The Kinsman-Redeemer

He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” Ruth 3:9

Here is a truth that makes all the difference: you have a kinsman-redeemer.

The second chapter of Ruth ends with Naomi revealing that Boaz is a distant relative and “one of our redeemers” (Ruth 2:20). Long before Ruth’s story took place, God had established practices that would affect not only her but also the people of Israel and all His people throughout redemptive history. 

The two longstanding Old Testament practices that we need to understand in order to appreciate the context and joy of this story are the levirate and the goel. The levirate process regulated Israelite remarriage customs so that if a man died, his name and family line would not die with him or be vulnerable to the whims of other people (Deuteronomy 25:5-10). Goel, meanwhile, is a Hebrew verb meaning “to recover or redeem” and is often (and best) translated “kinsman-redeemer.” The Law of Moses lays out this responsibility in Leviticus 25, where it makes provision for a relative who can care and provide for a less fortunate family member under certain circumstances. The kinsman-redeemer had a responsibility to do all that was necessary to secure the land and to support his relative. 

Boaz willingly upheld both of these customs, providing and caring for Naomi and Ruth in their vulnerability and need. Not only was Boaz one of Jesus’ ancestors but in this he foreshadowed Christ’s coming as our own Kinsman-Redeemer. 

He soothes our sorrows, calms our fears, and dries each one of our tears.

As Ruth cast herself at Boaz’s feet, desperately needy and dependent on his care, so we cast ourselves at the feet of Christ, seeking His mercy. And as Boaz dealt with Ruth, so Christ deals with every sinner who comes to Him in repentance, covering them with the blood of the covenant, by which He welcomes us into all the peace, security, and contentment of being under His wing (Psalm 91:4). He soothes our sorrows, calms our fears, and dries each one of our tears. Ruth came to Boaz as a penniless alien and became enriched by all his blessings. We come to Jesus in spiritual poverty and become fellow heirs with Him (Romans 8:17). As Boaz took Ruth and made her his bride, so Christ takes us and makes us His bride (Revelation 19:7-8).

The Bible is full of examples of God providing for and preserving His people long before they realize they need it. God’s redemptive plan for Ruth in Israel, and for all His people throughout history, was laid out not only from the establishment of the role of kinsman-redeemer, but from the very beginning of time (Ephesians 1:3-7). 

Today, rest assured that Jesus is the Bridegroom and Kinsman-Redeemer of His church. Rest assured that He has taken the responsibility to do all that is necessary to care for and provide for you and to bring you securely to His eternal promised land. Rest assured that whatever assails you within and without, you are safe under His wing.

Devotional material is taken from Truth For Life: 365 Daily Devotions by Alistair Begg. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company. Used by Truth For Life with written permission.