The Agora
Bible Articles and Lessons: G

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Gaal: redeemer

The Gaal/Redeemer

The Heb word gaal, or goel, has been translated "kinsman" (Num 5:8), "avenger" (Num 35:12), "revenger" (Num 35:19-27), "kinsfolk" (1Ki 16:11), "redeemer" (Job 19:25), "near kinsman" (Rth 2:20; 3:9), and "deliver" (Psa 119:154).

When God Himself proclaims Himself to be the Redeemer, He announces that He will become "next of kin" to those whom He will save. How did the great Creator become near of kin to us? By manifesting Himself in the flesh (2Co 5:19-21; Rom 8:3), through the birth of a Son who will bear the image and stamp of His character, while at the same time being a man.

Redemption of a Land Inheritance

The Land belongs to God, and individual Israelites never really owned it (Lev 25:23), though they were given the exclusive right to it so long as they kept the law. If a man fell into debt, and had to mortgage the land he inherited, it became the duty of the Gaal to purchase it, so as to retain possession of it in the family (Lev 25:23-27). On the year of Jubilee, however, the land which had passed out of the hands of the inheritor, reverted back to him; and therefore was redeemed by God Himself (Lev 25:9,10). Meanwhile, the Gaal acted on behalf of God.

The Land of Promise, which passed into the hands of strangers when Israel was taken into captivity, shall be redeemed by the true Gaal: God manifested in His Son (Psa 74:2; Isa 52:9).

Redemption of Slaves

If an Israelite, through poverty or any other reason, were sold into slavery to a stranger, it was the duty of the Gaal to redeem him, and thus restore him to freedom (Lev 25:47-53).

Through sin, man finds himself in bondage to the law of sin and death (Rom 7:3; 8:2), and utterly unable to redeem himself (Psa 49:7,8). But God, the Gaal of Israel, having manifested Himself in flesh in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, assumes the position of near kinsman, and so the price of redemption is paid (1Pe 1:18,19; 1Co 6:20; 7:23).

Preserver of the Family

The next of kin also had the duty of preserving the family by marrying the widow of a deceased brother if he had died childless (Deu 25:5-10). Under such a law, the continuity of the family was maintained, even though its continuance may have been threatened by folly or disaster. The duty of Preserver of the Family is clearly linked with the duty to redeem the land inheritance. Boa, acting as the Gaal, made it possible for Ruth the alien to have fellowship with Israel, and a covenant relationship with God.

The Lord Jesus, as Gaal, has done likewise for us who are Gentiles (Eph 2:11-13; 3:6).

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope -- the glorious appearlng of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to REDEEM us from all wickedness, and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good" (Tit 2:11-14).

(Adapted from HPM)

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