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Our Deliverer

March 21, 2011

One of the benefits of studying the original biblical languages is to really dig deeper when the word translated into English just can’t fully encompass the meaning in Hebrew or Greek. One of the most rich and meaningful words I remember studying in Hebrew class is go’el. As we learn more about Ruth’s go’el today, we can also praise God for our Redeemer.

When Ruth returned home to Naomi with enough barley to sustain them for days, Naomi asked where she had gleaned. Ruth replied that it was Boaz’s field. Naomi said, “Blessed be he of the Lord, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead….This man is a relation of ours, one of our relatives” (Ruth 2:20). The word translated “one of our relatives” is go’el. But it means so much more than just cousin or uncle!

John MacArthur writes that a go’el was a relative who came to the rescue. The word is also used in the following passages:

  • Joshua 20:2-9 says that the go’el would avenge the blood of a murdered relative.
  • Leviticus 25:23-28 says he could buy back family lands sold in desperate times.
  • Leviticus 25:47-49 says he could redeem a family member sold into slavery.
  • And, the role most important in the book of Ruth, the go’el could marry the widow of a relative and father offspring for the deceased spouse, so his family lineage would not die with him (referred to as levirate marriage, described in Deuteronomy 25:5-10).

It’s amazing when you stop to think about it. God cares enough about the widow to provide a protector for her in His law. As we saw in Kathy’s post about gleaning, God cared for the widows, orphans, and sojourners. And He still cares for them, using His church to provide for their needs.

This story in the book of Ruth is more than “just” a love story. Remember, the hero in this book is God Himself. Keep coming back to read how Boaz became Ruth’s go’el, and how his love and care for her is a picture of Christ’s love and care for us!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Julie Sanders permalink
    March 21, 2011 9:36 am

    Understanding the word really adds to the fullness of God’s tenderness. What a beautiful example of how Scripture tells the truth about God’s nature and can answer questions that may come in hard times. To plan for such care, He must surely be kind and gentle.

  2. stephanieshott permalink
    March 21, 2011 3:57 pm

    Sandra ~ I’m a word girl, so I absolutely loved how you brought out the meaning of go’el! God’s grace is all over the significance of that word! LOVE IT!

  3. March 21, 2011 11:37 pm

    One of the things I remember from Kelly Minter’s “Ruth” conference was that there are some requirments of being a go’el. One must be elgible, able, and willing (not exactly her words). Boaz was those to Ruth but Jesus was those to us. He was elgible to be our go’el. He was able to be our go’el. But best of all – He was Willing to be our Go’el.

  4. March 22, 2011 12:43 am

    I love this distinction that “go’el was a relative who came to the rescue.” How amazing and grace-filled. We are beyond blessed to have the Ultimate Go’el.


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