The  kinsman-redeemer is a male relative who, according to various laws of the  Pentateuch, had the privilege or responsibility to act on behalf of a relative  who was in trouble, danger, or in need. The Hebrew term (go el) for  kinsman-redeemer designates one who delivers or rescues (Genesis 48:16; Exodus 6:6) or redeems property or person (Leviticus 27:9-25, 25:47-55). The kinsman who redeems or vindicates a  relative is illustrated most clearly in the book of  Ruth, where the kinsman-redeemer is Boaz.

The story of Ruth and  Boaz begins when Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, return to Bethlehem from  Moab where they had been living. Naomi’s husband and both sons, one the husband  of Ruth, had died, leaving the women penniless and without a male protector.  Upon arriving in Bethlehem, Naomi sends Ruth to glean in the fields of Boaz, a  wealthy relative of Naomi to whom they, through a series of divinely-appointed  circumstances, appeal as their go el. Boaz acquiesces, willingly takes  Ruth as his wife, and together they bear a son named Obed who became the  grandfather of David, the forefather of Jesus.

Jehovah is Israel’s  Redeemer, the one who promises to defend and vindicate them. He is both Father  and Deliverer (Exodus  20:2). There are numerous Old Testament appeals to God as rescuer of the  weak and needy (Psalm 82:4Daniel 6:27; Jeremiah 20:13) and the  sheep of Israel (Ezekiel  34:10-12, 22).

In the New Testament, Christ is often regarded as an example of a  kinsman-redeemer because as our brother (Hebrews  2:11), He also redeems us because of our great need, one that only He can  fill. In Ruth 3:9, we  see a beautiful and poignant picture of the needy supplicant, unable to rescue  herself, requesting of the kinsman-redeemer that he cover her with his  protection, redeem her, and make her his wife. In the same way, the Lord Jesus  Christ bought us for Himself, out of the curse, out of our destitution, made us  His own beloved bride and blessed us for all generations. He is the true  kinsman-redeemer of all who call on Him in faith.

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