Bowels of Mercy

Although perhaps too earthy for squeamish readers, the idea of the “bowels of mercy” is found frequently in the scriptures, reflecting ancient views about human emotions and offering powerful insights about divine compassion.

The scriptures often come to us like messages in a bottle, blown from distant times and places. They bring with them modes of expression that can sometimes be mysterious for latter-day readers. One of these mannerisms is the frequent use of concrete bodily language in describing spiritual conditions. We read variously of flinty hearts and stiff necks, bent knees and girded loins, blind eyes and ears waxed dull, and perhaps strangest of all, “bowels of mercy.”

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 38:4
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