[CF Devotionals] 2014-03-23 - The Work of the Kinsman-Redeemer

Ruth ~ Part 29

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First let’s summarize the relevant passages. There are three factors involved with the work of the redeemer. I am quoting here from both McGee and MacArthur. The three factors are:

  1. A close relative could redeem a family member sold into slavery, 2
    “If an alien or a temporary resident among you becomes rich and one of your countrymen becomes poor and sells himself to the alien living among you or to a member of the alien’s clan, he retains the right of redemption after he has sold himself. One of his relatives may redeem him: An uncle or a cousin or any blood relative in his clan may redeem him. Or if he prospers, he may redeem himself” (Leviticus 25:47-49).
    “Now a man may have been in very unfortunate circumstances. He not only lost his property, but perhaps due to drought and famine in the land, his children are hungry and he sells himself into slavery in order to feed his family. … But suppose … he has a rich relative and one day he sees that rich uncle coming down the road, taking his checkbook out of his pocket. He says, “Look, I don’t want my nephew to be in slavery,” and he pays off the price of this man’s slavery. He has redeemed him, you see, and the man can go free.” 3

  2. Land that needed to be sold under economic hardship, 4
    “The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.

    If one of your countrymen becomes poor and sells some of his property, his nearest relative is to come and redeem what his countryman has sold. If, however, a man has no one to redeem it for him but he himself prospers and acquires sufficient means to redeem it, he is to determine the value for the years since he sold it and refund the balance to the man to whom he sold it; he can then go back to his own property. But if he does not acquire the means to repay him, what he sold will remain in the possession of the buyer until the Year of Jubilee. It will be returned in the Jubilee, and he can then go back to his property” (Leviticus 25:23-28).

    “Now let’s see that in operation. When these people came into the land God gave them the Promised Land; it was theirs. But they occupied it only as they were faithful to God. … God put them in the land according to tribes. A certain tribe had a certain section of the land. … And each family within each tribe had a particular plot of land. He could never leave it. But suppose he becomes poor. Perhaps he’s had two or three years of crop failure. … And a man has to get rid of his land. Now he has a rich neighbor who sees the opportunity to take a mortgage. … Now suppose he has a rich relative, a cousin for example, and that rich cousin is moved toward him, and wants to help him. Well, that rich cousin can come right in and pay the mortgage off, and restore it to the owner ….” 5

  3. And the family name by virtue of a levirate marriage. 6
    “If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her. The first son she bears shall carry on the name of the dead brother so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel.

    However, if a man does not want to marry his brother’s wife, she shall go to the elders at the town gate and say, “My husband’s brother refuses to carry on his brother’s name in Israel. He will not fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to me.” Then the elders of his town shall summon him and talk to him. If he persists in saying, “I do not want to marry her,” his brother’s widow shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, take off one of his sandals, spit in his face and say, “This is what is done to the man who will not build up his brother’s family line.” That man’s line shall be known in Israel as The Family of the Unsandaled” (Deuteronomy 25:5-10).

    “To the provision of the kinsman-redeemer she (Naomi) links a further levitical provision of what is called “levirate marriage” (from the Latin word Levir, meaning brother-in-law). This refers to the provision in Jewish law for a man to marry the widow of his deceased brother if no heir has been born. The widow was not to remarry outside the family, but the brother of the deceased husband was to raise up an heir for his dead brother so that his name might be perpetuated and his family inheritance continue to be possessed.” 7

Does this sound familiar? Jesus got into a discussion with the Sadducees of this aspect of the Law, when they were trying to make him look bad.

“Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and have children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too. At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”

Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. Now about the dead rising — have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!”” (Mark 12:18-27).

To be continued.

  1. MacArthur, John, Ruth & Esther, Word Publishing, Nashville, TN, 2000, p.19.
  2. McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. 2, “Joshua-Psalms,” Thomas Nelson Inc., Nashville, TN 1982, p. 104
  3. MacArthur, p.19.
  4. McGee, p. 104
  5. MacArthur, p.19.
  6. Jackman, David, The Communicator’s Commentary, Vol. 7, “Judges, Ruth,” Word Books, Dallas, TX, 1997, p. 343.

[email geoff] GKragen@aol.com
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CFD | March 2014 | Geoff's Devotions | Geoff's Studies | Devotional Topics