Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel. So the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it yourself.” And he removed his sandal. Ruth 4:7-8
What an exchange! I couldn’t help but dig into this “sandal” custom to learn more about the meaning. I kept picturing two men standing there on the land and then one of them reaches down, unties his sandal, hands it over and the deal is sealed. One guy leaves with 3 shoes and one guy wobbles off with one??? I was wondering if this this why a handshake came into play??
Anyway, Warren Wiersbe shares in his book, Be Committed (Ruth/Esther): Doing God’s Will Whatever the Cost, that the custom of taking off the shoe probably relates to the divine commitment to walk on the land and take possession (Genesis 13:7; Deuteronomy 11:24; Joshua 1:3). In years to come the 10 witnesses with Boaz and the kinsman would be able to testify that the transaction had been completed because they saw the kinsman hand his shoe to Boaz. It symbolized the kinsman’s forfeiture of his right to posses the land.
Boaz is a picture of Jesus, our Kinsman Redeemer; and we see it live out in the transaction scene in today’s verse. Like Boaz, Jesus wasn’t concerned about jeopardizing His own inheritance; instead, He made us a part of His own inheritance (Ephesians 1:11, 18). Like Boaz, Jesus made His plans privately; but paid His price publicly. And like Boaz, Jesus did what He did because of His love for His bride.
For further reading: Proverbs 22:1; 2 Cor. 8:9; Ephesians 1:11, 18
Dear Kinsman Redeemer,
All glory and thanks to you for making us a part of your inheritance. You chose to pay the price for our eternal life. It wasn’t the removal of a shoe. It was through nails and a cross. We are forever grateful. We are yours!!
In your name I pray. Amen