Greek Pronunciation [EH leh ahss]
HCSB Translation: mercy
Uses in the NT: 27
“And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Eleos is one of several NT words meaning mercy. Each of the three times that this word appears in Matthew, Jesus uses it to refer to principles established in the OT, where God clearly required that His people show mercy. Twice Jesus quotes from Hosea 6:6, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” (Mt. 9:13; 12:7). The Hebrew term (chesed) underlying the Greek translation combines the ideas of love, mercy, and faithful loyalty. The Pharisees condemned Jesus for fraternizing with social outcasts (Mt. 9:11), but He reminded them that God expected His people to show mercy before giving sacrifice. In Matthew 23 Jesus rebuked the Pharisees even more harshly, and one of His grievances was their neglect of the more important aspects of the law (“justice, mercy, and faith”) even while they meticulously tithed their mint, dill, and cumin.
Word Studies courtesy of the Holman Christian Standard Study Bible. Used with permissions from B&H Publishing Group, A Division of LifeWay Christian Resources.