What was a guardian-redeemer?

Verse:  Ruth 2:20 ;  Ruth 3:12 ;  Ruth 4:3-6

A guardian-redeemer was a close, influential relative to whom members of the extended family could turn for help, usually when the family line or possessions were in danger of being lost. He was responsible for buying back family land sold during a crisis (see Leviticus 25:25), buying back enslaved relatives (see Leviticus 25:47-49), providing an heir for a dead brother (see Deuteronomy 25:5-10), avenging the killing of a relative (see Numbers 35:19-21) and caring for relatives in difficult circumstances (see Jeremiah 32:6-25).

The idea of the guardian-redeemer is also used at times to refer to God and his redemption of Israel (see Exodus 6:6-8 Job 19:25Psalms 19:14Psalms 69:18Isaiah 43:1). In these passages, God is Israel’s nearest redeemer, stepping in to bring the nation back into his family when the people could not do it themselves.

The word guardian-redeemer finds ultimate fulfillment in the coming of the Messiah (see Isaiah 59:20). Jesus is our near guardian who came to buy us back into God’s family. In the New Testament the concept is reflected in the various words for redeem, which suggest paying a ransom, making a purchase or saving from loss.

This devotion is from The Quest Study Bible by Zondervan. Used with permission.