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September 25, 2011 / Daniel

The duties of the kinsman-redeemer

In the NIVAC commentary on Judges/Ruth, Lawson Younger  Jr. gives a list of the duties of the kinsman-redeemer.  This is my adaptation of his list.
  • The term goel could be translated the “family caretaker.”
  1.   To purchase the property once owned by a family member but sold due to economic hardship (Lev. 25:24-34; Jer. 32:1-15).
  2. To purchase a family member who was forced to sell himself into slavery due to economic hardship (Lev. 25:47-55).
  3. To avenge the murder of a family member and to restore wholeness to the clan (Num. 35:12, 19-27; Deut. 19:6, 12).
  4. To assist a family member in a lawsuit so that justice is done (Job 19:25; Ps 119:154; Prov. 23:10-11).
  5. To marry the wife of a deceased family member in order to “raise up the name of the deceased upon his property.”  The goal is to restore clan wholeness (Deut 25:5-10).
  6. To care for a widow in the family facing old age without anyone to care for her (Ruth  4:14-15)

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