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What is a Kinsmen Redeemer? When a man takes in his Brothers family and restores their lives.

Updated on July 10, 2012

Ruth the Moabitess


Kinsman Redeemers

(The study of Redemption)

De 25:5 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her.

The Whole requirement of the Kinsman redeemer was for the Brother to be a husband unto the widow… Not just give her a night of marital rite that would produce an heir that would carry the family name. The near kinsman was supposed to marry and care for the widow as his own wife and then train up the children as his own. But knowing that the children would bare his deceased relatives name and not his own.

Ruth and Boaz, (Book of Ruth)

Ruth 3:9 And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman. 10 And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.11 And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.

As I have studied this subject I noticed that asking him to spread the corner of the garment over her at night could at least in our day be taken as an advance… I ponder the possibility that at that time the people of Israel may have gotten away from the whole obligation of marrying the widow, by just giving her the minimum they had to… “Look I’ll give you an evening of self fulfillment but don’t expect me to marry you and mess up my own family plans…” By going to Boaz at night in the way that she did, she politely/humbly asked him to be her husband (or at least saying "Give me an heir that I be not childless") by bypassing the normal procedures of courtship by right of one needing to be redeemed. This reminds me that God doesn’t stand on formalities when his children need redeeming. They come to him humbly and he redeems them. PERIOD!!! It’s a fact… a Done Deal!!!

Ro 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Looking to Ruth 3: 10-11 with this in mind, his emphasis is on her virtuity, and that she need not fear and that he “will do all that thou requirests” shows that he will not short change her on the arrangement. Boaz will not only father her children, but will also be every bit of the husband and companion to her that she truly needed. Boaz therefore fulfilled the role of Kinsman redeemer in a manor that shows us complete Grace and complete fulfillment of her redemption. God didn’t forgive us and redeem us from part of our sins or for a limited period of time… he forgave all of our sins for all time!!! He Completely redeemed us.

I see in the Kinsman redeemer relationship that there are three parts to be considered:

A) Responsibility of the Redeemer

B) Rights of the Redeemed

C) Result of Redemption

According to the Mosaic Law it was the responsibility of the Brethren to bring up children for a deceased relative that their name not perish from among the children of Israel. Also of note is that this rule predated the Mosaic Law and it can be seen in the story of Judah and Tamar. As I stated above, the Redeemer was supposed to not only fulfill the night of matrimony for the widow but also marry her and take care of her and her children. This responsibility was so held in the Mosaic Law that to do otherwise was a shame and a disgrace to the man and his family who refuse to fulfill the kinsman role. We see this clearly in:

Deuteronomy 25:5 ¶ If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her.

6 And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.

7 And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother.

8 Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her;

9 Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and lose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house.

10 And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.

In the Story of Ruth and Boaz it is seen in ________ we see that the kinsman closest to Ruth refused to redeem her. Now I’ve heard it preached that she spit in his face according to the law… but I tend to disagree with that for the following reason. The Word of God says that He loosed his own sandal and gave it to Boaz and they exchanged sandals. This shines a light on something… The nearer Kinsman was gracefully allowed an out… The one who wanted to perform the right was granted to intercede. The Redemption was suppose to be VOLUNTARY!!!! Not Obligatory.

As I looked to various passages that shone light on the fathers responsibility and upon the role of the Kinsman relationship; It occurred to me that every single episode of Kinsman type that is shown in the Bible is also in the line of Jesus’ parentage in one way or another. I know that some will probably disagree with my view on which relationships in the bible constitute a Kinsman redeemer but for the time being however just grant me liberty and I shall endeavor to shine a light on some things that are taught in the Bible, even if by the bad examples of how Not to do things.

Judah and Tamar (Gen 38)

In the story of Judah and Tamar we see a father who’s son dies without leaving his daughter in law an heir. He started out right in that he gave his next son to her as a

Kinsman redeemer (Hebrew 1350 Ga^a’l) When God killed this son Onan also. Judah then lied to Tamar and sent her to her fathers house a widow. Now we see in the next few passages that Tamar went to the roadside and pretended to be a prostitute in order that Judah could be tricked into performing the Ga^a’l since it was obvious to her that he had no intention of seeing to or in doing that which was by rite hers. She was entitled to the younger son as husband as a minimal fulfillment of the law and for fulfillment of Judah’s promise. Notice that I said she pretended to be a prostitute. She in fact was the victim in this as she was forced to perform like a harlot to receive what was rightfully hers by the Law. After the episode was accomplished and she was found to be with child, Judah wanted her Burned to death as a whore… (what did he deserve as a whoremonger?) But after discovering that she had tricked him into performing the rite of redeemer and had only done the prostitution with him to receive her rite of Redemption, he said “she is more righteous than I” Judah then let her live but did not take her fully as a wife and gave her no other husband.

Gen 38: 26 And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.

Tamar’s son Pharez then became a part of Jesus lineage.

Mat 1:1 ¶ The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;

3 And Judas begat Pharesand Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;

As I was going back over this study and doing some more reading in Genesis I was drawn to the names involved in the story of the life of Judah and his sons and eventually Tamar. I found that hidden inside the names of each of the individuals was a story inside the story… a more sordid account of what transpired can be gleaned from a careful study and a little common sense reading between the lines.

Immediately After selling his brother into slavery in Gen 37, we read in Gen 38:1

1 ¶ And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah (To pale with splendor).

2 And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah (Cry out for Freedom) ; and he took her, and went in unto her.

3 And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er (“watchfull” from a prime root meaning to awaken or stir up oneself) .

4 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan (“to exert oneself in vain” chased down it means to do wickedly and come to no avail).

5 And she yet again conceived, and bare a son; and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him.

6 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar (to be erect as a palm tree).

Lets look at how this all fits together:

Judah sold his brother into slavery and then went to the Slave Market / Brothel of an Addullamite Slave trader / Pimp named “Pale with Splendor”. He then bought a woman who was “Crying out for her freedom” and had several children by her.

He named the first son Er who was “watchful” and God killed Er because he was wicked… Why? What wickedness had he done? Well his name says that he was watchful and stirred himself up…. I see the possibility here that the son watched the dad and emulated his example. Judah it seems was a womanizer... a whoremonger… he was used to chasing women and his son watched and became stirred up before he naturally should have been.

What does this tell us about Nudity in the home and parents carousing in front of their children?

This also answers another question I had:

How did Tamar know with all confidence, that she could go out beside the road and act as a prostitute and get Judah to "come in unto her"? How did she know that???

Well it would be a foregone conclusion if Judah had a well known history of going to the Harems and Slave Markets looking for women in all the wrong places… and if he had already picked her out of the lineup of a Slave Market or Brothel for his own son to wife…

Of course he would have picked a woman that he thought would best “take care of his son’s fleshly needs”. Right??? Judah therefore picked a woman with the looks that he would want for himself. Tamar had lived around him long enough to know that it was his habit to chase women. She knew that she could catch him this way. After all... why did Judah Name her...“Upright like a palm tree” ???

Some would say that it probably reflects on two areas of her being… First off that she was more than likely tall and beautiful and secondly that she was of the highest moral character unlike her father in law.... Right... and maybe it also had something to do with his own thoughts when he first saw her...

Beyond the Sordid view Judahs family in turmoil... Lets look now again at the role of Kinsman redeemer or Ga'al...

How does all of this play into the role of "Kinsman redeemer… It shows that there is also parental roles of redemption that need to be watched over and fulfilled... even to the extent of what we do and what we do not do in front of our children. It shows in very clear and vivid images of what happens when a parent ignores his role of parental redeemer/ teacher and allows his children to grow as a weed. Or worse yet if the parent actually cultivates their own worst habits and bad traits in their own children. Like women taking their daughters to “Beauty Pageants” and “Glamour shots” and dressing them up like Harlots. Living out their most sordid fantasies in the lives of their own children.

By the way… is it just my imagination or does every woman that goes to Glamour Shots wear the same fir top, black leather coat or feathery low cut blouse??? You can always tell one of those photos... They are always Shot in the Same clothing, with the same lighting and background, Same make up and same type hair job... But it really pets their flesh now don't it?)

Now how about men... who raise their Children on Sunday afternoon football games Drinking Beer and Screaming at the wife... ???

Children do not just happen... They are made. And they become what you train them to become.

What ever became of Tamar after the baby was born?

Tamar then raised Pharez largely by herself… a good thing I think… Pharez grew up under the guidance of a more rightious and upright woman without as many bad influences of Judah… Pharez means “to break out” and hopefully this means that he also broke from the whoremongering tradition of his father and became something other than what his parentage would dictate.

Lott and his two daughters (Gen 19)

If the story of Judah and Tamar is not sordid enough for today’s tabloids we find another story in Genesis that is enough to make most parents rather sick. Lott after having been lead out of Soddom and Gamorah and after having lost his wife in the process took residence in a cave with his two daughters. Lott, the Man of the World lost his entire fortune in the bombardment of the cities, and now we see him living in a hole in the ground. Presumably drinking his life away and waiting to die.

His two daughters saw the position they were in and realized that dad was not in any condition to choose a husband for them and that he very probably would just die leaving them homeless, husbandless and childless. The Last being worse than the first they made a decision to take matters into their own hands. Getting Lott drunk they took turns lying with their own dad to conceive children so that they would not be not left childless before their old age. Lott had long since ceased to care about others… Lot was to involved in his own pitty party and his own carnal thinking to bother looking for husbands for his daughters.

I wonder if his daughters were still pure up until that point. Regardless of the circumstances we find the daughters getting Dad drunk and conceiving children by him. Thus Lott fullfilled the Ga^a’l in much the same way that Judah did with Tamar.

Now we find a Ga'al relationshio in Boaz and Ruth...

Mt 1:5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;

Ruth was a Moabitess which meens that this sordid episode also apears in the lineage of Christ. I wonder that this may have been what was referred to in 1Ti 1:4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

It is doubtless that someone at one point must have been trying to refute the validity of Jesus lineage by indirect relation to the cursed tribe of Moab. This however shows us also the humanity of Christ and also from whence came some of the mocking and off color remarks of his adversaries.

God redeemed her and she was called Virtuous by the Jews who knew her but the Pharisees would still pick over the details to enlarge their rightiousness by who was and who was not in their family tree. But lest we should forget, King David was also Descended of Ruth, and Tamar. (Mat 1:1-6)

It is horrible to see the redeemer portrayed in this light and at first glance we want to deny the Kinsman Redeemer relationship performed in such a depraved way. However If it was important enough for God to dictate its inclusion in his Holy Word, then it must have great enough significance to warrant our taking a second and more studious look. We need to ask the Lord to open our eyes to the lessons he would teach us even here in this passage.

The Redeemer was to be Responsible,

The Redeemed had Rights,

and the Redeeming had many Ramifications.

I see also that:

1. The Redeeming was Priceless to the Redeemed

2. The Redeeming was to be pleasurable to both parts – A wedding, a family, a restoration of Broken hearts and homes

3. The Redeemer would suffer some as a result of performing the Ga^al… But the suffering should have been offset by the joys of the Redemption and resulting extended family.

4. The Redeemer had to set aside his own life in order to be the redemer, his own wants, desires, family and aspirations were to be sacrificed if he were to raise up children by this other woman.

5. The Redeeming would take the sacrifice of a loving wife, who loves not only her husband but also loves her sister in law enough to share that which is most precious to her that she be not a childless widow.

***In the strictest sense of the word, the Ga'al relationship in my opinion should never be viewed as a form of Polygamy. It is a Substitutionary / Vicarious relationship... acting on behalf of the dead to care for that deceased persons living spouse and to give Heirs to that side of the family...

Looking to Judah I questioned the raising of his children that they did not know God and did not have respect unto God’s law. Judah had not impressed upon his children what was right before God. Sounds like many Baptists parents today.

Judah also had other options for providing for Tamar. Judah chose “none of the above” and disregarded his duty as a father in law and head of his household.

Jacob (Israel) had 12 sons, one of them was named Judah and one was down in Egypt already which left Judah with 10 brothers of varying ages. Each of these brothers had sons also. Judah had been brought up to know his dad’s God and should have known the importance of Redemption. His children were brought up in that time that Jacob (Israel) was still alive. (This happened during the time Joseph was down in Egypt and while the rest of the family was still together, Including father Jacob, up north) They should have had a much more Godly outlook and not been killed by God. Obviously they did not walk in the light they had received and God was forced to make an example out of them that the others would fear and learn by, Judah had the option of “asking Dad for direction” with Tamar. Jacob (Israel) would possibly have sent him to one of his brothers or nephews with Tamar, and possibly with an offering to “pay for the redemption” of the would be Ga^al.

Could it be that Judah had too much pride to ask help or was he to cheap to help his daughter in law? He sent her to her father instead of placing her under his own watch care or under the care of his own family. The length of time required for her to be given a second husband and then wait for a third after Onan was killed leaves me to believe that most of this episode occurred within the 7 years of plenty prior to the 7 years of draught, while Joseph was away, down in Egypt.

If Judah did this in a time of plenty, how much worse might he have dealt with her a few years later during the famine???

Lott also had other options. Had Lott not given up on life and neglected his responsibilities to his children and future progeny, He could easily have sent his daughters to uncle Abraham and asked for help finding 2 suitable young men of moral character to husband his daughters. He also could have sent/taken his daughter’s back to another part of the family line for husbands or asked Melchisedek (Probably: Grandpa Shem) for advice. (Shem was still living somewhere nearby at that time)

But Lott didn’t and instead we see that he waited too late and his daughters tried to redeem themselves.

Here I see a sinner who isn’t taught about “Jesus the Redeemer” until after he has tried to redeem himself by his own efforts. The hardest people in the world to get saved, is a religious but lost person who insists on doing it their own way. They go on trying to get saved by their own works like they always have done it. We may also see that even in the aftermath of sin caused destruction... God Redeems His Own!!! Through Christ even the Children of Gentiles (Moabites included) can once again be reconciled to God.

After looking at all three of these Relationships we now see several really good examples of shirked duty and shrugged responsibility (in Ruth it’s the man who could have redeemed her but wouldn't who exchanged sandles with Boaz) But more importantly we learn that Love Covers Sins...

We also see that God has allowed great lengths to be taken to ensure that widows and orphans are taken care of... And that mankind itself be Forever Redeemed to Himself... through the Ultimate Kinsman Redeemer... God's own Son.


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    • MrMaranatha profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Somewhere in the third world.

      Thank you for your time in responding.... glad you enjoyed it!!

    • Tamarajo profile image


      5 years ago

      Wonderful insights and applications. I appreciated the Word studies that gave even further depth especially to the incidents of Judah and Tamar. I also gleaned from the speculations and possibilities to consider in each of the redemption examples. An interesting and useful read

    • MrMaranatha profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Somewhere in the third world.

      Hey Rodric I just went through this and did an edit... hopefully clearing up some of the rough spots...

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony 

      7 years ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Nice, I think that I need to share this one again so that more people can read it.

    • MrMaranatha profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Somewhere in the third world.

      This came in from an Email referencing this article... I thought to bring it in:

      "I just happened to bump into your hubpage. Your writeup on 'kinsmen redeemer' was really enlightening.

      May God bless your ministry!


    • MrMaranatha profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Somewhere in the third world.

      Its allot to chew on isn't it? :-)

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony 

      7 years ago from Peoria, Arizona

      This is an interesting subject and I thought on it before. I am so happy that the requirement for such a relationship is not culturally applicable to day among Christians, but I wonder why the Jews have abandoned it also.

      I wonder if in Israel if there is some sect that honors the laws and still keeps the Law of Moses? It would be interesting to discover. I always wondered why the Jews do not sacrifice still. I believe it is because Jesus is truly the only sacrifice needed after his cruxifiction and resurrection. I understand in Revelations that Jesus will return and save Jerusalem for the nations of the world and be accepted as the King they rejected. I wonder if before then, will the Jews come together and honor the sacrifices instituted under the law.


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