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Bible Commentaries
Ruth 4

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

Then 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.

Then went Boaz up to the gate - a roofed building, unenclosed by walls; the place where in ancient times, and in many Eastern towns still, all business transactions are made, and where therefore the kinsman was most likely to be found. No preliminaries were necessary in summoning one before the public assemblage; no writings and no delay were required. In a short conversation the matter was stated and arranged-probably in the morning, as people went out, or at noon, when they returned from the field.

Verse 2

And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down. And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down.

Ten men of the elders of the city-as witnesses. In ordinary circumstances two or three were sufficient to attest a bargain; but in cases of importance, such as matrimony, divorce, conveyancing of property, it was the Jewish practice to have ten (1 Kings 21:8).

Verse 3

And 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:

Naomi ... selleth a parcel - i:e., entertains the idea of selling. In her circumstances she was at liberty to part with it (Leviticus 25:25). Both Naomi and Ruth had an interest in the land during their lives; but Naomi alone was mentioned, not only because she directed all the negotiations, but because the introduction of Ruth's name would awaken a suspicion of the necessity of marrying her, before the first proposition was answered.

Verse 4

And 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.

There is none to redeem it besides thee; and I am after thee - (see the note at Deuteronomy 25:5-10.) The redemption of the land, of course, involved a marriage with Ruth, the widow of the former owner.

Verse 5

Then 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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 6

And 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.

I cannot redeem it ... lest I mar mine own inheritance. This consequence would follow, either, first, from his having a son by Ruth, who, though heir to the property, would not bear his name: his name would be extinguished in that of her former husband; or, secondly, from its having to be subdivided among his other children, which he had probably by a previous marriage. This right, therefore, was renounced and assigned in favour of Boaz, in the way of whose marriage with Ruth the only existing obstacle was now removed.

Verse 7

Now 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 neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel.

A man plucked off his shoe. Where the kinsman refused to perform his duty to the family of his deceased relation, his widow was directed to pull off the shoe, with some attendant circumstances of contemptuous disdain. But as in this case there was no refusal, the usual ignominy was spared, and the plucking off the shoe the only ceremony observed, as a pledge of the transaction being completed. The symbolical import of the observance was, that the party surrendered his interest in the land by giving another his shoe, wherein he used himself to walk, in order that he to whom he gave it might enter in and take possession of it. The use of the shoe as a token of right or conveyancing is very prevalent still in, Hindustan and many parts of the East (Roberts' 'Oriental Customs'). In medieval times the right-hand glove was used instead of a shoe.

Verse 8

Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 9

And 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.

All that was Chilion's and Mahion's, of the hand of Naomi. Although the widow of Chilion was still living, no regard was paid to her in the disposal of her husband's property. From her remaining in Moab she was considered to have either been married again, or to have renounced all right to an inheritance with the family of Elimelech.

Verse 10

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 be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.

Ruth the Moabitess ... have I purchased to be my wife. This connection Boaz not only might form, since Ruth had embraced the true religion, but he was under a legal necessity of forming it.

Verse 11

And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem:

All the people ... and the elders, said, We are witnesses. A multitude, doubtless, from curiosity or interest, were present on the occasion. There was no signing of deeds; yet was the transfer made, and complete security given, by the public manner in which the whole matter was carried on and concluded.

The Lord make the woman ... like Rachel and like Leah. This was the usual bridal benediction.

Verse 12

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.

Let thy house be like the house of Pharez - i:e., as honourable and numerous as his, he was the ancestor of the Beth-lehem people, and his family one of the five from which the tribe of Judah sprang.

Verses 13-16

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.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 17

And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Obed - means 'servant.'

Verse 18

Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron,

These are the generations of Pharez - i:e., his descendants. This appendix shows that the special object contemplated by the inspired author of this little book was to preserve the memory of an interesting domestic episode, and to trace the genealogy of David. There was an interval of 380 years between Salmon and David. It is evident that whole generations are omitted; only the leading personages are named, and grandfathers are said, in Scripture language, to beget their grandchildren, without specifying the intermediate links.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ruth 4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/ruth-4.html. 1871-8.
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