NLT Study Bible Blog.
The Family Redeemer (Ruth #5)
As I mentioned previously, I really love the story in the book of Ruth. But one of the key questions that comes up while reading the book of Ruth is, What is the whole family redeemer thing all about?

In Ruth 2:20, after Ruth has come home with a report of Boaz’s kindness to her, it is significant to Naomi that Boaz is a family redeemer.

“May the Lord bless him!” Naomi told her daughter-in-law. “He is showing his kindness to us as well as to your dead husband. That man is one of our closest relatives, one of our cfamily redeemers.”

What does it mean that he is a family redeemer, and why is it important in this context?

We can start by looking at the NLT text itself and noticing a superscript “c” next to the phrase “family redeemers.” This superscript letter indicates that there is a word study on this Hebrew word. In the cross-reference column we find the corresponding Hebrew word (go’el), along with the Strong’s reference number (1350)—we use the Strong’s numbering system for Hebrew and Greek words, based on the original Strong’s concordance. This numbering system has been used in countless Hebrew and Greek word study tools in the English language. The word study tool is a chain reference system, with the next reference in the chain being listed on the next line (Ruth 3:9). So we can read a sampling of passages that use the same Hebrew or Greek word, in order to get an idea of the usage of that word. Here is where dynamic equivalence really shines for word study: Hebrew and Greek words have different meanings in different contexts. The NLT helps us to see the range of meanings that is possible for a given Hebrew or Greek word.


Hebrew Word Study for go’el, p. 2217.
Now, if we look in the Hebrew and Greek word study index in the back of the NLT Study Bible, we will find all the Hebrew and Greek words in the chain reference system listed in numerical order. The entry for Hebrew 1350 (ga’al, go’el) gives a short definition of both the verb and noun forms of this word, along with all of the references in each of these chains.

The family redeemer had an obligation “to buy an object or person from indenture, slavery, or otherwise harsh circumstances.” We know that Ruth and Naomi, although not indentured or in slavery, were indeed in harsh circumstances. Naomi recognized that Boaz's kindness fit with his status as a family redeemer. It seems that an idea was beginning to form in Naomi’s mind, an idea that comes to fruition in chapter 3.

We’ll continue this study of the concept of the family redeemer in the next installment.
posted by Sean Harrison at 3:45 PM
6 Comments
Blogger CD-Host said...

Sean --

How many pages of these word studies are there in the NLTSB? I didn't see any mention of it in your features guide. Including a mini lexicon is fantastic!

July 16, 2008 1:21 AM  
Blogger Sean Harrison said...

Hi, cd-host, thanks for coming by. The glossary of Hebrew and
Greek words is 12 pages in the back materials.

Are there specific Hebrew or Greek words that you're interested in?

July 16, 2008 2:39 PM  
Blogger CD-Host said...

No not really nothing specific. I have BAGD for Greek and BDG is freely available on the web for Hebrew. I thinking of this as more of a convenience feature during reading rather than looking for something in particular. What happened with that Ruth passage was fantastic, for a mainstream translation to pull the reader over to its lexicon.... Very impressive indeed.

I hadn't noticed this when I looked through the Genesis pdf at 1:20, 1:27, 2:3... I hadn't seen any mention of it in your features, and for me that is a terrific feature.

July 16, 2008 4:43 PM  
Blogger Sean Harrison said...

Yes, there's been a lot of interest in the word study feature. It makes me think we should expand it as much as we can in the second edition.

July 21, 2008 2:37 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...

Mr. Harrison, you mentioned that a second edition may be in the works. Is this something that might be released in a few years? Or is the timeline a bit longer?
Thanks!

September 1, 2008 12:54 PM  
Blogger Sean Harrison said...

Yes, we're thinking to take input and feedback for two or three years, and then to publish a light revision to the materials that addresses some of the issues that have been raised and makes other improvements.

September 2, 2008 9:43 AM  

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