(Heb. 'asham, "debt"), the law concerning, given in Lev.
5:14-6:7; also in Num. 5:5-8. The idea of sin as a "debt"
pervades this legislation. The _asham_, which was always a ram,
was offered in cases where sins were more private. (See OFFERING
The Mosaic law encouraged the practice of lending (Deut. 15:7;
Ps. 37:26; Matt. 5:42); but it forbade the exaction of interest
except from foreigners. Usury was strongly condemned (Prov.
28:8; Ezek. 18:8, 13, 17; 22:12; Ps. 15:5). On the Sabbatical
year all pecuniary obligations were cancelled (Deut. 15:1-11).
These regulations prevented the accumulation of debt.
Various regulations as to the relation between debtor and
creditor are laid down in the Scriptures.
(1.) The debtor was to deliver up as a pledge to the creditor
what he could most easily dispense with (Deut. 24:10, 11).
(2.) A mill, or millstone, or upper garment, when given as a
pledge, could not be kept over night (Ex. 22:26, 27).
(3.) A debt could not be exacted during the Sabbatic year
For other laws bearing on this relation see Lev. 25:14, 32,
39; Matt. 18:25, 34.
(4.) A surety was liable in the same way as the original
debtor (Prov. 11:15; 17:18).
one of the royal cities of the Canaanites, now 'Aid-el-ma (Josh.
12:15; 15:35). It stood on the old Roman road in the valley of
Elah (q.v.), which was the scene of David's memorable victory
over Goliath (1 Sam. 17:2), and not far from Gath. It was one of
the towns which Rehoboam fortified against Egypt (2 Chr. 11:7).
It was called "the glory of Israel" (Micah 1:15).
The Cave of Adullam has been discovered about 2 miles south of
the scene of David's triumph, and about 13 miles west from
Bethlehem. At this place is a hill some 500 feet high pierced
with numerous caverns, in one of which David gathered together
"every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt,
and every one that was discontented" (1 Sam. 22:2). Some of
these caverns are large enough to hold 200 or 300 men. According
to tradition this cave was at Wady Khureitun, between Bethlehem
and the Dead Sea, but this view cannot be well maintained.
the price or payment made for our redemption, as when it is said
that the Son of man "gave his life a ransom for many" (Matt.
20:28; comp. Acts 20:28; Rom. 3:23, 24; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; Gal.
3:13; 4:4, 5: Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; 1 Tim. 2:6; Titus 2:14; 1
Pet. 1:18, 19. In all these passages the same idea is
expressed). This word is derived from the Fr. rancon; Lat.
redemptio. The debt is represented not as cancelled but as fully
paid. The slave or captive is not liberated by a mere gratuitous
favour, but a ransom price has been paid, in consideration of
which he is set free. The original owner receives back his
alienated and lost possession because he has bought it back
"with a price." This price or ransom (Gr. lutron) is always said
to be Christ, his blood, his death. He secures our redemption by
the payment of a ransom. (See REDEMPTION ¯T0003084.)
may be simply defined as the termination of life. It is
represented under a variety of aspects in Scripture: (1.) "The
dust shall return to the earth as it was" (Eccl. 12:7).
(2.) "Thou takest away their breath, they die" (Ps. 104:29).
(3.) It is the dissolution of "our earthly house of this
tabernacle" (2 Cor. 5:1); the "putting off this tabernacle" (2
Pet. 1:13, 14).
(4.) Being "unclothed" (2 Cor. 5:3, 4).
(5.) "Falling on sleep" (Ps. 76:5; Jer. 51:39; Acts 13:36; 2
(6.) "I go whence I shall not return" (Job 10:21); "Make me to
know mine end" (Ps. 39:4); "to depart" (Phil. 1:23).
The grave is represented as "the gates of death" (Job 38:17;
Ps. 9:13; 107:18). The gloomy silence of the grave is spoken of
under the figure of the "shadow of death" (Jer. 2:6).
Death is the effect of sin (Heb. 2:14), and not a "debt of
nature." It is but once (9:27), universal (Gen. 3:19), necessary
(Luke 2:28-30). Jesus has by his own death taken away its sting
for all his followers (1 Cor. 15:55-57).
There is a spiritual death in trespasses and sins, i.e., the
death of the soul under the power of sin (Rom. 8:6; Eph. 2:1, 3;
The "second death" (Rev. 2:11) is the everlasting perdition of
the wicked (Rev. 21:8), and "second" in respect to natural or
THE DEATH OF CHRIST is the procuring cause incidentally of all
the blessings men enjoy on earth. But specially it is the
procuring cause of the actual salvation of all his people,
together with all the means that lead thereto. It does not make
their salvation merely possible, but certain (Matt. 18:11; Rom.
5:10; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 1:4; 3:13; Eph. 1:7; 2:16; Rom.
the purchase back of something that had been lost, by the
payment of a ransom. The Greek word so rendered is
_apolutrosis_, a word occurring nine times in Scripture, and
always with the idea of a ransom or price paid, i.e., redemption
by a lutron (see Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45). There are instances
in the LXX. Version of the Old Testament of the use of _lutron_
in man's relation to man (Lev. 19:20; 25:51; Ex. 21:30; Num.
35:31, 32; Isa. 45:13; Prov. 6:35), and in the same sense of
man's relation to God (Num. 3:49; 18:15).
There are many passages in the New Testament which represent
Christ's sufferings under the idea of a ransom or price, and the
result thereby secured is a purchase or redemption (comp. Acts
20:28; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; Gal. 3:13; 4:4, 5; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14;
1 Tim. 2:5, 6; Titus 2:14; Heb. 9:12; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19; Rev.
5:9). The idea running through all these texts, however various
their reference, is that of payment made for our redemption. The
debt against us is not viewed as simply cancelled, but is fully
paid. Christ's blood or life, which he surrendered for them, is
the "ransom" by which the deliverance of his people from the
servitude of sin and from its penal consequences is secured. It
is the plain doctrine of Scripture that "Christ saves us neither
by the mere exercise of power, nor by his doctrine, nor by his
example, nor by the moral influence which he exerted, nor by any
subjective influence on his people, whether natural or mystical,
but as a satisfaction to divine justice, as an expiation for
sin, and as a ransom from the curse and authority of the law,
thus reconciling us to God by making it consistent with his
perfection to exercise mercy toward sinners" (Hodge's Systematic