos, e.g. "good fruit" (Mt 3:10); "good ground" (Mt 13:23); "good seed" (Mt 13:24); but the idea of useful may underlie such expressions; to kalon is properly "that which is beautiful." It occurs in Rom 7:18,21; 1 Thess 5:21, "Hold fast that which is good." In Rom 7 it seems to be used interchangeably with to agathon. In Rom 5:7, "the good man" (ho agathos) is distinguished from "a righteous man" (dikaios): "For the good man some one would even dare to die" (compare Rom 7:16; Heb 5:14; Jas 4:17); kalos, "well," "pleasantly," is translated "good" (Lk 6:27; Jas 2:3); kalodidaskalos (Tit 2:3), "teachers of good things," the Revised Version (British and American) "of that which is good."
"Good" occurs in the rendering of many other Greek words and phrases, as eudokia, "good pleasure" (Eph 1:9); "good will" (Lk 2:14; Phil 1:15); sumphero, "to bear together," "not good to marry" (Mt 19:10), the Revised Version (British and American) "expedient"; philagathos, "a lover of good" (Tit 1:8); chrestologia, "good words" (Rom 16:18, the Revised Version (British and American) "smooth speech," etc.).
The following changes in the Revised Version (British and American) may be noted. In Lk 2:14 for "men of good will" (eudokia) the Revised Version (British and American) reads "in whom he is well pleased," margin "good pleasure among men, Greek men of good pleasure." The meaning is "men to whom God is drawing nigh in goodwill or acceptance"; compare Lk 4:19, "the acceptable year of the Lord"; 4:43, "Preach the good tidings of the kingdom of God." In Mt 11:5; Lk 4:43; 7:22; 1 Pet 1:25 and (American Standard Revised Version) Rev 14:6 "the gospel" is changed into "good tidings." In Mt 18:8 f; Mk 9:43,15,47; Lk 5:39, good is substituted for "better"; on the last passage in notes "Many authorities read `better' "; in 1 Cor 9:15 "good .... rather" for "better"; "good" is substituted in Lk 1:19; 8:1 and Acts 13:32 for "glad"; in Acts 6:3 for "honest"; in Heb 13:9 for "a good thing." In 2 Thess 1:11, all the good pleasure of his goodness" becomes "every desire of goodness" (m "Gr good pleasure of goodness"); in 1 Tim 3:2, "good" (kosmios) becomes "orderly." There are many other instances of like changes.
W. L. Walker
Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'good'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". - ISBE; 1915.

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