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)?
Mercy is a translation of the Hebrew cheseḏ (H2617), which is “one of the most important [words] in the vocabulary of OT theology and ethics,” appearing some 240 times, most frequently in the Psalms. It speaks of kindness, loving-kindness, mercy, goodness, faithfulness, loyal love, and acts of kindness. While the word is used for kindness one person might show another, such as David’s kindness to Mephibosheth, the son of David’s dear friend Jonathan (2Sa_9:7), it is God’s mercy to man that stands out.
If there is a single word, in fact, that could summarize God’s dealing with His people, it would be the word mercy. One example, and by far the most notable appearance of cheseḏ, is in Psalms 136, where the psalmist declares twenty-six times of God, “His mercy endureth for ever.” This psalm is a study in worship, with God’s mercy at the forefront, displaying what wondrous works He has done. Mercy is at the foundation of His character (Psa_136:1-3), the function of His creative work (Psa_136:4-9), the fountain from which all His blessings flow to His people (Psa_136:10-25), and the force behind His Rulership in heaven (Psa_136:26).
The greatest manifestation of God’s mercy, of course, is that of redemption, His saving men from sin (Psa_51:1, “lovingkindness”, Psa_86:13). We are always struck by Jonah’s opposition to going to the unimaginably wicked Assyrians at Nineveh. Because he knew that God was a God of “kindness” (loyal love, committed to the objects of His love) and would save those pagans when they didn’t (in Jonah’s thinking) deserve it (Jon_4:2).
It is also noteworthy that with few exceptions, the Septuagint translates cheseḏ with the common Greek word eleos (G1656), which speaks of “kindness or good will towards the miserable and afflicted, joined with a desire to relieve them.” The whole point of mercy, therefore, is to relieve the affliction that man suffers because he cannot relieve it himself. Mercy is always to the helpless.
With God’s mercy as our model, we are to show mercy to others. “Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and show mercy [i.e., covenant loyalty manifested in love] and compassions every man to his brother” (Zec_7:9; Jas_2:13-17). Judgment, in fact, is reserved for those who do not show mercy and kindness (Psa_109:16).
Scriptures for Study: What does Psa_103:8 say about God and mercy? What is the prerequisite for God’s mercy in Psa_32:10?
The conversion that “shook the world.”
December 15, 1850 – Charles H. Spurgeon was converted to Christ, and it was the conversion that “shook the world.” According to the following account given by Baptist Historian William Cathcart,” Spurgeon happened to go into a Primitive Methodist Chapel in Colchester, and heard a sermon on the text, ‘Look unto Me and be ye saved.’ From that hour he rejoiced in salvation.” However, in a sermon that Spurgeon himself delivered in the New Park Street Chapel on Sunday, January 6, 1856, he gave the date of his conversion as Jan. 6, 1850. Nevertheless the conversion of the 15 year old boy can never be called into question, for his life was changed radically as he placed his trust in the finished work of Christ for his redemption. It was a cold, snowy day, and the storm was so fierce that the scheduled preacher did not arrive to preach his message. Fifteen people or fewer made up the congregation. A local layman finally agreed to preach, and he chose for his text Isaiah 45:22, “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” In a brief few minutes the speaker had exhausted the text…and seeing the guilt-ridden face of the lad under the balcony, he fixed his eyes upon Charles, and pointing with his finger he shouted, “Young man, you’re in trouble! Look to Jesus Christ! Look! Look! Look! “ And Spurgeon did look in faith, believing, and God brought peace and purpose to his heart and life. Little could that layman have known that the storm in his heart was more severe than the storm outside the building! In his Autobiography, he gives an entire chapter to the subject of his conviction. He said, “Let none despise the strivings of the Spirit in the hearts of the young; let not boyish anxieties and juvenile repentance be lightly regarded.” Jesus said, “Forbid them not.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 523-24.