The Redemption of the Inheritance

 •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 10
We have four scriptures, in distant parts of the Word, which find connection with this subject, “The Redemption of the Inheritance.” I mean Lev. 25:2525If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold. (Leviticus 25:25); Deut. 25:5-105If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her. 6And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel. 7And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother. 8Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her; 9Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house. 10And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed. (Deuteronomy 25:5‑10); Ruth 4:1-101Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down. 2And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down. 3And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's: 4And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it. 5Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance. 6And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it. 7Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbor: and this was a testimony in Israel. 8Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe. 9And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, of the hand of Naomi. 10Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day. (Ruth 4:1‑10); Jer. 32:6-156And Jeremiah said, The word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 7Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle shall come unto thee, saying, Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth: for the right of redemption is thine to buy it. 8So Hanameel mine uncle's son came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the Lord, and said unto me, Buy my field, I pray thee, that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance is thine, and the redemption is thine; buy it for thyself. Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord. 9And I bought the field of Hanameel my uncle's son, that was in Anathoth, and weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver. 10And I subscribed the evidence, and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed him the money in the balances. 11So I took the evidence of the purchase, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open: 12And I gave the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, in the sight of Hanameel mine uncle's son, and in the presence of the witnesses that subscribed the book of the purchase, before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison. 13And I charged Baruch before them, saying, 14Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days. 15For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land. (Jeremiah 32:6‑15).
The ordinance in Lev. 25 teaches us, that an Israelite might redeem or buy the inheritance of an impoverished kinsman, out of the hands of him, whoever he were, to whom it had been sold; and then he might hold it till the year of Jubilee, when, as we further learn, it was to return to the original owner.
The ordinance in Deut. 25 teaches us, that an Israelite was bound to marry the widow of his brother, if that brother had died childless, and raise up seed to his brother; so that his name and his inheritance might be secured in the firstborn of that marriage. If he refused to do this service to his deceased brother, he was put to public shame, a mark of degradation being affixed to him.
These ordinances are illustrated in Ruth and Jeremiah. In the beautiful history of Ruth, we find Boaz doing this part of a brother or a kinsman in Israel according to the ordinance in Deut. 25, in a very special and admirable way. The inheritance of Mahlon, an Israelite of Bethlehem-judah, had been sold, and his wife, by birth a Moabitess, had been left of him, a childless and penniless widow. She had nothing but her virtue, the unstained excellence of her character and reputation. She was a stranger, who at the cost of her own diligence and labor, supported her mother-in-law, her late husband's mother, for whose sake, in the spirit of a true or adopted daughter of Abraham, she had left home and country and father's house.
Boaz redeems her inheritance, and marries her. He does not fear the marring of his own inheritance, but devotes himself to the interests of his deceased kinsman, and the childless and penniless widow he had left behind him. And by this marriage, and this redemption of the inheritance which accompanied it, the house of Mahlon is revived, and led up to royal honors, the very first and highest estate of wealth and dignity in the land. For David who sat on the throne of Israel was the fruit of it in the third generation.
This was a great and magnificent illustration of kinsman-virtue.
In the course of the Book of Jeremiah, or in the history of that prophet, we find him (though not in the same way with Boaz in the Book of Ruth) doing a kinsman's part. While he is in prison, (as he was in King Zedekiah's reign, for the truth's sake,) and while the Chaldean army is seated before Jerusalem, threatening its doom and the captivity of its people, Hananeel, his uncle's son, comes to him, and tells him, as his kinsman, to buy his field that was in Anathoth, the city of their fathers. This was a strange appeal to make at such a time to such a man. But Jeremiah does not hesitate. He knew it was the Lord's will, and he pays down his money, and buys or redeems the field of Hananeel, his uncle's son; though he knew that it might prove, if loft at the mercy of circumstances, a fruitless bargain; or at least, that very distant time must be reached, ere he could acquire actual possession of his purchase. This was a great acting of faith, and another fine and noble illustration of kinsman-virtue.
The ordinances, I may therefore say, in Leviticus and Deuteronomy prescribe these kinsman-duties; and then, the histories of Boaz and of Jeremiah, in these beautiful and admirable ways, illustrate these duties.
But we have more than this—for these doings of Boaz and of Jeremiah anticipate, as in types and figures, the ways of our Lord Jesus, who, having made Himself our kinsman, has in ways that outshine all analogies, done a kinsman's part. Yes, indeed—and I need not say it—these illustrations of kinsman-virtues in the persons of Boaz and Jeremiah are outdone and outshone in the bright and wondrous and perfect ways of the Son of Man For He, surely, like a more self-sacrificing Boaz, at a price that cost Him everything, has relieved not only a childless, penniless kinsman, but one guilty and ruined and sold into dishonorable captivity; and, like a better Jeremiah, has waited now for a long season and through an age of sore rejection for the inheritance which He purchased with His own blood in the day of Calvary.
But this I would still further look at. The Lord Jesus is a Redeemer in two respects, a Redeemer by purchase and by power. He is a Redeemer by the price of His blood, purchasing us and our inheritance thereby from the righteous claims of God, so that God is just while justifying and blessing us. He is a Redeemer by the strength of His arm, rescuing us and our inheritance from the hand of the great enemy. So that in “the world to come,” where “the redemption of the purchased possession” will be displayed, we shall be able thankfully to look at the blessed God and know Him to be satisfied by our Redeemer, and boldly look at our great adversary and see him conquered by our Redeemer. And this will be a high condition indeed. “Purchased” and “rescued,” the subjects of a twofold redemption, will be our condition in “the world to come"; and the like of that has never yet been in the creation of God. Neither angels in their dignity, nor Adam in his innocency, ever illustrated it.
The story of the purchase which our Redeemer has made is given to us in the Gospels—the story of the rescue which our Redeemer will make, is given to us in the Apocalypse.1 Accordingly it is simply as “the Lamb,” we see Christ in the Gospels—it is as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” as well as “the Lamb,” we see Him in the Apocalypse. (John 1:29, 3629The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)
36And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! (John 1:36)
; Rev. 5:5, 65And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. 6And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. (Revelation 5:5‑6).) For it is by His blood or sacrifice the Lord Jesus purchases us, or answers for us the claims of God upon us; it will be by His arm stretched out in judgments, that He is to rescue our inheritance from the grasp and captivity of the usurper, who now rules, as its god and prince, the course of this present evil world.
But I may say a little more as to this twofold character of redemption of which we are now speaking. It is intimated in the very first promise. (Gen. 3:1515And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15).) There was an exhibition of it in the day of the Exodus; for Israel was then a purchased people, ransomed from the claims of God by the blood on the lintels, and also a rescued people, delivered from the enmity and strength of Pharoah by the overthrow of Egypt in the Red Sea. (Ex. 12; 14) Then, we have, here and there, along the current of the Old Testament, types, prophecies, and rehearsals of this great blessing, the creation of God in a purchased or rescued condition, or in the enjoyment of this twofold redemption. After all this, the Lord Jesus is introduced to the world and to His own work and commission in it, in this character of a twofold Redeemer, as the prophecies which went before Him tell us. (See Luke 1-ii.) And then, His ministry in life illustrated redemption by power, because He was blotting out the traces of the strength of the enemy in the healings and quickenings He wrought; and His ministry in death accomplished redemption by blood, because it paid the ransom for our deliverance from all the claims of God and of righteousness, which were against us.2
But even had one grace and light to do it, time would fail to tell out all the glories of the great Redemption. It is gaining its victories still, and will be gaining them till the day of the Resurrection of the saints, and of the Kingdom that follows—and when all its victories have been wrought, its honors will be celebrated forever.