Tag Archives: Ruth

Christ as the Kinsman-Redeemer in the Book of Ruth

15 Sep

Read Ruth 1-4.

The Bible has a bit of everything in it.  There is history, biography, poetry, prose, apocalyptic, and even romance. The book of Ruth is a romance novella which plays an important part in redemptive history.  God could have just thrown a couple together in an arranged marriage and the family line of Christ would have continued on.  Yet he chose to give us a glimpse into the character of a young Gentile woman, in order to give hope to those of us outside of the nation of Israel.

Boaz was a wealthy businessman in Bethlehem; he was powerful and important in society. He was older than Ruth by at least twenty years. His parents were Salmon and Rahab, the harlot.

Would he have grown up with any stigma due to his mother’s history?  Perhaps, but it would have made him more sensitive to the feelings of an outsider.

He is impressed by Ruth as she works in the field, hearing a good report of her by his foreman. He has heard of her actions in following Naomi to a strange country.  He may have thought ofhis mother, Rahab, who was also a stranger in Israel.

Although he is impressed by her and may even be attracted to her, he doesn’t pursue her as, undoubtedly, he feels their age difference is too great. If it were not for Naomi’s meddling and Ruth’s willingness to do as Naomi instructed her, Boaz may never have made a move.

When Ruth approaches him the night on the threshing floor and basically proposes to him, he isvery humble, not even acknowledging that he is quite an eligible bachelor.  Instead, hecommends her for not running after the young men. He guards her reputation the night on the threshing floor by sending her away while it is still dark, lest someone assume something happened between them, and then he gives her grain to take with her in case someone was to inquire where she was at that hour.

He remembers that there is another relative who is closer than he.  This is the conflict, orcomplicating factor you see in all great romances.  How will they overcome it?  Will our heroand heroine find true love?

He tells her he’ll approach the other relative, so she doesn’t have to humble herself by proposing to someone else. He also indirectly promises to care for Naomi as well. He may have worried that the other relative would be greedy for the land, but was pleased that the man did not want to have a wife whose son would bear another man’s name.  He would also have to share his inheritance.

This transaction, done at the “city gates” where all business was transacted before witnesses,was done properly, so there would be no question as to the legitimacy of Boaz’s claim to Ruth and the inheritance of Elimelech. Although it sounds like Ruth is ‘purchased’ in a business transaction, you see from the interaction between them, that Ruth and Boaz do really love each other.

The idea of the Kinsman-Redeemer is that a near relative can redeem the property of an impoverished relative.  These laws were in place to ensure that family members are looked after and the land stays in the family.

The two main requirements of a Kinsman-Redeemer are that he must be 1) qualified to redeem, and 2) willing to redeem.

In the story of Ruth, we see that the closer relative whom Boaz was most worried about, who could end up married to Ruth instead of him, was qualified to be a kinsman-redeemer, but thankfully, he was unwilling. He was too selfish. He didn’t mind inheriting Elimelech’s property, he just hadn’t counted on a wife in the deal. As well, their first son would not bear his name. He would also share the inheritance. It was all too much trouble.

Boaz is a wonderful example of a Kinsman-Redeemer who is both qualified and willing. He has a nature that is unselfish and nurturing. He comes to the rescue. He shows great kindness to Ruth. He protects her and provides for her.

Christ is like Boaz because he “owns the field” and marries one who was formerly a stranger and foreigner who puts her trust in Him and becomes His bride. Christ is even better than Boaz as a Kinsman-Redeemer. We are destitute spiritually, with no way to get out of debt and no way to provide for our eternal well-being. Christ steps up. He is our kinsman, one who is like us, who is our friend, who sticks closer than a brother.

He sees our situation and is moved with compassion. Compassion has the idea of suffering together. But he did more than that. He doesn’t merely feel a sad situation and feel pity for us. He does something about it. This is AGAPE love. Love in action.

He set aside His royal robes and willingly condescended to become one of us. Then He lived a perfect life that we could not, died a sacrificial death to pay a debt He did not owe and we could never repay. Having accomplished our Redemption, our ‘purchase’, He ratified it by rising from the dead. He has purchased His people.

We are no longer destitute. We are heirs, co-heirs with Christ, and He owns all things. He is our Bridegroom. He has purchased His Bride, “not with corruptible things like gold and silver, but with His own precious blood.”

Prayer-“Thank you for seeing me in my distress and rising up to do something to relieve it. Thank you for being qualified to save by being rich so that you could redeem me, and yet becoming poor, so you could be like me, and a human, so you could be related to me. Thank you for being able to  save and willing to save. Thank you for your tender care and loving kindness.” Amen.

Questions-How do you feel about the poor? Do you have poor relatives who need help? Did you ever feel stigmatized because of a relative? How did you deal with it? Have you ever felt like an outsider?

Response-Sometimes we can be kinder to strangers than we are to our own relatives. I know that to be the case with me. Pray that God would show you a way to minister to the needs of a near relative. Show them love in a tangible way because you are willing and able and because you care about them as family members.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: