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Righteous Slavery - Part II

Last time, we read that Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Leah, and Rachel all had slaves. We saw that Joseph was a slave in Egypt and that all the children of Israel ultimately became slaves under the harsh mastery of the Egyptians.

We reviewed the structure of slavery in Israel, as God established their society for their own benefit. He structured the framework of their society in such a manner as to provide an outlet of relief for some of his people who might, at times, become impoverished and destitute. It was, of sorts, a preventive structure for some to avoid homelessness. It was a far cry from the harsh slavery we have known throughout the history of mankind who has cut itself off from God. Man, over the centuries, has turned his back on God and the proper way to structure his society.

That structure established by God was one of mercy and compassion. Yes, the slave was to do the will and bidding of the master but there was a way out. Every seventh year, a slave was to be set free and every fiftieth year a slave and his family were allowed to be set free and to return to the land of their forefathers.

Let's note again in Leviticus 25 the ordinances of God dealing both with the land and with slaves. This time, begin in verse 23.

(Lev 25:23-55 NASB) 'The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me [think about that: it is God who is the ultimate landowner and we are but mere tenants allowed to use and care for his land]. {24} 'Thus for every piece of your property, you are to provide for the redemption of the land. {25} 'If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back what his relative has sold. {26} 'Or in case a man has no kinsman, but so recovers his means as to find sufficient for its redemption, {27} then he shall calculate the years since its sale and refund the balance to the man to whom he sold it, and so return to his property. {28} 'But if he has not found sufficient means to get it back for himself, then what he has sold shall remain in the hands of its purchaser until the year of jubilee; but at the jubilee it shall revert, that he may return to his property. {29} 'Likewise, if a man sells a dwelling house in a walled city, then his redemption right remains valid until a full year from its sale; his right of redemption lasts a full year. {30} 'But if it is not bought back for him within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city passes permanently to its purchaser throughout his generations; it does not revert in the jubilee. {31} 'The houses of the villages, however, which have no surrounding wall shall be considered as open fields; they have redemption rights and revert in the jubilee. {32} 'As for cities of the Levites, the Levites have a permanent right of redemption for the houses of the cities which are their possession. {33} 'What, therefore, belongs to the Levites may be redeemed and a house sale in the city of this possession reverts in the jubilee, for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession among the sons of Israel. {34} 'But pasture fields of their cities shall not be sold, for that is their perpetual possession. {35} 'Now in case a countryman of yours becomes poor and his means with regard to you falter, then you are to sustain him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. {36} 'Do not take usurious interest from him, but revere your God, that your countryman may live with you. {37} 'You shall not give him your silver at interest, nor your food for gain. {38} 'I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God. {39} 'And if a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave's service. {40} 'He shall be with you as a hired man, as if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee. {41} 'He shall then go out from you, he and his sons with him, and shall go back to his family, that he may return to the property of his forefathers. {42} 'For they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt; they are not to be sold in a slave sale. {43} 'You shall not rule over him with severity, but are to revere your God. {44} 'As for your male and female slaves whom you may have-- you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you. {45} 'Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have produced in your land; they also may become your possession. {46} 'You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another. {47} 'Now if the means of a stranger or of a sojourner with you becomes sufficient, and a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to him as to sell himself to a stranger who is sojourning with you, or to the descendants of a stranger's family, {48} then he shall have redemption right after he has been sold. One of his brothers may redeem him, {49} or his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or one of his blood relatives from his family may redeem him; or if he prospers, he may redeem himself. {50} 'He then with his purchaser shall calculate from the year when he sold himself to him up to the year of jubilee; and the price of his sale shall correspond to the number of years. It is like the days of a hired man that he shall be with him. {51} 'If there are still many years, he shall refund part of his purchase price in proportion to them for his own redemption; {52} and if few years remain until the year of jubilee, he shall so calculate with him. In proportion to his years he is to refund the amount for his redemption. {53} 'Like a man hired year by year he shall be with him; he shall not rule over him with severity in your sight. {54} 'Even if he is not redeemed by these means, he shall still go out in the year of jubilee, he and his sons with him. {55} 'For the sons of Israel are My servants; they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.

We just read how both the land could be redeemed and slaves could be redeemed. In both cases, in order for something or someone to be redeemed, there needed to be a redeemer. The redeemer was to be someone of the same family. The redeemer was to be a kinsman.

According to Strong's Hebrew Dictionary, the word translated into the English word redeem is #6299. padah, to sever, i.e. to ransom; generally to release or preserve. According to Vine's Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, padah is defined as "to redeem or ransom." Vine's goes on to say, "Padah indicates that some intervening or substitutionary action effects a release from an undesirable condition. In more secular contexts, it implies a payment of some sort."

In the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, redeeming is spoken of in the following manner: "The idea of redemption in the Old Testament takes its start from the thought of property. Money is paid according to law to buy back something which must be delivered or rescued (article Redemption)."

We see another example of the kinsman redeemer in action in chapter 32 of the book of Jeremiah with reference to Jeremiah's right to redeem his ancestral land.

(Jer 32:6-10 NASB) And Jeremiah said, "The word of the LORD came to me, saying, {7} 'Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle is coming to you, saying, "Buy for yourself my field which is at Anathoth, for you have the right of redemption to buy it."' {8} "Then Hanamel my uncle's son came to me in the court of the guard according to the word of the LORD, and said to me, 'Buy my field, please, that is at Anathoth, which is in the land of Benjamin; for you have the right of possession and the redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.' Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD. {9} "And I bought the field which was at Anathoth from Hanamel my uncle's son, and I weighed out the silver for him, seventeen shekels of silver. {10} "And I signed and sealed the deed, and called in witnesses, and weighed out the silver on the scales.

Not only is ancestral land able to be redeemed but, again in Deuteronomy 15:7, we see the prescribed process for the redemption of slaves.

(Deu 15:7-15 NASB) "If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; {8} but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks. {9} "Beware, lest there is a base thought in your heart, saying, 'The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,' and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to the LORD against you, and it will be a sin in you. {10} "You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings. {11} "For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.' {12} "If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, then he shall serve you six years, but in the seventh year you shall set him free. {13} "And when you set him free, you shall not send him away empty-handed. {14} "You shall furnish him liberally from your flock and from your threshing floor and from your wine vat; you shall give to him as the LORD your God has blessed you. {15} "And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today.

The Kinsman Redeemer

One of the best stories in the Bible about the kinsman redeemer is portrayed in the book of Ruth.

Most people know the basic outline of the story. It depicts a family who moved from Judah during a famine in the land of Israel. They moved across the Jordan river into Moab, or what we would know today as the nation of Jordan. While in Moab, the father Elimelech died, leaving his wife Naomi as a widow and a single mother. When grown, the two sons of Naomi each took a wife from the native Moabite women. After living in Moab for about ten years, the sons also died and left their two Moabite wives as widows. When the famine was over in Israel, Naomi sought to return to her homeland. One of the daughters-in-law stayed behind in Moab but the other one, Ruth, decided to go with Naomi into Judah.

In Ruth 2:1, we continue with the story. Pay particular attention to the importance of the kinsman redeemer.

(Ruth 2:1 NASB) Now Naomi had a kinsman of her husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. {2} And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, "Please let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after one in whose sight I may find favor." And she said to her, "Go, my daughter." {3} So she departed and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers; and she happened to come to the portion of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech. {4} Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem and said to the reapers, "May the LORD be with you." And they said to him, "May the LORD bless you." {5} Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, "Whose young woman is this?" {6} And the servant in charge of the reapers answered and said, "She is the young Moabite woman who returned with Naomi from the land of Moab. {7} "And she said, 'Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.' Thus she came and has remained from the morning until now; she has been sitting in the house for a little while." {8} Then Boaz said to Ruth, "Listen carefully, my daughter. Do not go to glean in another field; furthermore, do not go on from this one, but stay here with my maids. {9} "Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Indeed, I have commanded the servants not to touch you. When you are thirsty, go to the water jars and drink from what the servants draw." {10} Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground and said to him, "Why have I found favor in your sight that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?" {11} And Boaz answered and said to her, "All that you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband has been fully reported to me, and how you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and came to a people that you did not previously know. {12} "May the LORD reward your work, and your wages be full from the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge." {13} Then she said, "I have found favor in your sight, my lord, for you have comforted me and indeed have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants." {14} And at mealtime Boaz said to her, "Come here, that you may eat of the bread and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar." So she sat beside the reapers; and he served her roasted grain, and she ate and was satisfied and had some left. {15} When she rose to glean, Boaz commanded his servants, saying, "Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not insult her. {16} "And also you shall purposely pull out for her some grain from the bundles and leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her." {17} So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. {18} And she took it up and went into the city, and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also took it out and gave Naomi what she had left after she was satisfied. {19} Her mother-in-law then said to her, "Where did you glean today and where did you work? May he who took notice of you be blessed." So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, "The name of the man with whom I worked today is Boaz." {20} And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, "May he be blessed of the LORD who has not withdrawn his kindness to the living and to the dead." Again Naomi said to her, "The man is our relative, he is one of our closest relatives." {21} Then Ruth the Moabitess said, "Furthermore, he said to me, 'You should stay close to my servants until they have finished all my harvest.'" {22} And Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, "It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his maids, lest others fall upon you in another field." {23} So she stayed close by the maids of Boaz in order to glean until the end of the barley harvest and the wheat harvest. And she lived with her mother-in-law.

Notice that Ruth gleaned in the field of Boaz until the end of the barley harvest and the wheat harvest. We know from keeping God's spring Holy Days that the barley harvest did not begin until after the wave sheaf offering was presented to God during the Days of Unleavened Bread, just after the sacrifice of the Passover lamb. We know also that the Day of First Fruits (or Pentecost) occurred during the wheat harvest fifty days after the Wave Sheaf offering. Therefore, we can deduce that Ruth probably gleaned in the field of Boaz for almost two months.

Continue in the third chapter of Ruth.

(Ruth 3:1 NASB) Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, "My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you? {2} "And now is not Boaz our kinsman, with whose maids you were? Behold, he winnows barley at the threshing floor tonight. {3} "Wash yourself therefore, and anoint yourself and put on your best clothes, and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. {4} "And it shall be when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies, and you shall go and uncover his feet and lie down; then he will tell you what you shall do." {5} And she said to her, "All that you say I will do."

Doesn't that remind you of the response that the children of Israel gave to Moses after hearing the terms of the Old Covenant at Mount Sinai? "All the words which the LORD has spoken we will do!" is what they said to Moses. It's no wonder that Bible commentaries and theologians have long said that Ruth is a type of the Church of God.

Continue in verse six.

(Ruth 3:6 NASB) So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law had commanded her. {7} When Boaz had eaten and drunk and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came secretly, and uncovered his feet and lay down. {8} And it happened in the middle of the night that the man was startled and bent forward; and behold, a woman was lying at his feet. {9} And he said, "Who are you?" And she answered, "I am Ruth your maid. So spread your covering over your maid, for you are a close relative." {10} Then he said, "May you be blessed of the LORD, my daughter. You have shown your last kindness to be better than the first by not going after young men, whether poor or rich. {11} "And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence. {12} "And now it is true I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I. {13} "Remain this night, and when morning comes, if he will redeem you, good; let him redeem you. But if he does not wish to redeem you, then I will redeem you, as the LORD lives. Lie down until morning." {14} So she lay at his feet until morning and rose before one could recognize another; and he said, "Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor." {15} Again he said, "Give me the cloak that is on you and hold it." So she held it, and he measured six measures of barley and laid it on her. Then she went into the city. {16} And when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, "How did it go, my daughter?" And she told her all that the man had done for her. {17} And she said, "These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said, 'Do not go to your mother-in-law empty-handed.'" {18} Then she said, "Wait, my daughter, until you know how the matter turns out; for the man will not rest until he has settled it today."

Continue in chapter four.

(Ruth 4:1-17 NASB) Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there, and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz spoke was passing by, so he said, "Turn aside, friend, sit down here." And he turned aside and sat down. {2} And he took ten men of the elders of the city and said, "Sit down here." So they sat down. {3} Then he said to the closest relative, "Naomi, who has come back from the land of Moab, has to sell the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. {4} "So I thought to inform you, saying, 'Buy it before those who are sitting here, and before the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if not, tell me that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am after you.'" And he said, "I will redeem it." {5} Then Boaz said, "On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of the deceased, in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance." {6} And the closest relative said, "I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I jeopardize my own inheritance. Redeem it for yourself; you may have my right of redemption, for I cannot redeem it." {7} Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning the redemption and the exchange of land to confirm any matter: a man removed his sandal and gave it to another; and this was the manner of attestation in Israel. {8} So the closest relative said to Boaz, "Buy it for yourself." And he removed his sandal. {9} Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, "You are witnesses today that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon. {10} "Moreover, I have acquired Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, to be my wife in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance, so that the name of the deceased may not be cut off from his brothers or from the court of his birth place; you are witnesses today." {11} And all the people who were in the court, and the elders, said, "We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built the house of Israel; and may you achieve wealth in Ephrathah and become famous in Bethlehem. {12} "Moreover, may your house be like the house of Perez whom Tamar bore to Judah, through the offspring which the LORD shall give you by this young woman." {13} So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife, and he went in to her. And the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. {14} Then the women said to Naomi, "Blessed is the LORD who has not left you without a redeemer today, and may his name become famous in Israel. {15} "May he also be to you a restorer of life and a sustainer of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him." {16} Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her lap, and became his nurse. {17} And 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.

We've just read an example of a righteous kinsman redeemer who did what God commanded in the scriptures. We'll find that command in Deuteronomy 25:5.

(Deu 25:5-10 NASB) "When brothers live together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a strange man. Her husband's brother shall go in to her and take her to himself as wife and perform the duty of a husband's brother to her. {6} "And it shall be that the first-born whom she bears shall assume the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out from Israel. {7} "But if the man does not desire to take his brother's wife, then his brother's wife shall go up to the gate to the elders and say, 'My husband's brother refuses to establish a name for his brother in Israel; he is not willing to perform the duty of a husband's brother to me.' {8} "Then the elders of his city shall summon him and speak to him. And if he persists and says, 'I do not desire to take her,' {9} then his brother's wife shall come to him in the sight of the elders, and pull his sandal off his foot and spit in his face; and she shall declare, 'Thus it is done to the man who does not build up his brother's house.' {10} "And in Israel his name shall be called, 'The house of him whose sandal is removed.'

Now let's look at a previous example of men centuries before who did not obey God's commands. Even though the men were disobedient, in the end however, God worked out his plan through the obedience of the woman.

(Gen 38:6-30 NASB) Now Judah took a wife for Er his first-born, and her name was Tamar. {7} But Er, Judah's first-born, was evil in the sight of the LORD, so the LORD took his life. {8} Then Judah said to Onan, "Go in to your brother's wife, and perform your duty as a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother." {9} And Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so it came about that when he went in to his brother's wife, he wasted his seed on the ground, in order not to give offspring to his brother. {10} But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the LORD; so He took his life also. {11} Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, "Remain a widow in your father's house until my son Shelah grows up"; for he thought, "I am afraid that he too may die like his brothers." So Tamar went and lived in her father's house. {12} Now after a considerable time Shua's daughter, the wife of Judah, died; and when the time of mourning was ended, Judah went up to his sheepshearers at Timnah, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. {13} And it was told to Tamar, "Behold, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep." {14} So she removed her widow's garments and covered herself with a veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the gateway of Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah had grown up, and she had not been given to him as a wife. {15} When Judah saw her, he thought she was a harlot, for she had covered her face. {16} So he turned aside to her by the road, and said, "Here now, let me come in to you"; for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. And she said, "What will you give me, that you may come in to me?" {17} He said, therefore, "I will send you a kid from the flock." She said, moreover, "Will you give a pledge until you send it?" {18} And he said, "What pledge shall I give you?" And she said, "Your seal and your cord, and your staff that is in your hand." So he gave them to her, and went in to her, and she conceived by him. {19} Then she arose and departed, and removed her veil and put on her widow's garments. {20} When Judah sent the kid by his friend the Adullamite, to receive the pledge from the woman's hand, he did not find her. {21} And he asked the men of her place, saying, "Where is the temple prostitute who was by the road at Enaim?" But they said, "There has been no temple prostitute here." {22} So he returned to Judah, and said, "I did not find her; and furthermore, the men of the place said, 'There has been no temple prostitute here.'" {23} Then Judah said, "Let her keep them, lest we become a laughingstock. After all, I sent this kid, but you did not find her." {24} Now it was about three months later that Judah was informed, "Your daughter-in-law Tamar has played the harlot, and behold, she is also with child by harlotry." Then Judah said, "Bring her out and let her be burned!" {25} It was while she was being brought out that she sent to her father-in-law, saying, "I am with child by the man to whom these things belong." And she said, "Please examine and see, whose signet ring and cords and staff are these?" {26} And Judah recognized them, and said, "She is more righteous than I, inasmuch as I did not give her to my son Shelah." And he did not have relations with her again. {27} And it came about at the time she was giving birth, that behold, there were twins in her womb. {28} Moreover, it took place while she was giving birth, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, "This one came out first." {29} But it came about as he drew back his hand, that behold, his brother came out. Then she said, "What a breach you have made for yourself!" So he was named Perez. {30} And afterward his brother came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand; and he was named Zerah.

Go back and read verse 26 again. Judah recognized his disobedience to God and praised Tamar for being more righteous than he was.

(Gen 38:26 NASB) And Judah recognized them, and said, "She is more righteous than I, inasmuch as I did not give her to my son Shelah."

What did Christ think about the necessity of the kinsman redeemer to raise up seed to his dead brother? In Matthew 22:23, we will see that he did not dispute with the Sadducees the obligation of the kinsman.

(Mat 22:23-32 KJV) The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, {24} Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. {25} Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: {26} Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. {27} And last of all the woman died also. {28} Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. {29} Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. {30} For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. {31} But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, {32} I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

Christ did not dispute the Sadducees over the obligation of the kinsman to raise up seed in the name of the dead brother. Christ disputed the Sadducees' understanding of scripture and how they applied the kinsman's obligation to spiritual concepts. They had misapplied the physical obligations of the kinsman redeemer to the spiritual world and had made assumptions that were contradicted by scripture.

Was this an unimportant concept to God? It wouldn't seem so because it is also recorded for us in the books of Mark and Luke. That makes a total of three times that the same incident is stated for us and, as we all know, the number three or something stated three times in scripture is a number which denotes completeness or surety.

In fact, in 2 Cor 13:1, Paul confirms the surety of three witnesses.

(2 Cor 13:1 KJV) This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

The Bride-price and the function of the Kinsman Redeemer

In ancient Israel and Judah there was an established price to be paid by either the suitor or the suitor's family for the taking of a woman to be a bride. Today we are familiar with the term "dowry" but then it was known as the bride-price. There are scriptural examples that acknowledge the existence of a known bride-price that was to be paid to the bride's father and family. We see those examples shown in both good and bad situations.

In 1 Sam 18:25, we see the bride-price that was set by King Saul for his daughter Michael.

(1 Sam 18:25 NASB) Saul then said, "Thus you shall say to David, 'The king does not desire any dowry except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to take vengeance on the king's enemies.'" Now Saul planned to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines.

In 1 Kings 9:16, we see a different example of the dowry that was given by the King of Egypt for his daughter to be married to Solomon.

(1 Ki 9:16 NASB) For Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up and captured Gezer, and burned it with fire, and killed the Canaanites who lived in the city, and had given it as a dowry to his daughter, Solomon's wife.

We previously saw that Boaz was willing to pay the bride-price of Ruth by redeeming the land of Elimelech and, in effect, paying the dowry of Ruth by assuming her debts and support.

In Exodus 22:16-17, we can see the penalty that was assessed if a man were to rape a woman. Pay particular attention to verse 17.

(Exo 22:16-17 NASB) "And if a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife. {17} "If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the dowry for virgins.

Look at the end of verse 17: "he shall pay money equal to the dowry for virgins." So, you can see that there was a known and acknowledged price in that society for a dowry for virgins.

The function of the kinsman redeemer is very important to God for at least two reasons. It is important for the preservation of the inheritance of land within a family. In connection with that land inheritance, procreation by the widow is important to God to perpetuate the family name and inheritance within the nation. We also saw in two specific instances with both Ruth and Tamar, that the plan of God was made possible, in part, through the obedience of two women who voluntarily submitted themselves to obey God's command regarding the kinsman redeemer.

There's at least one other importance to redeeming in the sight of God. We can read about that in Exodus 13:11.

(Exo 13:11-15 NASB) "Now it shall come about when the LORD brings you to the land of the Canaanite, as He swore to you and to your fathers, and gives it to you, {12} that you shall devote to the LORD the first offspring of every womb, and the first offspring of every beast that you own; the males belong to the LORD. {13} "But every first offspring of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck; and every first-born of man among your sons you shall redeem. {14} "And it shall be when your son asks you in time to come, saying, 'What is this?' then you shall say to him, 'With a powerful hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery. {15} 'And it came about, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the LORD killed every first-born in the land of Egypt, both the first-born of man and the first-born of beast. Therefore, I sacrifice to the LORD the males, the first offspring of every womb, but every first-born of my sons I redeem.'

Christ, the firstborn of God, is our Kinsman Redeemer

God set up for Israel the physical examples regarding the proper rules and limitations for both slaves and hirelings. God also established the structure of the kinsman redeemer, not only to further his plan but also to show us through the physical, the more import lessons of its spiritual applications. It is in the larger spiritual context that the physical was more fully fulfilled. Ultimately, it will be totally fulfilled by Jesus Christ.

Galatians 4:4 shows us that one of the purposes for Christ being sent to earth was to redeem those called by God.

(Gal 4:4-5 NASB) But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, {5} in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

In Hebrews 2:5, God shows us the structure in heaven and extends that to the sequence of events portrayed through Christ's human life and resurrection.

(Heb 2:5-15 NASB) For He [God the Father] did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. {6} But one has testified somewhere, saying, "WHAT IS MAN, THAT THOU REMEMBEREST HIM? OR THE SON OF MAN, THAT THOU ART CONCERNED ABOUT HIM? {7} "THOU HAST MADE HIM FOR A LITTLE WHILE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS; THOU HAST CROWNED HIM WITH GLORY AND HONOR, AND HAST APPOINTED HIM OVER THE WORKS OF THY HANDS; {8} THOU HAST PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET." For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him. {9} But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. {10} For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. {11} For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, {12} saying, "I WILL PROCLAIM THY NAME TO MY BRETHREN, IN THE MIDST OF THE CONGREGATION I WILL SING THY PRAISE." {13} And again, "I WILL PUT MY TRUST IN HIM." And again, "BEHOLD, I AND THE CHILDREN WHOM GOD HAS GIVEN ME." {14} Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; {15} and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

This is truly the good news of the coming Kingdom of God that awaits us if we remain steadfast and become profitable slaves of God.

The Tasks of Slaves

In Matthew 24:42, notice it is the task of some slaves to keep and feed the members of the master's household.

(Mat 24:42-51 NASB) "Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. {43} "But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. {44} "For this reason you be ready too; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. {45} "Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? {46} "Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. {47} "Truly I say to you, that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. {48} "But if that evil slave says in his heart, 'My master is not coming for a long time,' {49} and shall begin to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; {50} the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, {51} and shall cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; weeping shall be there and the gnashing of teeth.

What is the household of God and who are its members? Ephesians 2:18 gives us the answer.

(Eph 2:18-22 KJV) For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. {19} Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; {20} And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; {21} In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: {22} In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Clearly, we are bound together as members of God's household through the spirit of God. As members of the household of God, what is our duty and our responsibility? 1 Peter 4:17 gives us an answer.

(1 Pet 4:17-19 NASB) For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? {18} AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER? {19} Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

Earlier in Matthew 24, we read that Christ termed as "slaves" those whom he "put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time." What are the duties of those "put in charge of his household?" In John 21:15, we can find an answer.

(John 21:15-17 KJV) So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. {16} He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. {17} He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

We all know that Jesus gave, as parting instructions to his disciples, the command to "make disciples of all nations" in Matthew 28. Most people, however don't pay much attention to the rest of the same sentence, "teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you." As we just read in John 21, that is really the key job of the pastors and teachers God has set over his people in the Church. Public preaching is only a small duty. Equally important, or even more so in the eyes of God, is the duty to provide the spiritual feeding and nurturing of those whom God has called into the body of Christ.

Christ as Our Elder Brother

Christ is qualified to be our kinsman redeemer because he is our elder brother in our same family line.

(Eph 1:3-7 NASB) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, {4} just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love {5} He [the Father] predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, {6} to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. {7} In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace,

In Matthew 12:47, we can see whom Christ says are the members of his own family.

(Mat 12:47-50 KJV) Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. {48} But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? {49} And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! {50} For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Earlier we read that God claimed, as his own, all the firstborn of men. We can see in Matthew 1:24 that Jesus was, physically, a firstborn son and the eldest brother of his family.

(Mat 1:24-25 KJV) Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: {25} And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

In Matthew 13:55, we can see that Jesus was the eldest of five sons and, probably, at least three daughters of Joseph and Mary.

(Mat 13:55-56 NASB) "Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? {56} "And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?"

Not only was Christ physically the firstborn of Joseph and Mary but, in Colossians 1:15, we can see that he is the firstborn of God the Father and, spiritually, the firstborn of many brothers.

(Col 1:15-18 NASB) And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. {16} For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created by Him and for Him. {17} And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. {18} He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.

Paul states, in Romans 8:28, that Christ is to be the firstborn among many brothers.

(Rom 8:28-29 NIV) And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. {29} For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

As our elder brother, Christ became qualified to be our high priest. Hebrews 2:17 shows the spiritual reasoning for his human suffering.

(Heb 2:17 NASB) Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

So, what have we learned? We have seen how both we and our fathers, apart from God, were slaves to sin. As slaves, we were owned by sin and by the father of sin, Satan the Devil, because we did his will and his bidding. In fact, many of us in the voluntary quest to do our own thing, went far astray in rebellion against God and his ways. While we were still bound as slaves to Satan the Devil, however, we were purchased by a new master, God the Father. Our redemption price was fulfilled through the sacrificial payment of his agent, and our elder brother, Jesus Christ.

We saw that Christ was qualified in several ways to be our Kinsman Redeemer. Since he is our elder brother, he was qualified to buy us back from our former master, Satan. Christ was qualified, both through his spiritual status as well as through his physical genealogy, to be our kinsman redeemer. As the agent of God the Father, Christ stepped in and bought us as slaves from our former master to be slaves to our new master. As we, in ignorance, did the will of our former master, so now, through knowledge, we are to do the will and pleasure of our new master, God the Father.

In 1 Corinthians 7:22, we can see that we were actually purchased.

(1 Cor 7:22-23 NASB) For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave. {23} You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.

In 1 Corinthians 6:19 Paul tells us that, as purchased property, we have a duty and obligation to live according to God's will.

(1 Cor 6:19-20 NASB) Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? {20} For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

Since we have been purchased, we are now duty-bound to do the will of our new master. Paul specifically addressed that point in Romans 6:12.

(Rom 6:12-18 NASB) Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, {13} and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. {14} For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace. {15} What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! {16} Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? {17} But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, {18} and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

Christ is our great Kinsman Redeemer. As we saw the example set by Boaz in the book of Ruth, so the qualified Christ will marry his glorified bride, as pictured in Revelation 21:9.

(Rev 21:9-27 NASB) And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me, saying, "Come here, I shall show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." {10} And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, {11} having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. {12} It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are those of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. {13} There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. {14} And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. {15} And the one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall. {16} And the city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. {17} And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements. {18} And the material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. {19} The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; {20} the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. {21} And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. {22} And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple. {23} And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. {24} And the nations shall walk by its light, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it. {25} And in the daytime (for there shall be no night there) its gates shall never be closed; {26} and they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; {27} and nothing unclean and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Continue in the next chapter.

(Rev 22:1-5 NASB) And he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, {2} in the middle of its street. And on either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. {3} And there shall no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His bond-servants shall serve Him; {4} and they shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. {5} And there shall no longer be any night; and they shall not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall illumine them; and they shall reign forever and ever.

That is the glorious future awaiting us. It is our destiny as sons of the Most High, if we remain steadfast as profitable servants bonded to our new master, God the Father.

Sermon by Philip Edwards
December 2, 2006
Copyright 2006, Philip Edwards

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