The term “kinsman” usually refers to a blood relative of a person, according to Israel’s tribal nature. The most important blood relative being that of the father to the oldest son. Based on the law, in Israelite culture certain obligations were laid on the kinsman. For example in the case of the death of a husband without a son, the law of levirate marriage comes in. In this case the brother of the husband who died was obligated to marry his brother’s wife, in order to raise up a male descendant for his deceased brother. The purpose of this was to continue the name of the deceased brother and his inheritance. When this took place the living brother was then considered the dead brother’s “go’el” meaning “his redeemer” (Gen. 38:8; Deut. 25:5-10; Ruth 3:9-12). The kinsman could also act as a blood avenger in the case of murder. If a murder was committed the kinsman was expected to seek vengeance. Another case in which a kinsman could ask was redeeming an estate. Because of poverty a brother or family member may have sold his property, in this case the kinsman could purchase it back (Lev. 25:25; Ruth 4:4). In the book of Ruth, Boaz acted as a kinsman by marrying the widow of a deceased family member (Dictionary, Holman Illustrated Bible).
Redemption is the main theme of a kinsman. The Hebrew understanding of a redemption/redeemer is: “To pay a price in order to secure the release of something or someone. It connotes the idea of paying what is required in order to liberate from oppression, enslavement, or another type of binding obligation. The redemptive procedure may be legal, commercial, or religious” (Dictionary, Holman Illustrated Bible). In the Hebrew language the verb “ga’al” is used, meaning “to buy back” or “to redeem.” This is the word used in the book of Ruth for what Boaz does for Ruth. Ga’al is also used for what God does, with the idea being redemption from bondage or oppression. This is seen in Exodus 6:6: “I am the Lord … and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment” (NIV). Ga’al is also used to refer to redemption from sin (Isa. 44:22) and from death (Ps. 103:4; Hos. 13:14) (Dictionary, Holman Illustrated Bible).
Along with the passages mentioned above there are also a few other passages presenting God as a Redeemer (Ps. 19:14; Isa. 41:14; 48:17; Job 19:25). Other passages also speak of God as our Brother (Isa 8:18; Gal 4:4-5; Heb. 2:9-15). God was then able and most amazingly willing to redeem lost humanity, who were “sold under sin” and in need of redemption (Heb. 10:4-10; Rom 7:14) (Evans). Therefore; in the book of Ruth Boaz can be seen as a type of Christ, just as Boaz is Ruth’s kinsman Christ is our kinsman. Christ was a blood relative (Rom. 1:3; Heb. 2:14); he was able to redeem with the price of his blood (1 Pet. 1:18-19); he was willing to redeem (Heb. 10:7) (Charles Caldwell Ryrie).
– Aaron Smith, February 2014
Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Th.D., Ph.D. Ryrie Study Notes. Chicago: The Moody Bible Institute, 1986, 1995. WORDsearch Bible Software.
Dictionary, Holman Illustrated Bible. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003. WORDsearch Bible Software.
Evans, William. The Great Doctrines of the Bible. WORDsearch, 2013. WORDsearch Bible Software.