Kinsman Redeemer


The Wikipedia Encyclopaedia gives very detailed information regarding this term from the Bible (God’s Word).  

This article is about the Jewish legal institution.

Goel (go'el) is a Hebrew term which comes from the word lig'ol ("to redeem"), hence meaning "redeemer", which in the Bible and the rabbinical tradition denotes a person who as the nearest relative of another is charged with the duty of restoring the rights of another and avenging his wrongs. In the Authorized King James Bible, it is rendered "kinsman", "redeemer", and "avenger". 

In the book of Isaiah God is called the redeemer of Israel, as he redeems his people from captivity; the context shows that the redemption also involves moving on to something greater.  In Christianity, the title ‘goel’ is applied to Christ, who redeems his believers from all evil by the payment of a ransom 

The obligations of the ‘goel’ include the duty to redeem the relative from slavery, if the latter had been obliged to sell himself into serfdom (Leviticus 25: 48-49); to repurchase the property of a relative who had had to sell it because of poverty; to avenge the blood of his relative; to marry his brother's widow in order to have a son for his brother, in case the brother had not got any son to pass his name forth (Deuteronomy 25:5-6); and to receive the restitution if the injured relative had died (Numbers 5:8).

Numbers 35:9-30 regulates the duties of the ‘goel’.  The congregation has to judge the case before it puts a murderer in the hands of a ‘goel’.  More than one witness is needed for conviction.  In case of accidental manslaughter, the slayer can save his life by fleeing to a "city of refuge" and staying there for the term of the high priest (who is appointed for his lifetime). Ransom is not accepted for murder.  Revenge cannot be taken on the offender's children or parents (Deuteronomy 24:16). Leviticus 25:48-49 gives the order in which the nearest relative is considered the ‘goel’ in the case of redeeming a slave: brother, uncle, male cousin and then other relatives.  The same order was probably observed in the other cases, except in marrying a sister-in-law.

Jewish tradition has also ascribed to the blood avenger the role performed in modern times by a prosecuting attorney, who thus pleads on behalf of the victim the case against the criminal. Thus, he is responsible for bringing the offender to court, finding evidence against him, presenting the case to the court, and collecting damages from the offender. It is also his task to argue against any attempts to pardon the sinner.[1]


Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld: Ruth in Boaz's Field, 1828. The Book of Ruth tells the story of Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi.  After her husband's death they both move to Naomi's native land where she gets redeemed from poverty and widowhood through Ruth by her ‘goel’, Boaz.



By the time the Lord Jesus Christ was on the Earth some of the leading Jewish grouping seem to be unaware of the ‘Kinsman Redeemer Law’ as we read in Matt. 22:23-33, Mark 12:19-23 and Luke 20:28-33, the very interesting subject arises concerning a woman who had 7 husbands, and the question was asked of the Lord by the Sadducees, which husband would this woman have come the resurrection?

When looking into this subject, we see from the beginning that the ‘Sadducees’ came to Jesus to ask Him that question to try to trip Him!  Matt. 22:23, gives the key to this subject: “The same day the Sadducees came to Him, which say there is no resurrection” and asked Him. >>>

Their question was ‘hypothetical’.  As we have seen from the above “Moses said, if a man die and have no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother”.  They go on to say that there were 7 who likewise sought to raise up seed but without success.  They then said that the woman also died, and they wanted to know which husband would she have in the resurrection?

For Jesus this gave an easy opportunity to correct the Sadducees, and give the key for unlocking Scripture in most areas.  The context gave the answer; referring to Moses and the details given to Him.

It is clear therefore that these Sadducees were not genuine in their enquiry, but were seeking to make mischief and trick Him.

Jesus’ reply is very interesting, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.  For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in Heaven”. 

Immediately Jesus challenges their lack of knowledge of the Scriptures.  We ask which of the Scriptures is He referring to. 

In Deut. 25, we can see clearly what our Lord was speaking about.  Here there is a directive for the brother of the dead husband to further the line of her first husband, and in fact her firstborn was to have the name of her first husband, then the important words, “that his name be not blotted out of Israel”!  Here is the key.  This is known as the ‘Kinsman Redeemer Law’, which can be seen in practice in Ruth 3:9 and 4:14.  Where Ruth’s first husband had died (a Jew), leaving her without a child.  Boaz takes up the responsibility and continues the line through Ruth.  (It is interesting to note that Ruth became the great-grandmother of King David, through whom the Line of the Lord would come, both Mary and Joseph)!

From the establishment of the Jewish race through Abraham, the Enemy has sought to destroy the line.  However, the Almighty has consistently preserved it through all his attempts, and this is one of the rules to do that.  Satan wanted to destroy the line because he knew the Jew’s Messiah would be brought into the world through it.  Even though he failed, and Christ was born, Satan is still seeking to destroy the Jews.

Jesus in verses 31 and 32 of Matt. 22, reminds them that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and that He is the God of the living not the dead, (the resurrection).

The whole subject we see related here, is the one of resurrection.  In Luke 20:36, we can see that the Lord was showing the Sadducees, that come the resurrection, there is no more, birth, marriage or death; clearly referring to the post Millennial resurrection!

It is always essential when reading the Bible, to see clearly the subject being referred to, and to whom it is addressed.  Unfortunately many people today apply many Scriptures to themselves as they are not properly taught the Dispensational (Administration) changes; the one referred to here is a case in point. It is clear from the above that the Lord was talking to the Sadducees, who despite not believing in the resurrection, were asking Him this question.  In this Age, Dispensation (Grace), we Gentiles are in a different situation, and therefore these Scriptures do not apply to us.  If a husband dies (in this Age), it is not the Almighty’s desire that his brother raise up seed for him.

Also it is important to note that the promised inheritance for the Jews is an Earthly one, as they are promised in Gen 13:14-16, the land borders described.  As we know they have as yet never had these borders, however, when their Messiah comes to save them, He will set up His Earthly Kingdom for 1000 years; known by many as the Millennial, with the prophetic borders in place; and the Jews will be the Nation of Priests they were intended to be

The Body of the Lord, which is now being called out mainly from Gentiles, but with some Jews, will have their inheritance in Heaven, of which we are given little information, other than the words of Paul in Eph. 1:3 and 1:20; “We are blessed in Heavenly places in Christ, with all spiritual blessings”.  In this regard we live by Faith, trusting that He has a place for His Body which is special and full of purpose, now and especially the future!  See: Faith. 

It is also important to know that Christ became the  ‘Redeemer for all who will come to Him’.  


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