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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 12:10

 

 

A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.

Adam Clarke Commentary

A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast - One principal characteristic of a holy man is mercy: cruelty is unknown to him; and his benevolence extends to the meanest of the brute creation. Pity rules the heart of a pious man; he can do nothing that is cruel. He considers what is best for the comfort, ease health, and life of the beast that serves him, and he knows that God himself careth for oxen: and one of the ten commandments provides a seventh part of time to be allotted for the rest of laboring beasts as well as for man.

I once in my travels met with the Hebrew of this clause on the sign board of a public inn: בהמתו נפש צדיק יודע yodea tsaddik nephesh behemto . "A righteous man considereth the life of his beast;" which, being very appropriate, reminded me that I should feed my horse.

The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel - אחזרי achzari, are violent, without mercy, ruthless. The wicked, influenced by Satan, can show no other disposition than what is in their master. If they appear at any time merciful, it is a cloak which they use to cover purposes of cruelty. To accomplish its end, iniquity will assume any garb, speak mercifully, extol benevolence, sometimes even give to the poor! But, timeo Danaos, et dona ferentes. The cry of fire at midnight, provided it be in another's dwelling, is more congenial to their souls than the; cry of mercy. Look at the human fiends, "out-heroding Herod," in horse races, bruising matches, and cock fights, and in wars for the extension of territory, and the purposes of ambition. The hell is yet undescribed, that is suited to such monsters in cruelty.


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:10". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-12.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Regardeth - literally, “knoweth.” All true sympathy and care must grow out of knowledge. The duty of a person to animals:

(1) rests upon direct commandments in the Law Exodus 20:10; Exodus 23:4-5;

(2) connects itself with the thought that the mercies of God are over all His works, and that man‘s mercy, in proportion to its excellence, must be like His Jonah 4:11; and

(3) has perpetuated its influence in the popular morality of the East.

Tender mercies - Better, “the feelings, the emotions,” all that should have led to mercy and pity toward man.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-12.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 12:10

A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast.

The sin of cruelty to animals

First remove some prejudices against dealing with this subject.

1. This is a trifling subject, which is unworthy of being made a matter of grave and deliberate consideration. But if this subject constitute a matter of moral and religious obligation at all, it is not to be thrust out of view because it is not of the most universal and commanding importance. It belongs to the great duty of mercy, and pertains to the exercise of dominion, one of the high and peculiar distinctions belonging to human nature.

2. The outcry against cruelty to animals is a mere piece of sentimentalism or affectation, and that what is so called is little if at all felt by the creatures that are pitied. But many of the animals exceed ourselves in their susceptibility of impressions, having acuter powers of hearing, a more enlarged and distinct vision and a keener smell. There is a difference between a tyrannic exercise of power and a mild and gracious management of the lower creatures. What shall we say of acts of gratuitous cruelty, of unmitigated tyranny, and of unrighteous injury?

3. It is urged that this subject cannot be treated from the pulpit with the hope of much good. It is surely a part of the benevolent work of the pulpit to turn the kindly feelings of humanity towards the brute creation, and thereby to rescue them from the tormenting cruelty which would embitter their existence and sport with their lives. State some arguments to enforce the duty of abstaining from the cruel treatment of the inferior animals.

I. Kindness to the brute creation is a command of God (Exodus 23:5; Deuteronomy 22:6; Deuteronomy 25:4). The will of God for the treatment of His irrational creatures is--

1. That labouring animals are to be well fed and cared for in return for their toil and work.

2. That every animal in a situation of oppression, peril, or insuperable difficulty is to be relieved, assisted, and delivered; and that without any regard to whom it may belong, though to your worst enemy.

3. That no animal is to be tormented merely for our pleasure, or have its rational instincts thwarted, or its accustomed and long-acquired habits denied. Every one must admit the equity and justice of these rules.

II. An argument against cruelty to animals is presented by the example of God. We are required to be merciful as our Father in heaven is merciful. This extends to our treatment of the inferior animals, since God shows us an example of mercy in His dealing with them (Psalms 147:8-9). But ample as is the evidence which the brute creation furnishes of the goodness of God, we do not see them enjoying at present all the happiness which God intended that they should possess. They are involved in sufferings consequent upon the fall of man, being committed, as it were, to the same fortune with us. We ought to take pity on them the more on this account as our blameless fellow-sufferers, and diminish, as far as we can, the necessary evils of their lot. This is to resemble our heavenly Father.

III. Another argument may be deduced from the tendency of such cruelty to harden the heart and to injure the temper and feelings of those who habitually commit it. A man who is cruel in the treatment of his animal cannot be a good husband, a kind parent, a humane neighbour, or a gentle and tender friend. Men cannot change their dispositions like their dress; whatever disposition they encourage, it will become habitual and natural. Cruelty to animals makes men sullen, rude, ferocious, wrathful, apt to strike, impatient of contradiction, and prone to every evil work.

IV. Cruelty to animals is a mean and contemptible vice to which there is no temptation. Almost any sin can say more for itself than this can. What but a love of vulgar and low excitement gives zest to sports in which animals are baited, tormented, mangled, and destroyed?

V. The crying injustice of such cruelty may be urged. We have no right to abuse the inferior creation, although we have a right to use them. Some of the causes which lead to the commission of cruelties upon the brute creation are, mere thoughtlessness and wantonness; avarice; love of excitement, from which come the strifes and conflicts of the bear-garden, the race-course, the chase, the cock-pit, etc. (John Forbes.)

Cruelty to animals

The word “regard” may either apply to the moral or to the intellectual part of our nature. It is the regard of attention, or the regard of sympathy. If the regard of attention could be fastened strongly and singly on the pain of a suffering creature as its object, no other emotion than the regard of sympathy or compassion would in any instance be awakened by it. With the inertness of our reflective faculties, rather than with the incapacity of our senses the present argument has to do. It is on behalf of animals that we plead; those animals that move on the face of the open perspective before us. The sufferings of the lower animals may, when out of sight, be out of mind. But more than this, these sufferings may be in sight and yet out of mind. This is strikingly exemplified in the sport of the field, in the midst of whose varied and animating bustle, that cruelty which all along is present to the senses, may not for one moment have been present to the thoughts. Such suffering touches not the sensibilities of the heart, just because it is never present to the notice of the mind. We are not even sure if, within the whole compass of humanity, fallen as it is, there be such a thing as delight in suffering for its own sake. Certainly much, and perhaps the whole of this world’s cruelty, arises not from the enjoyment that is felt in consequence of others’ pain, but from the enjoyment that is felt in spite of it. Without imputing to the vivisectionist aught so monstrous as the positive love of suffering, we may even admit for him a hatred of suffering, but that the love of science had overborne it. This view in no way is designed to palliate the atrociousness of cruelty. Man is a direct agent of a wide and continual distress to the lower animals, and the question is, Can any method be devised for its alleviation? The whole inferior creation groaneth and travaileth together in pain, because of man. It signifies not to the substantive amount of the suffering whether this be prompted by the hardness of his heart or only permitted through the heedlessness of his mind. These sufferings are really felt. The beasts of the field are not so many automata without sensation, and just so constructed as to give forth all the natural signs and expressions of it. These poor animals just look and tremble and give forth the very indications of suffering that we do. Theirs is unmixed and unmitigated pain.

1. Upon this question we should hold no doubtful casuistry. We should not deem it the right tactics for this moral warfare to take up the position of the unlawfulness of field sports or public competitions. To obtain the regards of man’s heart in behalf of the lower animals, we should strive to draw the regards of his mind towards them.

2. We should avail ourselves of the close alliance that obtains between the regards of his attention and those of his sympathy. For this purpose we should importunately ply him with the objects of suffering, and thus call up its respondent emotion of sympathy. This demands constant and varied appeals from the pulpit, the press, and elsewhere. (T. Chalmers, D.D.)

The sin of cruelty towards the brute creation

What the sun is to the natural, that Christianity is to the moral world--its universal benefactor. Christianity regulates the intercourse between man and man. It forbids hatred, malice, and revenge. It allows no one to take advantage of his height of station to oppress or domineer over his humbler brethren. But it also condescends to undertake the cause of the brute tribe against the cruelty of man, both high and low, rich and poor. The tendency of the laws God has enacted for their treatment forbids occasioning unnecessary pain to the most obnoxious or destructive of them; while towards the positively useful we live under actual obligations. We are not merely forbidden to do these harm; to do them good is a cheap return for the services they perform in our behalf. To treat humanely animals in our possession constitutes a part of true religion, and will be viewed by God accordingly. The words of the text imply that he who “regardeth not the life of his beast” forfeits all pretensions to the character of a righteous man. By this single breach of morality he betrays a degree of guilt for which the most unexceptionable conduct to those of the same flesh and blood can make no amends. The common sources of cruelty.

1. Inattention. This must not be confounded in point of guilt with the diabolical spirit of cool, intended cruelty, but the pain it occasions may be equally severe. Children are in peculiar danger of sinning under this head.

2. Prejudice. In many families children are taught to treat the greater part of reptiles and insects as if they were highly dangerous or injurious, and of course to be destroyed, or at least to be avoided with horror. The young implicitly believe the unfair reports, and act accordingly. Once give a child the liberty of inflicting death on certain species of inferior beings, and you will soon find he indiscriminately wages war on all; what has been a habit will ere long become a pleasure. If parents would preserve their children free from the stain of cruelty, let them beware how they make them the executioners of their vengeance on even the most noxious or unsightly creatures, the crushers of ants and spiders, or the tramplers on the caterpillar or the earth-worm.

3. Selfishness. A selfish man may plead that he means no harm to the creatures he is maltreating; but to get his pleasure, he cares not what sufferings he occasions them. Refined methods of barbarity are keeping certain creatures so as to render them choicer food; the wagers laid at races, etc. There are those who, however considerate they may be towards their own property, care little how they treat the property of others when lent or hired out. Such incur not only the charge of cruelty; they are also chargeable with ingratitude or deceit; and under these circumstances their sin becomes “exceeding sinful.” (H. A. Herbert, B. A.)

The feelings of animals

This verse might be rendered, “A righteous man knows the feelings of beasts.” He gives them credit for feelings; he does not look upon them as merely so much animated matter, but as standing in some relation to himself, and the more complete his ownership the more considerate ought to be his treatment even of the beasts he owns. Even when the wicked man supposes himself to be merciful there is cruelty in his tenderness. A wicked man cannot be gentle. Men should remember this, and distrust all the gentleness which is supposed to attach to men who are without conscience. The tenderness of such men is an investment, is a political trick, is a bait to catch the unwary, is an element of speculation. Rowland Hill used to say, in his quaint way, that he would not value any man’s religion whose cat and dog were not the better for his piety. This is the beauty of the Christian religion: it flows throughout the whole life, it ramifies in every department of the existence and carries with it softness, purity, sympathy, kindness. The young lions roar, and get their meat from God. The universe must be looked upon as a great household belonging to the Almighty, regulated by His power and His wisdom, and intended to exemplify the beneficence of His providence. Life is a mystery which remains unsolved, bringing with it claims which none can safely or religiously set aside. (J. Parker, D.D.)

The duty of mercy to animals

If we look in the final, total, and eternal teachings of Scripture for our moral standard, nothing is more clear than that mercy is one of the chief duties of man, as it is one of the main attributes of God. In the deluge provision is made that the animals should be saved as well as man; and in the renewed covenant we know that God said (Genesis 9:2). Thus early is attention called to the connection of animals with man, the use of animals to man, and the dominion over animals by man. God’s care for them, man’s duty to them, are constantly inculcated. Take, for instance, the Mosaic law. How exquisite is the consideration which it shows for the creatures of God’s hand! “If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee, thou shalt not take the dam with the young, that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days.” Did any other lawgiver like the mighty Moses thus care for the curlew in the furrow and the mother-linnet in the brake? “Thou shalt not seethe the kid in its mother’s milk. I am the Lord.” “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.” Why? Doth God care for oxen? Assuredly He does, for His are “the cattle upon a thousand hills.” “Thou shalt not plough with an ox and an ass together.” Why not? Because it is contrary to the law of natural justice, since, if the two animals be yoked together, an unfair share of the burden must fall upon the one or upon the ether. Could God have taught more clearly to us than He thus did by the mouth of the great leader of His people that we must be merciful because our Father in heaven is merciful? Turn again to the fresh, bright, vivid poetry of the Psalmist of Israel. How beautiful, how tender, throughout the Psalms, are the repeated allusions to the world of creatures! Or turn again to that magnificent, dramatic, and philosophic poem of the Book of Job. The care of God and the love of God for the creatures He has made convince Job of God’s care for him. Turn again to the calmer and graver wisdom of the wise King Solomon. “There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise” (Proverbs 30:24-28). And when we turn to the New Testament we find, as we should have expected, that this perfect love for all God’s creatures appears most fully and tenderly in the words and teaching of the Lord Himself. The lessons of the wise earthly king are taught us with creeping and laborious creatures. He made the bee and the ant teach their lessons to us; but the heavenly King taught us rather from those birds of the air, which “toil not, nor spin,” but are employed, like angels, in offices of love and praise. There is nothing in all human language more touching and more beautiful than Christ’s illustration of God’s tenderness in the works of nature, the flowers of the field, and the creatures of the air. Here is a legend of Christ, which may be no legend, but a true story: By the hot roadside, in the blistering sunlight, the vultures eyeing it, and ready in a moment to sweep down upon it with their foetid wings, lay a dead dog--one of the hated, despised, ownerless dogs of an Eastern city--a dead pariah dog, the most worthless thing, you might think, that all creation contained--a pitiable and unlovely spectacle; and round it were gathered a crowd of the wretched, loathing idlers of the place--coarse, pitiless, ready, like all the basest of mankind, to feed their eyes on misery and on ugliness, as flesh-flies settle on a wound. And one kicked it, and another turned it over with his foot, and another pushed it with his staff, and each had his mean, unpitying gibe at the carcase of the dead, helpless, miserable creature which God had made. Then, suddenly, there fell an awe-struck silence on these cruel, empty triflers; for they saw One approach them whom they knew, and whom, because He was sinless, many of them hated while yet they feared. And He came up, and, for a moment, the sad kingly eyes rested on the dead creature in the blistering sunlight with the vultures hovering over it, and then He turned His eyes for a moment to the pitiless, idling men who stood there looking at it, and, breaking the silence, He said: “Its teeth are as white as pearls”; and so He went His way. Where they in their meanness could gloat on what was foul, and see nothing but its loathliness, His holy eye--because it was the eye of loving mercy--saw the one thing which still remained untainted by the deformity of death, and He praised that one thing. And, leaving them smitten into silent shame before His love and His nobleness, He once more went His way. Turn to the most ancient Greek poems, the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey” of Homer. In the “Iliad” the horses of the great hero Achilles weep human tears for their great master’s death. In the “Odyssey” we have the return of Ulysses, ragged, unknown, desolate, after his twenty years of wanderings. He is in the guise of a beggar. No one recognised him of all whom his bounty fed--not his servants, not his wife, not his only son; but Argus knows him--Argus, the dog with which he has hunted as a boy--Argus cannot forget him as human beings can. Outstretched, neglected, before the hall door lies the poor old hound, and he no sooner hears the footsteps of his master whom he had known as a boy long years before, than he looks up and strives to crawl to his feet, licks his hand, and dies. And at the saddest moment of Athenian history, when the people of Athens were flying to Salamis from the mighty hosts of Xerxes, leaving their desolate homes to be spoiled and burned, the one great nation which raised an altar to pity had time to remember and to record how one poor dog swam all the way across the straits of the salt sea after the boat which carried his master to the island shore. And the Jews, too, had well learned this lesson of their great books. The historian of the book of Tobit is not afraid to tell us that when the Jewish boy left his father’s house for his long and perilous journey his dog went with him; and how, when he returned with the friendly angel, the dog still followed the angel and the youth. One of the most celebrated of all the rabbis, the writer of the earliest.and most sacred part of the Talmud, was Rabbi Judah the Holy. He was afflicted with intermittent agonies, and the Talmud tells us this legend of him: On one occasion a calf destined for sacrifice fled lowing to him, and thrust his head upon the rabbi’s knees. “Go,” said the rabbi, pushing the animal from him; “for sacrifice is thy destiny.” “Lo!” said the angels of God, “the rabbi is pitiless; let suffering come upon him.” And he was smitten with sickness. But on another occasion, when his servant was dusting his room, she disturbed a brood of young kittens. “Let them alone,” said the rabbi, kindly; “disturb them not, because it is written, ‘God’s tender mercies are over all His works.’” “Ah,” said the angels, “he has learned pity now; and, therefore, let his sufferings cease.” All the best Christian history is full of the spirit of mercy; all the saints of God, without exception, have been kind to animals, as most bad men have been unkind. It was observed in the earliest centuries of Christianity that the hermits living in the desert their pure and simple and gentle lives had strange power over the wild creatures. Those quiet and holy men so controlled them that the creatures near them lost their wildness, and the fawn would come to them, and the lion harmed them not. Some of God’s holiest saints in later times had this strange, sweet gift of inspiring animals with the confidence which they had before--to our shame--they had been taught distrust by the cruelties and treacheries of fallen man. So it was with St. Francis of Assisi. He called all creatures his brethren and his sisters. “My little sisters,” he said to the twittering swallows who disturbed him by chasing each other through the blue Italian sky, as he preached in the open air in the market-place of Vercelli--“my little sisters, you have said your say; now be silent, and let me preach to the people.” We are told how on one occasion he gave up his own robe to save two lambs which were being led to the slaughter; how a little lamb was one of his daily companions, and how he sometimes preached upon its innocence to the people. At Gubbio a leveret was brought to him, and when he saw the little creature his heart at once was moved. “Little brother leveret,” he said, “why hast thou let thyself be taken?” And when the little trembler escaped from the hands of the brother who was holding it and fled for refuge to the folds of the robe of St. Francis, he set it free. A wild rabbit which he took, and afterwards set free, still returned to his bosom as though it had some sense of the pitifulness of his heart. On another occasion he put back into the water a large tench which a fisherman had given him, and he bade it swim away; “but,” says the legend, “the fish lingered by the boat until the prayers of St. Francis were ended, for the saint obtained great honour from God in the love and obedience of His creatures.” (Dean Farrar.)

A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast

It is said of God that He remembered Noah, and every beast (Genesis 8:1); yea, such is His merciful providence, that He watcheth not only over men, but beasts; and a righteous man regardeth the life of his beast. Nay, Xenocrates, a very heathen, who had no other light but what the dim spectacles of nature did afford, is commended for his pitiful heart, who succoured in his bosom a poor sparrow that, being pursued by a hawk, fled unto him, and afterwards let her go, saying that he had not betrayed his poor suppliant. And such is the goodness of every just man, that he is merciful to his very beast; alas, it cannot declare its wants, nor tell its grievances, otherwise than by mourning in its kind; so that to an honest heart its dumbness is a loud language, crying out for relief. This made David rather venture upon a lion than lose a lamb (1 Samuel 17:34). Jacob will endure heat by day, and cold by night, rather than neglect his flocks (Genesis 31:40). Moses will fight with odds rather than the cattle shall perish with thirst (Exodus 2:1-25.). It is only Balaam and Bedlam-Balaamites that want this mercy to their faultless beast; and it is ill falling into their hands whom the very beasts find unmerciful. (J. Spencer.)

Kindness to animals

Two ladies well known in New York were spending the summer at Newport. They were in the habit of ordering a carriage from a livery stable, and were always driven by the same coachman, a cab-driver whose name was Burns. One day Burns very suddenly pulled up his horses and turned abruptly to one side of the road. The ladies were alarmed, and, leaning out, inquired what was the matter. Burns replied that there was a little lame bird in the road, which he had very nearly run over. He was just about getting off the box to remove the little creature from its dangerous position, when one of the ladies, wishing him to remain in charge of the horses, stepped from the carriage, and picking up the bird, which was a young one, discovered its leg was broken. Her first thought was to take it home and keep it till it was quite strong again, but Burns advised her to put it on the other side of the fence on the grass, where the mother bird could find it, and nature would heal the broken leg. They decided to do this, so the bird was left in a safe place and the driver resumed his journey. The story of the kind-hearted coachman was told until it reached Mrs. John Jacob Astor, who was much touched by it, saying a man who did that little act of mercy would surely be kind to horses, and as her husband was in need of a coachman she would try to get Burns for the position. The end of the story is that Burns was duly installed as Mr. Astor’s coachman.

Consideration for animals

I am sure that if donkeys or goats could speak they would say, “Be kind to us. We will work for you, and go as far and as fast as we can, if only you won’t drive us beyond our strength, and lay those cruel sticks across our poor thin backs! Then, don’t make us stand, for hours perhaps, in a burning sun without a drop of water, while you are playing marbles with your friends. You could not run about as you do now if you had no breakfast and no dinner: then how can you expect us to work hard and carry heavy children one after the other till we are ready to drop, unless you feed us properly?” (M. Sewell.)

Cruelty to an animal

I always tremble when I see a cruel boy. I feel sure he will, if he lives, grow up to be a wicked man. A brutal boy once saw his sister’s two pet rabbits running about the garden. He took one up by the ears and threw it into the air. It came down on a piece of stone and lay bleeding on the ground till it died. Years after the sister visited that brother in prison, just before his execution for murder. Do you remember the bleeding rabbit, Mary?” he said, weeping; “I have been cruel ever since.” (M. Sewell.)


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 12:10". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-12.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast; But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel."

A various reading for the second clause is, "The heart of the wicked is cruel," or "The heart of the wicked is without mercy."[16] This proverb reflects the thought of the commandment that, "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn." (Deuteronomy 25:4).


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:10". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/proverbs-12.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast,.... Or "knoweth" itF17יודע "novit", Mercerus, Michaelis; so Vulgate Latin. ; knows the worth of it and values it, and takes care of it, and is concerned for the preservation of it; he provides sufficient food for it, and gives it; he does not overwork it, but allows it proper rest from labour; and, if in any disorder, will make use of all suitable means to heal it; see an instance of the care of Jacob, that righteous man, of his cattle, Genesis 33:14; and, on the other hand, see an instance of a wicked man's cruelty to his beast in Balaam, for which he was reproved, Numbers 22:28; by various laws and rules which God has given, it is his will that men should be merciful to their beasts, Deuteronomy 25:4; and such who are so will be more especially pitiful and tenderhearted to their fellow creatures;

but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel; or "are the mercies of a cruel one"F18אכזרי "sunt miserationes crudelis", Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Aben Ezra in Mercerus, so some Jewish writers in Vatablus. ; the most tender things which are expressed or done by them are nothing but cruelty; and what then must be their more severe expressions and actions? so the most tender concern which antichrist and his followers show to the souls of men breathes nothing but cruelty; the compassionate methods they take to convert heretics, as they call them, are dark dungeons and stinking prisons, racks and tortures, fire and faggots; these are their wholesome severities; this their kindness to men, to deliver them up to the secular power, to inflict pains and punishments on them the most grievous to save their souls. Thus, while the beast of Rome looks like a lamb, he speaks like a dragon, and exercises all the cruelty of the first beast, Rome Pagan, Revelation 13:11.


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-12.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

A righteous [man] d regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked [are] cruel.

(d) Is merciful, even to the very beast who does him service.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:10". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/proverbs-12.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

regardeth — literally, “knoweth” (Psalm 1:6).

mercies … cruel — as acts of compassion ungraciously rendered to the needy. The righteous more regards a beast than the wicked a man.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-12.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

10 The righteous knows how his cattle feel,

And the compassion of the godless is cruel.

The explanation: the righteous taketh care for the life of his beast (Fl.), fails, for 10a is to be taken with Exodus 23:9; נפשׁ signifies also the state of one's soul, the frame of mind, the state of feeling; but ידע has, as in the related proverb, Proverbs 27:23, the meaning of careful cognizance or investigation, in conformity with which one acts. If the Torâ includes in the law of the Sabbath (Exodus 20:10; Exodus 23:12) useful beasts and cattle, which are here especially meant, and secures to them the reward of their labour (Deuteronomy 25:4); if it forbids the mutilation, and generally the giving of unnecessary pain, to beasts; if it enjoins those who take a bird's nest to let the dam escape (Deuteronomy 22:6.) - these are the prefigurations of that דעת נפש בהמה , and as the God of the Torâ thus appears at the close of the Book of Jonah, this wonderful apology ( defensio ) of the all-embracing compassion, the God also of the world-history in this sympathy for the beasts of the earth as the type of the righteous.

In 10b most interpreters find an oxymoron: the compassion of the godless is compassionless, the direct opposite of compassion; i.e. , he possesses either altogether no compassion, or he shows such as in its principle, its expression, and in its effects is the opposite of what it ought to be (Fl.). Bertheau believes that in the sing. of the predicate אכזרי he is justified in translating: the compassion of the wicked is a tyranny. And as one may speak of a loveless love, i.e. , of a love which in its principle is nothing else than selfishness, so also of a compassionless compassion, such as consists only in gesture and speech without truth of feeling and of active results. But how such a compassionless compassion toward the cattle, and one which is really cruel, is possible, it may be difficult to show. Hitzig's conjecture, רחמי , sprang from this thought: the most merciful among sinners are cruel - the sinner is as such not רחוּם . The lxx is right in the rendering, τὰ δὲ σπλάγχνα τῶν ἀσεβῶν ἀνελεήμονα . The noun רחמים means here not compassion, but, as in Genesis 43:30 (lxx ἔντερα or ἔγκατα ) and 1 Kings 3:26 (lxx μήτρα ), has the meaning the bowels (properly tender parts, cf. Arab. rakhuma , to be soft, tender, with rḥm ), and thus the interior of the body, in which deep emotions, and especially strong sympathy, are wont to be reflected (cf. Hosea 10:8). The singular of the predicate אכזרי arises here from the unity of the subject-conception: the inwards, as Jeremiah 50:12, from the reference of the expression to each individual of the many.


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Bibliography
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:10". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-12.html. 1854-1889.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

See here, 1. To how great a degree a good man will be merciful; he has not only a compassion for the human nature under its greatest abasements, but he regards even the life of his beast, not only because it is his servant, but because it is God's creature, and in conformity to Providence, which preserves man and beast. The beasts that are under our care must be provided for, must have convenient food and rest, must in no case be abused or tyrannised over. Balaam was checked for beating his ass. The law took care for oxen. Those therefore are unrighteous men that are not just to the brute-creatures; those that are furious and barbarous to them evidence, and confirm in themselves, a habit of barbarity, and help to make the creation groan, Romans 8:22. 2. To how great a degree a wicked man will be unmerciful; even his tender mercies are cruel; that natural compassion which is in him, as a man, is lost, and, by the power of corruption, is turned into hard-heartedness; even that which they will have to pass for compassion is really cruel, as Pilate's resolution concerning Christ the innocent, I will chastise him and let him go. Their pretended kindnesses are only a cover for purposed cruelties.


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Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Proverbs 12:10". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/proverbs-12.html. 1706.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

A godly man would not put even an animal to needless pain. But the wicked often speak of others as well used, when they would not endure like treatment for a single day.


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Bibliography
Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Proverbs 12:10". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/proverbs-12.html. 1706.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

Regardeth — He will not destroy it either by labour beyond its strength, or by denying it necessary food or rest.

Cruel — There is cruelty mixed even with their most merciful actions.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:10". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-12.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 12:10 A righteous [man] regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked [are] cruel.

Ver. 10. A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast.] There be beasts ad usum, et ad esum. Some are profitable alive, not dead, as the dog, horse, &c.; some dead, not alive, as the hog; some both, as the ox. There is a mercy to be shewed to these dumb creatures, as we see in Eleazar; [Genesis 24:32] and the contrary in Balaam, who spurred his ass till she spake. [Numbers 22:27-28] Otherwise we shall make them "groan under the bondage of our corruption," [Romans 8:21] and he that hears the young ravens, may hear them, for "he is gracious." [Exodus 22:27] The restraint that was of eating the blood of dead beasts, declared that he would not have tyranny exercised on them while they are alive.

But the tender mercies of the wicked.] If any such thing there were; but they have no such bowels left, with Judas; no such tenderness, scarce common humanity; cannibal-like, they "eat up God’s people as they eat bread," feeding upon them alive, and by degrees; and dealing by them as the cruel Spaniards do by the Indians. They suppose they shew the wretches great favour when they do not for their pleasure whip them with cords, and day by day drop their naked bodies with burning bacon, which is one of the least cruelties that they exercise toward them. (a) In the sixth Council of Toledo, it was enacted that the king of Spain should suffer none to live within his dominions that profess not the Roman Catholic religion. In pursuance of which decree, Philip, king of Spain, said, he had rather have no subjects than Protestants; and, out of a bloody zeal, suffered his eldest son Charles to be murdered by the cruel Inquisition, because he seemed to favour that profession. When the Spaniards took Heidelberg, they took Monsieur Mylius, an old minister; and, after they had abused his daughter before his eyes, tied a small cord about his head, which, with truncheons, they wreathed about till they squeezed out his brains. What should I speak of the French massacres, and late Irish immane and monstrous murders, equalling, if not exceeding that at Athens, taken by Sulla, which yet, saith Appian, was ανελεης σφαγη, a merciless massacre; or that of Ptolomy Lathurus, king of Egypt, who slew thirty thousand Jews at once, and forced the rest to feed upon the flesh of their slain fellows; or, lastly, that of the Jews committed upon the inhabitants of Cyrene, whom they not only basely butchered, but afterwards ate their flesh, drank their blood, and clothed themselves with their skins, as Dio relates in the life of Trajan, the emperor!


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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-12.html. 1865-1868.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

v. 10. A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast, taking proper care of his domestic animals; but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel, they are utterly devoid of sympathy and compassion.


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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:10". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/proverbs-12.html. 1921-23.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Proverbs 12:10. A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast Lord Bacon observes upon this verse, that there is implanted in man's nature [by Divine grace] a noble and excellent affection of pity and compassion, called here mercy (for the word rendered righteous, signifies mild, clement, merciful), which mercy extends itself even unto brute creatures, that are by divine ordination subject to his command. Therefore this compassion hath some analogy with that of a prince toward his subjects; nay, further, it is most certain, that the worthier any soul is, the larger is its compassion: for contracted and degenerate minds imagine these things pertain not to them; but the mind which looks upon itself as a nobler portion of the universe, is kindly affected towards inferior creatures, from the communion that there is between them: wherefore we see that there were under the old law many precepts concerning this; which were not so much merely ceremonial, as institutions of mercy. See more on this subject in the Advancement of Learning, b. viii. c. 2. The next clause means, "the very kindnesses of the wicked, being treacherous, are a cruel cheat; nay, the highest expressions which they make of tenderness and compassion, whereby they induce others to repose a trust in them, are intended merely as a cover for the mischief which they mean more securely to do them." The Greeks have a proverb nearly to the same purpose, Εχθρων δωρα αδωρα, "The gifts of enemies are no gifts." See a pleasing discourse on this text, entitled, "Clemency to Brutes."


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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:10". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/proverbs-12.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Regardeth the life of his beast, which is employed in his service; he will not destroy it either by labours beyond its strength, or by denying to it necessary food or rest, or by any other way; and much more will he be pitiful to his own servants, and to poor men.

The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel; there is much cruelty mixed even with their most merciful actions, when they pretend or intend to show mercy. Heb. the bowels of the, &c.; those very bowels, which in others are the seat of pity, in him are hardened and shut up, and only stir him up to cruelty. Instead of that mercy which is natural to other men, he hath nothing but cruelty. Their

mercies are here said to be

cruel, as

the foolishness and weakness of God are said to be wise and strong, 1 Corinthians 1:25.


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 12:10". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-12.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

10. A righteous (or just) man regardeth. — יודע, (yodhea’h,) knoweth.

The verb is used in the sense of taking care of. Compare Genesis 39:6; Psalms 1:6; Proverbs 27:23.

The life of his beast נפשׁ בהמתו(nephesh behemto) is, perhaps, used as a periphrasis for beast; that is, for its comfort and well-being.

But the tender mercies רחמי, (rahhame,) bowels, which the ancients regarded as the seat of the tender affections or sympathies.

Are cruel — Cruelty itself; as much as to say, they possess no organs for the exercise of kindness toward either man or beast — have no place for it in their constitution. On thoughtful kindness to animals, compare Deuteronomy 25:4; Leviticus 22:28; Exodus 20:10; Exodus 23:4-5; Jonah 4:11.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:10". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-12.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Proverbs 12:10. A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast — Which is employed in his service. He will not destroy it, either by labours beyond its strength, or by denying it necessary food or rest, or any other way: and much more will he be pitiful to his own servants, and to poor men; but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel — There is much cruelty mixed even with their most merciful actions, when they pretend, or intend to show mercy. Hebrew, רחמי רשׁעים, the bowels of the wicked, &c., those very bowels, which in others are the seat of pity, in him are hardened and shut up, and only excite him to cruelty. A late writer interprets this clause thus: “The very kindnesses of the wicked, being treacherous, are a cruel cheat: nay, the highest expressions which they make of tenderness and compassion, whereby they induce others to repose a trust in them, are intended merely as a cover for the mischief which they mean more securely to do them.” Thus the proverb of the Greeks, εχθρων δωρα αδωρα, “The gifts of enemies are no gifts.” See Clemency to Brutes.


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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:10". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/proverbs-12.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Beasts. Those who treat them with cruelty, would do the like with men. God gives regulations to let brute beasts have rest, Leviticus xxii. 28. (Calmet) (St. Chrysostom in Romans xxix.)


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:10". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-12.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

regardeth, &c. = knoweth. Illustrations: Jacob (Genesis 33:13, Genesis 33:14); David (1 Samuel 17:34, 1 Samuel 17:35).

life = soul. Hebrew. nephesh. App-13.

cruel. Illustrations: Nahash (1 Samuel 11:1, 1 Samuel 11:2); Pilate (Luke 23:16).


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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:10". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/proverbs-12.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast. God commands tender care even for brutes (Deuteronomy 25:4; Leviticus 22:28). We are to give rest, refreshment, and medicine to the beast, according as it requires it; and are not to be cruel to it, much less to man.

But the tender mercies (literally, bowels) of the wicked are cruel - not only, to 'beasts,' but, still worse, to men. "Cruel" is singular; implying that each one of their "tender mercies" is cruel. Not only their cruelties, but their very mercies are cruel: as Pharaoh when he offered to let the people go, but without their herds; and the Jewish council and Gamaliel, when they ordered the apostles only to be "beaten" (Acts 5:40), though innocent; and as those who give alms to the poor with contumely.


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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-12.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(10) Regardeth the life of his beast.—Rather, knows their feelings (comp. Exodus 23:9), and so can feel for them. God’s own care for the brute creation (Jonah 4:11) was shown in the merciful provisions of the Law, by which cattle shared the rest of the Sabbath, and had their portion of the corn as it was being trodden out (Deuteronomy 25:4).

Tender mercies.—What the wicked calls tenderness and kind treatment is really cruelty, as he takes no thought for the comfort of his beast.


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:10". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-12.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
righteous
Genesis 33:13,14; Numbers 22:28-32; Deuteronomy 25:4; John 4:11
but
Genesis 37:26-28; Judges 1:7; 1 Samuel 11:2; John 19:31,32; James 2:13-16
tender mercies
or, bowels.
1 John 3:17

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:10". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-12.html.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

CRITICAL NOTES.—

Pro . Regardeth, literally "knoweth." Delitzsch reads, "knoweth how his cattle feed." "Cruel is singular, denoting that each one of his mercies are cruel" (Fausset).

MAIN HOMILETICS OF Pro

CARE FOR ANIMALS AND CRUELTY TO MEN

Even the animal is benefited by being related to a righteous man.

I. The righteous man regardeth the life of his beast.

1. Because of the entire dependence of the creature upon him. Animals which are the property of man are entirely at his mercy. They have no power to change a bad master for a good one—no voice to utter their complaints—no means of getting redress for their wrongs. All these considerations tend to make a good man care for them, for the righteous man's sympathies are always drawn out in proportion to the need of the object. And with regard to the animal creation, it may be that the present life is the only opportunity a man may have of showing kindness to them. If, on the other hand, animals live in another world, it may be all the better for men to treat them well here.

2. Because of his dependence upon his beast. Men are very largely indebted to animals for the sustaining of their life—it would be very difficult for the work of the world to be carried on without their help; men would certainly have to labour much harder if they had it not. Therefore, the righteous man feels that he is paying a debt when he "regards the life of his beast."

3. Because the animal is an object of Divine care. The Bible has many references to the brute creation, and many passages which show that "God regardeth the life of the beast." Christ tells us that not a sparrow falls to the ground without His Father's notice, and God has given special commands with reference to the care of dumb creatures. "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn" (Deu ). Seeing, then, that "God doth care for oxen," a righteous man will do likewise.

4. Because of the lessons that may be learned from the animal creation. God often sends man to learn of them (see Isa ; Jer 8:7), and much suggestive teaching may be got from observation of their dispositions and habits. It would be ingratitude not to repay them with considerate care.

II. The wicked man is cruel. Wickedness is, in its nature, destitute of kindliness. The sea is by nature salt, and its saltness makes it unfit to sustain human life. The father of wickedness is a cruel being—his only aim is to increase the misery of the universe. All his children have partaken more or less of his character since the first human murderer killed his brother. It is said here that even his acts of mercy are cruel. History gives many instances of men whose so-called acts of mercy were only refined cruelties. It follows that if wicked men are cruel to their fellow-creatures—to men and women of their own flesh and blood, they will be even more indifferent to the welfare of creatures below man.

ILLUSTRATIONS

Sir Robert Clayton, as commander of a troop of British cavalry, which after service on the Continent was disbanded in the city of York, and the horses sold, could not bear to think that his old fellow-campaigners, who had borne brave men to battle, should be ridden to death as butcher's hacks, or worked in dung-carts till they became dogs' meat, he therefore purchased a piece of ground upon Knavesmire heath, and turned out the old horses to have their run for life. What made this act to be the longer had in remembrance, was the curious fact, that one day, when these horses were grazing, a thunder-storm gathered, at the fires and sounds of which, as if mistaken for the signs of approaching battle, they were seen to get together and form in line, almost in as perfect order as if they had their old masters on their backs.

Sir James Prior tells us, in the last year of the life of Burke, that a feeble old horse which had been a favourite with young Richard—now dead—and his constant companion in all his rural journeyings and sports, when both were alike healthful and vigorous, was turned out to take the run of the park at Beaconsfield during the remainder of his life, the servants being strictly charged not to ride or in any way molest him. This poor worn-out steed it was that one day drew near to Burke, as the now childless and decrepit statesman was musing in the park, and after some moments of inspection, followed by seeming recollection and confidence, deliberately rested his head upon the old man's bosom. The singularity of the action, the remembrance of his dead son, its late master, and the apparent attachment and intelligence of the poor brute, as if it could sympathise with his inward sorrows, rushing at once into his mind, totally overpowered his firmness, and throwing his arms over its neck, he wept long and loudly.

John Howard writes home from the Lazaretto, himself sick and a prisoner: "Is my chaise-horse gone blind or spoiled? Duke is well, he must have his range when past his labour; not doing such a cruel thing as I did with the old mare. I have a thousand times repented of it."—Jacox.

OUTLINES AND SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS

What the cruelty of the wicked is, at its worst, words might seem wanting to show, after it has been said that the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. But "a righteous man regardeth the life of his beast." Jacob, as flock-master, is studiously careful for his flocks and herds as well as for his tender children; "if men should over-drive them one day, all the flock would die;" so "I will lead on softly," said he to Esau, "according as the cattle that goeth before me is able to endure." The angel of the Lord standing in the way, rebukes Balaam for smiting his ass three times: that unrighteous man, wishing there were a sword in his hand, too literally regardeth not the life of his beast.… We certainly ought not, pleads Plutarch, to treat living creatures like shoes or household goods, which, when worn out with use, we throw away; and, were it only to learn benevolence to human kind, we should be merciful to other creatures. To be kind to these our fellow-lodgers is common humanity. To be cruel to them is to be below it. It is almost, if not quite, to be a little lower than themselves. It is, maintains Sir Arthur Helps, an immense responsibility that Providence has thrown upon us in subjecting these sensitive creatures to our complete sway, and he avowedly trembles at the thought of how poor an answer we shall have to give, when asked the question how we have made use of the power entrusted to us over the brute creation.… The question of interposing law has been a vexed one, upon which the humanest have differed … So hard-headed and cool-headed a thinker as Stuart Mill is decisive and incisive in his arguments in favour of legal intervention. Mr. Lecky's suggestion of a doubt whether cruelty to animals can be condemned on utilitarian grounds, is met by the obvious answer that a utilitarian may rationally include in his definition of the greatest number whose happiness is to be the aim of human beings, not only human beings themselves, but all animals capable of being happy or the reverse; beside which it is urged that, even if we limit our view to the good of our own species, the argument is as strong as can be desired. "If the criminality of an action were to be measured simply by its direct effects on human happiness, we might probably urge that the murderer of a grown-up man was worse than the murderer of a child, and far worse than the torturer of a dumb animal. Yet, as a matter of fact, we should probably feel a greater loathing for a man who could torment a beast for his pleasure than for one who should ill-use one of his equals." For such cruelty is held to indicate, as a rule, a baser nature. A murderer, though generally speaking a man of bad character, is not of necessity cowardly or mean; he may not improbably show some courage, and possibly even some sensibility to the nobler emotions. The tormentor of animals, on the other hand, shows callousness of nature, a pleasure in giving pain for the sake of giving pain, which has about it something to be described as devilish … John Foster declared it to be a great sin against moral taste to mention ludicrously, or for ludicrous comparison, circumstances in the animal world which are painful and distressing to the animals that are in them; the simile, for instance, "Like a toad under a harrow."—Jacox.

Lit. "knoweth." The authorised version gives the right application, but the words remind us that all true sympathy and care must grow out of knowledge. The righteous man tries to know the feelings and life even of the brute beast, and so comes to care for it. "Tender mercies." Better "the feelings, the emotions," all that should have led to mercy and pity towards man. The circle expands in the one case, narrows in the other.—Plumptre.

When the pulse of kindness beats strong in the heart the warm stream is sent clean through the body of the human family, and retains force enough to expatiate among the living creatures that lie beyond.… Cruelty is a characteristic of the wicked in general, and in particular of antichrist—that one, wicked by pre-eminence, whom Christ shall yet destroy by the brightness of His coming. By their fruits ye shall know them. The page of history is spotted with the cruelties of papal Rome. The red blood upon his garments is generally the means of discovering a murderer. The trailing womanish robes of the papal high priest are deeply stained with the blood of the saints. The same providence which employs the bloody tinge to detect the common murderer has left more lasting marks of Rome's cruelty. The Bartholomew massacre, for example, is recorded in more enduring characters than the stains of that blood which soaked the soil of France. The pope and his cardinals rejoiced greatly when they heard the news. So lively was their gratitude that they cast a medal to record it on. There stands the legend, raised in brass and silver—"Strages Huguenotorum" (the slaughter of the Huguenots)—in perpetual memory of the delight wherewith that wicked antichrist regarded the foulest butchery of men by their fellows that this sin-cursed earth has ever seen. That spot will not out with all their washings.—Arnot.

It is better to be the beast of a righteous man than the son of a wicked man; nay it is better to be the beast of a righteous man than to be a wicked man. For the righteous will do right unto his beast; the merciful man hath sense of mercy wheresoever is sense of misery, and while in mercy he regardeth the life of the beast that is beneath him, he is made like unto God, who is so far above him. But the wicked man's tender mercies are "mercies of the cruel," or else his tender mercies are cruel, hurting as much as severe cruelty; and therefore many times a wicked father's fond affection is the utter undoing of a petted child, and sparing pity, where evil should be chastised, is the breeding nurse of mischief which cannot be helped. The fond mercies whereby the wicked favoureth himself in sloth and idleness, whereby he pleaseth himself with pleasures and delights, whereby he pampereth himself with delicate and luscious meats, whereby he restraineth not his lusts and desires—what are they but cruelties whereby he tormenteth his body with sickness and quickly killeth it, and whereby he wilfully destroyeth his soul.—Jermin.

The worldly care of a high prosperous man may seem very tender to those dependent on him and towards others; but the very tenderness of an impenitent example is the higher snare, the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.… Religion has no austerities that make a true saint careless of the life or feelings even of his beast. On the contrary, it breeds the most pervading tenderness; whereas the wise worlding, however careful of his home and tender towards all who have any claim upon his care, yet, in admitting that there is a hell, and neglecting all prayer for his household, and all example, except one that braves the worst, breeds children simply to destroy them.—Miller.

The tender mercies of the wicked are when base and guilty men are spared that should be smitten with the sword of justice. Pity of this sort is more cruel than cruelty itself. For cruelty is exercised upon individuals, but this pity, by granting impunity, arms and sends forth against innocent men the whole army of evil doers.—Lord Bacon.

We have been used to hear much of the benevolence of infidels and the philanthropy of deists. It is all a pretence. Self is the idol and self-indulgence the object, in the accomplishment of which they are little scrupulous about the means. Where self is the idol, the heart is cruel. While they talk of universal charity, they regard not the cruelty of robbing thousands of the consolations of religion.… While they speak of harmless gaiety and pleasure they would treacherously corrupt piety and pollute unsuspecting innocence.—Holden.

The word regard is of twofold application, and may either apply to the moral or the intellectual part of our nature. In the one it is the regard of attention; in the other it is the regard of sympathy or kindness. But we do not marvel at the term having been applied to two different things, for they are most intimately associated. They act and re-act upon each other. If the heart be very alive to any particular set of emotions the mind will be alert in singling out the peculiar objects which excite them; so, on the other hand, that the emotions be specifically felt the objects must be specifically noticed.… So much is this the case that Nature seems to have limited and circumscribed our power of noticing just for the purpose of shielding us from too incessant a sympathy.… If man, for instance, looked upon Nature with a microscopic eye his sensibilities would be exposed to the torture of a perpetual offence from all possible quarters of contemplation, or, if through habit these sensibilities were blunted, what would become of character in the extinction of delicacy of feeling?.… There is, furthermore, a physical inertness of our reflective faculties, an opiate infused, as it were, into the recesses of our mental economy, by which objects, when out of sight, are out of mind, and it is to some such provision, we think, that much of the heart's purity, as well as its tenderness, is owing; and it is well that the thoughts of the spirit should be kept, though even by the weight of its own lethargy, from too busy a converse with objects which are alike offensive and hazardous to both.… But there is a still more wondrous limitation than this.… The sufferings of the lower animals may be in sight, and yet out of mind. This is strikingly exemplified in the sports of the field, in the midst of whose varied and animating bustle that cruelty, which is all along present to the senses, may not, for one moment, be present to the thoughts.… It touches not the sensibilities of the heart, but just because it is never present to the notice of the mind. The followers of this occupation are reckless of pain, but this is not rejoicing in pain. Theirs is not the delight of savage, but the apathy of unreflecting creatures.… We are inclined to carry this principle much further. We are not sure if, within the whole compass of humanity, fallen as it is, there be such a thing as delight in suffering for its own sake. But, without hazarding a controversy on this, we hold it enough for every practical object that much, and perhaps the whole of this world's cruelty, arises not from the enjoyment that is felt in consequence of others' pain, but from the enjoyment that is felt in spite of it.… But a charge of the foulest delinquency may be made up altogether of wants or of negatives; and just as the human face, by the mere want of some of its features, although there should not be any inversion of them, might be an object of utter loathsomeness to beholders, so the human character, by the mere absence of certain habits or sensibilities which belong ordinarily and constitutionally to our species, may be an object of utter abomination in society. The want of natural affection forms one article of the Apostle's indictment against our world; and certain it is that the total want of it were stigma enough for the designation of a monster. The mere want of religion is enough to make a man an outcast from his God. Even to the most barbarous of our kind you apply, not the term of anti-humanity, but of inhumanity—not the term of anti-sensibility; and you hold it enough for the purpose of branding him for general execration that you convicted him of complete and total insensibility.… We count it a deep atrocity that, unlike to the righteous man of our text, he simply does not regard the life of a beast.… The true principle of his condemnation is that he ought to have regarded.… Our text rests the whole cause of the inferior animals on one moral element, which is in respect of principle, and on one practical method, which is, in respect of efficacy, unquestionable: "A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast." Let a man be but righteous in the general and obvious sense of the word, and let the regard of his attention be but directed to the case of the inferior animals, and then the regard of his sympathy will be awakened to the full extent at which it is either duteous or desirable.… The lesson is not the circulation of benevolence within the limits of one species. It is the transmission of it from one species to another. The first is but the charity of a world; the second is the charity of a universe. Had there been no such charity, no descending current of love and liberality from species to species, what would have become of ourselves? Whence have we learned this attitude of lofty unconcern about the creatures who are beneath us? Not from those ministering spirits who wait upon the heirs of salvation.… Not from that mighty and mysterious visitant who unrobed Him of all His glories, and bowed down His head unto the sacrifice, and still, from the seat of His now exalted mediatorship, pours forth His intercessions and His calls in behalf of the race He died for. Finally, not from the eternal Father of all, in the pavilion of whose residence there is the golden treasury of all those bounties and beatitudes that roll over the face of nature, and from the footstool of whose empyreal throne there reaches a golden chain of providence to the very humblest of His family.—Chalmers.

He prayeth best who loveth best

All things both great and small;

For the dear God that loveth us,

He made and loveth all.

Coleridge.


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:10". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/proverbs-12.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

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