A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
– Proverbs 12:10
The word for righteous is common and means justice. It gives the idea of dealing justly or fairly with others. Here the righteous man is considerate of the life of his beast. The phrase expresses how thorough his kindness is as it extends to animal life. The law had certain provisions pertaining to animals and their treatment (Exodus 22:20; Leviticus 22:27-28; Deuteronomy 22:6; 25:4). The righteous man has understanding, particularly of the creation and the respect we should have for it. The contrast with the wicked is heightened by comparing their conduct toward people. The word for tender mercies means compassion. The phrase expresses that the wicked have so little regard for others that even their compassion is cruel.