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Monday, December 4th, 2023
the First Week of Advent
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Bible Commentaries
Ruth 4

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-22

Chapter 4

So when Boaz rose up he went to the gate of the city, he sat down there: and, behold, the kinsman of which he was speaking came by, and he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And so he turned aside, and sat down. And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit down here. And so they sat down. And he said to the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, is selling a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's: And I thought to let you know, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and the elders of the people. And if you will redeem it, redeem it: but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it besides thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it ( Ruth 4:1-4 ).

Now another Jewish law declared that whenever you sold a parcel of land there was always a reversionary clause where you had the right to buy the land back again within a specified period of time. Usually they would write up the deed in a scroll, and then they would seal the scroll. In that specified period of time, when the right of redemption had come, or the reversionary clause, then you could bring the title deed, and you could break the seals and you could, with the elders of the city there present, and you will show that you have the right and the ability to buy the field back. You could always buy back your property. The revision clause was in every sale. The right of buying it back.

Now under the Jewish law if you were not able because you were too poor, to buy the land back when the time of redemption had come, then one of your family members could step in and buy it in order that it remained in the family, because God wanted to preserve the family inheritances in Israel. So the next of kin could come in and take your part, or your place in the purchasing, or the repurchasing of the land.

So when Naomi and Elimelech had moved to Moab they had sold their parcel, and according to the reversionary clause, the time was up, and now it was again coming on the block, the time to redeem it. So he said, "You know Naomi is getting ready to sell this parcel, she can't redeem it. The right of redemption is yours and if you're gonna redeem it, then redeem it. If not, there's no one except me after you, and so what do you want to do?"

The fellow says, "Well, I'll redeem it."

And so Boaz said unto him, In the day that you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also buy it from Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance ( Ruth 4:5 ).

In other words, "You're gonna have to take Ruth a wife and have a son in order that the name of the inheritance might continue.

The fellow said, "Oh man that would mess up my own inheritance." Cause he's already married, and he already had children lined up for the inheritance. He said, "Man, my wife wouldn't go for that. We can't handle that one." He said to Boaz, "Why don't you redeem it?" So Boaz was very happy about that turn of events.

And so the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for my self, lest I mess up my own inheritance: you redeem it take the right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it ( Ruth 4:6 ).

Now there was a custom in the former times. Now this custom died out, however it is interesting, there was a lady recently in Israel who tried to get her brother-in-law to enact this old law because her husband died. So she tried to get him to marry her and all to fulfill the ancient law. He refused to do it, and so she insisted that he take off, she sued the poor thing, and take off the shoe so she could spit in his face and all. So they did go through this ceremony of recent vintage in Israel, but actually it was a custom that died out in time. But it is saying in the older days they did have this custom. So the book of Ruth was written at some later date.

And so he's recording,

Now this was the manner in the former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man had to take off his shoe, and give it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel. [So the fellow took off his shoe and handed it to Boaz.] Therefore the kinsman said to Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe. And Boaz said to the elders, and to all the people, You 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. Moreover 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 is not cut off from among his brethren, and the gate of his place: you are witnesses this day ( Ruth 4:7-10 ).

So, "I have purchased the whole thing, all that belonged to Naomi, and to Elimelech, and to Mahlon, and Chilion, and I have purchased Ruth to be my wife.

Now here is an interesting case. Where because of his love for Ruth, he bought the field in order that he might obtain the bride. His primary interest was not the field at all. He was a very mighty man of wealth. He didn't need any more fields. But he bought the field in order to obtain the bride. In that he becomes a very beautiful picture of Jesus Christ, who bought the world in order that He might purchase His bride, the church, out of the world. Not interested necessarily in the planet earth as such, but interested, and in love with His bride. Jesus purchased the world in order to take His treasure.

So in the kingdom parables, "The kingdom is like unto a man going through a field, discovering a treasure, who for the joy thereof immediately goes out and sells all that he had in order that he might buy the field, and obtain the treasure"( Matthew 13:44 ). So Jesus seeing the treasure, His church, His bride, within the world, bought the whole world in order to take His bride out of it. Beautiful, beautiful sort of a parallel here with Boaz and Ruth, and Jesus and the church.

And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are the witnesses. The Lord make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem: And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the Lord shall give thee of this young woman ( Ruth 4:11-12 ).

Now it is interesting that they speak of Judah and Tamar and Pharez, because here is where this whole thing, this particular law I mentioned earlier, that one of Judah's sons married Tamar, he died without having any children. Judah gave the other son; he died without having any children. Judah then was reluctant to give his third son, "Wait until he grows up; he's too young." After a period of waiting and all, Judah hadn't come through with the third son. So as I said, Tamar took things into her own hands. What she did is she put on the clothes of a prostitute, and she went out and sat there at a place in the path where Judah was walking by. Judah-she was all veiled, had the garb of a prostitute on. He thought she was a prostitute. He propositioned her.

And she said, "Well, what will you pay me?"

He said, "Well, I'll give you a little goat out of the flock."

She said, "Well, how do I know you'll come through with it?"

He said, "Well, I'll give you my ring as a pledge." So he came in unto Tamar, had relations with her, and gave her his ring as a pledge that he would send back a goat to her. That was what he propositioned for.

So Tamar took off the clothes of a prostitute, went back home, and was pregnant. Judah sent his servant back to get his ring back with a young little goat. The guy came and he looked and there was no prostitute sitting there in this area where Judah said she was. So he said to the guys around there, "Where's the prostitute that usually hangs out here?"

They said, "There is no prostitute that hangs out here."

So he came back to Judah and said, "Hey, I couldn't find any, and the fellows said there isn't any prostitute that hangs out there." So Judah said, "Oh well let it go."

Then word came to Judah, "Your daughter-in-law Tamar is pregnant."

He said, "Bring her forth, we'll stone her!"

So she came forth, and she held out the ring, and she said, "By the man who owns this ring am I pregnant."

Now you see it was the obligation of a kinsman to raise up a child for the dead son. Judah was trapped by the young gal into doing it. He acknowledged that she was, "You're more righteous than I am. I was really withholding. You're more righteous than I am." The son that was born was called Pharez. He became a part of the line of the genealogy of Jesus Christ. So he was also of the line of Elimelech, coming on down, he was one of the ancestors of Elimelech.

So the people said, here's a similar situation, an older man fulfilling the kinsman part, raising up a son, "And may the Lord bless you, and may she be like Tamar who bore Pharez. May you have a son and may there be a progeny that comes forth, a blessed progeny that comes forth from this relationship." So the people in their congratulations to him go back into his own ancestry to a somewhat similar situation, at least the situation where the kinsman raised up the family name for those who had died. So, "Let your house be like the house of Pharez whom Tamar bore to Judah, of the seed which the Lord shall give thee of this young woman."

So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bare a son. And the women said to Naomi, Blessed be Jehovah, which has not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loves thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath borne him ( Ruth 4:13-15 ).

So Naomi who said, "Call me bitter" is now experiencing really the blessings and the joy of a grandson knowing now that the family name is not gonna die. They're saying, "May he be a blessing unto you," and so forth, "and a nourisher of your old age."

And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became a nurse unto it. [Actually she wet-nursed then her little grandson which was a very common thing in those days.] And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed [Which means "worshiper."] and he is the father of Jesse, who is the father of David ( Ruth 4:16-17 ).

So the grandfather of David, who became king of Israel, this is the parentage and all.

Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron, Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, Amminadab begat Nahshon, Nahshon begat Salmon, Salmon begat Boaz, Boaz begat Obed, Obed begat Jesse, Jesse begat David ( Ruth 4:18-22 ).

So ten generations are listed from Pharez unto David. So we have the background of the genealogy of David, which also becomes the background of the genealogy of the background of Jesus Christ, for Christ came through the genealogy of David, which came through the genealogy of Pharez, who was born of Tamar, by Judah in this unsavory kind of a situation. Here you have a Moabitess who were cursed by God, as far as the children of Israel were concerned, who could not come into the house of God till the tenth generation and here happens to be ten generations listed to David. So you, you have the line of Christ, so that no matter what your background, you can always identify with Him. You say, "Well, my relatives weren't the nicest people in the block." Well, neither were His. Thus each man can identify with Jesus Christ in a unique and special way.

Even as Boaz was the kinsman redeemer, fulfilled the law, redeemed the property in order to get the bride, so Jesus Christ is our kinsman redeemer. He became a man in order that He might be next of kin to man, in order that He could redeem man. It was necessary for Him in order to be the kinsman redeemer, the goel, to become a man. That was an essential. That is why the incarnation, so that as a man He could be a kinsman redeemer to redeem man, because the earth had been sold by Adam to Satan.

Now the whole deal has been wrapped up in a scroll and it's sealed with seven seals. Satan now rules the world: it's his. It belongs to him. He took it from Adam, or Adam actually sold out to Satan. Jesus came to redeem the world back to God, to pay the price of the redemption, which was His own blood, His death. Now in Hebrews it says, "God has put all things into subjection unto Him, Jesus Christ" ( Hebrews 2:8 ), but we do not yet see all things in subjection to Him. We don't see the whole thing established as it's going to be, the Kingdom age. But we see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels in order that He might suffer death. Crowned with glory and honor, waiting really for that day in which the earth is to be redeemed back to God.

Now there is a period of time in the history of Israel when Saul was king over Israel. Because of his disobedience to God, God said to Samuel, "Go down to the house of Jesse and anoint one of his sons to be the king." So Samuel came down to the house of Jesse, and the first son-Iliad came in, good looking, big strong guy. And Samuel said, "Wow what a good looking, surely this is the one God wants."

God said, "Hey no, no. You look on the outward appearance, but I look on the heart." So one by one Jesse paraded his sons through, and the Lord didn't bear witness to any of them. Finally Samuel said, "Is that all the boys you've got?"

"I've got one more but he's just a kid. He's out there watching the sheep. I didn't figure he was gonna count."

"Well bring him in." He went out and whistled. David came running in sweaty and dirty.

The Lord said to Samuel, "That's the one." Samuel took this cruise of oil and poured it over David's head, and this little kid's standing there with oil running down him, and he didn't know what was going on, you know. But God anointed him king over Israel.

Now what happened? Did Saul suddenly advocate the throne, and David's sitting on it? Oh no, no, no. Saul now began to try to destroy David. He attempted to kill him, he attempted to drive him, ultimately drove him out of the country. For Saul was trying to hang on to that which was no longer rightfully his. He was doing his best by force to hold on to that which didn't belong to him anymore.

Now we have a sequel to that. The world technically belongs to Jesus. He redeemed it, He paid the price. Yet, we do not yet see all things into subjection unto Him. Satan is still hanging on doing his best by force to drive Jesus out. To hang on to that which is no longer rightfully his, to hold by force that which is no longer rightfully his. But the day is coming as is according to the fifth chapter of the book of Revelation when this scroll with the seven seals will be brought forth.

The angel will declare, "Who is worthy to take this scroll, and to loose the seals?" And Jesus will step forth as the Lamb that hath been slain. He'll take this scroll out of the right hand of God as the church sings his praises, "Worthy is the Lamb to take the scroll, and to loose the seals, for He was slain and has redeemed us by His blood." This word redemption again. "He's redeemed us by His blood out of all of the nations, tribes, tongues, and people, and hath made us unto our God, kings, and priests and we shall reign with Him upon the earth."

Then as you go through the book of Revelation, you see Him beginning to break the seals. In the tenth chapter He comes back upon the earth, sets one foot upon the earth, one upon the sea, holds up the scroll that is now open, the title deed showing His right as they declare, "The kingdoms of this world have now become the kingdoms of our Lord." He begins His reign, there shall be no longer delay, and He begins His reign over the earth. He takes that which is rightfully His, lays claim to it, and establishes God's kingdom upon the earth.

So here you have in the history of Israel, actually in the history of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, a little foreshadowing of the future when Jesus comes as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, to take that which is rightfully His. But the whole transaction as Boaz had the elders of the city there, and they went through this whole thing, so the twenty-four elders gathered in heaven around the throne as this legal transaction takes place. Of course, we will be gathered there too, because we've got to sing this song, because only we can sing it. As this whole thing is consummated there in heaven. Oh, I can hardly wait.

You know Satan has had his day. You look at the world today, and you see the results of rebellion against God. "Oh Lord Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven."

Shall we pray.

Father, we thank You for the hope of Thy soon coming kingdom, Thy return for Your church and our being gathered together with Thee around the throne of God. When You take that authority and dominion that is rightfully Yours because You died. Your blood was shed for our redemption. Lord, give us that strength that we need, that guidance that we need, that wisdom that we need in the meantime, as we Lord, seek to represent You and Your kingdom in this foreign territory. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Ruth 4". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/ruth-4.html. 2014.
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