Redemption is the act of a "buying back" (Hebrew: גָּאַל ga'al, to redeem) property, especially slaves, or destitute persons with no other means of support. It is first used as Jacob recalls the goodness God had show to him and his ancestors Abraham and Isaac. The occasion was his blessing of Joseph's sons near the end of Jacob's life. After Joseph died, His people were enslaved by the Egyptians with whom they had been living. Yahweh heard their cries for help, recalling Moses from his exile to lead the people out of Egypt. Moses relays the message from God to the people that they would be redeemed from their slavery with "an outstretched arm", that is to say, with "great acts of judgment". God had entrusted His people to Egypt, and He was reclaiming them. From that point on the narrative of the Bible unfolds the history of what God meant by "redemption" for his people.
Meaning and Usage
The word גָּאַל , to redeem, describes the action of one who is responsible to take care of what has been lost to debt, theft, and other similar circumstances. The Greek equivalent of this Hebrew word is ἐξαγοράζω (exagorazó). Other aspects of redemption are covered with other words having to do with rescue and setting free. However, the concept of "buying back" is the focus of this article.