Occurs twice in the King James Version (Numbers 35:31,32) as a rendering of the Hebrew kopher (the Revised Version (British and American) "ransom"). It means a price paid as compensation for a life, and the passage cited is a prohibition against accepting such, in case of murder, or for the return of the manslayer. Such compensation was permitted in ancient justice among many peoples. Compare poine, which Liddell and Scott define as "properly quit-money for blood spilt, the fine paid by the slayer to the kinsman of the slain, as a ransom from all consequences." The same custom prevailed among Teutonic peoples, as seen in the German Wergeld and Old English wergild. The Hebrew lairs of the Old Testament permit it only in the case of a man or woman gored to death by an ox (Exodus 21:30-32).
Benjamin Reno Downer
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