An Ancient Custom

February 12, 2015
by Parise Arakelian

Ruth 4:14a – The women said to Naomi: "Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer." (NIV)

While standing by my mother's hospital bed. I found myself attempting to understand what was really going on. I was familiar with the bed; mother had been in that bed at home. The oxygen tent was the added component; Does it mean that my mother is really sick? At age 13, before the fulfillment of my desire for my mom to leave the hospital, she took her last breath and went home to be with the Lord — at the age of 40. What I did not realize was that my mother had made a deathbed request of my father to marry her sister so that his three children would have a mother to care for them. My father and aunt took this responsibility seriously — shortly after my mother's death, my father and my aunt were married.

This occurrence reminds me of the biblical custom of a kinsman-redeemer: a male relative who shares the same racial, cultural, or national background as another. In the Old Testament, the word kinsman is most often used as a translation of a Hebrew word that means "one who has the right to redeem". An outstanding example of this custom is found in Ruth chapter 4, where Boaz, a near kinsman of Naomi (Ruth's mother-in-law), acted as a redeemer in accordance with Jewish law, and married Ruth. The line of David traces through this union and is the one from which Jesus was born.

Ruth 4:17 – The neighbor women gave him a name, saying, "A son has been born to Naomi!" So they named him Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David. (NASB)

In the New Testament, the title redeemer is applied to Christ, Who became our Kinsman-Redeemer. Christ, as Saviour, freed mankind from sin by His sacrifice — His death on the cross. Thus, our kinsman-redeemer paid the full price to redeem us now and into the blessing of eternal life.

Hebrews 2:17 – For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. (NIV 2011)

Consider this: Have we been freed from sin by the acceptance of Christ as our kinsman-redeemer? And if we have accepted Christ's sacrifice for sin, how are we exhibiting this new life to others who need to be freed from the chains of sin to become brothers and sisters with Christ?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for redeeming (saving) us from the power of sin by the sacrificial death of Your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. We are so grateful to have become brothers and sisters with Christ our Saviour, Who has become our Advocate with You, for which we give You glory, honour, and praise always. We pray in Jesus' holy name. Amen.

About the author:

Parise Arakelian <parisesings@roadrunner.com>
Arcadia, California, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Another good one, Parise.


    What an interesting story — and a great comparison.


    This the “best” work you have done. What a great story. Noted how you tied it to Ruth and Christ Jesus.
    Thanks for using your “special” talent our Lord has given to you. Your work will reach many who need understanding and encouragement.


    A powerful, powerful message with many beautiful illustrations presented – You asked: “Have we been freed from sin by the acceptance of Christ as our kinsman-redeemer? And if we have accepted Christ’s sacrifice for sin, how are we exhibiting this new life to others who need to be freed from the chains of sin to become brothers and sisters with Christ?” – What a challenge for we who mosey along enjoying the assurance we are children of the King, yet doing nothing to “bring others into the marvellous family of God” – This week has been a challenging week with so many lovely devotionals. Praise God for the fine work of the writers the dedication of the volunteers at PCD who make gifts available for us each day.


    I quite enjoyed your devotional this morning. I like the story of Ruth and Naomi. There is a piece of music that’s based on their story — Whither Thou Goest. It’s a beautiful piece, the words carry such a wonderful message at weddings. I selected it to be played during the register signing when my late husband and I married. I’ve played it since for some weddings — when I meet with a bride and we’re discussing music, they often will seek advice. So, if I suggest this piece and explain the meaning behind it, they often will choose this one to be played somewhere in the wedding music.
    Do continue to write.
    God bless and have a wonderful day!!


    Bless you, Parise. Your message brought tears to my eyes and comfort, for my mother also died when I was a young lad, seven or eight years old. My father, however, never married after her death and remained single till he died at the age of 74. He raised his seven children. Somehow we survived. But her death at such an early age had a profound, traumatic impact on my childhood and the rest of my life. BTW, I’m 79 now.


    Praise the Lord for His people as they express their individual words of faith. In times of discouragement, you shine His love from your life.



    Wow Parise, praise the Lord for a great story. What a powerful testimonial, and how it relates to Scripture and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
    May God continue to bless your writing.


    What a beautiful testimony of the love, sacrifice and devotion that strengthened your family after suffering the painful loss of your mother. Indeed, this was a wonderful illustration of Christ’s role as our Kinsmen-Redeemer and His great love for the church. Thank you for sharing this precious memory.


    Thanks for a good word today concerning Christ, our Kinsmen Redeemer.


    Hi again. Great devotional.
    Thanks for this, another of your faith-filled devotionals to fill us With the Spirit.
    I know Father loves you. That makes me smile.


    Parise, I did not know about your mother’s passing when you were at such a young age. I know how you felt, as my father died when I was 9 years old. Your story is a heart-warming one because of what transpired and how everything turned out. God bless.


    From time to time, the loving Arms of Jesus reaches out from His written word to embrace the reader with the joyful reality of all his glorious covenantal promises.
    For me, this is the manifestation of one of these occasions. Thank you Parise for sharing this beautiful true story of Holy Love in action. Bless you and yours.


    Dear Parise:
    This is written so well, you must really have knowledge of the Bible, it is so informative. I am printing it off going to keep it. I love Daily Devotional.Thank you so much,
    (Ok. USA)

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