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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(גּוֹאֵל, goë l', part. of גָּאִל, gaal', to redeem; in full, גּוֹאֵל הִדָּם, avenger of blood, rendered "kinsman," "redeemer," "avenger," etc., in the A. Vers.), Among the Hebrews, the right of repurchasing and redeeming, as well as that of avenging blood, appertained only to the next relative; hence goel, simply, is used for the next relative (Leviticus 25:25). Similar usages prevail universally among the modern Arabs. (See BLOOD- REVENGE). Connected with the duties of the Goel was, according to custom, also that of marrying the childless widow of the deceased relative (Deuteronomy 20:5-10). (See LEVIRATE LAW). The fact of the close consanguinity renders the Goel an eminent type of the Redeemer of mankind, as is especially evinced in that famous passage in the Oriental epic of Job. The afflicted man, by a striking anticipation of the incarnate Mediator, standing in immortal self-existence over the sleeping ashes of his kindred saint, who was misunderstood and maligned even by his best earthly friends, thus touchingly exults in the prospect that his disembodied spirit should survive to witness the posthumous vindication of his fame (Job 19:25-27):

[Be this my dying testimony,] That I have known my living God; And last upon [the] dust he will arise: Yes, after my skin has decayed, [even] thus; Yet without my flesh shall I behold Deity! Whom I shall behold [as] mine; (Yes, my eyes, they have [already] seen [him], Nor has he been strange [to me]), [Though] they have failed, my reins within me.

The sentiment was well worthy to be "engraved with an iron style, and set with lead in the rock forever, as the epitaph of the noble patriarch (Job 19:24). Although it does not (as erroneously rendered in the A.V.) contain any allusion to the resurrection of the body, yet it distinctly recognises the doctrines of a fellow-feeling on the part of God towards man, and of the immortality of the soul; and it shows how these tenets, which lie at the basis of all true religion, whether natural or revealed, are alone adequate to support the human spirit under the sorrows of life, and in view of death. (See Stö r, De vindice sanguinis, Lips. 1694; Stickel, De Goë le, Jen. 1832; and the dissertations on the passage by Rosshirt [Herbip. 1791] and Kosegarten [Griefsw. 1815].) (See REDEEMER).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Goel'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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Wednesday, October 21st, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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