I just finished reading the book of Ruth as I go through the Bible this year. Often I heard the term “Kinsman Redeemer when hearing sermons on Ruth. Because I didn’t really understand the term, I began researching and reading the book of Ruth more to see if I could understand this term better. A Kinsman Redeemer willingly welcomes what belonged to his kin, into his own family and possessions. It is not required of him. I see now how Christ is our Kinsman Redeemer!
Introducing the Family and the Famine
So, if you read through the book of Ruth in the Old Testament, you will notice that there are only four chapters in it. You will see at the beginning of the book, that there was a famine in Judah, so Elimelek, took his wife Naomi and two sons and went to Moab, to get away from this famine. Naomi and Elimelek’s son’s names are Mahlon and Kilion.
Elimelek dies and leaves Naomi with their two sons. The two sons marry Orpah and Ruth. Ten years later, the two sons die! I’m sure that Naomi is overwhelmed at this point. Later, I will tell you how Naomi felt about her circumstances and God.
Return to Judah
Naomi hears that there are good crops again in Judah, so now she will have food to eat again. She prepares to return to her homeland. So then, Naomi starts on a trip back to Judah along with her daughter’s in law- Orpah and Ruth. She tells Ruth and Orpah that they should go back to their family’s home and find a new husband and start another family. Then, Naomi kissed them and said “good-bye” but neither of the girls would leave her.
Naomi is Bitter
I can tell that Naomi had a lot of anger towards God at this point. She say’s Can I still give birth and give you husbands? Would you wait until they grew up to marry them? She also says that things were far worse for her than they were for her daughter’s in law. She said that she was bitter and the Lord raised His fist against her.
Orpah Leaves, Ruth Stays
The three women all wept together but this time, Orpah said “good-bye” and kissed Naomi and left her. Ruth however, held tightly and said to Naomi “Don’t ask me to leave you”!
“Wherever you go, I will go
Where you live, I will live
Your people will be my people
Your God will be my God
And…Wherever you die and be buried, I will also die and be buried”Ruth
We can see the commitment that Ruth demonstrated to her mother in law, Naomi. So, Naomi said nothing else! She and Ruth arrived safely in Bethlehem! People in town, especially the women, were excited and asked if this was Naomi! She however did not want people calling her this! She said to call her “Mara” instead, which meant “The Almighty has made life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the Lord brought me home empty.” Another thing she says is “why call me Naomi when the Lord has caused me to suffer and sent such tragedy on me.” We often blame God for the sufferings and difficult situations that we go through, don’t we? Later, we will see how God really blesses Naomi and her family.
Ruth Finds Work and Finds Boaz, Her Kin
So, now Ruth goes to get barley and finds out the name of the man who own this field that she was at. This man was a very wealthy and influential man, named Boaz. It is amazing how God works, isn’t it? Boaz happened to be a relative of Elemilek, Naomi’s husband. So Boaz is a family member, a kin to them!
Boaz greets all who are harvesting but notices someone who he does not know. Will Boaz be the Kinsman Redeemer? He asks the other harvesters, “who is that young woman?” The foreman replies to Boaz that Ruth is from Moab and came back with Naomi. Ruth asked if she can work. They told her that she can, so she worked hard all day except a small break. Boaz starts talking to Ruth and tells her to keep working in his field, not to go to another person’s field. He also tells Ruth that she can eat and drink and bring home extra food.
Something Special About Ruth and Boaz
Boaz is a great example of grace, kindness and respect. He even told her to work with the other ladies and told the men to not be rough with her.
Ruth asked Boaz, “what did I do to deserve such kindness?” She thanked him also! She didn’t understand how it was, being that she was a foreigner, that Boaz was so caring towards her. Boaz was a great picture of Christ, our Kinsman Redeemer, in how Boaz did as Christ does to us in giving us kindness that that we don’t deserve.
Boaz’s reply was really incredible! He knew about the reputation that Ruth had and the kindness and the commitment that she showed Naomi! Ruth had an incredible reputation and this really sparked Boaz’s curiosity. What kind of reputation do we have that people wonder about us? Are we showing other people Godliness, love, and other fruit of the Spirit? Boaz in fact even told Ruth in Ruth 2:12 “May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.” Wow! She deserved God’s reward!
Naomi Discovers Boaz as Kinsman Redeemer
So now, Naomi is wondering where all this wonderful food is coming from! She tells Ruth “May the Lord bless the one who gave this to you!” Ruth tells Naomi where it came from. Naomi tells her that Boaz is one of their closest family relatives. He is one of their “Kinsman Redeemers.” In the culture at the time, it is considered respectful and kind to help a relative whose husband was dead.
Boaz was there to redeem them, a Kinsman Redeemer, to save them from a hard and hurtful life. Boaz even tells Ruth to continue working the harvest and stay with the harvesters until it is complete. He even had her work through the barley season and into the wheat season until it was complete. Christ, our Kinsman Redeemer provides for every one of our needs, just as Boaz looked after the physical need for food for Naomi and Ruth.Na
Naomi was confident that Boaz was a good man and would take care of Ruth. She lived with Naomi for many years until one day Naomi told Ruth that she needed a permanent home where she knows that she will be provided for. Naomi gives Ruth some advice about Boaz. She tells her to dress up and smell pretty then go sleep at the end of his feet. Naomi tells Ruth, to not let Boaz to see her until he is done eating and drinking. I’m not 100% sure what all took place and what the expectations were that Naomi had of Ruth and what all happened between Boaz and Ruth during this time.
Boaz woke up though in the middle of the night and wondered who it was at his feet. She replies “I am your servant, Ruth.” “Spread the corner of your covering over me for you are my Kinsman redeemer.” Ruth is telling Boaz here that he has taken the role of being the provider, the savior, the “Kinsman Redeemer” for their family! Christ is our Savior in a similar way so that Christ is our Kinsman Redeemer.
Boaz Discovers Ruth’s Loyalty
Boaz replies in an amazing way to Ruth also, “Bless you my daughter” Ruth demonstrated loyalty to her husband’s family, instead of being in a rush to get married to anybody, rich or poor. She also showed great care for Naomi also, when she had no one to look after her and be with her and help provide for her. We see how patient and loyal Ruth is in this! Boaz then tells her that he will do what is necessary for her and her family because everyone in town KNOWS that she is a virtuous woman! Again, we see Ruth had an excellent reputation!
Boaz Demonstrates Integrity
Although I’m sure that Boaz cared for Ruth so much and really wanted to marry her, he was loyal to the customs of the time. He knew that someone else in town was also related to Naomi and Ruth. But this man was even closer related! So Boaz did what he knew was right in this situation and went to talk to this man! He also told Ruth to stay there overnight and in the morning, Boaz would talk to him and see if this other individual is willing to redeem her, since the other man(we don’t have a name for him)had first dibs basically for the property that belonged to Elimelek, then Naomi, and the wife of Elimelek’s son, Ruth. If this happens, the relative can marry Ruth. If not, Boaz can marry her if he chooses.
“Surely as the Lord lives, I will redeem you myself,” Boaz says. So let’s see what happens! Ruth laid at Boaz’s feet again, however no one was to know this! Ruth got up before sunrise, before anyone could see. Boaz gave more barley to Ruth to give to Naomi at this point. He told her not to go to Naomi empty-handed.
Now, I’m sure that Boaz and Ruth were getting a bit antsy at this point, wondering what was going to happen! Naomi told Ruth to be patient until they hear what happens! It is hard to be patient sometimes when we want an answer, isn’t it? I know it is!
Then Naomi said, “wait my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.”Ruth 3:18
Boaz is very trustworthy also as is a great businessman. He makes sure that business is done correctly and in a timely manner. Ruth and Boaz, are very godly examples to us. By this point, I see Naomi as a good example too as she tells Ruth to be patient! God knows what will happen!
So, Boaz now talks to this other relative about the land and about taking Ruth to be his wife. The man is interested at first but no longer once he learns that he will have to marry Ruth as well. Boaz said that he could redeem this if he wished! Boaz told him though, that if he doesn’t want it, let me know because I am next in line to redeem after you! I feel that this other man was a bit selfish in not wanting Ruth. He actually said “I can’t redeem it because this might endanger my own estate. The story really gets better though!
Boaz Seals The Deal
Now, it is Boaz’s turn! It was also a custom to remove a sandal to validate a transaction then, kind of like shaking a hand. This action publicly validated that this other man would not buy the property and would not marry Ruth, but that Boaz would instead! Ruth can then give him a son and carry on the family name as part of Israel’s descendants Boaz and Ruth married. Ruth then gets pregnant right away and has a son.
Redeemer Now Provided for Naomi’s Family, Carries On For Israel
The town women all tell Naomi “Praise the Lord, He has now provided a redeemer for your family! May this child be famous in Israel1 And he was! They also told Naomi, “may He restore your youth and care for you in your old age. He is the son of your daughter in law who has been better to you than seven sons! Naomi got to cuddle her grandson and care for him as if he were her own! I know what this is like now! Boaz and Ruth’s named their son Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse and the grandfather of King David!
Christ Is Our Kinsman Redeemer
This is an amazing story and picture of how Christ is our Kinsman Redeemer, The Great Offense who looks after us and provides for us, just like Naomi and Ruth had through Boaz. He gave His whole life for us in fact! Just like Boaz redeemed Ruth back into a new life in community within Israel, Christ gave us a new life by redeeming us into His family. Christ is our Kinsman Redeemer.