a command or directive.
an earnest or strongly worded request.

before 1000; Middle English bihest(e), Old English behǣs promise. See be-, hest

1. order, bidding, decree, dictate, mandate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
behest (bɪˈhɛst)
an authoritative order or earnest request
[Old English behǣs, from behātan; see be-, hest]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

O.E. behæs "a vow," perhaps from behatan "to promise" (from be- + hatan "command, call;" see cite) and confused with obsolete hest "command," which may account for the parasitic -t as well as the M.E. shift in meaning to "command, injunction" (late 12c.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
But courts should not be making law at the behest of big companies.
In health care, research is often performed at the behest of companies that
  have a large financial stake in the results.
However, they do so at the behest of the legislature and the executive.
The speculators are not nationalistic or doing it at the behest of the
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