Thursday, August 10, 2017

Slaves, but freed ones

YHWH’s legal claim to the ownership of Israel is based on His act of sovereign redemption. The verb פדה carries the sense of ransoming an enslaved party. Hence, on one level an acquisition of slaves has taken place, and on another level, Israel does not remain merely a “material” property which changed its owner, because the verb פדה is closely associated with the ֵgō'ēl (“redeemer”). In other words, YHWH is portrayed not as slave trader but as faithful and generous redeemer who ransomed Israel from bondage. There might even be a sense that the redeemer is obliged to ransom his near of kin, that is, His son (cf. Exod 4:23).—Standing in the Breach, page 149

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