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Word Study: “Redeemer” (Ga’al)

Word Study: “Redeemer” (Ga’al)



Introduction

The focus of this word study will be on the term “Redeemer” which is classified as a noun in the English dictionary and is defined as “someone who redeems”.[1] It appears that this noun may be important because when read in the NASB translation the “R” is capitalized in Redeemer which gives me a cue that this may be another term for God according to the Psalmist. This noun reveals one of God’s actions, redeeming people and this psalmist is seeking divine approval from THE Redeemer.[2] This noun reveals God’s character as a deliverer and due to this the Psalmist seeks to give a praise offering.[3] While we read this as a noun in our English translation upon studying this term I have come to learn that its origin is identified as a verb in Hebrew thus we will see how this term is used within the Bible and how context helps us differ this term from a noun or verb. For the purpose of this assignment because it reads as a noun, the primary focus will be on how the noun relates to who God is.

Select Only the Most Important Word(s) for Study

The most important word I chose for study is “Redeemer” because this is whom the psalmist is praising within this verse.[4]

Determine the Hebrew Word from Which the English Word Was Derived

The Hebrew word from which the English word was derived is “גאל” or “gā'al”.[5]

Determine the Usage of the Hebrew Word

This word appears to be used 104 times in Scripture.[6] This word is used one time within Psalm 19. The most common noun forms for this word seem to be redeemer which is used 18 times and kinsman which is used 13 times.[7]

List All the English Words for the One Hebrew Word

The English words for this Hebrew word are redeem, redeemer, and avenger.[8] Another term of translation used for this word is “kinsman”.[9]

Consider How the Contextual Settings Influenced Each of the English Word Choices

Ga’al means “to buy back” or “to redeem” and generally used for redemption of bondage or oppression.[10] While this term may not refer to sin redemption in the Old Testament it is still implicitly revealed in the Old Testament.[11] With that being the case it seems that the context of the whole Psalm leads to a Redeemer but primarily in verses 12-14. The Psalm is read as praise given to the Lord for His perfect ways but then shifts in verse 12 and 13 when the Psalmist brings attention to his faults – “Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; Then I will be blameless, And I shall be acquitted of great transgression”[12] By admitting his faults, the Psalmist admits that he needs a redeemer to acquit him of the oppression of his own sins. While this word may be originally a verb in the Hebrew language it is referring to the ‘person” of God who is the one who can redeem thus making Him the Redeemer.

Conclusion

Upon completion of this word study, I believe the accurate terms have been used within this passage. While “kinsman” has been used to refer to Jesus, I believe that “Redeemer seems to be the appropriate term for the noun within this passage. While I can argue that avenger could have been used as well because there is a real battle to be won between the flesh and spirit within the scope of spiritual warfare, it makes sense that “Redeemer” be used within the Old Testament context. Upon conclusion of this word study, I believe that it can also be said that this term leads to a foreshadowing of what is to come in the New Testament. This psalmist is already seeking transformation from his sins which can only come through God. Our ultimate redemption comes through the cross according to the grand scheme of salvation which is foreshadowed within Scripture thus it only makes sense that the Psalmist can allude to this as well.











[1] “Definition of REDEEMER,” www.merriam-webster.com, accessed July 31, 2023, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/redeemer. [2] David S Dockery, Concise Bible Commentary (Nashville, Tennessee: B&H Publishing Group, 2016), 218. [3] Kenneth L Barker and William Kruidnier, Zondervan NASB Study Bible (Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A.: Zondervan, 2009), 758. [4] Psalm 19:14, NASB [5] “H1350 - Gā’al - Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (Nasb95),” Blue Letter Bible, accessed July 31, 2023, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h1350/nasb95/wlc/0-1/. [6] “H1350 - Gā’al - Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (Nasb95),” Blue Letter Bible, accessed July 31, 2023, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h1350/nasb95/wlc/0-1/. [7] “H1350 - Gā’al - Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (Nasb95),” Blue Letter Bible, accessed July 31, 2023, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h1350/nasb95/wlc/0-1/. [8] “גאל,” Logos.com (Logos), accessed July 31, 2023, emphasis mine on noun form https://app.logos.com/guides/word?reference=lbs%2Fhe%2F%D7%92%D7%90%D7%9C%3A1&tile=right&zzls=2eMKcdcKOMcKPw4IwDMKFw7%2FCi8KlbFXDkxREwqFbKSMbw6PDqcKGwpQaGsORJsOFCT3CncKqw7x3QlhAAsOJwrLCnsKew63Dt3nChgnDiSrCo8KhFAnCjFJjX8KNY23ChkHDqsOWQsO5MwfDk3VaDgglw7DDhsKYwovDpcO7w73CgS0qwpFmaSEyTnhCQn1Ew4sbw5XDtMOIw7Itw5opFcKbWEtIw6B6Q8O6wodyBsKnw7pHTMKPJxfDrMKRwpQhw6XDgiTDj8K8T8K%2BwpPClsKrdBFYwrxDw5nDvhlqLWfCu8KCbXLCtlvCsW0dw7s6OlnDlEXDlMO1BzDCqXPDt04WT8KyPDo1woUNRzd8OXvDuVB4w7%2FDq8OvNSlewps%3D. [9] “H1350 - Gā’al - Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (Nasb95),” Blue Letter Bible, accessed July 31, 2023, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h1350/nasb95/wlc/0-1/. [10] Chad Brand et al., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, Tn: Holman Reference, 2003), 1339. [11] Chad Brand et al., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, Tn: Holman Reference, 2003), 1339. [12] Psalm 19:12-13, NASB

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