Day 21: Will I {give} my sandal in pledge?

“Then I can’t redeem it,” the family redeemer replied, “because this might endanger my own estate. You redeem the land; I cannot do it.”  

Now in those days it, was the custom in Israel for anyone transferring a right of purchase to remove his sandal and hand it to the other party. This publicly validated the transaction.  {give}

So the other family redeemer drew off his sandal as he said to Boaz, “You buy the land.”  Ruth 4:6-8

{Give} – as in a pledge.

I have been fascinated by this portion of the story for some time.  The idea of taking off a sandal to give to another as a guarantee – an attesting to of the agreement made.  The man giving away a sandal from his own foot was the same as a signed and notarized contract in our modern times.

I had no idea when I started this 31-day journey through Ruth, today’s word would be {give} and would align perfectly with the nearer redeemer giving away his first rights to buy the land and all of Elimelech’s property (including the widow, Ruth) from Naomi.

But God knew.  He’s been leading me and teaching me all through this journey, pulling out truth from which I am able to glean wisdom for my own life.  I am abundantly grateful for this season of questioning my way through with Holy Spirit as my teacher in the word of God.

If I breeze through Ruth chapter 4 with my modern westerner mindset it is easy for me to miss the significance of the transaction and the pledge.  Though I am definitely journeying through a famine season, spiritually and even physically, I can not relate to the great cost of giving a sandal away.  It’s no big deal for me to drive a mile from my house to the nearest Dollar Tree and buy a new pair of sandals.give in pledge

Not so for the men of Bethlehem of Judah in the time of the Judges.  Giving a sandal away was surely a big deal.  A sandal was costly as it must have cost an animal’s hide.  And sandals were extremely important for people whose feet were their primary mode of transportation through a desert.  Clearly, the giving of a sandal cost the man of first rights something of significance.

Additionally, it’s interesting to me the nearer redeemer, the man with the first rights to the property, is the one who gave his sandal away.  In essence, the man paid publicly something of significant value to give away his rights.  Am I the only one or does that sound a bit counter-culture?

It does sound a whole lot like Jesus though, doesn’t it?  Jesus who paid with His life and gave up His rights as God through whom all things were created and live and breathe and through Whom we have our being?


  • I think I am going to need to chew on this truth for awhile… much longer than a five-minute free write.  How about you?
  • I am reminded of these words of King David in 1 Chronicles 21:24:

“No, I insist on buying it for the full price.  I will not take what is yours and give it to the Lord. I will not present burnt offerings that have cost me nothing!”

  • Is there something Holy Spirit is stirring in you, as He is certainly stirring in me with regards to giving up first rights?
    • with regards to giving something away which is costly?
  • Will you ask the Lord and journal your conversation with Him regarding the cost of making a pledge?
  • I wonder if you will share something you have gleaned from God’s Word here…

Eyes on Jesus…you’re Shining!