Mercy... a different view
I was reading some stuff recently that suggested that what the Bible has to say about "mercy" was a bit different to how I / everyone typically think of it.
This argued that the word "mercy" used in the Bible refers to an appeal for family support. An honourable person helped and aided members of their family, and failing to do so was dishonourable. Hence a person who is in need can ask for mercy from members of their family (or pseudo-family). Thus an important part of getting mercy from someone could be to persuade them that they were in your pseudo-family and thus obligated to help you out of concern for their own honour. (eg "You are a fellow Israelite, have mercy on me!")
Today we think of mercy as an unobligated kindness given usually to strangers of the goodness of your heart. However, if we accept the above suggestions, strangers weren't even eligible for "mercy", and the whole point of mercy was that there was an obligation to give it.