It is written in Romans 15:4, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Paul is referring here had to be the Tanakh, which includes the Book of Ruth. That means as you are taught, you’ll be more able to endure tough times, and you’ll be encouraged. In that process, you’ll grow in hope.
The name Ruth means "mercy." The story shows that God’s grace and mercy extends beyond Israel to include all peoples. There are 85 verses, and 4 short chapters in the Book of Ruth. It is a story of loyalty and love between women, risk taking for relationships, commitment in the face of almost certain destitution, and humility.
This is a book for women; those who are bitter, those struggling with loss, those living with change, and those asking hard questions about what God is calling them to in a world where women are still undervalued and the woman’s skills and wisdom are too often under tapped, and seldom asked for..
At least seven major theological themes emerge from the Book of Ruth:
- First, Ruth the Moabitess illustrates that God's redemptive plan extended beyond the Jews to Gentiles (Ruth 2:12).
- Second, Ruth demonstrates that women are co-heirs with men of God's salvation grace (I Peter 3:7).
- Third, Ruth portrays the virtuous woman of Proverbs. 31:10 (see Ruth 3:11).
- Fourth, Ruth describes God's sovereign (Ruth 1:6, 4:13) and providential care (Ruth 2:3) of seemingly unimportant people at insignificant times, which later prove to be crucial to accomplishing God's will.
- Fifth, Ruth along with Tamar (Genesis 38), Rahab (Joshua 2) and Bathsheba (II Samuel 11-12) stand in the genealogy of the Messianic line (Ruth 4:17, 22; see alsoMatthew 1:5).
- Sixth, Boaz, as a type of the Messiah, becomes Ruth's kinsman-redeemer (Ruth 4:1-12).
- Seventh, David's right (and thus the Messiah's right) to the throne of Israel is traced back to Judah (Ruth 4:18-22; see also Genesis 49:8-12).
To explain the Book of Ruth, two processes must be understood – the “Levirate Marriage” and the “Kinsman Redeemer.” What is the Levirate (Latin for “Husband’sBrother”) Marriage? If a widow had no son, she could request the next of kin to take her and raise children to continue the family bloodline.
It is written in Deuteronomy 25:5-6, “If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of a husband's brother unto her. And it shall be that the firstborn which she bears shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.”
In the Brit Hadashah (Matthew 22:23-33; Mark 12:18-27) the Sadducees posed a question to Yeshua concerning this practice of the Levirate marriage and the resurrection. Yeshua answers the question saying that this practice will not be necessary for those in the resurrection as they do not marry or procreate, and are as the angels in heaven.
It is from this background that we understand Naomi’s opportunity in Ruth, Chapter 3. She realizes that Boaz is a kinsman; therefore, there was an opportunity to regain the family properties lost by her deceased husband ten years earlier, and also a chance for Ruth to have a new life.
What is a “Kinsman Redeemer?” The "Kinsman Redeemer" is a “Goel.” The word means to redeem, receive or buy back. Provision was made in the Law of Moses for the poor person who was forced to sell part of his property or himself into slavery. His nearest of kin could step in and "buy back" what his relative was forced to sell (Leviticus 25:48).
The Kinsman Redeemer was a rich benefactor, or person who frees the debtor by paying the ransom price.It is written in Leviticus 25:25,"If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold." This is the verse being applied toRuth 4:4-6. The nearest of kin had the responsibility of redeeming his kinsman's lost opportunities. He was to buy back the Land. If a person was forced into slavery, his redeemer purchased his freedom. When debt threatened to overwhelm him, the kinsman stepped in to redeem his homestead and let the family live. Because of the Land, if a family member died without an heir the kinsman gave his name by marrying the widow and rearing a son to hand down his name (Deuteronomy 25:5; Genesis 38:8; Ruth 3-4). When death came at the hands of another man the redeemer acted as the “Blood Avenger” and pursued the killer (Numbers 35:12-34; Deuteronomy 19:1-3).
The Hebrew “Goel” was used:
- Of things consecrated to God. This can be found in Leviticus 27:13–31.
- Of God as redeeming man. This can be seen in Exodus 6:6; Isaiah 43:1; Isaiah 44:22; Isaiah 48:20; and Isaiah 49:7.
- Those redeemed by God. This can be found in Isaiah 35:9; Isaiah 51:10; and Job 19:25.
The right of redemption and the office belonged to the nearest kinsman. This can be found in Leviticus 25:25; Ruth 3:12; and Ruth 4:1-8.
God is the great Kinsman of His people. When their liberty was lost in Egypt, He rescued them from bondage. It is written in Exodus 6:6, "I am the LORD . . . I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments." Job complained that no one came to redeem him. His faith is seen reaching out and proclaiming that Adonai will provide His “Goel” (Kinsman Redeemer)! It is written in Job 19:25, "For I know that my redeemer lives, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth." Job's hope looked to the coming Messiah. He affirmed his faith that his Redeemer will come to the earth.
When Israel’s land was granted to the tribes in the days of Joshua, it was to be retained within the family, which is why genealogies were so important. When someone “sold” a property—to pay debts, or whatever—the transaction was viewed as a lease: there were provisions for the land to eventually return to the family. A “title deed” included the terms that a kinsman of the family could perform to “redeem” the property to the family.
Boaz was the redeemer of Ruth, Naomi, her land, and Ruth's dead husband: not only did he redeem the land, and continue the family's bloodline through his marriage to Ruth, but also rescued the women from their hopelessness, poverty, and despair. Naomi and Ruth’s “GOEL”
There are five traits, which a person had to possess the title of “Redeemer.”
1. The Redeemer had to be a close Relative.
Jewish tradition claims that Boaz was a nephew of Elimelech, whereas the “barefoot kinsman” was the brother. Boaz had no relationship by blood to either Ruth or Naomi. It was the family estate of Elimelech and his son, Ruth’s husband, which was in need of a Redeemer. A close relative could only do the act. The only way Ruth could become a part of the family of Israel was through the act of being redeemed. Why? It is written in Deuteronomy 23:3, “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD forever:”
2. The Person had to be willing to act as a Redeemer.
According to the Torah there was no compulsion placed on the Redeemer. The act of redeeming was solely in the hands of the Redeemer. The only motivating force was the attitude of the redeemer to those being redeemed. The closer relative had no strong desire to fulfill that role – Boaz did. Ruth 4:5-6 reads: “Then said Boaz, What day you buy the field of the hand of Naomi, you must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance. And the kinsman [Elimelech’s brother] said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar my own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it.”
3. A Redeemer had to possess the ability to accomplish the Redemption.
Boaz processed the power to redeem and he exercised that power on behalf of Ruth. He was capable of being Ruth’s redeemer for three reasons:
- He was a man of wealth. He could pay the price.
- He was a man of valor. He was strong enough to enforce his claim.
- He was a man of the Torah. He could fulfill the legal requirements.
4. To become a redeemer, that person must be free himself.
Boaz had to belong to that part of the family, which was not in trouble. Boaz was free to become a Redeemer.
- He was free according to the Torah.
- He was free according to his character. He was already a member of the family of Israel.
- He was free according to his wealth. Whereas Ruth and Naomi had a great deal of debt, Boaz had none. Whereas Ruth and Naomi had a great deal of cares with little relief, Boaz could provide the relief for those cares. And He DID!
5. The Person must have the Ability to pay the price required for the Redemption to take place.
Boaz was able to pay whatever the price was to redeem Ruth by continuing the family line, and the property, which belonged to Naomi, Elimelech’s wife. His bank account contained sufficient funds to make the transaction a reality. Boaz not only redeemed Ruth, but marries her. Their offspring became the ancestor of King David. Boaz fulfilled all five traits of the “Redeemer”, and Yeshua fulfilled the same five traits to be your “Redeemer”, your “GOEL.”
Our “GOEL” – Yeshua
Do you remember when coke came in bottles? You would buy a coke from the store and it would come in a bottle. After you finished the coke you could take the bottle back to the store where you bought it and they would give you a few pennies for bringing it back. They would buy it back - they would “redeem” it. Some people didn’t think it was worth the time and energy to redeem coke bottles. They tossed it out the car windows along the highways, or threw it in the trash. Some people would pick up coke bottles, and redeem them. They saw the bottles as valuable when other people saw them as trash – not worth the time, energy or effort to pick them up. That is a picture of what the Messiah did for you. He saw you valuable and picked you up. He redeemed you.
The word “Typology” means the study of persons, events, and things that first appear in the Tanakh to preview, prepare, or more fully express the salvation truths of the Brit Hadashah. When connected with the Person or the Work of the Messiah, they would predict, prepare, reflect, or show the result. Beyond this, it is not Typology! Yeshua fulfilled the five traits of a “Redeemer.”
1. The Redeemer had to be a close Relative.
Yeshua is your close relative, and God in the flesh. John 1:1, & 14 reads, “In the beginning was the Word (Torah), and the Word (Torah) was with God, and the Word(Torah) was God. And the Word (Torah) was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” It is written in Philippians 2:5-8, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in the Messiah Yeshua: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
There could be no real redemption if the Messiah had not become our close relative after the flesh. An angel could not secure your redemption. An ordinary man could not have done it. It took God in the form of a man to make it available for you.
2. The Person of Yeshua had to be willing to act as a Redeemer.
Yeshua was willing to be your Redeemer. John 10:18 reads, “No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” It is written in Matthew 20:28,“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” These verses prove Yeshua was a willing Redeemer, and redeemed you because of his love for you just as Boaz redeemed Ruth because of his love for her.
3. The Person of Yeshua had to possess the ability to accomplish the Redemption.
Yeshua was capable of being our Redeemer. The verses of John 10:11, 14-18, 27-30show that the Messiah as the Shepherd who has the ability to redeem; He will die for his Sheep; His death for the sheep will be a willing death and one which He has the Power; the Redemption is a mighty redemption because the sheep will never parish, and how far of an extent God is willing to go to redeem His sheep.
4. To become a Redeemer, the Person of Yeshua must be free Himself.
Yeshua was free from the curse of the Torah. He knew no sin. There were no “skeletons” in Yeshua’s closet, and no errors, which He had done in His ministry. Yeshua received the same temptations as we do, but He never submitted to them. It is written in Hebrews 4:15, “For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
5. The Person of Yeshua must have the Ability to pay the price required for the Redemption to take place.
Yeshua was able to pay the price, which God demanded for redemption.It is written inII Corinthians 8:9, “For ye know the grace of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” Redemption was completed when the full price was paid. The Messiah not only redeemed you, but He chose you for His bride. It is written in I Peter 1:18-19,“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of the Messiah, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”
What are the Benefits of Redemption?
1. The first benefit is Redemption Restores Life as in Ruth 4:6-8. Boaz restored the Life of Ruth and Naomi. Yeshua restored your life –1 John 5:11-13.
2. The second benefit is Redemption Gives New Life as seen in Ruth 4:13-15. Ruth had a new life with Boaz, and you have a new life with the Messiah. It is written in Romans 6:4, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as the Messiah was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 reads, “Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new.” It is written in Galatians 4:4-5, “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
3. The third benefit is Redemption Gives Witness as seen in Ruth 4:9-12. There were those who witnessed the Redemption of Ruth. We are to be witnesses of the Messiah’s Redemption. It is written in Acts 1:8, “but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." As Ruth needed to ask for redemption, so you need to ask Yeshua to redeem you. Are you ready to place yourself at the feet of Yeshua and ask Him to redeem you?
It is written in Revelation 5:9,“AND THEY SUNG A NEW SONG, SAYING THOU ART WORTHY TO TAKE THE BOOK, AND TO OPEN THE SEALS THEREOF: FOR THOU WAST SLAIN, AND HAST REDEEMED US TO GOD BY THY BLOOD OUT OF EVERY KINDRED, AND TONGUE, AND PEOPLE, AND NATION;”