“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.” Ps 103:13 KJV
The word “pitieth” (or “pity”) is usually translated “mercy” or “compassion” in the King James Version of the Bible. Most modern translations translate it “compassion,” and properly so.
However, I prefer the KJV translation here…. “pity.” It has flavors of a deeper emotion that this word seems to mean, as shown by Hebrew word studies, as well as the character of God demonstrated throughout the Scriptures, and most especially in our Savior who was “God with us.”
Language changes and its nuances change. We use the word compassion so often that I wonder… has it lost its wonder?
The word in Hebrew is “racham” and according to Hebrew lexicons (fancy word for dictionaries)… it means that the LORD loves deeply, has mercy, is compassionate, affectionate, and has tender mercy.
According to Gesenius’s Lexicon, “the primary idea (of this word ‘pity’) appears to be in cherishing, soothing, and in a gentle emotion of the mind.”
God feels all this about us, His children. Right now. The only ‘requirement’ is that we ‘fear’ Him; not be afraid of Him, but simply simply bow our hearts to Him as our only Source of life. To receive this “pity” is to feel our need of it. To feel our need of it is to repent of our own self sufficiency, and turn to the God of all comfort.
I love this quote by John Gill (1697-1771)… “The fear of the Lord, whose name is revered, is not a fear of his judgments here or hereafter, but of his goodness and grace; it is a reverential affection for him”
May we not be afraid to fear Him, the Source of pity, compassion and tender mercy.