Goel: Kinsman, Redeemer, and Avenger

In the book of Ruth, Jesus is our Goel. Goel means “to redeem or ransom” and is rendered “kinsman” in Numbers 5:8, Ruth 3:12, Ruth 4:1 - 8, “redeemer” in Job 19:25,  and “avenger” in Numbers 35:12 and Deuteronomy 19:6. The picture of Jesus here as Goel is both that of redeemer and avenger. Consider Romans 8, Jesus not only died as a ransom for us, but he also avenges us against all enemies.

Notice the correlation between redeemer and avenger:

  • God redeemed Israel with the Passover lamb, but poured out vengeance on the gods of Egypt (Exodus 12).
  • God redeems us as believers through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3), but He also avenges us of our enemies with an age-abiding destruction (2 Thessalonians)
  • God redeems mankind (descendants of Adam) from death, but He also avenges us by destroying the last enemy, death (1 Corinthians 15:20-28).

GoelThe law of blood-revenge made it the sacred duty of the nearest relative to avenge the blood of his kinsman. He was called the goel hadam, “the avenger of blood.” This law was based on Genesis 9:5.

In Ruth, we see Boaz as the Goel. He is her kinsman redeemer.  He takes her as his wife and also fulfills the levirate law (Leviticus 25)  in producing an heir to carry on Elimelech’s family line (Ruth 4:13). Boaz, as the kinsman redeemer,  is a type of Christ, the ultimate kinsman redeemer, who will redeem us as a bride for himself (Revelation 19:7).

I love that God had a plan. The book of Ruth is not just a book about a girl who found a husband. Truthfully, she did not find him. God set the plan in motion for them to be together in order to fulfill prophecy. Look at the genealogy in Matthew 1, specifically verses 5, 6, and 16:

Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab).
Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth).
Obed was the father of Jesse.
Jesse was the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba.
Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah.

There were many divine connections made and played out in the book of Ruth. As I look back at my life I see divine connections interwoven in what I thought were my plans. There were jobs I acquired because of godly connections made when I was not really paying attention and there were connections made which moved me to change churches a few months after I was born again. God caused me to be unsatisfied and unhappy at the church I was attending and pointed me in another direction. There was nothing wrong with the church, it was not where I was supposed to be. Remember, your blessings are always tied to a place. This is one of my favorite sayings: When God wants to bless you, He puts a person in your life.

Do not ignore those divine connections. Look at the outcome between Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz and the generational blessings. Hope you enjoyed finding Jesus, your Goel (kinsman redeemer and blood avenger) in the book of Ruth as we continue our journey through the Bible searching for Jesus Who?