Matthew 5:7 part 2 of 2 Rabbi Michael Weiner
Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.
The Greek word for mercy is elehmwn (phonetic spelling el-eh-ay’-mone). We have to be specific here, because there are several scriptural concepts that are similar, yet quite different. The “Delitzsch Hebrew Gospels” gives us our best clue. The word he uses is based on Rach’mon’ot. There are other possibilities, like Chen and Chesed, but Rach’mon’ot was his choice for good reason. Let’s examine …
Chesed is the best word to describe grace. It is God’s undeserved favor. God accepts us when such acceptance is not required or expected. As our friend, Jerry Miller, put it into the title of his book, it truly is “Grace Beyond Reason. God’s love trumps our expectation of justice. It’s not just His love for us, but the fulfillment of His purpose for creating the world (so He could love us). We know what we deserve, but His love exceeds our expectations. His love exceeds what is reasonable.
Another Hebrew possibility would be Chen, or “bowels of mercy.” This is a word that describes a “gut wrenching” outreach of emotion. This is the word used in Genesis 6 verse 8 to describe God’s feeling toward Noah. Genesis 6:8 But Noah found favor in Adonai’s eyes. It is also the second Hebrew word in Psalm 103:8 Adonai is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and plentiful in mercy.
But the first Hebrew word of Psalm 103:8 is our subject word, Rachum. God is compassionate toward us. This is Who He is. God is compassionate. Ephesians 3:20b … far beyond all that we ask or imagine … God wants our character to reflect His character.
Philippians 2:3-5 Do nothing out of selfishness or conceit, but with humility consider others as more important than yourselves, looking out not only for your own interests but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves, which also was in Messiah Yeshua.
Although the verses are usually separated differently, I don’t think I’m abusing the text by putting the verses together in this way.
Sadly, the history of mankind is a history of cruelty. It should be no surprise then, that we continuously return to the two greatest commandments, to love God and to love each other. Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy. Have compassion and you will be shown compassion. It is a blessed promise from the Lord.