HEBREW – LORD of Recompense [Jehovah-Gemula]


Yāhweh Gemûlāh

Jeremiah 51:56

  1. Because of His perfect, absolute righteousness, God is also called by two names that speak of His judgment upon unrighteousness. 

    A. First, for example, in Jer_51:56, where He is called Jehovah Gemûlāh. The prophet foretells that God will come “upon Babylon, and her mighty men are taken, every one of their bows is broken: for the LORD God of recompences shall surely requite.”

    B. The Hebrew gemûlāh (H1578)—a derivative of gāmal (H1580), “to deal, to recompense, to ripen”—speaks of full repayment for what is deserved.


  2. There are many instances of this word (and other derivatives) that speak of recompense, both of judgment and blessing.

    A. Used positively, for example, when David was fleeing from Absalom, Barzillai provided him with supplies (2Sa_19:32), and David returned the favor (2Sa_19:36).

    B. It is even used to speak of benefits God has given (Psa_103:2). Here, benefits is the same Hebrew word as recompense.

    C. At times, the positive and negative are actually contrasted, as in the Virtuous Woman, who “will do [gāmal] him [her husband] good and not evil all the days of her life” (Pro_31:12).


  3. It is the negative, however, that is truly sobering.

    A. The instance here in our text speaks of God’s retribution on His enemies, as does Isa_59:18 : “According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence.”

    B. The psalmist calls upon this God of Recompense to “give [the wicked] according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavours: give them after the work of their hands; render to them their desert [gemûl]” (Psa_28:4).

  1. We cannot help but make special note of Psa_94:2 :

    A. “Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward [gemûl] to the proud.”

    B. Pride is never used in a positive way of man in Scripture.

    C. Here we read of, in fact, its costliness; God will recompense it, judging it as harshly as He did the Babylonians. How this should show us what a serious sin pride is!

  2. The New Testament has – antapodidomi – translated as reward.

    A. Romans 12:17 leaves us with a positive virtue to all that are believers in the Lord. “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

    B. We further find the Lord claiming the right to recompense the enemies of believers. II Thessalonians 1:6 – “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you.

    C. We often hear the phrase, “Vengence is mine sayeth the Lord.” Hebrews 10:30 is very effective in showing God’s attitude to the enemies of his people and also the judgment that will be brought to bear on His people. “For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belogeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

  3. Being “born again” by trusting in Jesus death, burial and resurrection has the greatest recompense. Luke 14:14 “And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompense at the resurrection of the just.


  4. Scriptures for Study: On the positive side, what does Psa_116:12 command? On the negative side, what does Isa_3:9 warn?


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