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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Ruth 2:20

 

 

Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, "May he be blessed of the LORD who has not withdrawn his kindness to the living and to the dead."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."

Adam Clarke Commentary

To the living and to the dead - Naomi and Ruth were the living; and they were also the representatives of Elimelech and Mahlon, who were dead. Naomi was of the family; and Ruth, though not of the family, was a representative of one of its deceased branches, being the widow of Mahlon.

One of our next kinsmen - מגאלינו miggoaleynu, of our redeemers, one who has the right to redeem the forfeited inheritance of the family. The word גאל goel signifies a near kinsman - one who by the Mosaic law had a right to redeem an inheritance, and also was permitted to vindicate or revenge the death of his relation by killing the slayer, if he found him out of the cities of refuge.

In order to prevent families from running to decay, if a brother died childless, the next unmarried brother took his widow; and the children from that marriage were reputed the children of the deceased brother. The office of the next akin was threefold:

  1. It belonged to him to buy back the forfeited inheritance, or the liberty of him who had been obliged to sell himself for a servant.
  • It was his right to avenge the blood of any of the family who had been killed, by killing the murderer.
  • It belonged to him to take the widow of a deceased brother or relative, if he died childless.
  • If the nearest akin in any case refused, he was treated with indignity, lost his right to the inheritance, and the next akin to him might come forward and take the widow, etc., as in the case of Boaz. See Rth 4:4-10.


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    Bibliography
    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Ruth 2:20". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/ruth-2.html. 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    Blessed be he of the Lord … - We may gather from Naomi‘s allusion to the dead that both her husband and son had been faithful servants of Jehovah, the God of Israel. His kindness to the dead consisted in raising up (as Naomi hoped) an heir to perpetuate the name; and, in general, in His care for their widows.

    One of our next kinsmen - The word here is גאל gā'al the redeemer, who had the right:

    (1) of redeeming the inheritance of the person;

    (2) of marrying the widow;

    (3) of avenging the death. (See Leviticus 25:25-31, Leviticus 25:47-55; Deuteronomy 25:5-10; Deuteronomy 19:1-13.)

    Since these rights belonged to the next of kin, גאל gā'al came to mean the nearest kinsman.


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    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Ruth 2:20". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ruth-2.html. 1870.

    The Biblical Illustrator

    Ruth 2:20

    Blessed be he of the Lord, who hath not left off His kindness.

    God’s blessing

    1. In its nature it is “kindness”--the very soul of tenderness to the God-fearing among men.

    2. In its continuance. He cannot “leave off” making His children happy.

    3. In its application to both worlds--to the “living,” as the song of a Ruth may testify; to the “dead,” as the hope of a Naomi must imply. Both are in the covenant of the God of Israel.

    4. In its expression. He knows how to prepare some lip to give it adequate expression before the world. The old shall ever confirm the faith of the young. (E. Price.)

    Kindness to the dead

    The natural human protectors are gone, but the Almighty Father has taken their place. It is what Elimelech and Mahlon would have desired, and it is kindness to them. Can we not imagine that those who have passed from earth, leaving poor, disconsolate ones behind to struggle with life’s difficulties often find, in their glorified condition, ever fresh and continuous reasons for rejoicing, because they see how the ever-watchful love of God is constantly shown towards beloved ones whose comfort was their desire and endeavour? Mothers and fathers have died wondering what their children’s future would be in this rude, rough world, and with their wonder fear has mingled. Yet now from heaven’s clear heights they behold God’s tender care surrounding them by day and night, saving them from danger, raising up noble-souled friends to help them, doing more on their behalf than their imagination or faith conceived possible; and as they see all this, their souls are moved with a passion of rapturous gratitude, and heaven rings melodious with their “new song” of praise. Yes, the dead are wiser than we think, and probably see more than we suppose of the lives from which they are parted only by a thin, and perhaps from their side transparent, veil. This, at least, is certain, that when God inspires the benevolent to shield the orphan and help the widow, He shows that He has “not left off His kindness to the living and the dead.” (Wm. Braden.)

    The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.

    Christ typified by the goel under the law

    You can hardly need to be told how a connection, the very closest, may be traced between the Jewish and the Christian dispensations. The redeemer under the law is most accurately a type of the Redeemer under the gospel. Now, suppose we take in succession three cases in which the goel or redeemer was bidden to interfere--forfeiture of inheritance, loss of liberty, and shedding of blood; and examining each transaction under its legal description, let us strive to show you the fidelity with which it images the redemption wrought out for us by Christ.

    I. We begin with the forfeiture of inheritance. In Leviticus 25:1-55 directions are given for the interference of the goel, or redeemer. We fasten, first of all, on the fact that none but a kinsman could fill the office of goel or redeemer. Who does not see, that in laying down and adhering to such a principle as this, the law taught mankind impressively the lesson that He who should arise the Redeemer of the lost world must be bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh? “Forasmuch,” says the apostle, “as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same.” And shall we ever hesitate to declare that the comforting thing to the followers of Christ is that the Goel, the Redeemer, is in the strictest sense their kinsman? Christ was like myself in all points, my sinfulness only excepted. Who is the Israelite that has grown poor, and alienated from him the possession of his father, if it be not man, originally the chosen of God, rich in a birthright which gave him a glorious world for his dwelling-place, yes, and immortality for his lifetime, but who afterwards, by yielding to temptation, stripped himself of all his wealth, and made himself the heir to nothing but corruption? And when we have pointed out to you the impoverished Jew, spoiled of the possession of his fathers, unable of himself to do anything towards regaining the inheritance, and then have turned your attention on the kinsman redeemer paying down the ransom, bringing back the land into the family, keeping it in his own hands until the jubilee trumpet sounded, and then restoring it to the original owner--we think we have furnished you with so vivid a sketch of paradise lost through human apostasy and regained by the purchase of the Mediator, and given back on the day that the archangel shall lift his trumpet, and shall blow a blast at which the sheeted dead shall start, that it must on all hands be confessed that the goel of the law was pre-eminently a type of the Redeemer of the gospel.

    II. A brief notice will suffice for the second--where there has been loss of liberty. You will find, by referring to Leviticus 25:1-55, from which we have already quoted, that for the discharge of debt, or the procuring of subsistence, an Israelite might sell himself either to an Israelite or to a stranger. If he became the servant of an Israelite, there appears to have been no right of redemption--he must remain in his power till the year of jubilee. But if he became the servant of a stranger, then there was a case for the interposition of the goel in the law; for even after that he is sold he may be redeemed again--one of his brethren may redeem him. If the master were an Israelite, the servant was in no sense alienated from God’s people, and the exigence was not such as to warrant the goel’s interference; but if the master were a stranger, then the servitude became typical of man’s bondage to Satan. It might have been said, in a degree, to have withdrawn the servant from the congregation of Israel; and thus a case made out for the kinsman redeemer. The goel might come forward, and the servant might be freed. You will perceive at once that, in its typical character, this transaction is identical with that already reviewed. Is it not the Scriptural representation of man by nature that he is the servant of sin, led captive by Satan at his will? The Israelite could have sold himself to a stranger; and not one farthing could he advance towards bringing back his freedom. Must he languish, then, for ever in bondage? Must he groan for ever beneath the load of oppression? There advances a Mighty One, who proclaims Himself his Kinsman, a Goel made of a woman, made under the law, and bearing the likeness of sinful flesh; and He pays down in sufferings the price of redemption. He strikes the chain with His Cross, and it is broken into shivers; lie bids the prisoner come forth, and he walks in “the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

    III. We proceed to the third case of the goel’s interference, a case which differs considerably from those already examined. It was the office of the kinsman, the goel, to interfere, not only when there had been forfeiture of inheritance, or loss of liberty, but also when there had been shedding of blood. If murder had been perpetrated, the prosecution and the execution of the murderer devolved on the nearest of kin to the murdered party. He must pursue the murderer; and if he overtook him before he reached the city of refuge he might take summary vengeance for the death of his relative. But if the goel were not at hand at the time when the crime was committed, it would seem that no stranger had right to arrest or follow the criminal. He betook himself unmolested to the nearest city of refuge, and remained there in safety until the cause was tried before the judges of the land. So that in this case, as well as in the others, the interference depended on the kinsmanship; nothing else could warrant a man in undertaking the office of the goel. And thus that distinguishing feature of a goel, which made him throughout the type of Christ--the feature of kinsmanship to the party requiring interference--stands out as prominently when blood was to be avenged as when land was to be redeemed or liberty regained. But wherein, you will say, in this instance, lies the typical resemblance between the offices of the goel and the offices of Christ? Created deathless and imperishable, was not the human race slain by Satan when he wrought up our first parents to an act prohibited by the words, “In the day that thou cutest thereof thou shalt surely die”? We suppose it to have been with reference to this slaughter of mankind that Christ said of the devil, “He was a murderer from the beginning.” It was clearly through the instrumentality of Satan that death, whether of body or of soul, gained footing in this creation; but if done through his instrumentality it may justly be ascribed to his authorship; and we account it most correct, therefore, to describe Satan as the great “man-slayer.” He it is that hath shed human blood; and all that vast mowing down of successive generations, which keeps the sepulchres replenished with fresh harvests of death, must be referred to that awful being who was “a murderer from the beginning.” And if we can thus find “the man-slayer” in Satan, cannot we find “the avenger of blood” in Christ? Who pursued the murderer? Who, century after century, unwearied and undiverted, opposed Himself in every quarter, by every weapon, to the shedder of blood, till at last, meeting him front to front, in one dread struggle, He took on him a vengeance that drew the wonder of the intelligent universe, and “through death destroyed him that had the power of death”? Who was it that, sorrowing over the wretchedness of a stricken race, “put on righteousness as a breastplate, and clothed Himself with zeal as with a cloak,” and then, equipped for the conflict, sprang forth to grapple with the assassin? Who but the Goel? who but the Kinsman Redeemer? (H. Melvill, B. D.)


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    Bibliography
    Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Ruth 2:20". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/ruth-2.html. 1905-1909. New York.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, blessed be he of the Lord,.... Or the Lord bless him with all kind of blessings, temporal and spiritual; and as he has blessed him already, may he be blessed more and more:

    who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead; he had been kind to Elimelech and to his sons, who were now dead, and he continued his kindness to the reliefs of them, Naomi and Ruth, who were living, and was kind to them for the sake of the dead; and showing kindness to them expressed his respect to the memory of the dead:

    and Naomi said unto her; continued her speech to her, and added to what she had said:

    the man is near of kin to us; a near relation of ours, meaning by her husband's side: yea:

    one of our next kinsmen; the nearest we have, there was but one nearer than he: the word for kinsman here is "Goel", a redeemer; for to such who were in the degree of kindred as Boaz was, and he that was nearer still than he to them, belonged the right of redemption, and therefore were called by the name of "Goel", a redeemer, as Ben Melech observes; they had a right to avenge the blood of the slain, to redeem their houses and possessions, if sold or mortgaged, and their persons by marrying them, and raising up seed to a deceased brother, or kinsman.


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    Bibliography
    Gill, John. "Commentary on Ruth 2:20". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/ruth-2.html. 1999.

    Geneva Study Bible

    And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed [be] he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the h dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man [is] near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.

    (h) To my husband and children, when they were alive, and now to us.

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    Bibliography
    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Ruth 2:20". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/ruth-2.html. 1599-1645.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

    the man is … one of our next kinsmenHebrew, “one of our redeemers,” on whom it devolves to protect us, to purchase our lands, and marry you, the widow of his next kinsman. She said, “one of them,” not that there were many in the same close relationship, but that he was a very near kinsman, one other individual only having the precedence.


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    This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

    Bibliography
    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ruth 2:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/ruth-2.html. 1871-8.

    Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

    And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.

    How very sweet and interesting is this even as an history, considered in' the way of God's providence. There was but one man in Israel by right of inheritance, as the Goel-kinsman of the decayed house of Elimelech, that could repair their broken circumstances, and redeem their mortgaged land. And the Lord in his providence sends Ruth, wino was altogether unconscious of all this, into the very path by which this blessing might be accomplished. But how infinitely more precious And interesting is the subject, when viewed spiritually, and in a way of grace. There is but one man under heaven which can repair our desolate ruined state of nature, by redemption of our long-forfeited inheritance, and he is indeed our next kinsman, for Ire hath married our nature for this very purpose. Precious Jesus! am I indeed conic, unconscious as I was at the time of my ruined state by nature, out of the country of Moab, a poor awakened Gentile, to glean in thy fields? Hast thou eyed me and took pity on me in my lost estate, for thy mercy endureth forever? Hast thou commanded thy servants, the ministers of thy gospel, to suffer me to glean in thy fields of truth and to rebuke me not; and even to let fail handfuls of the bread of life on purpose for me? Have I indeed wrought under thy eye, and in thy favour, and found an ephah? Is this the man, even the Lord of the country, the God-man Christ Jesus; unto whose cornfields I am come? O blessed be Jesus JEHOVAH! who hath not left off his kindness to dead sinners, whom he hath quickened, nor to the living, whom when quickening he hath called!


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    Bibliography
    Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Ruth 2:20". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/ruth-2.html. 1828.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.

    To the dead — That is, which he formerly shewed to those who are now dead, my husband and his sons whilst they were living, and now continues to us.


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    Bibliography
    Wesley, John. "Commentary on Ruth 2:20". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/ruth-2.html. 1765.

    Scofield's Reference Notes

    kinsmen

    Heb. "goel," Redemp. (Kinsman type). (See Scofield "Isaiah 59:20").


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    Bibliography
    Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Ruth 2:20". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/ruth-2.html. 1917.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    Ruth 2:20 And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed [be] he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man [is] near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.

    Ver. 20. Blessed be he of the Lord.] As health is the poor man’s patrimony, so prayers are the poor man’s requital.

    To the living, and to the dead.] Dead Elimelech and Mahlon were after a sort gratified in Naomi and Ruth. God never leaveth off his kindness to his living and dead servants. Bless him therefore.

    The man is near of kin unto us.] This she had never told her till now. She delighted not to brag of her rich kindred.


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    Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ruth 2:20". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/ruth-2.html. 1865-1868.

    Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

    Ruth 2:20. Naomi said—The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen In the Hebrew, one of our redeemers; concerning whom, see Leviticus 25:25. Deuteronomy 25:5 together with what follows in the 4th chapter of this book. Naomi does not say that Boaz was the גאל goel, or redeemer; but one of the redeemers of her family; the reason is, that the right was not immediately in him, but only in default of some other refusing to fulfil it. See chap. Ruth 3:12.


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    Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Ruth 2:20". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/ruth-2.html. 1801-1803.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    And to the dead, i.e. which he formerly showed to those who are now dead, to wit, my husband and his sons whilst they were living, and now continues to us, their wives, who are now alive.

    One of our next kinsmen; Heb. one of our redeemers, or avengers, to whom it belongs to avenge our persons, and to redeem our lands, and to marry thee, the widow and relict of his next kinsman, as is expressed, Ruth 3:9. She saith one of them, not that there were many who were immediately such, but that he was a very near kinsman, and one to whom that office belonged, in case of the refusal of one person, of whom she rightly conjectured that he would refuse, as he did.


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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Ruth 2:20". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/ruth-2.html. 1685.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    20. Blessed be… the Lord — That was a joyful evening both to Naomi and Ruth, and the Israelitish mother’s heart was filled with thanksgiving towards Jehovah.

    Kindness to the living and to the dead — By the living she means herself and Ruth; by the dead her deceased husband and sons. He who provides for the widow and the fatherless does at the same time a kindness to those dead ones who can provide for them no more. In these words we may also recognise the true Israelites’ consciousness of immortality. To Naomi the beloved dead are not annihilated, and Jehovah’s kindness towards them has not ceased with their departure from gifts world. Jehovah is still the God of Elimelech and his departed sons, just as He declared himself to be “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Exodus 3:6. He lovingly preserves them in conscious existence and blessedness though they die. From this lofty point of view Jesus urged his mighty argument against the Sadducees, “God is not the God of the dead, (the annihilated,) but of the living.” Matthew 22:32.

    One of our next kinsmen — One whose right and duty it is to redeem the name and inheritance of a deceased blood relative. Naomi had doubtless before this instructed her Moabitish daughter in law on the nature and requirements of the levirate among the Israelites. See note at the beginning of chap. 3.


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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Ruth 2:20". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/ruth-2.html. 1874-1909.

    Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

    And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “Blessed be he of YHWH, who has not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead.” And Naomi said to her, “The man is near of kin to us, one of our near kinsmen.”

    At this Naomi’s heart rejoiced, for she saw in it the hand of YHWH, recognising by it that He had overlooked neither her and Ruth, nor her dead husband and sons. It appeared to her that YHWH had taken note of their plight and had the intention after all of producing sons to carry on the family name. She called on YHWH to bless Boaz, and explained to a puzzled Ruth that Boaz was in fact of near kin to them and was thus, legally speaking, ‘a near kinsman’. For the responsibilities of a ‘near kinsman’ acting as a goël, or redeemer, see Leviticus 25:25; Leviticus 25:47-49. .


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    Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Ruth 2:20". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/ruth-2.html. 2013.

    Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

    Ruth 2:20. His kindness to the living and to the dead — That is, the kindness which he formerly showed to my husband and his sons while they were living, he now continues to us their relicts.


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    Bibliography
    Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Ruth 2:20". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/ruth-2.html. 1857.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    Dead. He hath not forgotten Elimelech, his friend, for whose sake he treats his daughter-in-law with kindness. (Haydock) --- Kinsman. Hebrew adds, "one of our redeemers, (Calmet) or next kinsmen." (Haydock) --- To such the right of avenging the slain, of marrying the widow of the deceased, and entering upon his property, belonged. The best interpreters suppose that Booz was the nephew of Elimelech. (Calmet) (Leviticus xxv. 25., and Deuteronomy xxv. 5.) (Menochius)


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    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Ruth 2:20". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/ruth-2.html. 1859.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    kindness = lovingkindness.

    one of = he [is].


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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Ruth 2:20". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/ruth-2.html. 1909-1922.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.

    The man is ... one of our next kinsmen - Hebrew, 'one of our redeemers,' on whom it devolves to protect us, to purchase our lands, and marry you, the relict of his next kinsman. She said, 'one of them,' not that there were many in the same close relationship, but that he was a very near kinsman, one other individual only having the precedence.


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    Bibliography
    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ruth 2:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/ruth-2.html. 1871-8.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (20) Who hath not . . .—It is not clear whether the grammatical antecedent is God or Boaz. Either way a good sense is obtained. As our lost dear ones had kindness shown them of old, so we too now. If Boaz is the antecedent, it may seem curious that Naomi (knowing that she was dwelling near to a kinsman of her husband’s, and, further, one who had shown kindness before they departed to Moab) should not have made herself known to him. It is, at any rate, a proof of the independence of her character. However, the name once named evidently suggests the train of thought which at length leads Naomi to appeal to him for a kinsman’s special aid, the aid of the Goel or redeemer.

    One of our next kinsmen.—One of those who must redeem.


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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Ruth 2:20". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/ruth-2.html. 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.
    Blessed
    3:10; 2 Samuel 2:5; Job 29:12,13; 2 Timothy 1:16-18
    hath not
    2 Samuel 9:1; Proverbs 17:17; Philippians 4:10
    one of our
    or, one that hath right to redeem.
    3:9; 4:6; Leviticus 25:25; Deuteronomy 25:5-7; Job 19:25

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    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Ruth 2:20". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/ruth-2.html.

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