GOEL gō’ ĕl (גֹּאֵ֑ל, redeemer). The present active participle of the word which means “to redeem,” “to act as a kinsman,” or “to do the part of the next of kin.”
The term is found frequently in the OT as describing the person who is next of kin and his respective duties.
One of his duties is to buy back what his poor brother has sold and cannot himself regain (
Ruth illustrates the responsibility of the redeemer to purchase land belonging to one deceased who was next of kin; to marry his widow and to raise up children for the deceased (
It is quite appropriate then that the term became applied to God in His relationship to men. As Redeemer He would buy back what the poor sinner sold (his life) and could not regain. God also would avenge the wrong done to believing sinners by His judgment against the devil and sin. Furthermore, like a husband, God would marry the church, His bride. All of these concepts of God are seen in Scripture. They begin in the OT but are fully developed in the New.
Jacob first spoke of God as his Goel from all evil (
Job also expressed intimate knowledge of his Goel, presumably God (
The psalmist calls God his Goel and strength (
The LXX uses several different words to tr. the Heb. גֹּאֵ֑ל. Three of them are λυτρούμενος, ῥυσάμενός, and ἐξαιρουμενός. All are participles in form.
These words appear in the NT quite appropriately in reference to God and esp..
Christ is said to give His life a ransom (λύτρον, G3389) for many (
Peter tells us that we were redeemed (λυτρόω, G3390) not by gold and silver but by the blood of Christ (
Note also the use of ῥύομαι, G4861, and ἐξαιρέω, G1975, (
From the use of this term it is clear that quite early God’s people understood the concept of God as Goel. Christ quite appropriately, in the flesh, did become the Goel who purchased with His blood our lives and who wrought vengeance on our enemy, Satan. He further became our bridegroom and the Church, His bride.
H. Rowley, Theand Modern Study (1951), 221; Oesterley and Robinson, An Introduction to the Books of the Old Testament (1958), 83; W. Eichrodt, Theology of the Old Testament (1961), 309; C. Pfeiffer, and the Bible (1962), 43.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
Goel is the participle of the Hebrew word gal’al ("to deliver," "to redeem") which aside from its common usage is frequently employed in connection with Hebrew law, where it is the technical term applied to a person who as the nearest relative of another is placed under certain obligations to him.
(1) If a Jew because of poverty had been obliged to sell himself to a wealthy "stranger or sojourner," it became the duty of his relatives to redeem him. Compare
(2) The same duty fell upon the nearest kinsman, if his brother, being poor, had been forced to sell some of his property. Compare
(3) It also devolved upon the nearest relative to marry the ú childless widow of his brother (
For the figurative use of Goel ("redeemer") see
Arthur L. Breslich