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The Nearer Relative Declines to Act
v. 1. Then went Boaz up to the gate and sat him down there, he went early since he wanted to be sure of finding the man for whom he was looking, and the space just inside the city gate was used for the transaction of judicial business, as well as for the marketplace; and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake, namely, in his talking to Ruth, Ruth 3:12-13, came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here, the legal formula for summoning a person when seeking a judicial decision. And he turned aside, and sat down.
v. 2. And he, Boaz, took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here, this being the customary complement of witnesses. And they sat down.
v. 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, she had disposed of this piece of land, the family inheritance. "The name of Elimelech was still on the property; consequently the law demanded its redemption, and directed this demand to the nearest blood-relative. It is on the basis of this prescription that Boaz begins his negotiation with the unnamed kinsman, in the interest of Naomi. " (Lange. )
v. 4. And I thought to advertise thee, literally, uncover thy ear, to inform him solemnly and officially, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants and before the elders of my people, the men sitting by acting as witnesses of the transaction. 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. Boaz came only in second place in the right to purchase the field according to law. While reminding the nearer relative of the duty imposed on him by law, he indicates his readiness to render the service demanded, in case the other should prefer to be excused. And he said, I will redeem it, believing that it was a mere matter of paying the purchase money.
v. 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, for such was the law of entailment connected with levirate marriages, the oldest son springing from such a union continuing the inheritance in the family of his mother.
v. 6. And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, he could not fulfill that condition, lest I mar mine own inheritance, for he held it possible to decline in the case of a woman of Moab what he would otherwise have considered a plain duty; redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it; his mind was definitely made up to step back.
v. 7. Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, whenever real estate changed hands, for to confirm all things, the author here explaining a custom which had been discontinued, except in the case mentioned Deuteronomy 25:9; a man plucked off his shoe and gave it to his neighbor, thereby surrendering all claims to the right of possession which would have been his had he fulfilled its conditions; and this was a testimony in Israel. Similar selfish considerations as those urged by the unnamed kinsman in this case have caused many people to lose even greater inheritances than that of a piece of land.
v. 8. Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe. He relinquished all his claims.
The Happy Marriage of Boaz and Ruth
v. 9. And Boaz said unto the elders and unto all the people, those present at the transaction. 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. He made a formal declaration that he would fulfill the condition, that he acquired the property in question, that he was willing to marry the Moabitess.
v. 10. Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, acquired by taking over the obligation connected with the land, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not out off from among his brethren and from the gate of his place, like a withered branch which is cut off a tree; ye are witnesses this day.
v. 11. And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, responding to this frank appeal and declaration, said, We are witnesses, their testimony giving legal standing to the transaction. The Lord make the woman that is come into thine house, literally, that is about to come, like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel, as the mothers of the twelve tribes; and do thou worthily in Ephratah, in raising up sons who would be heroes of strength, and be famous in Bethlehem, through the honor brought upon him by the same excellent sons;
v. 12. and let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar, the special ancestress of their own tribe, bare unto Judah, of the seed which the Lord shall give thee of this young woman. It speaks well of the love and respect in which Ruth was held that the people were so unanimous in bestowing this blessing, with its prayer for such great and wonderful earthly advantages.
v. 13. So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife, the marriage took place without delay; and when he went in unto her, the Lord gave her conception, for children are Jehovah's gift, Psalms 127:3, and she bare a son.
v. 14. And the women said unto Naomi, for she no longer was lonely and wanting in women interested in her as at first, when she returned from the land of Moab, poor and bereaved. Blessed be the Lord, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, to redeem her from the disgrace of childlessness, of having her family cut off in Israel, that his name may be famous in Israel, being on the lips of many people with words of praise.
v. 15. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, to refresh and cheer up her soul, and a nourisher of thine old age, by taking care of her in her declining years; for thy daughter-in-law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him, surely a very high praise for Ruth, showing the regard in which she was held by all the women of the city and neighborhood.
v. 16. And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, like an actual grandmother, and became nurse unto it, a foster-mother instructing the boy in Israelitish life and customs, an instructress in the Law of God.
v. 17. And the women, her neighbors, gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed (servant), with reference to the fact that the boy would take care of her, as they had pictured it in their effusive congratulations; he is the father of Jesse, the father of David, and thus one of the ancestors of Christ, Matthew 1:5-6.
v. 18. Now, these are the generations of Pharez, the list being appended to the book for quick reference; Pharez begat Hezron, 1 Chronicles 2:4,
v. 19. and Hezron begat Barn, and Barn begat Amminadab,
v. 20. and Amminadab begat Nahshon, Numbers 1:7, and Nahshon begat Salmon (or, Salmah),
v. 21. and Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed,
v. 22. and Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David. Note: To this day the Lord measures out joy as well as sorrow to His children. He may send affliction and tribulation for many years, but He will often grant a peaceful old age. Our trust in Him must never waver, for His compassion fails not, and His merciful promises will not fall to the ground.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Ruth 4". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13