The Kinsman Redeemer -Redemption – Part 2

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This is the second part in our series about redemption. In the first part we focused on what redemption is, the importance of the redemption of the firstborn and the relation between redemption of the firstborn and human sacrifice (abortion). In this part, we are going to learn about the kinsman redeemer.

redemption

Have you ever wondered what the connection is between Y’Shua’s redemptive work and the role of the kinsman redeemer? We have found that if we want to understand Y’Shua’s redemptive work better, we need to understand what a kinsman redeemer is, because that is what He is; He is our Kinsman Redeemer, our Go’el. In this post, we will study the role and responsibilities of a kinsman redeemer to show you how Y’shua fulfilled this role. We shall also, for interest sake, look at what a blood avenger is and how a levirate marriage worked. We will then in forthcoming posts, study “what it means to be redeemed” and Israel’s future redemption.

What is a Go’el?

A specific Hebrew root is used when it is referred to the redemption of a person or land in a family context, it is “go-el”

300a גְּאוּלַי (gĕʾûlay) redemption (Isa 63:4 only).
300b גְּאֻלָּה (gĕʾūllâ) redemption, right of redemption, price of redemption, kindred.
300c גֹּאֵל (gōʾēl) I, redeemer.

“The primary meaning of this root is to do the part of a kinsman and thus to redeem his  kin from difficulty or danger. One difference between this root and the very similar root pādâ “redeem,” is that there is usually an emphasis in gāʾal on the redemption being the privilege or duty of a near relative. The participial form of the Qal stem has indeed been translated by some as “kinsman-redeemer” or as in KJV merely “kinsman.” 1

This word is used in four situations. It is used:

  • to refer to the avenger of blood
  • to refer to the repurchase of people, property or non-sacrificial animals given to YHVH in a vow
  • in relation to the repurchase of a field or a person
  • to refer to YHVH as Redeemer

We shall discuss each of these here.

A Go’el is an avenger of blood

In the book of Numbers we find detailed instructions regarding the blood avenger. Who is the blood avenger?

“The “blood avenger” was literally “taker back of the blood,” that is, a redeemer with a
specialized function

The killing of one clan member was construed by the remaining members not only as a shedding of the group’s blood (de Vaux 1965:11) but as misappropriation of blood which properly belonged to the entire group. The responsibility of the blood avenger was to win back that misappropriated blood by killing the original blood shedder (Daube 1969:123–24)…. The manslayer who had taken the blood had unlawfully become its master. It was the deceased’s relative who was bound to reclaim th
at same blood.2

YHVH is the avenger of Israel…

Deuteronomy 32:43
43 “Rejoice, O nations, with His people; For He will avenge the blood of His servants, And will render vengeance on His adversaries, And will atone for His land and His people.”

A stern warning to the nations…

People, property or non-sacrificial animals given to YHVH in a vow

The word go’el is used within the context of repurchasing people, property or non-sacrificial animals given to YHVH in a vow. Leviticus 27 gives us the rules concerning valuations given for this purpose. These instructions were given by YHVH in His great mercy towards His people. He knew people would make vows which they were in most cases unable to keep. By giving these valuations, He made it possible for them to redeem whatever they vowed and thus still keep their promise. This passage has nothing to do with the redemption of the firstborn or the redemption of slaves…

“The vow of a person was perhaps most frequently made in cases of illness or danger, under the impulse of religions feeling, either in the way of thankfulness for blessings received, or of supplication for something desired. A man might dedicate himself, his wife, his child, or his bondservant. This might have been an old custom; but the Law ordained that he who had taken such a vow should pay a sum of money to the sanctuary, determined according to the age and sex of the person.” 4

The word translated as “vow”is the Hebrew word “nadar”

5623 נָדַר (nā∙ḏǎr): v.; ≡ Str 5087; TWOT 1308—LN 33.463–33.469 (qal) make a vow, i.e., make a binding promise to God, possibly with sanctions if the promise is not kept 3

A good example would be Hannah making a vow to YHVH to dedicate her firstborn son to YHVH if He blessed her with a child. The same Hebrew word is used here.

1 Samuel 1:11
11 She made a vow and said, “O YHVH of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to YHVH all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.”

As a side note, this passage also shows us what is expected when a child is not redeemed. The child would have to be in the service of YHVH. You can read more about the redemption of the firstborn in part 1 of this series.

The repurchase of a field or a person

redemption of landWe have learned in the previous study that people, land or animals could be redeemed. The Hebrew word used for redeemer is “go’el.” If a person becomes indebted, he may sell his property or even himself and his family members. The Jubilee years plays a very important role in the redemption of slaves and land, in that it determines the price of redemption.

The Jubilee Years and land redemption

The price of land is calculated in accordance to the annual potential harvest up to the Jubilee year (the Fiftieth year). If a person became indebted, he could sell the future crops of his land at this price. The use of his land, then goes to his debtor until the Jubilee, when it is restored back to him. In case of redemption, the redemption price is calculated in the same way; it is calculated in accordance to the number of years left until the Jubilee.

Leviticus 25:13–16
13 “In this year of jubilee each of you shall return to his property. 14 And if you make a sale to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor, you shall not wrong one another. 15 You shall pay your neighbor according to the number of years after the jubilee, and he shall sell to you according to the number of years for crops. 16 If the years are many, you shall increase the price, and if the years are few, you shall reduce the price, for it is the number of the crops that he is selling to you.


Leviticus 25:23–28

23 “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with me. 24 And in all the country you possess, you shall allow a redemption of the land. 25 “If your brother becomes poor and sells part of his property, then his nearest redeemer shall come and redeem what his brother has sold. 26 If a man has no one to redeem it and then himself becomes prosperous and finds sufficient means to redeem it, 27 let him calculate the years since he sold it and pay back the balance to the man to whom he sold it, and then return to his property. 28 But if he does not have sufficient means to recover it, then what he sold shall remain in the hand of the buyer until the year of jubilee. In the jubilee it shall be released, and he shall return to his property.

The release of slaves and debt

When a person became indebted, he could sell himself and his family as slaves. The price is calculated in accordance with the price of a hired worker.

Exodus 21:2
2 “If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment.

Deuteronomy 15:12
“If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, then he shall serve you six years, but in the seventh year you shall set him free.

Leviticus 25:39–40
39 ‘If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave’s service. 40 ‘He shall be with you as a hired man, as if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee.

There seems to be a contradiction when you read the passage in Exodus and Deuteronomy and compare it to the passage in Leviticus. Usually, when we find something to be contradictory, it is because we do not understand it fully. Both Exodus and Deuteronomy state that a Hebrew slave can be released in the seventh year. They may, however, choose to remain on as bond slaves. In Leviticus, we see that the time of release is the Jubilee.

Why the difference?

Careful research reveals the answer, in both passages in Exodus and Deuteronomy, the reference is to a Hebrew slave who does not own land. We see that the Hebrew slave can choose to remain in his master’s service permanently, or he can go free redemption in the seventh year in which case he was given gifts by his master.

In Leviticus 25, the person referred to, is a landowner who sells himself either to a countryman or to a stranger due to debt. Thus, there is no contradiction as these passages refer to people of different social standing.

If you would like to learn more about the Hebrew slave, you can read this short document  http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/eq/1973-1_030.pdf

Both the Sabbatical- and Jubilee years were thus years wherein slaves were released. Take note that slaves taken from the nations were not redeemed. They remained slaves throughout their generations. They were not freed in the Jubilee year. There is a very important spiritual implication to this. We will get to it in a later study.

Leviticus 25:47–52
47 “If a stranger or sojourner with you becomes rich, and your brother beside him becomes poor and sells himself to the stranger or sojourner with you or to a member of the stranger’s clan, 48 then after he is sold he may be redeemed. One of his brothers may redeem him, 49 or his uncle or his cousin may redeem him, or a close relative from his clan may redeem him. Or if he grows rich he may redeem himself. 50 He shall calculate with his buyer from the year when he sold himself to him until the year of jubilee, and the price of his sale shall vary with the number of years. The time he was with his owner shall be rated as the time of a hired worker. 51 If there are still many years left, he shall pay proportionately for his redemption some of his sale price. 52 If there remain but a few years until the year of jubilee, he shall calculate and pay for his redemption in proportion to his years of service.

In summary, we see that the return of land could only take place during the Jubilee year, unless there was a kinsman redeemer. In which case, the redemption would result in the original landowner to return to his land before the Jubilee year. The same is possible for slaves; people who sold themselves as slaves were also to be released in the Jubilee year, unless they were redeemed by a kinsman redeemer before this time. This is very important for our study on the future redemption of Israel. Remember this…

We also learn something very important about the kinsman redeemer from the passage in Leviticus 25:

  • it is the next of kin or the person himself who does the redemption (Lev 25:48-49)
  • it is also stated that they may redeem him (Lev 25:48), which point to it that it was done voluntarily and
  • the redeemer will pay the full price (Lev 25:50-52)

We shall come back to this later to show you how Y’Shua fits this role of Kinsman redeemer perfectly.

The book of Ruth

The book of Ruth gives us a detailed account of how the kinsman redeemer, Boas, a close relative, redeems the land of his next of kin, Naomi. We also find here a witness for the law of levirate marriage.

“Perhaps the best known instance of redemption of the poor is in the book of Ruth which is the most extensive OT witness for the law of levirate marriage. According to Deut 25:5–10, a widow without issue should be taken by her husband’s brother to perpetuate seed and thus insure the succession of the land which was bound to the male descendants. The near relative here is called a yābām. The root gāʾal is not used. In the situation in Ruth two things are mentioned, the field and the levirate marriage. But the two things, kinsman redemption and levirate marriage, are to be distinguished. The word gōʾēl “redeemer,” does not refer to the latter institution.5

YHVH, our Redeemer

We have learned three very important things about the kinsman redeemer:

  • he was to be a next-of-kin,
  • he chooses to redeem and
  • he pays the full price.

We know from many passages in the Bible that YHVH is our Redeemer. We also know that Y’Shua is YHVH in the flesh. If we compare what Y’Shua did for us, when He died for our sins, we see that He was fulfilling the role of a kinsman redeemer.

This is confirmed in the passage in Luke:

Luke 4:18–19
18 “The Spirit of YHVH is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, 19 To proclaim the favorable year of YHVH.”

The “favorable year of YHVH” is the year of release also known as the Jubilee. Does this mean Y’Shua was crucified on a Jubilee year in order to be able to redeem? Not necessarily. Is there any need for a kinsman redeemer in the Jubilee year? No, because the land will go back to its original owner. We shall go into more depth in the article about the redemption of Israel.

How is Y’Shua our kinsman?

KINSMAN- Usually refers to a blood relative based on Israel’s tribal nature. 6

Y’Shua was born of a woman, an Israelite woman. He was from the tribe of Judah. This qualifies Him to be a Kinsman. However, Him being a native born Israelite makes Him the Kinsman Redeemer of Israel. We have seen that a slave from the nation did not have a right of redemption.

In the following article you can learn more about this.

Y’Shua paid the price voluntarily

The second condition is that this redemption must be done voluntarily. The price Y’Shua paid was His life. He sweated blood in anticipation of what would happen to Him (Luk 22:43), but He still chose to lay down His life. He could have commanded twelve legions of angels to protect Him from it (Matt 26:53), but He didn’t….

John 15:13–15
13 “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. 14 “You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15 “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.

This is again a great reference to redemption: “no longer do I call you slaves” and again in 1 Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 6:20
20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify Elohim in your body.

We find many other references to Y’Shua being the One who offered His blood to redeem us.

Acts 20:28
28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the assembly of Elohim which He purchased with His own blood.

1 Peter 1:18–19
18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Messiah.

Revelation 5:9–10
9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for Elohim with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. 10 “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our Elohim; and they will reign upon the earth.”

We become friends (John 15:14) when we obey His commandments and a kingdom of priests because of our redemption. Amazing isn’t it?

Y’Shua paid the full price

The punishment for sin is death (Rom 6:23). That is the price you pay when you sin, you die. Y’Shua paid this price on our behalf. He did not sin and therefore did not need to die.

What did Y’Shua mean when He said: “It is finished“? It means He has accomplished that which He was sent to do (John17:4)! He paid the full price!

John 19:30
30 Therefore when Y’Shua had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

Matthew 20:28
28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

John 8:36
36 “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

What are we freed from? We have been redeemed from the bondage and slavery of sin. Y’Shua, our Kinsman Redeemer, paid the full price, out of His own free will to give us a new life! Those who obey Him are called His friends, and those redeemed by Him a kingdom of priests.

We are not slaves of sin anymore, but servants of righteousness. Imitators of Him, our Redeemer!

References

  1. Harris, R. L. (1999). 300 גָּאַל. In R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (144). Chicago: Moody Press.
  2. Sperling, S. D. (1992). Blood, Avenger of. In D. N. Freedman (Ed.), . Vol. 1: The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (D. N. Freedman, Ed.) (763–764). New York: Doubleday.
  3. Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  4. Barnes, Albert, Notes on the Bible,  available on http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/cmt/barnes/lev027.htm – retrieved 18-11-2012
  5. Harris, R. L. (1999). 300 גָּאַל. In R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (144). Chicago: Moody Press.
  6. Bonner, G. (2003). Kinsman. In C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen & T. C. Butler (Eds.), Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen & T. C. Butler, Ed.) (994). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
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