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Isaiah 44:6 Thus said Jehovah, king of Israel, And his Redeemer, Jehovah of Hosts: `I [am] the first, and I the last, And besides Me there is no God. (Young's Literal Translation)

In this verse, the redeemer is called Jehovah. Who/what does the "his" refer to?

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  • Looking for a Hebrew grammar related answer. – alb Mar 26 '18 at 21:25
  • In common with many other expressions in the Hebrew scripture, there can be seen here, retrospectively, to be an inherent ambiguity with regard to Person. The revelation of the Father, through the manifestation of the Son, recorded in the Greek scripture, clarifies such passages as this, I believe. – Nigel J Mar 27 '18 at 13:20
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    King of Israel, and his redeemer is another way of saying king and redeemer of Israel. – Lucian Mar 28 '18 at 7:07
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The Hebrew of the verse is as follows:

כה־אמר יהוה מלך־ישראל וגאלו יהוה צבאות אני ראשון ואני אחרון ומבלעדי אין אלהים׃

The word in question is וגאלו (w'galow) and is composed of the root verb גאל (gaal), meaning to redeem, with a beginning prefixed vav (ו), which is the standard conjunction meaning 'and,' but which functions various ways, including even 'but;' here, it functions appositionally (elaborating upon or defining the previously mentioned noun). Then the suffixed vav (ו) signifies 'of him.' So the one word means 'and [the] redeeming [i.e. redeemer] of him,' that is, 'and his redeemer,' or 'even his redeemer.' The object Israel is the referent of the possessive 'of him,' meaning The "Redemer" of Israel is a description of "the Lord" and "King" mentioned before.

Sometimes the literal translation can obscure the meaning by giving false impressions. We might translate this better to understand what the sense is, namely:

Thus says the Lord, King of Israel: his redeemer, the Lord of hosts: "I am the first and the last; apart from me there is no God."

As a Christian who believes that Jesus is the Lord God (YHVH) in the flesh, and the Redeemer, this passage is not attempting to identify a certain Redeemer as distinct from the Lord (the Lord and his friend the Lord of hosts), but that the Lord (of Hosts) is the Redeemer of Israel.

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  • So are you saying that you believe this verse is saying that apart from Jesus there is no God? "...apart from me [Jesus] there is no God"? – Ruminator Mar 27 '18 at 0:35
  • The Masoretic text has וְגֹאֲלוֹ, which comes from the participle גּוֹאֵל "redeemer." Where does "redeeming" come from? – b a Mar 27 '18 at 11:13
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    @b a It was my undersanding that 'the redeeming' is a valid rendering of the literal sense of the participle... perhaps not. I am quite open to correction! @Ruminator If you read carefully, I stated nothing more than what the passage does: Israel's Redeemer is the Lord mentioned at the beginning of the verse. It isn't describing two people, the Lord, and the Redeemer. – Sola Gratia Mar 27 '18 at 12:05
  • The word "redeeming" means something like "the rich uncle". This is someone who has means and steps up to help a relative in need. It isn't intrinsically linked to salvation from sin. What is in view is deliverance from bondage/exile. – Ruminator Mar 27 '18 at 13:50
  • I'm not sure if I'm explaining this clearly, but a word ending in -ing in English can be a participle (a burning house), a gerund (the burning of a house), or a present participle (the house is burning). "The redeeming of him" is a gerund. A better example for this translation is המלאך הגואל (Gen. 48:16) which could be rendered "the redeeming angel." This verse lacks a noun so you can translate "the redeeming [person] (=redeemer) of him," but English doesn't allow for a participle without the noun it's modifying as Hebrew does so "the redeeming of him" is necessarily a gerund, not a participle – b a Mar 28 '18 at 8:37
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Here is what I get from the Hebrew:

Thus says the LORD, the king of Israel (and his redeemer) -- the LORD of hosts, I am the first and I am the last, and no God is, besides.

Details: enter image description here

Just like verse 2, this could have been declared simply:

Thus says the LORD, "I am the first and I am the last ..."

However, Jacob my servant and Israel whom I have chosen, it's not just the LORD speaking to you, it is the LORD of heaven's armies:

Thus says the LORD -- the LORD of hosts , "I am the first and I am the last ..."

... who is your king:

Thus says the LORD, the king of Israel -- the LORD of hosts , "I am the first and I am the last ..."

... and who is your redeemer:

Thus says the LORD, the king of Israel (and his redeemer) -- the LORD of hosts , "I am the first and I am the last ..."

And no God exists, besides!

The LORD is referring only to himself in this verse.

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