The Hebrew word na·saʼʹ, sometimes translated “pardon,” is also used in the Scriptures in the sense of “raise,” “lift,” “lift up” (Ge 45:19; Ex 6:8; 2Ki 2:16), “take” (Ge 27:3), “take away” (Nu 16:15). A basic meaning of the word, however, is “bear, carry.” (Ge 47:30; 1Ki 2:26; Eze 44:12, 13) There is still an allusion to this in instances where na·saʼʹ is appropriately translated “pardon.” The Scriptures speak of the goat for Azazel as carrying away sin, and it was foretold that the Messiah would bear the error of the people. (Le 16:8, 10, 22; Isa 53:12) By reason of his carrying, or bearing, the error of others, pardon is made possible for them.—See AZAZEL.
Whereas the word na·saʼʹ may denote the pardon, or forgiveness, extended by God or by humans (Ge 18:24, 26; 50:17), sa·lachʹ is used exclusively of God’s forgiveness, the act by which the sinner is restored to divine favor in answer to his sincere prayer for forgiveness or to another’s intercessory prayer.—Nu 14:19, 20; 1Ki 8:30.
When the Hebrew na·saʼʹ has the sense of pardon, or forgiveness, the Greek Septuagint at times uses the word a·phiʹe·mi. In its basic sense, a·phiʹe·mi denotes “let go off.” This term can signify “forgive,” “pardon.” At Romans 4:7, the apostle Paul quoted from Psalm 32:1 (31:1, LXX), where the reference is to Jehovah’s pardoning “revolt,” and he used a form of the word a·phiʹe·mi, as does the Greek Septuagint for the Hebrew na·saʼʹ. The term appears elsewhere in the Christian Greek Scriptures and is applied to God’s and man’s forgiveness of sins, including the cancellation of debts.—Mt 6:12, 14, 15; 18:32, 35.
Jehovah is outstandingly a God who grants pardon to those who seek forgiveness. But he does not withhold punishment from persons who deliberately set themselves in opposition to him and his righteous ways.—Ex 34:6, 7; see FORGIVENESS.