What Is a Kinsman Redeemer in Ruth (and the Rest of the Old Testament)?

A quick reading of the book of Ruth answers this question: a kinsman redeemer is the person who gets folks out of trouble. In Ruth’s story that’s Boaz, the true Israelite (and maybe the only real white hat in the whole Old Testament) who demonstrates covenant faithfulness during one of Israel’s most dark and violent periods: “the days of the judges” (Ruth 1:1). Other parts of the Old Testament describe more fully the role of the kinsman redeemer, painting for us a picture of a human representative who mirrors Yahweh himself by advocating the most vulnerable people in society, ideally ensuring justice and protection for those who need it most.

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