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N18. Being Compassionate & Merciful Toward Our Neighbor.    [Make a Comment]

We are to be compassionate and merciful toward our neighbor.

This precept is derived from His Word (blessed be He):

Key Scriptures

Matthew 5:7
How blessed are those who show mercy! for they will be shown mercy. (CJB)

Luke 6:36
How blessed are those who show mercy! for they will be shown mercy. (CJB)

Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. (NKJ)

Colossians 3:12
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with feelings of compassion and with kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (CJB)

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering (NKJ)

1 Peter 3:8
Finally, all of you, be one in mind and feeling; love as brothers; and be compassionate and humble-minded (CJB)

Supportive Scriptures - God's Compassion & Mercy

Exodus 33:19
He replied, "I will cause all my goodness to pass before you, and in your presence I will pronounce the name of ADONAI. Moreover, I show favor to whomever I will, and I display mercy [NKJ: "compassion"] to whomever I will.

Exodus 34:6
ADONAI passed before him and proclaimed: "YUD-HEH-VAV-HEH!!! Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh [[ADONAI]] is God, merciful and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in grace and truth;

Deuteronomy 4:31
... for ADONAI your God is a merciful God. He will not fail you, destroy you, or forget the covenant with your ancestors which he swore to them.

Isaiah 30:18
Yet ADONAI is just waiting to show you favor, he will have pity on you from on high; for ADONAI is a God of justice; happy are all who wait for him!

Isaiah 49:10
They will be neither hungry nor thirsty; neither scorching wind nor sun will strike them; for he who has mercy on them will lead them and guide them to springs of water.

Isaiah 49:13
Sing, heaven! Rejoice, earth! Break out in song, you mountains! For ADONAI is comforting his people, having mercy on his own who have suffered.

Isaiah 54:10
For the mountains may leave and the hills be removed, but my grace will never leave you, and my covenant of peace will not be removed," says ADONAI, who has compassion on you.

Isaiah 63:7
I will recall the grace of ADONAI and the praises of ADONAI, because of all that ADONAI has granted us and his great goodness toward the house of Isra'el, which he bestowed on them in keeping with his mercy, in keeping with the greatness of his grace.

Jeremiah 3:12
Go and proclaim these words toward the north: '"Return, backsliding Isra'el," says ADONAI. "I will not frown on you, for I am merciful," says ADONAI. "I will not bear a grudge forever.

Joel 2:13
Tear your heart, not your garments; and turn to ADONAI your God. For he is merciful and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in grace, and willing to change his mind about disaster.

Jonah 4:2
He prayed to ADONAI, "Now, ADONAI, didn't I say this would happen, when I was still in my own country? That's why I tried to get away to Tarshish ahead of time! I knew you were a God who is merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in grace, and that you relent from inflicting punishment.

Psalm 18:26(25)
With the merciful, you are merciful; with a man who is sincere, you are sincere; ...

Palm 51:3(1)
God, in your grace, have mercy on me; in your great compassion, blot out my crimes.

Psalm 86:15
But you, Adonai, are a merciful, compassionate God, slow to anger and rich in grace and truth.

Psalm 103:4
... he redeems your life from the pit, he surrounds you with grace and compassion ...

Psalm 103:8
ADONAI is merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in grace.

Psalm 103:13
Just as a father has compassion on his children, ADONAI has compassion on those who fear him.

Psalm 111:4
He has gained renown for his wonders. ADONAI is merciful and compassionate.

Psalm 112:4
To the upright he shines like a light in the dark, merciful, compassionate and righteous.

Psalm 116:5
ADONAI is merciful and righteous; yes, our God is compassionate.

Psalm 119:156
Great is your compassion, ADONAI; in keeping with your rulings, revive me.

Psalm 145:8-9
ADONAI is merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and great in grace. ADONAI is good to all; his compassion rests on all his creatures.

Lamentations 3:32
He may cause grief, but he will take pity [NKJ: "have compassion"], in keeping with the greatness of his grace.

Nehemiah 9:17
... they refused to listen and paid no attention to the wonders you had done among them. No, they stiffened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a leader to return them to their slavery. But because you are a God of forgiveness, merciful, full of compassion, slow to grow angry and full of grace, you did not abandon them.

2 Chronicles 30:9
For if you turn back to ADONAI, your kinsmen and children will find that those who took them captive will have compassion on them, and they will come back to this land. ADONAI your God is compassionate and merciful; he will not turn his face away from you if you return to him.

Matthew 9:10-13 ( While Yeshua was in the house eating, many tax-collectors and sinners came and joined him and his talmidim at the meal. When the P'rushim saw this, they said to his talmidim, "Why does your rabbi eat with tax-collectors and sinners?" But Yeshua heard the question and answered, "The ones who need a doctor aren't the healthy but the sick. As for you, go and learn what this means: 'I want compassion rather than animal-sacrifices.' For I didn't come to call the 'righteous,' but sinners!")

Matthew 9:36
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were harried and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 14:14
So when he came ashore, he saw a huge crowd; and, filled with compassion for them, he healed those of them who were sick.

Matthew 15:32
Yeshua called his talmidim to him and said, "I feel sorry [NKJ: 'have compassion'] for these people, because they have been with me three days, and now they have nothing to eat. I don't want to send them away hungry, because they might collapse on the way home."

Mark 3:1-5
Yeshua went again into a synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse him of something, people watched him carefully to see if he would heal him on Shabbat. He said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Come up where we can see you!" Then to them he said, "What is permitted on Shabbat? Doing good or doing evil? Saving life or killing?" But they said nothing. Then, looking them over and feeling both anger with them and sympathy for them at the stoniness of their hearts, he said to the man, "Hold out your hand." As he held it out, it became restored.

Mark 5:19
But Yeshua would not permit it. Instead, he said to him, "Go home to your people, and tell them how [NKJ: 'he has had compassion on you'] much ADONAI in his mercy has done for you."

Mark 6:34
When Yeshua came ashore, he saw a huge crowd. Filled with compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd, he began teaching them many things.

Luke 1:49-50
The Mighty One has done great things for me! Indeed, his name is holy; and in every generation he has mercy on those who fear him.

Luke 5:30-32
The P'rushim and their Torah-teachers protested indignantly against his talmidim, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax-collectors and sinners?" It was Yeshua who answered them: "The ones who need a doctor aren't the healthy but the sick. I have not come to call the 'righteous,' but rather to call sinners to turn to God from their sins."

Luke 7:13
When the Lord saw her, he felt compassion for her and said to her, "Don't cry."

Romans 9:15
For to Moshe he says, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will pity whom I pity." Thus it doesn't depend on human desires or efforts, but on God, who has mercy. For the Tanakh says to Pharaoh, "It is for this very reason that I raised you up, so that in connection with you I might demonstrate my power, so that my name might be known throughout the world." So then, he has mercy on whom he wants, and he hardens whom he wants. (CJB)

For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion." So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth." Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. (NKJ)

2 Corinthians 1:3
Praised be God, Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, compassionate Father, God of all encouragement and comfort;

Ephesians 2:4
But God is so rich in mercy and loves us with such intense love ...

Philippians 2:27
Indeed he was ill, close to death; but God had mercy on him - and not only on him, but also on me - otherwise I would have had sorrow piled on sorrow.

Hebrews 8:11-12
None of them will teach his fellow-citizen or his brother, saying, "Know ADONAI!" For all will know me, from the least of them to the greatest, because I will be merciful toward their wickednesses and remember their sins no more.

James 5:11
Look, we regard those who persevered as blessed. You have heard of the perseverance of Iyov, and you know what the purpose of ADONAI was, that ADONAI is very compassionate and merciful.

1 Peter 1:3
Praised be God, Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, who, in keeping with his great mercy, has caused us, through the resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah from the dead, to be born again to a living hope ...

1 Peter 2:10
Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; before, you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Jude 1:21
Thus keep yourselves in God's love, as you wait for our Lord Yeshua the Messiah to give you the mercy that leads to eternal life.

Supportive Scriptures - Our Compassion & Mercy

Matthew 6:14-15
For if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will not forgive yours.

Matthew 7:12
Always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that sums up the teaching of the Torah and the Prophets.

Matthew 12:7
If you knew what 'I want compassion rather than animal-sacrifice' meant, you would not condemn the innocent.

Matthew 18:33
Shouldn't you have had pity [NKJ: "compassion"] on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?

Mark 9:41
Indeed, whoever gives you even a cup of water to drink because you come in the name of the Messiah - yes! I tell you that he will certainly not lose his reward.

Romans 12:8
... if you are a counselor, use your gift to comfort and exhort; if you are someone who gives, do it simply and generously; if you are in a position of leadership, lead with diligence and zeal; if you are one who does acts of mercy, do them cheerfully.

Galatians 6:2
Bear one another's burdens - in this way you will be fulfilling the Torah's true meaning, which the Messiah upholds.

Philippians 2:1-2
Therefore, if you have any encouragement for me from your being in union with the Messiah, any comfort flowing from love, any fellowship with me in the Spirit, or any compassion and sympathy, then complete my joy by having a common purpose and a common love, by being one in heart and mind.

Jame 2:13
For judgment will be without mercy toward one who doesn't show mercy; but mercy wins out over judgment.

1 John 3:17
If someone has worldly possessions and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how can he be loving God?


Mercy and compassion are often referred to in the same Scripture, and the various translations of the Bible sometimes do not agree on which of the words should be used in a given verse. Although they are related to loving our neighbor, mercy and compassion are not the same. Compassion is an empathetic identification with a person's trial or difficulty, whereas mercy is an action (or intentional inaction) of withholding harm from a person that one is empowered to impart. It is ideal when mercy is driven by compassion, but it is sometimes driven by other motivators as well, such as duty and considerations of practicality. Sympathy is also referred to in Scripture, but it is different in that it is more of a cognitive recognition of a person's difficulty, that is not necessarily accompanied by an emotional response.

Mercy and compassion are attributes of God, that God wants to be our attributes as well. The reason that God can require them of us is that they are part of creation - part of His having created us in His image. Whereas, compassion comes upon us automatically, whether or not we extend mercy requires that we decide based upon circumstances, and there are times (e.g. when justice requires punishment) when it is right to withhold mercy even while feeling compassion.

The Scriptures presented herein are clear that it is God's will that we have an attitude of mercy toward our neighbor, the reason being that God is merciful toward us. Indeed, mercy is an attribute of God, for we read in Exodus 34:6-7:

ADONAI passed before him and proclaimed: "YUD-HEH-VAV-HEH!!! Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh [[ADONAI]] is God, merciful and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in grace and truth; showing grace to the thousandth generation, forgiving offenses, crimes and sins; yet not exonerating the guilty, but causing the negative effects of the parents' offenses to be experienced by their children and grandchildren, and even by the third and fourth generations.

This is known within Judaism as the "Thirteen Attributes of Mercy" or "Shelosh-'Esreh Middot HaRakhamim."

Classical Commentators

This Mitzvah is not addressed by any of the classical commentators.


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