Etymological Meanings.

The usual rendering in the English versions for the Hebrew words , , derivatives of the stem , which in the verb occurs only in the "nif'al" and "hif'il" forms. Other Hebrew terms translated by the corresponding forms of the English "save" and its synonyms are: (1) . This word, meaning in the "ḳal" "to live," acquires in the "pi'el" and "hif'il" the signification "to keep alive," "to save alive" (Gen. xii. 12, xix. 19, xlv. 7; Ex. i. 17, 18: Num. xxii. 33; I Sam. xxvii. 11). Ezekiel employs it to express the condition of the repentant sinner who, having escaped the penalty of sin (death), continues safe in life. (2) = "to deliver" (II Sam. xix. 9; A. V. "save "). (3) , in the "pi'el" (I Sam. xix. 11; II Sam. xix. 5; Job xx. 20). (4) = "to keep," "to spare" (Job ii. 6). (5) = "to redeem" (see Go'el). (6) = "to release."


The underlying idea of all these words, save the last two, is help extended and made effective in times of need and danger, and protection from evil. "Padah" means "to free by paying ransom." "Ga'al" denotes the assumption of an obligation incumbent originally on another or in favor of another. "Yasha'" primitively means "to be or make wide." Evil and danger are always regarded as narrowing conditions or effects. From the "narrow" place the sufferer cries out. When help has come he is in a "wide" place (Ps. cxviii. 5). In battle enemies beset, surround, hem in (ib. verses 10, 11). Success in the combat relieves and removes the pressure. Hence "yasha'" and its derivatives express "victory." This is the import of the Hebrew in such passageś as Judges xv. 12; I Sam. ii. 1, xiv. 45; II Sam. xxii. 51; and Isa. xlix. 8. Combined with "rinnah," the word "yeshu'ah" signifies the jubilant cry of the victors (Ps. cxviii. 15). The passionate appeal "Hoshi'ah-nna" (ib. verse 25; = "Hosanna") ought to be rendered "Give victory," a translation all the more assured by the certainty that the psalm is Maccabean. He who leads to victory in battle, therefore, is the "moshia'" = "savior" (e.g., Othniel, in Judges iii. 9; Ehud, ib. iii. 15; Gideon, ib. vi. 36, 37; and the verb in Judges vii. 3; I Sam. xxv. 26; Ps. xliv. 4; Job xxvi. 2). But, according to the ancient concept, God Himself is the leader in battle ("Ish Milḥainah"; Ex. xv. 3). This throws light on the original bearing of the terms "savior" and "salvation" when applied to the Deity (comp. Isa. xxv. 9, xlv. 20). Language has preserved this notion in the epithet "Elohe yish'enu," which, idiomatically construed, means "our victorious God" (I Chron. xvi. 35; Ps. lxxix. 9; "thy victorious God," Isa. xvii. 10; comp. the similar construction "magen yish'aka" = "thy victorious shield," II Sam. xxii. 36; in the first three passages the A. V. has "God of our salvation" or "God of thy salvation"). Perhaps the king as the head of the army was greeted with the salutation "Hoshi'ah" = "Hosanna," corresponding to (II Kings x. 19; Neh. ii. 3). This would appear from II Kings vi. 26, the woman's apostrophe carrying with it all the greater irony if it repeated the usual greeting of respect, and the king's answer being, like that of Naomi (Ruth i. 20, 21), a clever turn of the terminology of the address. This would explain also the greeting extended to Jesus (see Hosanna) and the Messianic construction of the psalm. He was hailed thereby as "the king."

From this idea of "victory," those of help in trouble and rescue from evil are logical derivatives; but it is not impossible that even in this secondary usage of the term "salvation" the primary notion of a successful combat is operative. Evils are caused by demons: victory over them results in escape, a grateful help. Thus man is saved from trouble (Ps. xxxiv. 7, Hebr.; Isa. xxxiii. 2; Jer. xiv. 8, xxx. 7), from enemies (I Sam. iv. 3, vii. 8), from violence ("lion," Ps. xxii. 22; "men of blood,"ib. lix. 3, Hebr.), from reproach (ib. lvii. 4 [A. V. 3]), from death (ib. vi. 5, 6), from a great calamity (Jer. xxx. 7), from sin, by paying the ransom ("yifdeh"; Ps. cxxx. 8), and from uncleanness (Ezek. xxxvi. 29).

Post-Exilic Views.

The great catastrophe in Israel's history was the Exile. The prophetic doctrine concerning the remnant and the restoration readily transformed expressions for "victory" and "help" into technical terms. "Salvation" now connoted the survival (= victory) of the remnant, the return of the "saved" from exile; and God, in this new sense of the preserver of the remnant and the restorer of the new Israel, was recognized and proclaimed as the "savior" (Isa. xliii. 11; xlv. 15, 21; Zech. viii. 7). The prediction of Hosea (xiii. 4) was illustrated in the events that had come to pass, as was the assurance given by another prophet (Jer. xxx. 10, 11). In the happenings of the day Israel had learned that the Holy of Israel was the savior (Isa. xliii. 3, xlix. 26, lx. 16). Babylon had none to save her (ib. xlvii. 15).

In the Psalms "salvation," by a similar train of thought, expresses the triumph of the "poor" and of the "meek" (Ps. xii. 6). God is the "rock of salvation"; contrary to fickle man, He will not deceive (ib. lxii. 3, 7, Hebr.). By God's salvation the poor are lifted up (ib. lxix. 30). This salvation will be proclaimed from day to day (ib. xcvi. 2; comp. xcviii. 2). God is a stronghold of salvation for His anointed (ib. xxviii. 8). Under the scepter of the "anointed king" or Messiah this salvation (restoration), with all it implies of happiness, joy, security, splendor of Israel, and universal peace, would be realized. With God's judgment (which also is God's victory [], for a trial is always a combat) God's salvation approaches; and finally salvation is established in Zion for Israel, God's splendor (Isa. xlvi. 13). In this sense, then, the Messiah is a savior; his kingdom, one of salvation.

Relation to Messiah.

"Salvation" and "redemption" ("ge'ulah"), as applied in the Messianic conception, are identical. As God is the "Moshia'," so He is also the "Go'el" (Isa. xliv. 23, xlviii. 20, lii. 9, lxiii. 9; Ps. lxxiv. 2). This savior or redeemer is Yhwh (Isa. xliv. 24, xlvii. 4, xlviii. 17, lxiii. 16; Deutero-Isaiah prefers the latter term). The remnant are the "ge'ulim," redeemed of Yhwh (Isa. lxii. 12; Ps. cvii. 2). The primary idea underlying the term "ga'al," like that basic to "padah," the derivatives of which are also employed to designate those that are saved for and in this Messianic kingdom (Isa. li. 11; Zech. x. 8; Ps. xxv. 22; cxxx. 7, 8; comp. Isa. i. 27), is related to that of "yasha'" only in so far as both connote an act that results in freedom or ease to its beneficiary. The slave, for instance, might be redeemed from bondage as was Israel (Deut. xiii. 6, xxi. 8; II Sam. vii. 23; Neh. i. 10; Mic. vi. 4). The Exile was a period of captivity. By bringing home the dispersed, God was their redeemer; and in consequence Israel was saved. In ancient Israel the go'el was one upon whom had fallen the obligation to pay the honors due to a deceased kinsman; for with no son born to him a man was deprived of the filial tribute, and his name was in danger of obliteration; therefore it was the duty of the go'el, the next of kin, to raise up his name (see Levirate Marriage).

In case of murder the go'el was the Avenger of Blood. Thus even in these primitive conceptions the go'el may be said to have been a redeemer, saving men from extinction of name; also saving spirits from restlessly wandering about because deprived of funereal honors, and, in the case of the murdered, because the wrong remained unrequited ("blood for blood"). In no other sense than "avenger" may "go'el" be understood in Job xix. 25 (A. V. "redeemer"). This passage is construed by many theologians as proof of the belief in immortality, and as indicating a presentiment of Paulinian soteriology. The context, even with the corrupt Masoretic text unemendated, refutes this interpretation. The speaker is merely uttering his unshaken belief that the wrongs done him will find their avenger. Emendated the passage would read, "I know my avenger is even now alive, and later will avenge ["yiḳom"] upon [for] my dust." In the next verse "mi-besari" (A. V. "from my flesh") is rightly understood as "away from [outside] my family," the thought being that even if the members of his family ("flesh"; designated also as "skin") prove derelict to their duty, he has seen one, and not a stranger, that will assume the obligation.

The Jewish Messianic doctrine of salvation does not center in personal immortality, nor in the theologized application of the solidarity of the clan. The Jewish savior was not a go'el in the sense that he took upon himself the blood-guiltiness of sin incurred by another. Moreover, the avenger requited murder by killing another and not himself: he did not die for others, but he caused death in behalf of others. The go'el never was the vicarious victim. It was he who demanded blood, but never gave his own as a ransom. In this theology of salvation "go'el" is mistaken for "kofer" (see Atonement). For the later development of the eschatological implications of salvation see Eschatology.

J. E. G. H.
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