Mercy

Psalm 27.7

 Listen attentively, YAHWEH,
to my voice calling out,
and show favor to me,
and answer me!

Mercy is considered to be a key element in Scripture. Most "translations" include many references to mercy. 
Below is a listing of words in both Hebrew and Greek from the KJV Bible and Strong's Exhaustive Concordance that are translated as mercy, merciful, or mercies. 
Hebrew terms are "translated" in this manner 267 times. Greek terms are "translated in this manner 66 times.

Yet a review of these terms reveals a most interesting fact: 
There is no Hebrew or Greek term that is properly defined as mercy. 
How is it, then, that we have so many terms "translated" as mercy (or its variations) in our Bibles? 

Please review the following information carefully, and prayerfully. Ask YAHWEH to teach you His Truth. He'll reveal to you what He wants you to understand if you’re willing to permit Him to do so. 

The primary goal of this study, and others like it that are being prepared, is to help eliminate confusion within The Scriptures. 
The current state of affairs has left us with innumerable “translations” that are not really "translations" at all. Instead, they are misleading presentations of the "
traditions of men”. 

There's a special term for this. It's called eisegesis. It means placing one's own ideas into a text to make it conform to one's own world view or belief system. Exegesis, on the other hand, is seeking to discover what the text actually says, and means. 

In the following word study these conventions will be used:
Bold = best translation 
{ } = Writer's insertions for purposes of clarity. 
[not used] = the term is not translated in the KJV as the key word for this study.

HEBREW TERMS:

2603. NÅnDj chanan, khaw-nan´; a primitive root (compare 2583); properly, to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior; to favor, bestow; causatively to implore (i.e. move to favor by petition):
-beseech, x fair, (be, find, show) favor(-able), be (deal, give, grant (showing favor(-ly), intreat, (be) merciful, have (show) mercy (on, upon), have pity upon, pray, make supplication, x very.       
[occurs 28 times]

2604. NÅnSj chanan, khan-an´; (Aramaic) corresponding to 2603; to favor or (causatively) to entreat:
-show mercy, make supplication.                                                 [occurs 1 time] 
{
These terms should always be translated as "favor".
They should never be translated as "mercy, merciful, or mercies
”.}

 2617. dRsRj checçed, kheh´-sed; from 2616; kindness; by implication (towards Elohim) piety: rarely (by opposition) reproof, or (subject.) beauty: 
—favor, good deed(-liness, -ness), kindly, (loving-)kindness, merciful (kindness), mercy, pity, reproach, wicked thing.        
                                                                                                   [occurs 154 times] 

2616. dAsDj chacçad, khaw-sad´; a primitive root; properly, perhaps to bow (the neck only (compare 2603) in courtesy to an equal), i.e. to be kind; also (by euphem. (compare l288), but rarely) to reprove: —show self merciful, put to shame.
{
Inserted to show relationship to 2617, & 2623}                       [Not used] 

2623. dyIsDj chacçiyd, khaw-seed´; from 2616; properly, kind, i.e. (religiously) pious (a saint):
—godly (man), good, holy (one), merciful, saint, (un-)godly.
                                                                                                 
[occurs 3 times]
{
Each of these terms should be translated as "kindness", and never as mercy. Also, "kindness" is a form of showing favor (which is typically “translated” as grace.

3819. hDmDjür aøl Lo} Ruchamah, lo roo-khaw-maw´; from 3808 and 7355; not pitied {Best: not shown compassion}; Lo-Ruchamah, the symbol. name of a son of Hosea:
—Lo-ruhamah.       This is a special usage.                           
[occurs 1 time] 

The following terms are all from the same root word. 
Several are different only because of the use
of different vowel pointings,
which are not in the original text. 

7349. M…wjAr rachuwm, rakh-oom´; from 7355; compassionate
—full of compassion, merciful                                             
 [occurs 8 times]

7355. MAj∂r racham, raw-kham´; a primitive root; to fondle; by implication, to love, especially to compassionate
 have compassion (on, upon), love, (find, have, obtain, show) mercy(-iful, on, upon), (have) pity, Ruhamah, x surely.                                                              
                                                                                            [occurs 42 times] 

7356. MAjAr racham, rakh´-am; from 7355; compassion (in the plural); by extension, the womb (as cherishing the fetus); by implication, a maiden: 

—bowels, compassion, damsel, tender love, (great, tender) mercy, pity, womb.
                                                                                          
[occurs 30 times]

7358. MRj®r rechem, rekh´-em; from 7355; the womb (compare 7356): 
—matrix, womb.                                                               
[Not used] 

7359. MEj√r rchem, rekh-ame´; (Aramaic) corresponding to 7356; (plural) pity {Best: compassion}
-
mercy.                                                                             
[occurs 1 time]

7360. MDj∂r racham, raw-khawm´; or (feminine) hDmDj∂r rachamah, raw-khaw-maw´; from 7355; a kind of vulture (supposed to be tender towards its young): -gier- eagle.
                                                                                      
[Not used]
7362. ˆynDmVjAr rachmaniy, rakh-maw-nee´; from 7355; compassionate: 
—pitiful.                                                                        [Not used]
{Each of these terms should be properly translated as "compassion", not "mercy".} See the English definition of mercy below.

GREEK TERMS:

448. ajni÷lewß anileos, an-ee´-leh-oce; from 1 (as a negative particle) and 2436; inexorable
— without mercy.                                                       
[occurs 1 time] 
{Inexorable means: cannot be moved or influenced by persuasion or entreaty; unrelenting; inflexible. There is nothing in that definition that mentions mercy.

{2436. iºlewß hileos, hil´-eh-oce; perhaps from the alternate form of 138; cheerful (as attractive), i.e. propitious; adverbially (by Hebraism) Elohim be gracious!, i.e. (in averting some calamity) far be it
— be it far, merciful. - Inserted to show proper meaning.} 
{To be gracious (the Hebraism identified) means to show favor. It does not mean "have mercy".
Best - as Hebraism: Elohim show favor.} 

The following five terms are all related terms with the same basic meaning:

1652. ejleeino/ß eleeinos, el-eh-i-nos´; from 1656; pitiable:
{Best: deserving compassion} 
— miserable.                                                             [Not used]

1653. ejlee÷w eleeo, el-eh-eh´-o; from 1656; to compassionate (by word or deed, specially, by divine grace):
- have compassion (pity on), have (obtain, receive, show) mercy (on).
                                                                                 
[occurs 27 times]

1654. ejlehmosu/nh eleemosune, el-eh-ay-mos-oo´-nay; from 1656; compassionateness, i.e. (as exercised towards the poor) beneficence, or (concretely) a benefaction: 
— alms(-deeds).                                                     
[Not used] 

1655. ejleh/mwn eleemon, el-eh-ay´-mone; from 1653; compassionate (actively): 
— merciful.                                                            [occurs 2 times] 

1656. e¶leoß eleos, el´-eh-os; of uncertain affinity; compassion (human or divine, especially active): 
— (+ tender) mercy.                                             
 [occurs 28 times]

3628. oijktirmo/ß oiktirmos, oyk-tir-mos´; from 3627; pity:
{Best:
have compassion
— mercy.                                                               
[occurs 5 times] 

[3627. oijktei÷rw oikteiro, oyk-ti´-ro  also (in certain tenses) prolonged; oijktere÷w oiktereo, oyk-ter-eh´-o; from oi\ktoß oiktos (pity); to exercise pity:
have compassion on. - Inserted to show meaning of 3628 & 3629.] 

3629. oijkti÷rmwn oiktirmon, oyk-tir´-mone; from 3627; compassionate
— merciful, of tender mercy.                                [occurs 3 times] 

{All of the above Greek terms except 448 have to do with compassion, not mercy
See the English definition of mercy below.)

3741. o¢sioß hosios, hos´-ee-os; of uncertain affinity; properly, right (by intrinsic or divine character; thus distinguished from 1342, which refers rather to human statutes and relations; from 2413, which denotes formal consecration; and from 40, which relates to purity from defilement), i.e. hallowed (pious, sacred, sure): 
— holy, mercy, shall be.                                        
{}This seems to be an odd usage and can be disregarded for the purposes of this study.

No Key number =                                                  [occurs 32 times]  

            - this means there is no Hebrew or Greek word upon which 
               the "translated" term is based. 
            - It is supplied by the translator at his or her discretion.

ENGLISH DEFINITIONS:

MERCY: 
1. a refraining from harming or punishing offenders, enemies, persons in one's power, etc.; kindness in excess of what may be expected or demanded by fairness; forbearance and compassion 

2. a disposition to forgive, pity, or be kind 
3. the power to forgive or be kind; clemency; as, throw yourself on his mercy 
4.
kind or compassionate treatment; relief of suffering 
5. a fortunate thing; thing to be grateful for;
blessing

KIND: 
1. a) origin 
    b) nature 
    c) manner; way 
2. a natural group or division; race 
3. sort; variety; class 
adjective: 
1. sympathetic, friendly, gentle, tender-hearted, generous, etc. 
2. cordial; as, kind regards 
3. a) natural; native 
    b) rightful 
    c) well-born

KINDNESS:
1. the state, quality, or habit of being kind
2. kind act or treatment 
3. kind feeling; affection; good will

FAVOR: 
1. friendly or kind regard; approval; liking 
2. a) kind indulgence; permission; leave
    b) too kind indulgence; unfair, partiality 
3. help; assistance 
4. a kind, obliging, friendly, or generous act 
5. consent (of a woman) to sexual intimacy 
6. a small gift, souvenir, or token 
7. a letter; note; communication 
8. attractiveness; charm 
verb transitive: 
1. to regard with favor; consider kindly; approve; like 
2. to be indulgent or too indulgent toward; be partial to; prefer unfairly
3. to support; advocate; be for; endorse 
4. to make easier; help; assist 
5. to do a kindness for 
6. to look like; resemble in facial features 
7. to use gently

COMPASSION: 
sorrow for the sufferings or trouble of another or others, with the urge to help; pity;
deep sympathy

COMPASSIONATE: 
feeling or showing compassion; pitying; sympathizing deeply

PITY:
sorrow felt for another's suffering or misfortune; compassion; sympathy. 
            - {In other words,
pity is equivalent to compassion.} 


CONCLUSIONS: 
There are three primary Hebrew terms "translated" as mercy or its variations.
There are two primary Greek terms "translated" as mercy or its variations. 
However, there is no Hebrew or Greek term that is properly translated as mercy or its variations. 

Having reviewed the above definitions of the Hebrew terms, Strong's Numbers 2617 and 2623 
both should properly be translated as
kindness (with its variations). 
The Greek terms should all be properly translated as
compassion
None of these terms should properly be translated as mercy
(with its variations)

If the Hebrew and Greek terms were properly translated we would note that they fit perfectly 
into one of the key themes of Scripture: 
Love YAHWEH above ALL things,
and with every particle of your being. 
And, love your neighbor as you love yourself. 

If you are doing these two things you are being "kind" and "compassionate”. 
They are really two forms of the same concept. They are also declared to be part of the very character, of YAHWEH

Each is tied directly to the Hebrew and Greek terms related to the concept of to favor, or to show favor. 
While these terms are often "translated" as grace, there is no term in either Hebrew or Greek
that carries that denotation. 

As is so often the case, a multiplicity of English terms with the same or similar meanings, 
and sometimes even directly opposite meanings, simply leads to
confusion about the fundamental concepts involved. 
We can, and should, do better. 

In a search to understand Scripture as clearly as possible one thing becomes evident: 
Inconsistent and improper "translation" of terms results in confusion.

For a more complete review of these terms please click this link : Mercy - PDF File.

Be sure to review the other pages on this site for some additional surprises.


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May YAHWEH speak to your heart and bless you with understanding as you explore His Word.