tender mercies

kindness, compassion; unkindness, harsh treatment
—While I was away on vacation, my poor garden suffered under the tender mercies of the hot summer sun. 

In one of his psalms, David appeals to God’s goodness, saying,

Remember your compassionate and faithful deeds [tender mercies and lovingkindnesses—KJV], O Lord,

for you have always acted in this manner.

Do not hold against me the sins of my youth or my rebellious acts!

Because you are faithful to me, extend to me your favor, O Lord! (Psalm 25:6,7)

Here, and elsewhere in the Old Testament, tender mercies means “kindness, compassion.” But its appearance in Proverbs gives us today’s ironic usage of the phrase, because even the “kindnesses” of an evil person are actually cruel:

A righteous person cares for the life of his animal,

but even the most compassionate acts [the tender mercies—KJV] of the wicked are cruel. (Proverbs 12:10)

Comments are closed.
  • All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2017 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://bible.org. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

    Scripture in brackets is from the King James Bible.

  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed by Craig Thompson under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

    Any reproduction of this content using passages from the NET Bible must follow NET Bible's copyright policy for use of those passages.

    For information on creating translations of Putting Words in Our Mouths, please go here.

  • Visit My Blog: Clearing Customs

    Don’t Just Missionary On [—at A Life Overseas]

    Onward, Christian soldiers. Soldier on, Christians. These don’t mean the same thing, at least not to me. Paul uses the word soldier to describe someone faithfully acting in obedience to God when he exhorts Timothy, “Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:3 NIV). It’s a good thing to be […]

    Sing Along with Me: How Long? [—at A Life Overseas]

    Returning to the States after serving overseas was a hard time for my wife and me. We were grieving our losses and were struggling with the difficulties we’d already faced and those we saw ahead. We prayed and prayed but didn’t receive clear direction from God. In our spiritual malaise it was hard to slide […]