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How did Boaz fulfil his responsibility as a kinsman-redeemer?
We’re going to explore the fascinating story of Boaz, a humble farmer from Bethlehem who became an essential figure in the lineage of Jesus Christ. Today, we’ll examine how Boaz fulfilled his responsibility as a kinsman-redeemer, as recorded in the Book of Ruth. Our study will reveal the depth of his commitment, generosity, and obedience to God’s law, which led to his eventual marriage to Ruth and the restoration of Naomi’s family line.
To understand Boaz’s actions, we must first explore the concept of a “kinsman-redeemer” in ancient Israelite culture. According to the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 25:25-28; Deuteronomy 25:5-10), a kinsman-redeemer was a male relative who had the responsibility to protect and redeem the rights and property of a deceased relative. This included marrying a widow to ensure the continuation of the deceased’s family line, buying back land that was sold due to poverty, and avenging the blood of a murdered family member.
Trivia: The Hebrew word for kinsman-redeemer is “goel,” which can also be translated as “redeemer,” “avenger,” or “guardian.”
Boaz and Ruth: A Divine Encounter
The story of Boaz and Ruth begins when Naomi, a widow from Bethlehem, returns to her homeland with her Moabite daughter-in-law, Ruth, after the death of her husband and two sons. Ruth, a foreigner in Israel, demonstrates her loyalty to Naomi and the God of Israel by declaring her intention to stay with her mother-in-law and adopt her faith.
In Bethlehem, Ruth seeks to provide for herself and Naomi by gleaning in the fields during the barley harvest. Providentially, she ends up gleaning in Boaz’s field. Boaz, a close relative of Naomi’s deceased husband, shows Ruth unexpected kindness by allowing her to glean, providing her with food, and ensuring her safety among his workers (Ruth 2).
Trivia: The barley harvest season in ancient Israel typically occurred between late April and early May.
Boaz Fulfills His Duty as Kinsman-Redeemer
Boaz’s Commitment to the Law
Naomi recognizes Boaz’s kindness as a sign of God’s provision and encourages Ruth to approach Boaz as a potential kinsman-redeemer (Ruth 3:1-4). Ruth follows Naomi’s instructions, and Boaz responds with great honour and integrity. Aware of his duty, Boaz promises to redeem Ruth if the closer relative (who had the first right to fulfil this role) refuses to do so (Ruth 3:12-13).
Boaz’s Generosity and Obedience
In Ruth 4, Boaz approaches the closer relative at the city gate, where legal matters were discussed and resolved. In the presence of witnesses, Boaz presents the opportunity to redeem Naomi’s land and marry Ruth to continue the family line. The relative declines, citing potential harm to his own inheritance. Boaz, in his generosity and obedience to God’s law, accepts the responsibility, purchases the land, and marries Ruth (Ruth 4:9-10).
Trivia: Ancient Israelite custom required the removal of a sandal as a symbol of transferring property rights (Deuteronomy 25:7-10).
The Birth of Obed
Boaz and Ruth’s marriage was blessed with the birth of a son, Obed (Ruth 4:13-17). This child not only brought joy to Ruth and Boaz but also restored hope and a sense of belonging to the once-bitter Naomi. The women of Bethlehem celebrated Naomi’s restored fortunes, acknowledging God’s faithfulness in providing a kinsman-redeemer and a grandson to continue her family line.
Obed’s Significance in the Lineage of Jesus Christ
The story of Boaz and Ruth takes on even greater significance when we consider its place in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Obed became the father of Jesse, who was the father of David, Israel’s greatest king (Ruth 4:18-22). Through David’s line, Jesus was born as the promised Messiah (Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38).
Trivia: Ruth is one of only five women listed in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus, a testament to her faithfulness and God’s inclusive grace.
Lessons from Boaz’s Faithfulness
The story of Boaz, the faithful kinsman-redeemer, is a powerful testimony to God’s sovereignty, love, and redemption. Boaz’s unwavering commitment to God’s law, his generosity, and his obedience to his role as a kinsman-redeemer stand as an example to all believers. Some key lessons we can glean from Boaz’s life include:
- God’s Provision: The Lord orchestrates events and relationships to fulfil His divine purposes, even in the most challenging circumstances.
- Integrity and Obedience: Boaz’s commitment to his role as kinsman-redeemer demonstrates the importance of living with integrity and obeying God’s commands.
- Redemption: Boaz’s actions point to a greater redemption story in Jesus Christ, the ultimate Redeemer who restores our relationship with God and provides salvation to all who believe.
As we reflect on the story of Boaz and Ruth, let us be encouraged by their faithfulness and inspired to live with integrity, obedience, and a heart for redemption. May their example remind us of God’s unending love and His extraordinary plan for each of our lives.
Now try a Bible Quiz on: Ruth!