Why is Jesus Our Kinsman-Redeemer?

"Blessed be he of the Lord, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead." Ruth 3:20

"Why is Jesus Our Kinsman-Redeemer?" by Steppes of Faith

“Blessed be he of the Lord, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!” Ruth 2:20

I have a confession. I’m really envious of those couponing people I see at the grocery store. They have an overflowing basket of groceries and end up paying only $5! Tell me I’m not alone. How do they do it? I guess somehow they’ve learned how to be expert redeemers.

But there is someone even better at redeeming, and His name is Jesus. He’s our redeemer, but did you know He’s more specifically our kinsman-redeemer? What does that even mean? What is a kinsman-redeemer?

The book of Ruth gives us a great example of what a kinsman-redeemer is and why having one in the person of Jesus is so important to our eternal lives.

Quick Recap

Let’s do a quick review of Ruth’s story.

The book begins with Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi. Both women have lost their husbands as well as Naomi’s two sons. The Bible isn’t crystal clear how they died, but it was due to a famine in the land at the time. The result left Naomi and her daughters-in-law without a male protector or a source of income.

Naomi decided to leave Moab and return to her native Bethlehem, so she told her daughters-in-law to go back to their families. One daughter went, but Ruth begged to stay with Naomi, so they traveled back to Judah together.

Life without a male in the family was very difficult for a woman at that time. Typically, there was scorn and shame, and she was doomed to poverty since it was only males who could make any money or own property. But what were Naomi and Ruth supposed to do? They had no choice but to try to make it on their own.

Thankfully, God always had everything under control. He led Naomi to a forgotten relative of her husband’s.

His name was Boaz.

Ruth and Boaz

Boaz had a farm, and it was harvest time. His workers were busy bringing in the crops, but, as was the law in the Torah, the corners of the field were left untouched (Leviticus 19:9-10; 23:22). Those areas were reserved for the poor to gather food for themselves. This is where we find Ruth. She was harvesting the corners of Boaz’s fields.

Naomi was gleaning the fields belonging to Boaz, who became her kinsman-redeemer.

Ruth went to the fields for about a year, and she became a well-known presence. Finally, Boaz asks about her, and he allows her to glean along with his servant girls. He explains he’s impressed that she left her family and country to journey to a foreign land so she could take care of Naomi. But, his unusual favor toward her seems to indicate he thought she was not only brave and honorable but also attractive.

Then one day, Naomi suggests to Ruth that she put on her finest clothes and go to Boaz, waiting until he is finished eating and drinking. She instructs Ruth to uncover Boaz’s feet after he lies down and then lie down next to him.

Boaz is startled awake in the middle of the night, and he finds Ruth at his feet. She asks him to spread the corner of his garment over her to indicate he would marry her and be her kinsman-redeemer. He agrees to it, blesses her, and allows her to continue sleeping there for the rest of the night.

What is a Kinsman-Redeemer?

In Hebrew, the word for kinsman-redeemer is Go’el HaDahm. It comes from the word lig’ol, which means “to redeem.”

As the name implies, a kinsman is a family relation, usually the next of kin if there is no brother or another male in the immediate family. And according to the dictionary, a redeemer is someone who buys, buys back, recovers, pays off, or exchanges something for goods.

Putting it all together, a kinsman-redeemer is someone, usually the nearest relative, who is charged with the duty of restoring or recovering the rights of another and avenging any wrongs in exchange for something.

By law, the kinsman-redeemer had two main responsibilities: (1) to redeem family property that had changed ownership, and (2) to marry a childless widow and raise children in her dead husband’s name.

Ruth was not related to Boaz in any way, but Naomi was. Naomi initiated Ruth’s actions when she went to lie down next to Boaz on the threshing floor, which means Ruth was within the law.

Making It Official

Becoming a kinsman-redeemer was commonly done in the presence of the town elders to make it official. We find this in Ruth 4:9-10 after Naomi’s closest relative gives Boaz permission to take his place. Boaz then announces to the elders…

“Today, you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelech, Killion, and Mahlon (Naomi’s husband and sons). I have also acquired Ruth the Moabitess, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from the town records. Today, you are witnesses!”

Boaz declared to the town elders that he would be Ruth and Naomi's kinsman-redeemer.

Boaz, the kinsman, redeemed his relative’s wife, Naomi, and restored her dead husband’s property and good name in exchange for Ruth’s hand in marriage. Now, neither woman will be alone, and neither has to pick the fields to survive.

What makes this story even better is that Boaz and Ruth actually did love each other. It wasn’t just a sterile transaction. Even better because God is so good, they ended up giving birth to a son named Obed, who eventually became the grandfather of King David. And, as we know, David’s lineage led the way for Jesus’ birth.

Jesus Our Kinsman-Redeemer

Jesus is also a kinsman-redeemer, but this time to us. Since we are brothers and sisters in Christ and heirs together to the throne (Romans 8:17), that means Jesus is our brother (Hebrews 2:11). He is our nearest relative.

“Therefore, He had to be made like His brothers in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:17

Sin has separated us from the Father leaving us orphans, much like Naomi and Ruth left alone in Moab. So, Jesus came to be our kinsman-redeemer. Through His shed blood on the cross, He has bought our freedom from sin and restored our relationship with the Father. He has avenged the evil of sin.

In exchange for being a kinsman-redeemer, Boaz married Ruth. What does Jesus get? Our hand in marriage as the church. Like a bride prepared for her groom, we the church join Jesus in an eternal relationship.  Now, for those who believe, we will never be alone. Jesus’ declared faithfulness to us proves it.

Jesus is our kinsman-redeemer because He paid the price to restore us to the Father.

“I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband…Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:2-4

Through Jesus’ grace and sacrifice on our behalf, we are redeemed (we have redemption) from sin, and we will enjoy eternal life with God as His bride.

We are Just Like Ruth

Ruth’s story is remarkably like ours. In her, we see someone who is unable to help herself and needs rescue. She must request someone specific to be her kinsman-redeemer so he could restore and protect her in exchange for her hand in marriage.

We are all like Ruth. All of us are in need of rescue, and we cannot do it ourselves. We need a kinsman-redeemer named Jesus. He’s the one who loves us so much He willingly paid the price for our sin, which is death. And, He has made us His bride so we can enjoy His grace and blessings for eternity.

Jesus’ offer of being a kinsman-redeemer is for everyone, not just a few chosen people. His grace is for all who seek rescue from sin and long for the freedom of salvation. Jesus has declared that anyone who calls out to Him will be saved (Joel 2:32; Romans 10:13). No strings attached, and no questions asked. Just simple salvation with a promise of full restoration.

Jesus is truly our kinsman-redeemer.

Praise the Lord for His goodness and love.

Jesus' offer of salvation is for anyone who asks for it.

Further Reading

In 2001, Pastor John MacArthur wrote a great sermon about Jesus being our kinsman-redeemer. His website, Grace to You, reprinted the sermon in its entirety. It’s very informative and full of great Bible history. You can either read or listen to the whole thing right here. Enjoy!

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26 Replies to “Why is Jesus Our Kinsman-Redeemer?”

  1. I am confused. The bible says that Jesus is our Father, for all things were made by him, but it never says that he is our brother. Please help me to understand.

    • Jesus is not the Father but the Son, the Son of God, the second in the trinity of God. And He is our kinsman redeemer, the One who paid the price of death to redeem us from sin.

      • Hebrews 2:11. For both He who sanctifes and those who are being sanctified are all one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them
        “brethren” This is Jesus speaking> He declares us as His family, as His brothren. John 14 says (Jesus) If you have seen Me you have seen the Father. John 10:30 My Father and I are ONE.

  2. We’re in a precept about Ruth now and I was looking for articles about the ‘relational’ connection of Kinsman-Redeemer. I appreciate your article and the way you’ve captured this for me to understand. What a great image of Christ in the Book of Ruth and your writing above.

  3. I went looking fir who or what a kinsman redeemer is and found this. Thank God for you and mist appreciate your ability to simplify it and draw us into the knowledge of who Chrust is to us.
    Grace, peace a mercy to you and all that concerns you. God keep you always.

  4. Grace and mercy be unto you as God continue to use you to help others. We are not perfect people, but servants of a perfect God. Keep up the great work for our soon and coming king.

  5. This is super! Writing a book on the concept of redemption and truthfully this has helped.

  6. I enjoyed this very much,as it confirmed what the Lord revealed to me about Christ being our Kinsman Redeemer! Thank you for letting God you use you! God continue to bless and keep you!

      • Thank you Gina for your beautiful writing on our Kinsman Redeemer.
        I am awed by your peaceful responses to those who call themselves Christians ( Christ Like) yet are very critical and miss the Holy Spirit revelation by correcting your understanding. God bless you and yours. Have a very blessed Christmas…I read this article because the word Kinsman Redeemer came to my heart so I was looking to make sure I was hearing the Lord and found this article. Blessings ! Kim

        • Thank you, Kimberly. Such sweet words! I am so glad I could bless you. I pray you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and joyous New Year. Please stop by anytime!

  7. The Text in Ruth 2 is very clear at the beginning Boaz was a relative of Elimelech NOT Naomi as you stated. His Obligation as a relative of Elimelech was to take care of Naomi and Ruth.
    Also it was not a year but immediately. The transitional text 1;22 says they arrived at Bethlehem at the beginning of harvest and 2;2 has Ruth immediately going out to work.
    No wait time. Immediate.
    Also, There is a huge age gap between the age of Boaz and Ruth. The description of Boaz makes him out to be a Godly Man, a man of valor, and standing in the community. He’s not some young chap eyeing young girls. So adding he found her “beautiful” is beside the point and adds a sexual intent. The whole of the Chapter 2 is point out His HESED kindness of the Lord, “under whose wings” Ruth has sought refuge.

    While your intent is to make the point of Jesus being our kinsman redeemer, and you include a basic gospel message, there is a gap in your connection with us.

    I came to see what you had to say about Jesus being our Kinsman Redeemer and found it wanting. Its a big responsibility to provide teaching. It needs to be accurate and faithful.
    Lest their blood be upon your head….

    • I apologize you didn’t enjoy the article, but here are the facts. Naomi was Elimelech’s mother. So by relation, Boaz was a distant relative. And I did not say their journey to Bethlehem happened a year later. You didn’t read that right. I also indicated Ruth went to the fields to harvest what she could immediately. Again, you missed that. I suggest you also be careful, sir, lest you miss the spirit of the Lord going past.

      • Naomi was Elimelech’s widow. Naomi was mother to two sons by Elimelech, Mahlon (married to Ruth) and Chilion (married to Orpah.

    • This is a really helpful write up. I think you should ask the Lord to lead you to also help people in their faith walk and not to look for where to punch holes in a person’s work who’s genuinely trying to help others increase in their revelation of the person and work of Jesus. Your points do not make much sense, you could have just added if you wanted to, and not say stuff like “their blood will be on your head”, that’s rather severe considering it was a matter of relationship and time frame. The heart of the message is simple: Boaz was a type of Christ, simple!
      Types and shadows that’s all!

      • I’m not sure where you thought I was punching any holes in someone’s story or warning that blood would be on someone’s head. This is all straight from God’s word. If you think it doesn’t make sense, I suggest you go back and read the book of Ruth once again. And no, Boaz was not a type of Christ. There is only one Christ, and His name is Jesus. Boaz was simply obeying Jewish law and, thus, continuing the scarlet thread. I pray the Lord reveals truth to you and increases you in wisdom.

  8. Hi Mariah. I appreciate the feedback. It’s important we always lift each other up in truth and love. Yes, I struggled with how to word that section so there was no confusion. In the end, I chose to streamline it in the interest of not overwhelming the reader in case they weren’t as much of a Bible geek as me. Knowing that both laws applied in Ruth’s case does make the story even more interesting, I agree. Thank you for your thoughts. Feel free to reach out again. I’m always willing to learn and grow in Christ. God bless.

  9. Hello! I was happy to see that you took on such a theologically important passage! I love the connection of Jesus being the ultimate kinsman redeemer.
    However, I do have a correction for you. Under the section “What is a Kinsman Redeemer?”, you state that the role of a kinsman redeemer is two-fold. But if you look at Leviticus 25:25, the passage about kinsman redeemers, it only affirms the first role that you have listed.
    The second responsibility that you have described there is actually completely unrelated to the duties of a kinsman redeemer. You are referring to the levitate law found in Deuteronomy 25:5 where a the brother of a deceased man is to carry out the responsibility you described.
    So actually, Ruth gets even more interesting when you understand that she was applying not just one, but two laws in Ruth 3:9.
    Perhaps you didn’t mention the distinction because it would distract from the main point you were trying to make. I can understand this, but the law in the Bible very clearly does not say what you said. In this case, it would have been better to word your sentence differently to avoid this problem.
    I want your teachings to be as truthful and clear as possible. Thank you for sharing what the Lord has revealed to you!