Wednesday, September 21, 2011

HT Internet Monk: the irony of the anonymous kinsmen redeemer in the book of Ruth

A fascinating comment on the Internet Monk series about the book of Ruth. We are told that Boaz marries Ruth and takes up the task of providing heirs for the house of Elimelech. The kinsman redeemer declines to marry Ruth because in so doing he would ruin his own inheritance. Elimelech was the man who built the plan and left for Moab to secure the stability of his family and inadvertantly led the family into ruin. Boaz takes the remnants of this family into his household at the expense of his own estate. We are not given the name of the kinsmen redeemer who declines the offer Boaz makes. Commenter Nate writes the following.

Nate says:
September 21, 2011 at 11:57 am
A great nuance that was pointed out to me recently is that the kinsman-redeemer, who was seeking to protect his inheritance, his “name” so to speak, ends up nameless in the retelling. Boaz, who sacrificed his own security is the one whose name lived on into the present day.

In an irony twist the nameless kinsman redeemer declines to marry Ruth because he is concerned about preserving his own inheritance and legacy. Yet his legacy is to be mentioned without a name in the book of Ruth and his estate and legacy are unidentifiable now, if they could even exist. There is a point where the person who gives up whatever legacy he might have had himself for the legacy of displaying the kindness of God gains a legacy that is greater than the legacies that men cling to for which they avoid kindness.

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