My Lent Words 21: There is a Redeemer

There are two words that get translated ‘redeemer’ or ‘ransom’ interchangeably. But they express two quite different concepts.

Ga’al emphasises relationship. The redeemer chooses to be the next of kin, taking the needs of a helpless relative as their own.

‘… a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness … But only the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord will return.’ (Isaiah 35:8-10)

It is experienced by those who have a family relationship with the Lord. Go’el is the ‘redeemer’ who, as the next of kin, buys back a relative from slavery, or avenges a murdered person. This work of the ‘redeemer’ was a right which no other dare usurp. It was a right not a duty. It called for willingness.

‘If one of your countrymen becomes poor and sells some of his property, his nearest relative is to come and redeem what his countryman has sold.’ (Leviticus 25:25)

‘…if that person has no close relative to whom restitution can be made for the wrong, the restitution belongs to the Lord and must be given to the priest…’ (Numbers 5:8)

‘Although it is true that I am near of kin, there is a kinsman-redeemer nearer than I.’ (Ruth 3:12)
‘Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.’ (Isaiah 43:1b)

God in Jesus has chosen to be my redeemer/kinsman. He has stood up for me and taken my place.

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