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Numbers 35:19 The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death; when the avenger comes upon the murderer, the avenger shall put the murderer to death.

What were the qualifications for an avenger of blood? Was he some sort of a hired gun?

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Who were the avengers of blood?

Under the Mosaic law, the term "avenger" applied to the nearest male relative, who was under obligation to avenge the blood of one who had been killed.

Numbers 35:19 The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death; when the avenger comes upon the murderer, the avenger shall put the murderer to death.

The next of kin having the obligation of being a repurchaser evidently fell in this order: (1) brother, (2) uncle, (3) son of an uncle, (4) any other male blood relative of the family.​

Leviticus 25:48-49 NASB

48 Then he shall have redemption right after he has been sold. One of his brothers may redeem him, 49 or his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, or one of his blood relatives from his family may redeem him; or [a]if he prospers, he may redeem himself.

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The law of the "goel" is very famous in the Torah because it is such a conspicuous type of the Great Redeemer, Messiah.

The "goel" was to be a close relative (Lev 25:25, 26) was to act on behalf of a relative to achieve things that the relative, for any reason, was unable to do. This included:

  • Redeeming land if it had been lost (Lev 25:25, 26, 30)
  • Redeem a relative who had become enslaved (Lev 25:47-54)
  • Avenge or bring justice for high crimes (Num 35:16-21)

A very touching example of the function of the "goel" is found in the entire story of Ruth. The person's relative takes full responsibility for the person's problems, whether debt, enslavement or justice.

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