What is…

also known as: compassion, lovingkindness

Mercy is compassion for the miserable—those who are in misery. It is a Christian grace.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. —Matthew 5:7 NASB

Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you? —Matthew 18:33 NASB

God’s mercy

The Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him [Moses] as he called upon the name of the Lord. Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed,

“The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished…” —Exodus 34:6-7 NASB excerpt

Furthmore, Yahweh said to Moses,

…“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” … He has mercy on whom He desires… —Romans 9:15, 18 LSB excerpt

The Apostle Paul was once Saul, an ardent and cruel enemy of Christ and persecutor of His followers, yet was shown great mercy by Christ.

even though I [Paul] was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

It is a trustworthy saying and deserving full acceptance: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost.

Yet for this reason I was shown mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Christ Jesus might demonstrate all His patience as an example for those who are going to believe upon Him for eternal life.

Now to the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. —1 Timothy 1:13-17 LSB

By the atoning sacrifice of Christ, a way is open for the exercise of mercy towards the sons of men, in harmony with the demands of truth and righteousness (Genesis 19:19; Exodus 20:6; Psalm 85:10; 86:15-16).

In Christ, mercy and truth meet together.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, —2 Corinthians 1:3 LSB

Christ rebuked those Jews who ignored the importance of being merciful,

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the Law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. —Matthew 23:23 LSB

Jesus’ brother James pointed out that,

For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. —James 2:13 LSB

wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruits, without doubting, without hypocrisy. —James 3:17 LSB excerpt

Greek and Hebrew words

Greek: ἔλεος —transliteration: eleos —meaning: mercy, pity, compassion —occurrences: 27 times in Scripture


רָחַם —transliteration: racham —meaning: compassion, mercy, to love —occurrences: 91 (Strong’s # 7355 aand 7356) (Genesis 43:14; Exodus 33:19; Deuteronomy 13:17; Psalm 25:6; etc.)

רַחוּם —transliteration: rachum —meaning: compassionate, merciful, full of compassion —occurrences: 13

Hebrew: רְחֵם —transliteration: rechem —meaning: compassion —occurrences: 1 (Daniel 2:18)

חֵסֵד —transliteration: checed —meaning: goodness, kindness, mercy —occurrences: 247

חָסַד —transliteration: chacad —meaning: to be kind; to be merciful —occurrences: 3 (2 Samuel 22:26; Psalm 18:25; Proverbs 25:10)

חוּס —transliteration: chus —meaning: look upon with compassion; to pity; to spare —occurrences: 23

חָמַל —transliteration: chamal —meaning: to have compassion, to spare, to pity —occurrences: 41 (Exodus 2:6; 1 Samuel 23:21; 2 Samuel 21:7; etc.)

חֶמְלָה —transliteration: chemlah —meaning: mercy, compassion —occurrences: 2 (Genesis 19:16; Isaiah 63:9)

נִחוּם —transliteration: nichum —meaning: compassion, comfort, comforting —occurrences: 3 (Isaiah 57:18; Hosea 11:8; Zechariah 1:13)

Ben-hesed (son of mercy)

also known as: Ben-chesed

Hebrew: בֶּן־חֶסֶד —meaning: son of mercy

This is the name of one of King Solomon’s leaders (deputies) (1 Kings 4:10).

See: Ben-hesed

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Article Version: September 8, 2021