A tender feeling toward persons in a state of suffering or in need, or toward anything that may have been treated in a harsh manner. The plural noun ra·chamimʹ denotes “pity,” “mercies,” or “inward emotions.” (Ge 43:14, 30; 1Ch 21:13; Ps 40:11; see MERCY.) In Greek, the verb splag·khniʹzo·mai means “be moved with pity or compassion,” “have or feel pity.” This term is drawn from the noun splagʹkhna, literally meaning “intestines.” (Ac 1:18) Since strong emotions can have an effect on the abdominal area of the body, the Greek noun splagʹkhna is often used to denote “tender affections,” or “tender compassions.”—See AFFECTION.
Jehovah God set the example in manifesting pity for those in distress, and he can move men to show this loving feeling. That is why King Solomon could appropriately pray that Jehovah would make the Israelites objects of pity before their captors if they became captives because of unfaithfulness. (1Ki 8:50) As to the answer to this prayerful request, the inspired psalmist wrote: “He would grant them to be objects of pity before all those holding them captive.” (Ps 106:46) Thus in time Jehovah restored a repentant remnant to its land. (Jer 33:26; Ezr 1:1-4) And in harmony with Jehovah’s will, King Artaxerxes granted Nehemiah permission to rebuild the city of Jerusalem.—Ne 1:11–2:6.
Jesus Christ perfectly reflected the personality of his Father in the display of pity. He “felt pity” for the crowds, even when his privacy was interrupted, “because they were skinned and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd.” (Mt 9:36; Mr 6:34) The sight of persons who were bereaved or who had leprosy or who were blind moved Jesus to feel pity, so that he brought them miraculous relief. (Mt 14:14; 20:30-34; Mr 1:40, 41; Lu 7:12, 13) And it was pity for the people who had been with him for three days with nothing to eat that prompted the Son of God miraculously to provide food for them.—Mt 15:32-38; Mr 8:2-9.
Disciples of Jesus Christ can imitate his example and that of his Father by responding willingly and gladly in rendering aid to those in distress and in welcoming all who sincerely repent of sin and make a wholehearted return to Jehovah. (Mt 18:21-35; Lu 10:30-37; 15:11-32) Thus they can rest assured of the Almighty’s continued mercy toward them.—Mt 5:7.