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Sunday, June 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
Ruth 4

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-22

Ruth 4:1 . The gate: the place of justice. Job 29:0. Genesis 19:0. Ten men judged and attested the fairness of the price until the jubilee. Such sales being open, were freer from disputes. Boaz took ten men to attest the sale of the land; in other places the witnesses only are named; but seven officers constituted a synagogue, and it is likely that those courts did not consist of less than seven. Deuteronomy 16:18.

Ruth 4:11 . The Lord make the woman like Rachel and like Leah. Note, a woman must not be touched till the nuptial benediction is thus first pronounced by the legal authorities.

Ruth 4:17 . They called his name Obed, that is serving, because of Ruth’s condition. Ancient names were generally conferred conformably to prominent circumstances attendant on the birth of a son.

Ruth 4:20-22 . Nahshon, Salmon, Boaz, Obed, Jesse, David; by which it appears that David was not descended from the firstborn of those fathers, but rather from the youngest sons; for on an average they could not have been less than eighty or ninety years of age when the sons here named were born.


Boaz, so fearful of offending in receiving a wife to his bosom, to whom another man had a prior claim; Boaz, so fearful of scandal and reproach, lost no time in receiving her in the manner prescribed by custom and by law. As early in the morning as circumstances would admit, he assembled the elders and the nearer kinsman, that he might honourably purchase the land, and marry the widow of Mahlon. His singular virtue, which had appeared on the preseding night, was now distinguished before the elders of his city by sound policy and superior address. With what fairness does this venerable man make the first overture to his relative, and with what firmness does he support the rights of the widow. The relative, fearful to mar his own inheritance by advancing money for the redemption of land, which would go to another branch of the family, and fearful perhaps of a numerous offspring from so young a widow, resigned at once all claims in favour of Boaz. How easily does providence soon or late applain our difficult paths when we act with prudence, and proceed in duty by honourable means. This good man by the haste of passion might have involved himself in a long and bitter enmity with his relative; but by waiting one day, the Lord added lustre to his name, and blessed his marriage with a son.

We ought not to overlook the singular happiness of the Moabian stranger. Inspired with the love of piety, and impelled with a sense of filial duty, she had abandoned her country, her relatives, and her gods, to trust under the wings of JEHOVAH; and now the Lord established her in the princely line of Judah, and with a thousand blessings from his people. From this poor, but virtuous woman, descended Obed; for the Lord had undertaken her cause. From her descended Jesse, the long promised root which should raise an ensign for the nation, and in whom the gentiles should trust. From her descended David, and a line of twenty three kings to reign in Jerusalem. From her descended many prophets, as Isaiah, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego. In a word, from this poor stranger descended Jesus Christ, the hope of all nations, and the Redeemer of the world. What a chain of providences: what a reverse of situation from adversity to prosperity. What clusters of blessings are here comprised in one. What an argument for all young people, seeking their bread out of their father’s house, to seek the Lord, and trust in him alone. Learn then, oh my soul, to rely on the Lord, and to abide by his covenant. Apply to Jesus Christ, thy near kinsman, and he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do. Repose thy confidence under his Almighty wings, and he will lead thee to participate of David’s mercies, and of eternal glory.

We ought not to forget, on this occasion, the greatness of Naomi’s joy. This woman had borne exile and afflictions for ten years; death had thrice repeated his strokes, and taken away a husband and both her sons; time had wasted the whole of her property; and her old age seemed menaced with a tempestuous winter. But confiding in the Lord, suddenly the sunshine of prosperity broke forth, and his blessings exceeded her utmost hopes. Happy is that widow who makes the Lord her portion, and calls upon his name night and day. The watchful eye of him who is the widow’s portion, and the orphan’s friend, shall raise her up benefactors on earth, and give her in due time an inheritance among the sanctified at his right hand.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Ruth 4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/ruth-4.html. 1835.
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