DEFINITION OF HEBREW
|Lovingkindness (02617) (Hesed/Chesed/Heced) is the idea of faithful love in action and often in the OT refers to God's lovingkindness expressed in His covenant relationship with Israel (His "loyal love" to His "Wife" Israel [cp Hos 2:18, 19, 20-see note, Is 54:5, Je 31:32] = His "loyalty to covenant"). God's hesed His denotes persistent and unconditional tenderness, kindness, and mercy, a relationship in which He seeks after man with love and mercy (cp God immediately seeking man Ge 3:9, who was immediately hiding Ge 3:8 trying to cover their shame Ge 3:7 - contrast God's lovingkindness manifest by spilling blood to provide skins to cover their shame! Ge 3:21). Hesed expresses both God’s loyalty to His covenant and His love for His people along with a faithfulness to keep His promises.
As you consider the Hebrew word hesed, be aware that versions other than NAS often translate hesed as "mercy". There is another Hebrew word racham (07355) which is also translated "mercy". While the English translations do not always distinguish between hesed and racham, clearly they are distinct as demonstrated by their use in the same passage (13x in NAS - Ps 25:6 40:11 51:1 69:16 103:4 Isa 54:8 54:10 63:7 Jer 16:5 Lam 3:22 3:32 Ho 2:19 Zec 7:9) for example…
Vine writes that…
Hesed is related to the Biblical of covenant (definition) and also to the idea of grace in that hesed was (is) extended by God when it was not deserved (in truth hesed is never deserved!) God's hesed is His persistent, unconditional tenderness, kindness, and mercy, a relationship in which God seeks after man with love and mercy (cp God immediately seeking Adam after he had sinned - Ge 3:6, 7, 8, 9). The counterpart of human hesed is pictured in the loving bride (in the OT = Israel = Is 54:5, Je 31:32) who clings to her beloved bridegroom (Jehovah). The initial state of betrothal between God and Israel is the period from Israel's deliverance out of Egypt to the establishment of the covenant at Sinai and it will be fulfilled in the future (Ho 2:18, 19, 20).
Ralph Davis in his comments on 2Sa 9:1, 2, 3, 4, 7 writes that in this chapter,
R Laird Harrison writes that…
C Hassell Bullock writes that…
Some writers feel that devotion is one of single best English words one could use to sum up the meaning of the Hebrew word hesed. The English word devotion describes the state of being ardently dedicated, in love with and loyal to another person. The RSV attempts to bring this out by its translation, steadfast love (Play Don Moen's beautiful chorus Your Steadfast Love).
Vine adds that…
Delitzsch says God's hesed is…
Alec Motyer has described God's hesed or covenant love as
Dr Charles Ryrie writes that…
Huey adds that
Ralph Davis writes that…
An act of hesed presupposes the existence of a relationship between the parties involved. Where no formal relationship has previously been recognized, the person exercising hesed has chosen to treat the recipient as if such a relationship did exist.
Vine notes that
The Hebrew word hesed is one of Jehovah's chief attributes. God's loving-kindness (hesed) is offered to His people, who need redemption from sin, enemies, and troubles. A recurrent refrain describing God's nature is abounding in hesed (Ex 34:6; Neh 9:17; Ps 103:8; Jonah 4:2, Lam 3:22). Indeed, hesed is one of the most important words in the OT, and is often translated in the KJV as “lovingkindness” or “mercy”.
When with sorrow I am stricken,
Hope my heart anew will quicken,
All my longing shall be stilled.
To His lovingkindness tender
Soul and body I surrender;
For on Him alone I build.
Hesed indicates faithfulness to a relationship. To show kindness or hesed is to act in a loyal, loving way to a person. This is true of kindness in human relationships and of the kindness God shows us. In 2Sa 9:1-13 we see the beautiful example of David showing ''hesed" to crippled Mephibosheth, the surviving son of Jonathan with whom David had a covenant relationship.
Hesed is central to God’s character and is closely tied to His covenant with His Chosen people; in fact the covenant may be thought of as the relationship from which the hesed flows. However, God’s hesed is not bound by the covenant itself, and though men may prove unfaithful to this relationship, God’s hesed is everlasting (Isa 54:8).
Since it is a quality of God hesed should also characterize His people; therefore it is called for in them (“mercy,” Mic 6:8; Zech 7:9; cf. Ho 4:1; 12:6). On their part it is loyalty to His covenant expressed in obedience and acts of mercy and compassion toward their fellows.
OT USES OF
Hesed - 246x in 239 verses in the NAS - Ge 19:19; 20:13; 21:23; 24:12, 14, 27, 49; 32:10; 39:21; 40:14; 47:29; Ex 15:13; 20:6; 34:6f; Num 14:18f; Deut 5:10; 7:9, 12; Josh 2:12, 14; Judg 1:24; 8:35; Ruth 1:8; 2:20; 3:10; 1Sa 15:6; 20:8, 14f; 2 Sam 2:5f; 3:8; 7:15; 9:1, 3, 7; 10:2; 15:20; 16:17; 22:51; 1 Kgs 2:7; 3:6; 8:23; 20:31; 1 Chr 16:34, 41; 17:13; 19:2; 2 Chr 1:8; 5:13; 6:14, 42; 7:3, 6; 20:21; 24:22; 32:32; 35:26; Ezra 3:11; 7:28; 9:9; Neh 1:5; 9:17, 32; 13:14, 22; Es 2:9, 17; Job 6:14; 10:12; 37:13; Ps 5:7; 6:4; 13:5; 17:7; 18:50; 21:7; 23:6; 25:6f, 10; 26:3; 31:7, 16, 21; 32:10; 33:5, 18, 22; 36:5, 7, 10; 40:10f; 42:8; 44:26; 48:9; 51:1; 52:1, 8; 57:3, 10; 59:10, 16f; 61:7; 62:12; 63:3; 66:20; 69:13, 16; 77:8; 85:7, 10; 86:5, 13, 15; 88:11; 89:1f, 14, 24, 28, 33, 49; 90:14; 92:2; 94:18; 98:3; 100:5; 101:1; 103:4, 8, 11, 17; 106:1, 7, 45; 107:1, 8, 15, 21, 31, 43; 108:4; 109:12, 16, 21, 26; 115:1; 117:2; 118:1ff, 29; 119:41, 64, 76, 88, 124, 149, 159; 130:7; 136:1, 2, 3; 138:2, 8; 141:5; 143:8, 12; 144:2; 145:8; 147:11; Pr 3:3; 11:17; 14:22; 16:6; 19:22; 20:6, 28; 21:21; 31:26; Isa 16:5; 40:6; 54:8, 10; 55:3; 57:1; 63:7; Jer 2:2; 9:24; 16:5; 31:3; 32:18; 33:11; Lam 3:22, 32; Dan 1:9; 9:4; Hos 2:19; 4:1; 6:4, 6; 10:12; 12:6; Joel 2:13; Jonah 2:8; 4:2; Mic 6:8; 7:18, 20; Zech 7:9
Hesed is rendered in the NAS as - deeds of devotion(2), devotion(1), devout(1), faithfulness(1), favor(2), good(1), kindly(7), kindness(32), kindnesses(1), loveliness(1), lovingkindness(176), lovingkindnesses(7), loyal deeds(1), loyalty(6), mercies(1), merciful(2), mercy(1), righteousness(1), unchanging love(2).
Hesed can be "defined" or described Biblically as His lovingkindness to man (Ge 19:19; 24:12; Ex 15:13; 20:6; 2 Sa 2:6; 7:15; 1 Ki 3:6; 8:23; 2 Ch 6:14; Ezr 7:28; Job 10:12; Ps 17:7; Pr 16:6; Je 9:24; 32:18; Hos 2:19), as abundant and great (Ex 34:6; Nu 14:18, 19; 1 Ki 3:6; 2 Ch 1:8; Ne 9:17; 13:22; Ps 5:7; 33:5; 86:5, 13; 119:64; 136; La 3:32; Joe 2:13; Jon 4:2), as everlasting (1Ch 16:34, 41; 2 Ch 5:13; Ezr 3:11; Ps 100:5; 118:1, 2, 3, 4; Is 54:8, 10; Je 33:11; La 3:22), as that which can be trusted (Ps 13:5; 52:8), as that in which we can rejoice (Ps 31:7, Ps 59:16), as that which evokes (or should evoke) gratitude (Ps 107:8, 15, 21, 31, 138:2), as that which is proclaimed (Is 63:7, Ps 92:2), as precious (Ps 36:7-see notes below), as good (Ps 69:16), as marvelous (Ps 17:7-see notes below; Ps 31:21), as multitudinous (Isa 63:7), as great (Ps 117:2) as better than life (Ps 63:3), as that for which saints should pray (Ps 17:7, 25:6, 143:8, 36:10, Ge 24:12, 2Sa 2:6)
One can also gain some sense of the "variegated" meaning of hesed by observing the Biblical effects or associations of hesed on individuals (some contexts speak of Israel) -- drawn by God's hesed (Jer 31:3), preserved by God's hesed (Ps 40:11), revived according to God's hesed (Ps 119:88), comforted by God's hesed (Ps 119:76), looking for forgiveness of one's sins through God's hesed (Ps 51:1), receiving mercy through God's hesed (Israel = Isa 54:8), heard by God on the basis of His hesed (Ps 119:149), to be pondered in worship (Ps 48:9), expecting God's hesed when in affliction (Ps 42:7,8), crowned with God's hesed (Ps 103:4).
Then bless His holy Name,
Whose grace hath made thee whole,
Whose lovingkindness crowns thy days!
O bless the Lord, my soul!
Here are some select OT uses of Hesed…
Hesed is often accompanied by the word ’emeth, usually translated as truth (105/127) but is also translated faithfulness (19/127 faithfulness, faithful, faithfully) = Ge 24:27 24:49 32:10 47:29 Ex 34:6 Josh 2:12 2:14 2Sa 2:6 15:20 1 Ki 3:6 Ps 25:10 26:3 40:10,11 57:3, 10 61:7 69:13 85:10 86:15 89:14 108:4 115:1 117:2 138:2 Pr 3:3 14:22 16:6 20:28 Isa 16:5 Hos 4:1 Mic 7:20 Zec 7:9. The Lord’s Word is reliable and so He is faithful (trustworthy), a truth which strengthens the concept of God's covenant loyalty.
by Samuel Medley (1782)
Awake, my soul, to joyful lays,
He saw me ruined in the fall,
Though numerous hosts of mighty foes,
Often I feel my sinful heart
Spurgeon exhorts to be like David as described in 1Sa 17:37)…
Spurgeon on Isaiah 63:7 "I will mention the lovingkindnesses of Jehovah"…
Lovingkindness is derived from hacad, meaning perhaps, "to bend or bow oneself," "to incline oneself"; hence, "to be gracious or merciful."
When used of God hesed denotes, in general, "the Divine Love condescending to His creatures, more especially to sinners, in unmerited kindness" (Delitzsch).
It is frequently associated with forgiveness, and is practically equivalent to "mercy" or "mercifulness" - E.g., Ex 20:6; 34:6f, Nu 14:18; Mic 7:18. This quality in Yahweh was one by which He sought to bind His people to Himself. It is greatly magnified in the Old Testament, highly extolled and gloried in, in many of the psalms (Ps 136:1ff echoes His lovingkindness in all 26 verses). In Dt 7:12 hesed is associated with the covenant (in context referring to the unconditional covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob = "your forefathers"), and in 2Sa 7:15 with the covenant with David (see Isa 55:3, quoted in Acts 13:34 by Paul preaching on the Sabbath in the synagogue in Pisidia Antioch). God's lovingkindness therefore was a divine blessing upon which one could always rely.
Since lovingkindness was such an essential and distinctive attribute of God, the prophets taught that lovingkindness (often rendered "kindness") should also characterize God's people and so it is noted in the oft quoted passage in Micah 6:8 (cp Zec 7:9 = kindness). Sadly the nation of Israel failed for the most part to demonstrate lovingkindness/kindness and this was a cause of the Lord's controversy with them (Ho 4:1) and His call for their repentance (Ho 12:6).
Cheyne (Encyclopedia Biblica) regards hesed as denoting paternal affection on God's part, answered by filial and loyal affection and brotherly love on man's part (philadelphia in the New Testament).
The word "lovingkindness" does not occur in the NT but equivalents would include "mercy" "goodness," "kindness," "brotherly love".
|Remembering that hesed is often translated "mercy" here is an overview of the Mercy of God with links to sermon discussions of each subtopic…
Mercy of God
The following material is a unique resource from Charles Simeon's massive (13,000 pages) collection of sermons entitled Horae Homileticae. If you are not familiar with this great man of God read ink to read John Piper's sketch of his life.
Never sought in vain, II. 590, 591.
How it is to be sought, II. 591, 592.
Displayed in the case of Manasseh, IV. 221;
Displayed to the most obstinate sinners, VIII. 490–492.
Marvellous, V. 39.
All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, V. 155–158.
Past mercies pleaded before God, I. 519–524.
Past mercies to be marked, II. 555;
Past mercies to be gratefully remembered, X. 564, 565;
Past mercies - the knowledge of them perpetuated, IX. 313–318.
Past mercies - How to be improved, III. 66.
Past mercies - Memorials of them, III. 145–150.
Past mercies -The duty of commemorating them, III. 150–154.
Past mercies to be to be thankfully acknowledged, IV. 11.
The believer adoring God for his mercies, V. 188–191.
Extent of the divine mercy, VI. 55.
Mercy and judgment grounds of praise, VI. 181–185.
The effects which national mercies should produce on us, VI. 220–222.
God the source of all our mercies, VI. 388, 389.
The acknowledgment of him in them, the truest source of the enjoyment of them, VI. 389.
A view of God in his providential mercies will encourage us to apply to him for the blessings of his grace, VI. 389, 390;
Temporal mercies a ground of praise, God the source of all our mercies VI. 512–516.
God more ready to shew mercy than to execute judgment, VII. 147.
To be praised for his mercies, especially on recovery from sickness, VII. 105–108.
Past mercies to be remembered, and made the ground of future expectations, VIII. 296, 297.
The contempt, with which God’s richest mercies are treated, IX. 105–110.
The mercy of God to his people, IX. 307–310.
His mercy contrasted with our sinfulness, IX. 311, 312.
The extent of God’s mercy on the renewed soul, IX. 380–386.
They are not given according to our merits, IX. 444–448.
Mercy preferred to sacrifice, X. 61–65.
The mercy of God delineated by Jonah, and illustrated in his history, X. 269–274.
The proper improvement of God’s mercies, X. 356–359.
The duty of thankfulness for them, X. 402–408.
The mercy of God, specially displayed in the incarnation of Christ, XI. 230.
Sure ground of hope for all who feel their need of mercy, XIV. 191.
God’s mercy to the vilest sinners, XVI. 166–170.
How Christians are to look for the mercy of Christ unto eternal life, XX. 570.
Racham (07355) means to show love for, to love deeply, to feel, show or have compassion on, to be compassionate, show pity or mercy (Hab 3:2-note), to experience compassion (in the pual - Ho 1:6). Racham speaks of tender, heart-felt concern. To tenderly regard someone or tenderly love especially as parents love their infant child.
Racham refers to compassion which stirs one's emotions (like a parent for their child - see below). Racham expresses a deep and tender feeling of compassion, such as is aroused by the sight of weakness or suffering in those that are dear and/or need help. Racham pictures the expression of "a sympathetic view of another’s distress, motivating helpful action." (John Frame)
The truths about God's racham should stimulate in His children a desire to seek to imitate His tender feelings of compassion to those who don't necessarily deserve our compassion but who are in need of it. As the Puritan Thomas Manton once said…
Or as Thomas Fuller once asked…
Albert Barnes convicts us all with his wise comment that…
Racham can refer to God’s compassion upon the lost, leading to salvation (Isa 55:7) and is frequently used for God’s temporal blessings upon His people, either as bestowed or as withheld (Is 14:1; Je 13:14; 21:7; 33:26; 42:12; Zech 10:6). As Ezekiel 39:25 says
As you study the OT uses of racham, notice a "common theme" that often depicts the objects of God’s racham as alienated or helpless. Does this not make this Hebrew word even more precious to all of us who stand continually in need of His boundless racham, especially when we all too often make choices that do not honor His Name! How deep is His compassion -- throughout eternity we will find that the depths of His mercy and compassion will never be fully plumbed. Beloved, if you think eternity is going to be "boring", you need to think again, and to ponder His attributes like mercy/compassion/tender love, remembering that each of His attributes is infinite in breadth and length and height and depth! How great is our God!
As I was writing these notes, I was reminded of my great sins yesterday, the nature of which is not important (except to say they were "great" especially in light of the truth I know about God), and how I today have personally experienced His unmerited racham. The thought overwhelmed me and yet gave me a desire to plead with Him for even a greater outpouring of His racham today. Have you ever been broken and contrite and pleaded with Him for racham? His bestowal can bring you a blessed sense of surpassing peace and a glorious restoration of intimate fellowship.
It is important to remember that God's racham is not merely a passive emotion, but His active desire to in some way aid the distress of those who are the blessed objects of His compassion (Read through the 45 OT uses of racham below and observe how often racham is associated with some active "intervention" by Jehovah - e.g., see Pr 28:13 a verse in which can all find comfort -- assuming we choose to confess rather than cover our sin!).
The majority of Bible uses of racham have God as the subject (the Giver) and someone or something in the temporal world as the object (the recipient). (See Ho 2:4, 23; Zech. 1:16; 10:6, and Ps. 145:9).
Racham refers to demonstration of a deep love (a compassion which is protective, reflecting the feelings of the more powerful for the inferior) the basis of which is some "natural" bond, Isaiah 49:15 being an excellent example…
In a similar use (Ps 102:13), David uses the racham of a father toward his children to picture Jehovah's deep feelings toward those who are in His family (cp Jn 1:12, 13, 1Jn 3:1, 2, 10), Spurgeon noting that
Baker writes that racham…
Racham is thought to be derived from rehem/rechem (07358) which is the Hebrew word for womb
Mike Butterworth writes that racham (and the cognates or related words)…
Allen Guenther writes that…
When racham describes God’s love, it is always a love which stretches out to the wounded, the alienated, the obstinate, and willfully disobedient child. It restores God’s people from under judgment. It is not love in a neutral context. This is not love at first sight. For example, God says: “I will restore their fortunes, and will have mercy on them” (Jer 33:26). “In overflowing wrath for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you” (Is 54:8). Racham appears in parallel with mercy and restore the fortunes of, pointing to its unique emphasis as love that restores. As such, it always describes God’s concern for His people, and never expresses his love for the nations generally. (Believer's Church Bible Commentary)
TWOT writes that racham…
In the Piel it is used for the deep inward feeling we know variously as compassion, pity, mercy… Racham is used infrequently (12/47) of men. It is used only once in the Qal when the Psalmist confesses his love for Jehovah (Ps 18:1 "I love You, O LORD, my strength"). The depth of this love is shown by the connection of this word with rehem (womb) and racham. Compare Isaiah (Is 49:15) who uses it of a mother’s love toward her nursing baby. It can also refer to a father’s love (Ps 103:13 "Just as a father has compassion on his children").
Apparently this verb connotes the feeling of mercy which men have for each other by virtue of the fact that they are human beings (Jer 50:42) and which is most easily prompted by small babies (Isa 13:18) or other helpless people. It is this natural mercy for the helpless that Israel’s and Babylon’s enemies will lack in their cruelty (Is 13:18; Je 6:23), although God may give Israel’s enemies such feeling (compassion) (1Ki 8:50; Je 42:12)…
This root is frequently used of God. It incorporates two concepts: first, the strong tie God has with those whom He has called as his children (Ps 103:13). God looks upon His own as a father looks upon his children; He has pity on them (cf. Mic 7:17). The second concept is that of God’s unconditioned choice (chanen, grace, 02603). God tells Moses that he is gracious and merciful to whomever He chooses (Ex 33:19). (Harris, R L, Archer, G L & Waltke, B K Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Moody Press)
The English dictionary makes the following distinctions on compassion and mercy…
SHOW COMPASSION: Show sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it; includes the capacity for sharing the painful feelings of another; implies pity coupled with an urgent desire to aid or to spare
SHOW MERCY: exhibit compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power; show lenient or compassionate treatment; show compassionate treatment of those in distress; manifest a disposition to show kindness or compassion, esp compassion that forbears punishing even when justice demands it.
In his older but still excellent work (Synonyms of the Old Testament), Robert Girdlestone writes that…
Louis Berkhof writes that
John Calvin commenting on Ps 18:1 (in which David uses racham)
A number of passages use racham to speak of compassion (or lack of) as it relates to enemies (1Ki 8:50; Isa 13:18; Jer 6:23; 21:7; 42:12; 50:42).
Butterworth adds that ..
Carpenter writes that…
Racham - 48x in 45v in the NAS - Rendered in the NAS as - compassion(1), compassionate(1), find compassion(1), finds mercy(1), had(2), had compassion(2), has compassion(4), have compassion(20), have had compassion(1), have mercy(2), have pity(1), have… compassion(3), have… mercy(2), love(1), mercy(1), obtained compassion(1), Ruhamah(1), show compassion(2), surely have mercy(1).
Racham is rendered in the KJV as - mercy 32, compassion 8, pity 3, love 1, merciful 1, Ruhamah 1, surely 1
Here are the 45 uses of Racham in the NAS…
Exodus 33:19 And He said, "I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion (Lxx = oikteiro) on whom I will show compassion (Lxx = oikteiro)."
Comment: Romans 9:15 quotes this verse and applies it to the sovereignty of God.
Spurgeon's Sermon on Ex 33:18-23 = God's Glory and His Goodness
Deuteronomy 13:17 "Nothing from that which is put under the ban shall cling to your hand, in order that the LORD may turn from His burning anger and show mercy to you, and have compassion (Hebrew = racham; Lxx = eleeo) on you and make you increase, just as He has sworn to your fathers,
Deuteronomy 30:3 then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you.
Comment: Here we see that racham is a action word, not just an affective (feelings word - deep feelings of pity God has for Israel) as reflected in His promised regathering of Israel. When is "then"? The events in this section can only refer to the time of the return of Messiah at His Second Coming. Even older commentators like like Matthew Henry agree that "this chapter is a plain intimation of the mercy God has in store for Israel in the latter days. This passage refers to the prophetic warnings of the last two chapters, which have been mainly fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and in their dispersion to the present day; and there can be no doubt that the prophetic promise contained in these verses yet remain to come to pass. The Jewish nation shall in some future period, perhaps not very distant, be converted to the faith of Christ; and, many think, again settled in the land of Canaan. The language here used is in a great measure absolute promises; not merely a conditional engagement, but declaring an event assuredly to take place. For the Lord himself here engages to "circumcise their hearts;" (Dt 30:6) and when regenerating grace has removed corrupt nature, and Divine love has supplanted the love of sin, they certainly will reflect, repent, return to God, and obey him; and he will rejoice in doing them good. The change that will be wrought upon them will not be only outward, or consisting in mere opinions; it will reach to their souls. It will produce in them an utter hatred of all sin, and a fervent love to God, as their reconciled God in Christ Jesus; they will love Him with all their hearts, and with all their soul. They are very far from this state of mind at present, but so were the murderers of the Lord Jesus, on the day of Pentecost; who yet in one hour were converted unto God. So shall it be in the day of God's power; a nation shall be born in a day; the Lord will hasten it in his time. As a conditional promise this passage belongs to all persons and all people, not to Israel only; it assures us that the greatest sinners, if they repent and are converted, shall have their sins pardoned, and be restored to God's favour. (Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary)
Dr Charles Ryrie writes: A prediction of the regathering of Israel from all the nations to which she was scattered. This regathering will occur at the second coming of Christ (Dt 30:3; cf. Mark 13:26, 27) and will include: (1) restoration to the land of Palestine (Dt 30:5), (2) a work of grace in the people's hearts (Dt 30:6; see Dt 10:16 and Jer. 31:31, 32, 33, 34), (3) judgment of Israel's enemies (Dt 30:7; cf. Joel 3:1,2), and (4) prosperity in the land (Dt 30:9; cf. Amos 9:11-15). (The Ryrie Study Bible: New American Standard Translation: 1995. Moody Publishers)
1 Kings 8:50 and forgive Your people who have sinned against You and all their transgressions which they have transgressed against You, and make them objects of compassion before those who have taken them captive, that they may have compassion on them
Comment: A "prophetic prayer" by Solomon, anticipating Judah's exile into Babylon, pleading with God that even in the face of Judah's sins and transgressions, God would intervene in such a way that the guilty captives would experience compassion, even though they did not deserve compassion. Such a move surely reflects God's sovereign rule over human hearts, even unbelieving hearts, and is surely motivated by His own deep seated feelings or racham. Psalm 106:46 records God's affirmative answer to Solomon's request, spoken some 400 years prior to their Babylonian captivity! I wonder if we understand the "timeless" nature of our prayers (e.g., praying for our yet unborn children, grandchildren, etc to come to know Christ as Lord and Savior. Would God answer such a prayer even though we the one who prayed such a prayer no longer by physically alive? I think we know the answer.)
2 Kings 13:23 But the LORD was gracious (chanan = to have mercy on, Lxx = eleeo) to them and had compassion (Hebrew = racham; Lxx = oikteiro) on them and turned to them because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them or cast them from His presence until now.
Comment: Note that in this case God's racham is a reflection of the unconditional covenant He cut with Abraham, the promises of which flowed through the son of promise Isaac and through the line of Jacob (Israel).
2 Kings 13:25 Then Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again from the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael the cities which he had taken in war from the hand of Jehoahaz his father. Three times Joash defeated him and recovered the cities of Israel.
2 Kings 14:3 He (Joash - 2Ki 14:1) did right in the sight of the LORD, yet not like David his father; he did according to all that Joash his father had done.
Psalm 18:1 For the choir director. A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD, who spoke to the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said, "I love (Hebrew = racham; Lxx = agapao) You, O LORD, my strength."
Spurgeon comments: I will love thee, O Lord. With strong, hearty affection will I cling to thee; as a child to its parent, or a spouse to her husband. The word is intensely forcible, the love (racham) is of the deepest kind.
"I will love heartily, with my inmost bowels."
Here is a fixed resolution to abide in the nearest and most intimate union with the Most High. Our triune God deserves the warmest love of all our hearts. Father, Son and Spirit have each a claim upon our love. The solemn purpose never to cease loving naturally springs from present fervor of affection. It is wrong to make rash resolutions, but this when made in the strength of God is most wise and fitting.
My strength. Our God is the strength of our life, our graces, our works, our hopes, our conflicts, our victories. This verse is not found in 2Sa 22:1-51, and is a most precious addition, placed above all and after all to form the pinnacle of the temple, the apex of the pyramid. Love is still the crowning grace.
Psalm 102:13 You will arise and have compassion (Hebrew = racham; Lxx = oikteiro) on Zion; For it is time to be gracious to her, For the appointed time has come.
Spurgeon comments: He (The psalmist) firmly believed and boldly prophesied that apparent inaction on God's part would turn to effective working. Others might remain sluggish in the matter, but the Lord would most surely bestir himself. Zion had been chosen of old, highly favoured, gloriously inhabited, and wondrously preserved, and therefore by the memory of her past mercies it was certain that mercy would again be showed to her.
Psalm 103:13 Just as a father has compassion (Hebrew = racham; Lxx = oikteiro) on his children, So the LORD has compassion (chanan - heartfelt response by someone who has something to give to one who has a need) on those who fear Him.
From Spurgeon's sermon: DAVID sang of the compassionate pitifulness of our heavenly Father, who will not always chide, nor keep his anger for ever. He had proved in relation to himself that the Lord is not easily provoked, but is plenteous in mercy. Remembering how feeble and how frail we are, the Lord bears and forbears with his weak and sinful children, and is gentle towards them as a nurse with her child. Although our own observation has proved this to be true, and our experience every day goes to show how truthfully David sang, yet assuredly the clearest display of the patience and pity of God towards us may be seen in the life of him in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Therefore, instead of speaking upon providential patience, I shall bid you gaze upon God in Christ Jesus, and see there how human weaknesses and follies are pitied of the Lord. With a text from the Old Testament, I purpose to take you straight away to the New, and the tenderness and pitifulness of the Father shall be illustrated by the meekness and lowliness of the Son towards his immediate disciples, the apostles. While the Holy Spirit shows you thus the pity of Jesus Christ towards his own personal attendants, you will see as in a glass his pity towards you. (for full sermon see The Tender Pity of the Lord) (For another Spurgeon sermon on Psalm 103:13 see God’s Fatherly Pity)
Spurgeon comments in The Treasury of David: To those who truly reverence (fear) His holy name, the Lord is a father and acts as such. These He pities, for in the very best of men the Lord sees much to pity, and when they are at their best state they still need His compassion. This should check every propensity to pride, though at the same time it should yield us the richest comfort.
Fathers feel for their children, especially when they are in pain, they would like to suffer in their stead, their sighs and groans cut them to the quick: thus sensitive towards us is our heavenly Father. We do not adore a god of stone, but the living God, who is tenderness itself. He is at this moment compassionating us, for the word is in the present tense; his pity never fails to flow, and we never cease to need it.
Like as a father pitieth his children, etc. A chaplain to seamen, at an American port, visited a sailor who appeared to be near death. He spoke kindly to the man upon the state of his soul, and directed him to cast himself on Jesus. With an oath, the sick man bade him begone. The chaplain then told him that he must be faithful to him, for if he died impenitent he would be lost for ever. The man was sullen and silent, and pretended to fall asleep. The visit was repeated more than once, with similar ill success. At length the chaplain, suspecting that the sailor was a Scotchman, repeated a verse of the old version of the Psalms:
"Such pity as a father hath
Unto his children dear.
Like pity shows the Lord to such
As worship him in fear."
Tears started into the sailor's eyes as he listened to these words. The chaplain asked him if he had not had a pious mother. The man broke into tears. Yes, his mother had, in years gone by, taught him these words, and had also prayed to God for him. Since then he had been a wanderer by sea and land; but the memory of her faith and love moved his heart. The appeals made to him were blessed by the Spirit of God. His life was spared, and proved the reality of his conversion.
Matthew Henry: The father pitieth his children that are weak in knowledge, and instructs them; pities them when they are froward (perverse, disobedient), and bears with them; pities them when they are sick, and comforts them; when they are fallen, and helps them up again; when they have offended, and upon their submission, forgives them; when they are wronged, and rights them. Thus "the Lord pitieth them that fear Him."
Sir R. Baker: Though it be commonly said, "It is better to be envied, than pitied;" yet here it is not so: but it is a far happier thing to be pitied of God, than to be envied of men.
Psalm 116:5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; Yes, our God is compassionate. (racham) (merciful KJV)
Spurgeon comments: Yea, our God is merciful, or compassionate, tender, pitiful, full of mercy. We who have accepted Him as ours have no doubt as to His mercy, for he would never have been our God if he had not been merciful. See how the attribute of righteousness seems to stand between two guards of love: -- gracious, righteous, merciful. The sword of justice is scabarded in a jeweled sheath of grace. (Ed: Wow! Hallelujah!)
John Gwyther: Our God is merciful. Mercy is God's darling attribute; and by his infinite wisdom he has enabled mercy to triumph over justice (Jas 2:13) without in any degree violating his honour or His truth. The character of merciful is that by which our God seems to delight in being known.
Proverbs 28:13 He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
“Here’s pardon for transgressions past,
It matters not how black they’re cast
And O, my soul, with wonder view
For sins to come here’s pardon too.”
NET Bible comments that to conceal: means refusing to acknowledge them (transgressions) in confession, and perhaps rationalizing them away. On the other hand there is the one who both "confesses" and "forsakes" the sin. To "confess" sins means to acknowledge them, to say the same thing about them that God does… In other passages the verb "conceal" is used of God's forgiveness – he covers over the iniquity (Ps 32:1). Whoever acknowledges sin, God will cover it; whoever covers it, God will lay it open. (NET Bible)
Isaiah 9:17 (In context God is speaking to the Northern Kingdom who has not turned to Him for protection but to an alliance with the pagan Syrians!) Therefore the Lord does not take pleasure in their young men, Nor does He have pity on their orphans or their widows; For every one of them is godless and an evildoer, And every mouth is speaking foolishness. In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away And His hand is still stretched out.
Comment: For the Lord not to have pity on the the orphans or widows somehow speaks to the depths of depravity to which the Northern Kingdom had descended ("every one of them is godless and an evildoer"!) This is a frightening verse for any man, woman, nation or people who would presume upon (take for granted) the great compassion of Jehovah! This reminds me of the foolish presumption of the skeptic infidel and God hater Voltaire who foolishly quipped "God will forgive; that is His business". Yes, that is true but God is perfectly righteous and just and therefore He must punish sins that are not covered by the blood of His Son!
Isaiah 13:18 And their bows (see Is 13:17 = Medes led by Cyrus the Great, defeated Babylon in 539BC, cp Daniel's record = Da 5:28, 30, 31-note) will mow down the young men, They will not even have compassion on the fruit of the womb, nor will their eye pity children.
Motyer comments: The verb have no mercy contains the word for ‘womb’ and is used of compassion which stirs the emotions.
Isaiah 14:1 When the LORD will have compassion on Jacob and again choose Israel, and settle them in their own land, then strangers will join them and attach themselves to the house of Jacob.
Comment (I agree with John MacArthur's interpretation (especially in light of Is 14:3 - "rest" can hardly describe the situation after return from Babylonian exile): While having some reference to the release from Babylonian captivity, the primary view in this chapter is identified in these opening verses (Is 14:1,2,3). The prophet looked at the final Babylon at the end of the tribulation (see Great Tribulation). The language is that which characterizes conditions during the millennial kingdom (see Millennium) after the judgment of the final Babylon. The destruction of future Babylon is integrally connected with the deliverance of Israel from bondage. Babylon must perish so that the Lord may exalt His people (see The Destruction of Babylon). God’s compassion (racham) for physical Israel receives fuller development in Isaiah 40–46. (MacArthur, J.: The MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word)
Isaiah 27:11 When its limbs are dry, they are broken off; Women come and make a fire with them, For they are not a people of discernment, Therefore their Maker will not have compassion on them. And their Creator will not be gracious (chanan) to them.
Comment: Grace/gracious (chanan 02603 = have mercy, be gracious, take pity, be kind, i.e., show an act. of kindness, compassion, or benefice to another) and racham are coupled in several OT passages - Ex 33:19, 2 Ki 13:23, Ps 102:13, Isa 27:11, Isa 30:18.
Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.
Comment by Ryrie: Isa 30:18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 A description of the glories of the Millennium, though the day of the great slaughter (Is 30:25) refers to Armageddon. (The Ryrie Study Bible: New American Standard Translation: 1995. Moody Publishers)
Comment: And so in this context Jehovah's racham or compassion will be realized in the restoration of Israel to the promised land during the Millennium.
Isaiah 49:10 "They will not hunger or thirst, Nor will the scorching heat or sun strike them down; For He who has compassion on them will lead them and will guide them to springs of water.
Ryrie Comments (John MacArthur's comment essentially agrees as does John Martin in the Bible Knowledge Commentary) that Isa 49:8-12 speak of: Israel's restoration in the millennial kingdom and characteristics of that time.
Isaiah 49:13 Shout for joy, O heavens! And rejoice, O earth! Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted His people and will have compassion on His afflicted.
Comment: Who will receive God's compassion? The "afflicted" (Hebrew = ani = the humble; Lxx = tapeinos) which are really those who are humble in heart.
Isaiah 49:15 (God is answering "Zion" who feels that Jehovah has forsaken her) "Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.
Comment: Jehovah encourages His people who will be in captivity which this poignant picture -- Could ever a mother forget her nursing child? Even if that unlikely event transpired, God would be found more faithful, never forgetting Israel because of His faithfulness to His covenant promises. To underscore God's covenant faithfulness He adds "Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me." (Is 49:16)
NET Bible comments: The Lord has an innate attachment to Zion, just like a mother does for her infant child. But even if mothers were to suddenly abandon their children, the Lord would never forsake Zion. In other words, the Lord's attachment to Zion is like a mother's attachment to her infant child, but even stronger. (NET Bible)
Isaiah 54:8 (Context: Is 54:5 alludes to Israel as God's "wife" - and here we see He is taking her back) "In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, But with everlasting lovingkindness (hesed) (Ed: Everlasting hesed is related to God's everlasting covenant with Abraham = Ge 17:7) I will have compassion (racham) on you," Says the LORD your Redeemer (See word study on goel/ga'al).
Isaiah 54:10 "For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My lovingkindness (hesed) will not be removed from you, And My covenant of peace will not be shaken," Says the LORD who has compassion on you.
John Martin comments on Isaiah 54:9,10 writing that: After the Flood, in which God executed His anger against the world’s depravity, He promised never again to devastate the earth in the same way (Ge 9:11). Similarly God promised that the day is coming when He will never… rebuke Israel again. Statements like this show that Isaiah was speaking of the millennial kingdom (Millennium) rather than the return from the Babylonian Captivity, for the nation has suffered God’s anger many times since the postexilic return. Even if the world could be punished again as in the Flood, God’s love (hesed cf. Isa 54:8) and compassion will never cease. The covenant of peace (also mentioned in Ezek 34:25; 37:26) refers to this promise which God had just made. God will give His people lasting peace (cf. Isa 9:7; 32:17,18; 54:13; 55:12; 66:12; Je 30:10; 33:6, 9; 46:27). (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., et al: The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 1985. Victor)
Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion (Hebrew = racham; , Lxx = eleeo) on him, and to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.
Comment: This verse presents a good picture of genuine heart repentance… not just feeling sorry (like world does) for your evil deeds but truly turning from them and unto Jehovah (cp 1Th 1:9-note). God waits to have mercy (racham) upon him and to “pardon abundantly” (lit., “He will multiply to pardon”), clearly demonstrating the divine action linked with His divine compassion.
Isaiah 60:10 "Foreigners will build up your walls, and their kings will minister to you; For in My wrath I struck you, and in My favor (Hebrew = ratson = delight, pleasure, grace, kindness) I have had compassion (Hebrew = racham; Lxx = agapao) on you.
Jeremiah 6:23 (Jeremiah is describing the cruelty of the Babylonians when they invade Judah) "They seize bow and spear; They are cruel and have no mercy; Their voice roars like the sea, And they ride on horses, Arrayed as a man for the battle Against you, O daughter of Zion!"
Jeremiah 12:15 "And it will come about that after I have uprooted them, I will again have compassion on them; and I will bring them back, each one to his inheritance and each one to his land.
Comment: After Babylonian captivity to fulfill the 70 years of failing to keep the "sabbath year" (failure to let the land rest every seventh year - see Lv 25:4, 26:34, 35, 2Chr 36:21, Jer 25:11, 12, 29:10, Da 9:2-note), Judah would be benefactors of the compassion of the Lord. His compassion would be evidenced by His returning them to the land of Israel after the captivity.
Jeremiah 13:14 "I will dash them (leaders in Judah - Je 13:13) against each other, both the fathers and the sons together," declares the LORD. "I will not show pity nor be sorry nor have compassion (Hebrew = racham; Lxx = oikteiro) so as not to destroy them."'"
Comment: As alluded to in an earlier passage the depths of God boundless compassion can be reached. This is (or should be) a frightening thought to any one who is not safe in the "ark" of Christ (Acts 16:31).
Jeremiah 21:7 "Then afterwards," declares the LORD, "I will give over Zedekiah king of Judah and his servants and the people, even those who survive in this city from the pestilence, the sword and the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of their foes and into the hand of those who seek their lives; and he will strike them down with the edge of the sword. He (Nebuchadnezzar) will not spare them nor have pity nor compassion. (This same couplet of pity and compassion is used also in Jer 13:14)"'
Jeremiah 30:18 "Thus says the LORD, 'Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob And have compassion on his dwelling places; And the city will be rebuilt on its ruin, And the palace will stand on its rightful place.
Comment: This is not a reference to the Church as suggested by the Disciple's Study Bible. A literal reading of the text cannot (or at least should not) allow one to escape the fact that this passage is a clear reference to restored Israel ("tents of Jacob") and Jerusalem ("the city will be rebuilt") (See Millennium) So here we see the prophet Jeremiah offering the people hope in the midst of their captivity (cp Hab 3:2)
Jeremiah 31:20 "Is Ephraim (referring to Israel) My dear son? Is he a delightful child? Indeed, as often as I have spoken against him, I certainly still remember him; Therefore My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him," declares the LORD.
Jeremiah 33:26 (Context = reiteration of the promised permanence of God's new covenant with Israel - Je 33:25, cp Je 31:31, 32, 33, 34, esp Je 31:35, 36, 37) then I would reject the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, not taking from his descendants rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.'"
Jeremiah 42:12 'I will also show you (Judah) compassion, so that he (see Je 42:11) will have compassion on you and restore you to your own soil.
Bible Knowledge Commentary: Jer 42:7-12. Jeremiah prayed for the people, and 10 days later God answered his request. Jeremiah called together the group and gave them God’s answer. If they would stay in the land, God promised to build them up. They were not to be afraid of the Babylonians because God would deliver them from any harm from their hands. Indeed God vowed that Nebuchadnezzar would have compassion (racham, “show tender concern”), a characteristic not usually associated with the Babylonians (cf. Jer 6:23; 21:7). (Ed: Does not this truth - that the Babylonians were hardly known for demonstrating compassion to their enemies [!] - in a sense illustrate God's "fatherly" racham, His tender loving pity for His chosen people who were in exile for their continual spiritual harlotry and failure to keep the Sabbath rest for the land every 7 years. Yes, they were in the dire straits of Babylon because of their own sins and were in great need of compassion, which God sovereignly supplied through His workings in the heart of the wicked Babylonians. How awesome is our God! Beloved, if He so sweetly and sovereignly acted for rebellious Judah, will He not be willing to show His tender mercies to us His own family members [1Jn 3:1-note, et al] in whatever dire strait we might currently find ourselves as the result of our sin which has called forth His hand of loving discipline?! Remember that He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Hallelujah. Thank you Yeshua for continually showering Your racham on your people who are so undeserving. Amen.)
Jeremiah 50:42 "They (Cyrus the Great and the Medo-Persians in 539BC) seize their bow and javelin; They are cruel and have no mercy. Their voice roars like the sea; and they ride on horses, marshalled like a man for the battle against you, O daughter of Babylon.
Lamentations 3:22 The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.
Lamentations 3:32 For if He causes grief, Then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness (hesed).
Comment: The previous verse says "For the Lord will not reject forever" (La 3:31). Here we see His compassion implies His active pity and it is rooted in His abundant lovingkindness (hesed) or covenant love.
Ezekiel 39:25 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, "Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name.
Hosea 1:6 Then she conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. And the LORD said to him, "Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel, that I would ever forgive them. 7 "But I will have compassion on the house of Judah and deliver them by the LORD their God, and will not deliver them by bow, sword, battle, horses or horsemen."
Believer's Church Bible Commentary: Lo-ruhamah. Not-pitied. Not-shown-compassion. The choice of words at this point is crucial to the message of Hosea. The root verb, racham, expresses the love, compassion, and pity a mother feels for her children. It is warm and intense. It carries no sexual overtones. When racham describes God’s love, it is always a love which stretches out to the wounded, the alienated, the obstinate, and willfully disobedient child. It restores God’s people from under judgment. It is not love in a neutral context. This is not love at first sight. For example, God says: “I will restore their fortunes, and will have mercy on them” (Jer 33:26). “In overflowing wrath for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you” (Is 54:8). Racham appears in parallel with mercy and restore the fortunes of, pointing to its unique emphasis as love that restores. As such, it always describes God’s concern for His people, and never expresses his love for the nations generally. (Guenther, Allen)
Hosea 2:1 Say to your brothers, "Ammi," and to your sisters, "Ruhamah (racham - literally "she has obtained compassion")."
Hosea 2:4 "Also, I will have no compassion on her children, Because they are children of harlotry.
Hosea 2:23 "I will sow her for Myself in the land. I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, And I will say to those who were not My people, 'You are My people!' And they will say, 'You are my God!'"
Comment: Hosea refers here to Israel and not to the Gentiles looking forward to the time when Israel will be restored as God’s people and as His beloved. But when Paul quotes them in (Ro 9:25-note) he applies them to the call of the Gentiles. What right does Paul have to make such a radical change? The answer is that the Holy Spirit who inspired the words in the first place has the right to reinterpret or reapply them later.
Hosea 14:3 "Assyria will not save us, We will not ride on horses; Nor will we say again, 'Our god,' To the work of our hands; For in You the orphan finds mercy."
Believer's Church Bible Commentary: The case has been made in the notes under Hosea 1:6 that racham should be read as restoring love. In the Hebrew Bible, it regularly refers to a mercy which extends life to one who has come under judgment (cf. La 3:32; Isa. 14:1; Jer 33:26; Zech. 10:6). The restoring love comes from the very agent who is bringing the judgment, most frequently God. At one point this love is directed even to the dwellings in the city of Jerusalem (Jer 30:18-note), resulting in the reconstruction of the city. The verb racham appears in Hosea in Hos 1:6, 7; 2:4, 23; Hos 14:3. Each instance refers to a recovery or restoration of what has been lost or is deficient (cf. Hos 14:3). It never describes the process of initiating a relationship, as does ahab (Hebrew for love first found in Ge 22:2), the more common and more far-reaching word for love in Hosea (Hosea 2:5 2:7 2:10 2:12 2:13 3:1 4:18 9:1 9:10 10:11 11:1 12:7 14:4). The verb ahab connotes choice and a (continuing) relationship characterized by affection and intimacy. Restorative love characterizes God’s relationship to a sinful people; it is motivated by deep affection growing out of a prior relationship. Withholding racham is an act of judgment or is motivated by cruelty (Jer 6:22,23; 50:42). (Guenther, Allen)
Micah 7:19 He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea.
Henry Morris writes: Micah 7:18,19, climaxing the Old Testament message of the prophet Micah, comprise a beautiful testimony to God's saving gospel. He pardons all our iniquities forever. Furthermore, He will "subdue" them in our personal lives by the compelling love of His compassion, and our sins will not be remembered any more.
Constable writes that God: … would subdue their iniquities as though they were insects that He stepped on and obliterated. He would do away with their sins as surely as someone gets rid of something permanently by throwing it into the sea (cf. Ps 103:12). The use of three words for sin in verses 18 and 19 (iniquity, rebellious acts, and sins) gives added assurance of forgiveness. God will forgive all types of Israel’s sins.
See Spurgeon's sermon on Micah 7:19 - Sin Subdued
Habakkuk 3:2 LORD, I have heard the report about You and I fear. O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years, In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy.
Guzik Comments: In the midst of the years make it known: Habakkuk longs for God to do a work that is evident to everyone as a work of God. He prays that revival would be known at a definite time and place (in the midst of the years), not just as an idea in someone's head. In wrath remember mercy: Habakkuk prays knowing well that they don't deserve revival, so he prays for mercy. The idea is, "LORD, I know that we deserve your wrath, but in the midst of your wrath remember mercy and send revival among us."
Spurgeon… Sorrowfully, not wishing to be an accuser of the brethren, it does seem to me that considering the responsibilities which were laid upon us, and the means which God has given us, the church generally, (there are blessed exceptions!) has done so little for Christ that if 'Ichabod' were written right across its brow, and it were banished from God's house, it would have its deserts. We cannot therefore appeal to merit, it must be mercy. (from his sermon A Message from God to His Church and People) (See Spurgeon's other sermon on Habakkuk 3:2 - Spiritual Revival—The Need of the Church)
Zechariah 1:12 Then the Angel of the LORD said, "O LORD of hosts, how long will You have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been indignant these seventy years?"
F Duane Lindsey comments: The intercession of the Angel of the Lord is unusual, for this divine Messenger is usually seen representing God to people rather than functioning in an intercessory role representing people to God. That the divine Messenger addressed the Lord Almighty in prayer supports a distinction of Persons in the Godhead, and contributes to the implicit doctrine of the Trinity in the Old Testament. The lament formula How long? expresses the deep need of Israel to have the Lord act on her behalf. The 70 years of promised Captivity were over (cf. Jer. 25:12; 29:10), but the city was still not rebuilt.
Zechariah 10:6 "I will strengthen the house of Judah, And I will save the house of Joseph, And I will bring them back, Because I have had compassion on them; And they will be as though I had not rejected them, For I am the LORD their God and I will answer them.
Comment: Why will God strengthen and save and bring back? The basis of these acts is His compassion. In this context, compassion (racham) overlaps somewhat with grace for each of these Divine acts reflects His unmerited favor (compare "grace") to a nation that hardly deserved His favor (none of us of course "deserve" God's favor). God is referring of course not to all Israel but to the believing remnant which He would bring through the fire of the Great Tribulation.