There is a Redeemer | The Book of Ruth

Welcome to Real Life. Hope often arrives in the smallest of packages—like a newborn babe.

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When I returned to Bethlehem, my old friends asked, “Could this be Naomi?”
Don’t call me Naomi, call me Mara (bitter)… I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty…the Almighty has brought misfortune on me.”
My troubles began in the years of famine. As food grew scarce in Israel, my husband Elimelech heard of a bountiful harvest in Moab. So, he moved our family there. Initially, we prospered. However, within a decade, both my husband and our two sons had died. Oh, Elimelech, why did we think God would bless us in a pagan land? I decided it was time to go home.

My sons left no children, but they did leave two Moabite widows, Orpah and Ruth. When I kissed my daughters-in-law goodbye, Ruth clung to me. She had been the curious one. Why is that blood on your doorposts? Why can’t you eat pork? Why is Israel the Promised Land? Shortly after marrying my son Mahlon, Ruth embraced our faith and began to worship Jehovah, the one true God. She vowed,
“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” 
So together, Ruth and I entered Bethlehem bearing little besides our grief. It was the beginning of barley harvest. Ruth offered to trail the reapers and glean leftover grain to provide food for our table. That first evening, she returned with an abundance of grain. Surprised, I asked, “Whose field did you work, my daughter?” When she told me it was the field of Boaz, I rejoiced! He is a cousin of my late husband. I told her,

“He is one of our kinsman-redeemers.”

At that moment, something stirred in me that long lay dormant—hope. Kinsman-redeemers are responsible for protecting the interests of needy family members. Boaz had heard of Ruth's kindness to me. Therefore, he invited her to stay and glean under his protection. He even told his workers to provide her with extra grain.

With Ruth out working in the fields, I had time to ponder our situation. I was too old and weary to marry and begin anew. But, Ruth was still young. Yes, her hands were calloused now. But, her curves were soft and her smile refreshed like a summer rain. Clearly, Boaz was partial to Ruth. Though he was no longer young nor handsome, he was a noble man—and a kinsman-redeemer. I began to pray.

At the close of harvest, Boaz slept outdoors on the threshing floor to guard his grain. I suggested a plan to Ruth: Go to the threshing floor late after Boaz is asleep. Uncover his feet. Lay there quietly. When he awakes, say, “Spread the corner of your garment over me for you are my kinsman-redeemer.” She agreed to do this.

When Boaz awoke, he was pleased to find Ruth. He said, “The Lord bless you, my daughter. This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor.”

They married. Ruth bore a son and laid him in my lap. The women of Bethlehem proclaimed, “Naomi has a son!” They named him Obed. My little Obed became the grandfather of David, the most beloved King of Israel.



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There is another reason why this tender love story appears in the Scriptures:

Jesus Christ is my Kinsman-Redeemer.

Only a man could redeem—pay the ransom for—the sin of mankind. Therefore, God put on flesh. As a man, he is kin to me, a wo(man). As kin, he is able to redeem me. The story of Ruth is a picture of Christ’s redeeming love.

Thank you, Jesus, for coming as my Kinsman-Redeemer.
I was spiritually destitute, a foreigner far from God, and you betrothed me. 
You have given me a name (Christian), a home (heaven), and a life (eternal) with you.


Taking it further:
  • The Messiah came from the lineage of King David. Although Ruth was a woman, a foreigner, and a widow, Christ honored her by naming her in his genealogy (Matthew 1:5). Read more in “The Family Tree.”
Image 1:  Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld: Ruth in Boaz's Field, 1828, Public Domain, From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
Image 2:  Sleeping Baby by Anna Langova; Public Domain


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