The meaning of Avenge; Avenger in the Bible
(From International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)
a-venj' a-venj'-er: Avenge.—The general idea connected with this word is that of inflicting punishment upon the wrongdoer. Since emphasis may be placed upon the deed itself, the wrongdoer, or the injured party, the verb is found an intransitive (only Leviticus 19:18; see below), transitive (II Samuel 4:8 et al.); and also active (Deuteronomy 32:43), passive (Jeremiah 5:9) and reflexive (Esther 8:13). In I Samuel 25:26 ff. avenge is translated from yasha', "to save" (Revised Version margin, "thine own hand saving thee"), in Hosea 1:4 from paqadh, "to visit," and in II Samuel 18:19 ff. from shaphaT, "to judge," but the usual Hebrew word is naqam, or derivatives, "to avenge." The translation in the Revised Version (British and American) differs in some places from King James Version: Numbers 31:3 (Revised Version (British and American) "execute Yahweh's vengeance"; compare II Samuel 22:48; Psalms 18:47; Leviticus 26:25); Leviticus 19:18 (Revised Version (British and American) "tak vengeance"); Judges 5:2 (Revised Version (British and American) "for that the leaders took the lead in Israel" from para', "to be free, to lead"). In the New Testament avenge is translated from the Greek ekdikeo, "to do justice," "to protect" (Luke 18:3 ff. et al.) and the King James Version Revelation 18:20, krino, "to judge" (Revised Version (British and American) "God hath judged your judgment").
Avenger.—That is, the person who inflicts punishment upon the evil-doer for a wrong experienced by himself (from naqam, "to avenge"; Psalms 8:2 et al.) or by someone else from ga'al, "to redeem"; Numbers 35:12 ff. et al.). In the New Testament avenger occurs only once; "the Lord is an avenger in all things" (I Thessalonians 4:6). It was the duty of the nearest relative to execute vengeance upon the murderer of his kin: he became the go'el. With reference to the protective legislation and custom, see GOEL. Compare BLOOD; REVENGE, REVENGER.
A. L. Breslich
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