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Pedut - Irony and Redemption

Irony and Redemption

Pedut Shelach Le'ammo

by John J. Parsons

Psalm 111:9 (BHS)

He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name.

Psalm 111:9

WHEN MOSES CAME with the message, "Let my people go," he told Pharaoh that the LORD made a distinction (pedut) between Israel and the other nations (Ex. 8:23). When the first Passover was instituted, this distinction was expressed as the "ransom price" of the death of the firstborn of Egypt, both man and beast (Ex. 4:23; 12:29, Isa. 43:3). Consequently the Exodus was to be commemorated by the Jewish people through the consecration of the firstborn: All firstborn sons of Israel were called to be God's priests, responsible for offering sacrifices on behalf of their families (Ex. 13:2,12).

After the Exodus from Egypt, however, the Israelites committed the grievous sin of the Golden Calf, of which only the tribe of Levi was not guilty. Consequently the LORD decreed that the Levites were to take the place of the firstborn sons as priests of Israel (Num. 3:12-13). This substitution was represented by means of Pidyon ha-ben (the "redemption of the firstborn"), when a father would "redeem" his son by giving five shekels of silver to a priest a month after his son's birth (Num. 18:16, Ex. 13:13).

Yeshua of course, was the firstborn son of Mary and Joseph, of the royal tribe of Judah. After her "purification period" was completed (as described in Lev. 12:1-8), Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple to fulfill the requirements of Pidyon ha-ben (see Luke 2:22-40). Jesus' first time at the Temple, then, authorized the Levites to offer sacrifice on His behalf, though this was ultimately (and ironically)

fulfilled at the end of His life when He was executed by their counsel:

"But one of them, Caiaphas, who was High Priest that year, said to them, ' is better for us that one man should die for the people, that the whole nation should not perish.' He did not say this of his own accord, but being High Priest that year prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad." (John 11:49-52)

The irony is that those who were appointed as His priests were the very ones who unwittingly made Jesus their Redeemer! (This greater redemption is called pedut olam – everlasting redemption – in Hebrews 9:12). Pedut shalach le'ammo: God has indeed sent a ransom for His people in the sacrifice of His Son Jesus - holy and awesome is his name!


Psalm 111:9 (BHS) Transliteration

Pedut shalach le'ammo tzivah-le'olam b'rito kadosh v'nora sh'mo.

Psalm 111:9 Script

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