Leviticus 25:48
After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him:
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(48) He may be redeemed again.—The law which applies to a heathen who sold himself to a Hebrew is reversed in this case. Whilst the heathen cannot be redeemed, and is to remain a bondman for ever, the Israelite who sells himself to a heathen may be redeemed. Indeed, according to the interpretation which obtained during the second Temple, this passage enjoins it upon his relations and the congregation to redeem him as soon as possible. Hence the ancient Chaldee Version translates it, “his redemption must be effected forthwith.”



Leviticus 25:48

There are several of the institutions and precepts of the Mosaic legislation which, though not prophetic, nor typical, have yet remarkable correspondences with lofty Christian truth. They may be used as symbols, if only we remember that we are diverting them from their original purpose.

How singularly these words lend themselves to the statement of the very central truths of Christianity-a slavery which is not necessarily perpetual and a redemption effected by a kinsman!

That institution of the ‘Goel’ is of a very remarkable kind, and throws great light on Christian verities. I wish, in dealing with it, to guard against any idea that it was meant to be prophetic or typical.

I. The kinsman redeemer under the old law.

The strength of the family tie in the Israelitish polity was great. The family was the unit-hence there were certain duties devolving on the nearest male relative. These, so far as we are at present concerned, were three.

{a} The redemption of a slave. The Mosaic legislation about slavery was very remarkable. It did not nominally prohibit it, but it fenced it round and modified it, so as to make it another thing.

Israelites were allowed to hold Gentile slaves, but under careful restrictions. Israelites were allowed to sell themselves as slaves. If the sale was to Israelites, the slavery was ended in six years or at the jubilee, whichever period came first-unless the slave had his ear bored to the doorpost to intimate his contentment in service {Exodus 21:5 - - Exodus 21:6}. This is not slavery in our sense of the word, but only a six years’ engagement. If sold to a heathen in Israel, then the Goel had to redeem him; and the reason for this was that all Israelites belonged to God.

{b} The redemption of an inheritance.

This was the task of the kinsman-goel. The land belonged to the tribe. Pauperism was thus kept off. There could be no ‘submerged tenth.’ The theocratic reason was, ‘the land shall not be sold at all for ever for it is Mine!’

{c} The avenging of murder. Blood feuds were thus checked, though not abolished. The remarkable institution of ‘cities of refuge’ gave opportunity for deliberate investigation into each case. If wilful murder was proved, the murderer was given up to the Goel for retribution; if death had been by misadventure, the slayer was kept in the city of refuge till the high-priest’s decease.

This is the germ of the figure of the Redeemer-Kinsman in later Scripture. Notice how higher ideas began to gather round the office. The prophets felt that in some way God was their ‘Goel.’ In Isaiah the application of the name to Him is frequent and, we might almost say, habitual. So in Psalm 49:7, ‘None can be Goel to his brother’; Psalm 49:15, ‘God will be Goel to my soul from the power of the grave.’

Job 19:25, ‘I know that my Goel liveth. . . .’

II. Our Kinsman-Redeemer.

The New Testament metaphor of ‘Redemption’ or buying back with a ransom is distinctly drawn from the Hebrew Goel’s office.

Christ is the Kinsman. The brotherhood of Christ with us was voluntarily assumed, and was for the purpose of redeeming His brethren.

He is the Kinsman-Redeemer from slavery,-a slavery which is voluntary. The soul is self-delivered to evil and sin; but blessed be God! this slavery is terminable. The kinship of Christ was needful for our redemption. ‘It behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren.’ He thus gave His life a ‘ransom’ for many. Note the objective value of His atonement, and its subjective power as setting us free.

He is the Kinsman-Redeemer of our inheritance. God is the inheritance here. The manhood of Jesus brings God back to us for our-{1} Knowledge; {2} Love; {3} Possession. Heaven is our inheritance hereafter. His manhood secures it for us. ‘I go to prepare a place for you.’ ‘An inheritance incorruptible.’ ‘The redemption of the purchased possession.’

The Kinsman-Avenger of blood. It is only in a modified sense that we can transfer this part of the Goel’s office to Jesus. The old Kinsman-Avenger of blood avenged it by shedding the shedder’s blood in retribution. But that was not the kind of vindication {for Goel means also Vindicator} for which Job looked when he used the expression. Resurrection to the vision of God was to come to him ‘at the last,’ by the standing of his Goel on the earth, and that was to be the true avenging of his death, and his vindication. The great murderer Death is to die, and his victims are to be wrested from him, and their death be proved to be the means of their fuller life. ‘Precious shall their blood be in His sight,’ and when their slayer is slain they will live for ever, partakers of their Kinsman-Redeemer’s glory, because they had been partakers of His death, and His blood had been precious in their sight. Let us cling to our Kinsman-Redeemer in all our life that He may give us freedom and an inheritance among His brethren, and, closing our eyes in death, we may commend our spirits to the ‘Angel that redeemed us from all evil,’ and be sure that He will ‘redeem’ our ‘souls from the power of the grave.’

25:39-55 A native Israelite, if sold for debt, or for a crime, was to serve but six years, and to go out the seventh. If he sold himself, through poverty, both his work and his usage must be such as were fitting for a son of Abraham. Masters are required to give to their servants that which is just and equal, Col 4:1. At the year of jubilee the servant should go out free, he and his children, and should return to his own family. This typified redemption from the service of sin and Satan, by the grace of God in Christ, whose truth makes us free, Joh 8:32. We cannot ransom our fellow-sinners, but we may point out Christ to them; while by his grace our lives may adorn his gospel, express our love, show our gratitude, and glorify his holy name.A sojourner or stranger - Rather, a foreigner who has settled among you. See Leviticus 16:29, note; Exodus 20:10, note.39-46. if thy brother … be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee, thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bond-servant—An Israelite might be compelled, through misfortune, not only to mortgage his inheritance, but himself. In the event of his being reduced to this distress, he was to be treated not as a slave, but a hired servant whose engagement was temporary, and who might, through the friendly aid of a relative, be redeemed at any time before the Jubilee. The ransom money was determined on a most equitable principle. Taking account of the number of years from the proposal to redeem and the Jubilee, of the current wages of labor for that time, and multiplying the remaining years by that sum, the amount was to be paid to the master for his redemption. But if no such friendly interposition was made for a Hebrew slave, he continued in servitude till the year of Jubilee, when, as a matter of course, he regained his liberty, as well as his inheritance. Viewed in the various aspects in which it is presented in this chapter, the Jubilee was an admirable institution, and subservient in an eminent degree to uphold the interests of religion, social order, and freedom among the Israelites. No text from Poole on this verse.

After that he is sold he may be redeemed again,.... Though an Heathen, sold to an Israelite, was to be a bondman for ever, and could not be released by the year of jubilee, yet an Israelite sold to an Heathen might be redeemed before, and if not, he was freed then. The Jewish writers understand this of an obligation upon the man, or his friends, or the congregation, to redeem him, and that immediately, as the Targum of Jonathan, and Jarchi, because of the danger he was in by being in the family of an idolater, lest he be polluted (c), that is, with idolatry; or be swallowed up among the Heathens, as Maimonides (d); but it is plain from Leviticus 25:54, that there was no obligation for an immediate redemption; nor was the person sold in such danger as suggested, since the sojourner, to whom he is supposed to be sold, was no idolater, whether a proselyte either of righteousness, or of the gate

one of his brethren may redeem him; which may be taken in a strict and proper sense, for any of his brethren who were in circumstances sufficient to redeem him, or for any near akin to him, as the following words seem to explain it. No mention is made of his father: the reason of which Abarbinel (e) says, because it cannot be thought that a father would suffer his son to be sold, if it was in his power to redeem him, since a father is pitiful to his son.

(c) Pesikta apud Drusium in loc. (d) Hilchot Abadim, c. 2. sect. 7. (e) Apud Muis. Varia Sacra, p. 373.

After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him:
48, 49. Cp. Leviticus 25:25.

Leviticus 25:48The servitude of an Israelite to a settler who had come to the possession of property, or a non-Israelite dwelling in the land, was to be redeemable at any time. If an Israelite had sold himself because of poverty to a foreign settler (תּושׁב גּר, to distinguish the non-Israelitish sojourner from the Israelitish, Leviticus 25:35), or to a stock of a foreigner, then one of his brethren, or his uncle, or his uncle's son or some one of his kindred, was to redeem him; or if he came into the possession of property, he was to redeem himself. When this was done, the time was to be calculated from the year of purchase to the year of jubilee, and "the money of his purchase was to be according to the number of the years," i.e., the price at which he had sold himself was to be distributed over the number of years that he would have to serve to the year of jubilee; and "according to the days of a day-labourer shall he be with him," i.e., the time that he had worked was to be estimated as that of a day-labourer, and be put to the credit of the man to be redeemed.
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