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Question

 

Gramps,

What is the significance of  phrases such as “the Lords bowels are filled with compassion” or “that his bowels my be filled with mercy”. Why bowels?

Melissa

 

Answer

 

Melissa,

This is actually a case of old definitions not being clear in today’s usage.  There are other definitions of the word.  So, context is important in determining which definition is intended.

Webster’s 1828 dictionary provides the following definition:

The seat of pity or kindness; hence, tenderness, compassion, a scriptural sense.

Even today we say that we get a feeling in our gut that something is right or wrong.  What does your gut say about…? These are common things today.  But when we speak of mercy or kindness or love, we tend to say “heart” in today’s usage.  Similarly, the archaic equivalent was “bowels.”

But “I love you from the bottom of my bowels” simply doesn’t fly in today’s society.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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