Who is the Goel Hadam? What is his role and what are his obligations? Will anything in the Hebrew letters tell us more about him? Will there be another connection to Messiah? Let’s find out.
We pick up the account of the Goel Hadam in the ancient book of Joshua in Chapter 20. There we see that Yahweh speaks to Joshua telling him to instruct the people. In verses 2 and 3 we read:
The LORD also spake to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses; That the slayer that killed any person unawares and unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood.
The avenger of blood is the Goel Hadam. The word Goel in conventional Hebrew means to redeem or to avenge. Hadam is translated as the blood and refers to that which when shed causes death.
In the book of Genesis which is the first book of our ancient text, Elohim gives us His view of murder. In Chapter 9 verse 6 He says:
Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
So if the slayer fled to the city of refuge he would be granted a trial and protection if the death he caused was unintentional. If he was found guilty of intentional murder, he was to be turned over the nearest relative for justice. The Goel Hadam was the nearest relative and was to be the one to perform the execution according to the word of Elohim, blood for blood.
Let’s first look at the letters of Goel which are pictographs to see what they might reveal to us. Goel is spelled Gimel Aleph Lamed.
Gimel is the picture of the camel and means to lift up or to lift up the name of the LORD.
Aleph is the picture of the ox and represents the strong leader, the head of the family, or God the Father.
Lamed is the picture of the shepherd’s staff and points to the voice of authority, or to have authority or the tongue.
So the first mystery revealed in the letters is that the Goel, by either redeeming or avenging, is following the voice of authority who is God Himself and by doing so is lifting up the name of the LORD. He is not a vigilante trying to seek vengeance on his own terms.
This gets particularly interesting when we add the mystery found in the word Hadam which is spelled Hey Dalet Mem.
Hey is the picture of the outstretched arms and means to behold, or to reveal, or the Holy Spirit.
Dalet is the picture of a doorway and indicates a place of decision, an entrance to life or death, or a place where change can take place.
Mem is the picture of liquid, mighty waters like a tsunami or gentle rain that makes the desert bloom or Living water.
Here we are told to behold something special in the Dalet Mem, the blood. The entrance to life is in the liquid. In the writings of Moses in Leviticus Chapter 17 verse 11 we read:
For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the alter to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
So far we have discovered that the role of avenger, the Goel Hadam under the authority of God the Father, is required to seek justice for the blood that was spilled, for the pathway to life is in the blood. Whoever intentionally cuts off that pathway to life through the blood is to have his life cut off.
Is there anything in this that would point to Messiah? The Goel Hadam has another role, that of redeemer or one who pays a ransom to secure freedom for one in bondage. This is the role that points to Messiah as our Goel Hadam. If we go back to Gimel, the picture of the camel, we said that it can mean to lift up or to lift up the name of the LORD.
What is being lifted up in the camel that we should know about? If the average camel has 80 pounds of fat in his hump, he has around 560 miles of extra blood vessels there. Not only does that require a lot of blood, the camel’s blood cells can expand almost 2 1/2 times their normal size to store water.
The disciple of Yeshua named John wrote something amazing about this. In 1st John Chapter 5 verse 6 and 7 he writes:
This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
This same writer in his Gospel Chapter 4 verse 14 quotes Yeshua:
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water the I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
The Rabbi Paul adds this about Yeshua in his book written to the believers in Ephesus in Chapter 1 verse 7:
In Whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.
The Goel Hadam is a perfect representation of both the living water of Messiah and the redemption He offered through His blood sacrifice. Under the authority of the Heavenly Father and the direction of the Holy Spirit the doorway to life for us is now open through the water and the blood.
There is one final twist to this picture. Back in Joshua Chapter 20 verse 6, the final instructions are given for the slayer who has fled to the city of refuge:
And he shall dwell in that city, until he stand before the congregation for judgement, and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come into his own city, and unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled.
Even if the slayer unintentionally killed someone, he couldn’t leave the city of refuge without risking being killed by the Goel Hadam. There was still penalty of house arrest because he shouldn't have allowed the death to happen. That is, until the death of the high priest. With that, he was free from all penalties and safe from any retribution.
The writer of the book of Hebrews explaining the hope that lies before us in the last verse of Chapter 6 states:
Whither the forerunner is for us entered, Jesus, made an high priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.
Our high priest, Yeshua Ha-Meshiach has died. Just as the slayer was free to go, we are now free to go. The living water and the blood has been offered for each of us. If you have placed your trust in Him you are free from all condemnation. Our Goel Haddam has forever redeemed us and we are free indeed.
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