The Awakening of Hope
Author: F. Duane Lindsey
Week of July 20, 2014
Ruth 2:20-23; 1 Peter 1:13-19
Ruth learned from experience that Boaz was a generous man of noble character. Next she learned from Naomi that he was a relative: “That man is our close relative; he is one of our kinsman-redeemers” (Ruth 2:20).
The concept of the kinsman-redeemer (Hebrew gō’ēl) is central in the story of Ruth. The eel was a close relative who would defend the rights of a person in trouble. That could happen in several ways. The gō’ēl might redeem property that had been lost (or needed to be sold) because of poverty (see Lev. 25:23-28; Jer. 32:1-15). Or he might redeem persons who had to sell themselves into slavery for indebtedness (Lev. 25:47-55). The “avenger of blood” duty might also fall on the shoulders of the gō’ēl (Num. 35:19-21; Deut. 19:1-3; Josh. 20:1-9). The Book of Ruth assumes that the gō’ēl also could fulfill the levirate marriage duty of providing an heir for a deceased relative (Ruth 4:5-10; cf. Deut. 25:5-10).
Naomi identified Boaz as a potential kinsman-redeemer for herself and Ruth. When Ruth mentioned Boaz’s invitation for her to continue with his harvesters “until they finish harvesting all my grain” (v. 21), Naomi confirmed the wisdom of that, lest Ruth come to potential harm in someone else’s fields.
So Ruth gleaned in the fields of Boaz not only through barley harvest but also through the succeeding wheat harvest, a period of about seven weeks that culminated in the Feast of Weeks (cf. Lev. 23:15-21).
Praise God: We also have a Kinsman-Redeemer—Jesus Christ. He met the qualifications to be our Gō’ēl, for as Man He was our Kinsman (John 1:14; Rom. 1:3; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 2:14-15), as the sinless One He was free from the curse of sin (Heb. 4:15), as God the price of redemption He paid by His death was infinite in value (1 Peter 1:18-19)—and so He willingly redeems those who trust in Him (Matt. 20:28; John 10:15, 18; Heb. 10:7). Thank Him today that He is your Kinsman-Redeemer.