The Book of Ruth – Conclusion

The Kinsman-Redeemer

By Karen Bledsoe

The Book of Ruth is a story of love, redemption, honor, faithfulness, and strong morals to do what is right and true. Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz’s faith in God and each other led to many blessings, including the privilege of being in the ancestral line of not only King David, but also of Jesus Christ. It leads to the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Messiah being born in Bethlehem. If Naomi had not returned with Ruth to Bethlehem from Moab, then the prophecy would not have been fulfilled.[1] Without this little book, we would not be able to connect the House of David to the Tribe of Judah.[2] Like Rahab, Ruth also was a Gentile, and both women are mentioned in the genealogy of Christ (Matthew 1:5-6). Gentiles being listed in Jesus’s genealogy tells us that not only did He come to save the Jews, He came to save the Gentiles as well.

In his book, “Learn the Bible in 24 Hours”, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, ©2002), Chuck Missler tells us that Naomi typifies Israel, she was out of the land. Through Boaz’s redemption, she was brought back into the land. Ruth was a Gentile Bride, a type of the Church.

In Part One of this series, we learned about the selfless love of Naomi for her daughters-in-law. She had encouraged them to return to the homes of their mothers to make new lives for themselves in their own land, among their own people. One daughter-in-law, Orpah, relented, and Naomi bid her a tearful farewell. Her other daughter-in-law, Ruth, was different. This one was determined to go with Naomi and care for her.

Ruth said to her, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” ~Ruth 1:16-17 (NIV)

Ruth was from Moab, an idolatrous nation that had cursed the Hebrews. They had refused to let the Hebrews pass through their territory to reach their promised land, they cursed them, and mocked their belief of worshipping only one God. In turn, according to the Scriptures, God cursed the Moabites just as He had said He would with any nation that cursed Israel (Genesis 12:3).

Naomi knew that Ruth would probably remain a childless widow, destitute and alone, because the Israelites hated the Moabites, but she also knew that Ruth had come to know God, and in Him was where her trust and hope in a future lay. We, who belong to God, also have hope and a future. He promises that, He will never harm us, He will supply all our needs.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”       ~Jeremiah 29:11

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”           ~Philippians 4:19

There are many important lessons in Ruth, but the most prominent one is the role of the kinsman-redeemer. In Israel, if a man owned property and fell into debt, he could sell the use of his property to someone else. He could not sell the land itself, for in Israel, God was the holder of the Deed. When Naomi’s husband decided to leave Bethlehem, to go to Moab, he sold the use of his land to someone else. When Naomi returned, she had nothing of value to buy the land back with. She was hoping there would be a relative in Bethlehem who would buy it back for her, becoming her kinsman-redeemer.

A kinsman-redeemer must meet four conditions:

  1. One must be near kin to the person needing redeemed (Lev. 25:48; Ruth 2:13; 3:12-13);

  2. One must be able to redeem, to pay the purchase price for redemption (Ruth 2:1; 4:46);

  3. One must be willing to redeem; it cannot be against the express will of the kinsman (Ruth 4:6);

  4. One must not be in the same predicament as the one the kinsman is going to redeem (Ruth 4:9-10). [3]

Not only will we see that Boaz meets all these conditions, we will see that he also is a foreshadow of Jesus Christ, who is our Kinsman-Redeemer, as told in 1 Peter 1:18-19

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”

He was the Son of Man, meaning He was fully man just as He was fully God. His humanity, being a son of Adam as we are, is what makes Him our kin; He willingly gave His life as the purchase price to pay for our redemption. He willingly let Himself be put upon the cross. He willingly let the sins of mankind from eternity past to eternity future be placed upon Him. He is also fully God and able to redeem us from sin, because He Himself had no sin. Jesus is the only One who would ever meet the conditions, no one else could ever do this. No one. [4]

God is the holder of the Deed to the Earth. It cannot be claimed by any man. John cries because there is no man to be found anywhere on Earth to redeem it. Then he is told that Jesus Christ can do this.

‘Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”’  ~Matthew 5:5

After their arrival in Bethlehem, Ruth began looking for a way to support them. She was told to go to the fields and glean while the harvest was going on. There was a law God set in place to care for the poor so that they would not starve to death. It is called The Law of Gleaning, a type of welfare for those who were willing to go to the fields and glean from it.

The Law stated that any grains dropped were not to be picked up but left for the poor to glean, and the reapers could only go through the field once. Ruth had no problem with pride. She was willing to do whatever was necessary to see that her mother-in-law had food. She went to the fields daily during the harvest and gleaned enough for Naomi and herself to eat. She had been gleaning from a field that belonged to a man named Boaz. He was a good man, a godly man and he was a relative of Naomi’s. He had noticed Ruth gleaning and inquired about her. He was told who she was and that she was there with Naomi, caring for her. Ruth’s name means “Beauty” and I suspect she was very beautiful. She caught the eye of Boaz and he admired her strong but gentle nature, as well as her loyalty and love for Naomi. She had a willingness to work to make sure Naomi had all she needed to eat. She was kind to everyone and one day Boaz instructed his reapers to drop extra grain for her so she would have plenty. He also invited her to have a meal with him. Naomi soon realized that Boaz was more than interested in Ruth. She knew that if they married, Ruth would be loved, she could have children and a happy home with Boaz.  She would be taken care of and never go hungry or in need of anything. He could redeem the land Elimelek sold and when he and Ruth had a son, the son would not only inherit from Boaz, he would also inherit this land, and carry on the House of Elimelek because of the Levirate Law.

The Levirate Law states that if a man dies childless, his widow was to marry a brother or near relative, and when she gave birth to a son, that son would carry on her dead husband’s line and become his heir. In this case, when Boaz, a near relative to Naomi, and Ruth had their first son, he would be the heir of Mahlon, Elimelek’s son, that Ruth had been married to, and carry on the House of Elimelek (Elimelek had no living son to do so and Naomi was too old to have any more children and therefore, it fell to Ruth).

If Boaz was willing, there was a hope and future here for Ruth. He could not be forced to marry Ruth, or be a kinsman-redeemer for them both. Yet, Naomi felt that he would do right by them because of his feelings for Ruth.

She was so sure of this, that she instructed Ruth to go to the threshing floor and watch to see where Boaz would be sleeping that night. She knew he would stay the night there to await his turn to thresh the grain and to protect it. She told Ruth to wait until he was asleep, then go lie down at his feet. When he awoke, and discovered her, she was to ask him to cover her with the hem of his garment.

The hem of the garment was a man’s seal, like a badge on a uniform. The hem meant authority and protection on all those he chose to cover with it. Even in Christ’s day, the hem of a garment was a badge of authority of the man wearing it. In the New Testament, we read that a woman who had had an issue of blood for many years had gone up and touched the hem of Jesus’s garment for healing. Jesus felt the power go out of Him. The woman’s faith in Christ and His authority was so strong, she knew that doing this would heal her, and it did.[5]

Boaz knew when Ruth asked this, she was asking him to be her kinsmen-redeemer. This was something Boaz sincerely wanted to do, but he knew there was another relative closer in relation to Naomi in Bethlehem and he must be asked first if he was willing to do this. He covered her with the hem of his garment, but also told her about the other relative. He sent her home with twice as much grain than usual, knowing Naomi would take this as a sign that her land was about to be redeemed and that Ruth would soon be a wife.

Boaz went to the city gates to talk with the relative. He told him about Naomi and asked if he was willing to redeem her land for her. The relative agreed to do so until Boaz told him there was a stipulation, if he redeemed the land, then he must marry Ruth, Naomi’s daughter-in-law, because her husband, Naomi’s son, had died and left her childless and there must be an heir to carry on Elimelek’s house and property.

Doing this, the relative’s first-born son with Ruth would legally be the heir to Mahlon, the deceased son of Elimelek, but also this same son would be the heir to his inheritance as well, passing it out of his father’s line and into Elimelek’s. He was not willing to do this and told Boaz he could marry Ruth himself, something he obviously wanted to do.

Boaz and Ruth were married and after some time, Ruth gave birth to her first child, a son. The baby was taken to Naomi, as all that had been her husbands would pass on to this child. She named him Obed, who would be the father of Jesse, who would be the father of David, the King of Israel, and later to an even Greater King!

We must strive to have the same strong morals Naomi, Ruth and Boaz had. They put the needs of others ahead of their own; they were loyal to those whom they loved and knew.  And they were faithful to God and to each other. We, as Christians, should do these things for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We should be as Naomi was in Moab, a faithful servant of God, living fully for Him in faith and obedience in a land she had no business being in. Her unfailing love and faith led Ruth to the God of Israel, giving her the honor of becoming the great-grandmother of a King; David, and an ancestor of the coming Messiah; Jesus Christ, our Savior, and Lord!

[1] McGee, J. Vernon, “Thru the Bible Commentary, Volume 2, Joshua Through Psalms, The Book of Ruth”, Page 89.

[2] Ibid, page 88

[3] Missler, Chuck, “Learn the Bible in 24 Hours”, pages 75-76

[4] Ibid.

[5]Missler, Chuck, “Learn the Bible in 24 Hours”, page75

 

Sources:

Life Application Study Bible Notes, NIV

Thru The Bible Commentaries, Volume 2, Joshua Through Psalms, The Book of Ruth, Dr. J. Vernon McGee  ©1982 J. Vernon McGee, Thru The Bible Radio, ISBN: 0-8407-4979-1 Royal; ISBN: 0-8407-4974-0 Nelson, compiled from previous publications by J. Vernon McGee –    www.ttb.org/

Learn The Bible In 24 Hours, Chuck Missler, Thomas Nelson, Inc. ©2002 Chuck Missler  – www.khouse.org

©2017 Karen Bledsoe