pāḏāh [and] gā’al
One Hebrew authority writes, “Whatever theory one may hold as to the possibility . . . or probability of a Divine intervention in human affairs, the Bible is pledged to the fact that such an intervention has taken place.” That is an understatement! God has, indeed, intervened, and how thankful we are that He did!
No word underscores God’s intervention more, in fact, than does redemption. The first important word here is pāḏāh (H6299), which is of immense theological significance. It was originally a word of commerce for paying a price for something to transfer ownership, such as buying an animal (Exo_13:13; Exo_34:20) or even a slave (Exo_21:8; Lev_19:20). Especially significant theologically is Num_18:15-17, where the priests received redemption money in place of a firstborn son or unclean animal, all rooted in Exo_13:13-15, where pāḏāh also refers to the firstborn in Egypt. Therefore, as the psalmist writes, “Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth” (Psa_31:5), for He “redeem[s] my soul from the power of the grave” (Psa_49:15).
The second word we encounter is gā’al (H1350), a specific word that is almost exclusively Hebrew and means not only “to redeem” but “to act as a kinsman-redeemer.” One authority well sums it up: “The word means to act as a redeemer for a deceased kinsman (Rth_3:13); to redeem or buy back from bondage (Lev_25:48); to redeem or buy back a kinsman’s possessions (Lev_25:26); to avenge a kinsman’s murder (Num_35:19); to redeem an object through a payment (Lev_27:13).”
Putting the two words together, then, while pāḏāh speaks of deliverance from bondage, gā’al speaks more technically of a kinsman doing the redeeming. Again, while pāḏāh is used for the redeeming of the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage (Exo_13:15), gā’al is used of Boaz as the kinsman-redeemer (Rth_3:12-13; cf. “levirate marriage” in Deu_25:5-10), a wonderful picture of the Savior who is to come. Christ is, indeed, our Kinsman-Redeemer (our “Elder-brother,” i.e., “the firstborn among many brethren,” Rom_8:29), coming to our aid, paying our debts, and supplying our needs.
Finally, it is immensely significant that both these words are usually translated as lutroō (G3084) in the Septuagint, which means “to release on receipt of a ransom,” for it was Christ who “came . . . to give his life a ransom for many” (Mat_20:28).
Scriptures for Study: From what does redemption flow in Isa_54:8; Isa_63:9 (gā’al)? In view of God being our Redeemer, what should be our response (Psa_19:14; Psa_107:2)?