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Monday, July 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Ruth 4

Grant's Commentary on the BibleGrant's Commentary

Verses 1-22


(vv. 1-12)

The same morning Boaz went to the gate of the city, the place of judgment, sitting there until the close relative of whom he spoke came by(v. 1).At the invitation of Boaz, he also sat down.Besides this, he asked ten men of the city to be witnesses (v. 2).

This close relative pictures the covenant of law, which had a claim upon Israel from the time of their coming out of Egypt (Exodus 20:1-26).It was because of Israel's disobedience to law, however, that they had forfeited all title to the land and become poor and desolate, as seen in Naomi.Now, when Israel is eventually brought back to the land, will the law then give them title to it and rescue them from the poverty of their desolate condition? The law did have a claim on Israel, but could it carry out the claim by actually restoring the nation from its long centuries of disobedience?This hearing before the ten witnesses provides the answer.The ten witnesses in fact remind us of the ten commandments of the law, which are there to bear witness as to what the law cannot do.

Boaz then informed them that Naomi had sold the land that belonged to her and Elimelech (v. 3), and the law of Israel gave permission to a close relative to buy it back (or redeem it). Therefore, Boaz told this man he might redeem it if he wished, and if not that Boaz would do so.The man answered, "I will redeem it" (v.4).But there was a problem!

When the close relative of Elimelech told Boaz that he would redeem the property of Elimelech, Boaz then informed him that Ruth, the Moabitess was also involved in the matter, for she was the wife of Chilion the son of Elimelech, and the relative must take Ruth to perpetuate the name of Elimelech, by having at least a child by Ruth (v. 5). But this was too much for the relative, who said he could not do this lest he would ruin his own inheritance (v.6).He wanted the land, but not Ruth.

Thus, in picture, the law might legally require the return of the land of Israel after the Jews had been scattered among the nations, but the law was powerless to redeem people who had broken the law. In fact, the law declared that no Moabite could enter the congregation of Israel even to the tenth generation (Deuteronomy 23:3).The law could not ignore this or it would ruin its own character.But "what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin:He condemned sin in the flesh" (Romans 8:3).

Boaz pictures Christ who transcends the law and has accomplished on Calvary the great work of redemption by which people who trust Him are redeemed for eternity.Boaz did what the other relative could not do.In accordance with custom in Israel the relative took off his sandal and gave it to Boaz (vv.7-8).This may remind us of Moses being told by the Lord to take off his sandals at the site of the burning bush (Exodus 3:4-5) and of Joshua being told by the Commander of the Lord's army to take off his sandal (Joshua 5:13-15).Doing this indicates a confession of weakness in the presence of a superior, just as the law must acknowledge its own weakness in contrast to Christ (Romans 8:3).For if one's feet are not shod, he is not prepared for warfare or for walking in rough terrain.

Boaz then addressed the elders and all the people present, declaring them as witnesses that he had bought all that had previously belonged to Elimelech and his two sons (v. 9).But more than that, he had acquired Ruth the Moabitess as his wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead (Elimelech and his sons), since Ruth had had no children by her husband, Chilion (v. 10).In this way the law of Israel was perfectly kept, and Ruth, though a Moabitess, was welcomed into the commonwealth of Israel in spite of the law that forbade the acceptance of a Moabite to the tenth generation.For Israel's law had made provision for a related redeemer to accomplish such a reception.Just so, the ungodlyGentiles were excluded from Israel by law, but the law still bore witness of the coming of the Lord Jesus, whose great sacrifice has brought redemption for the ungodly, so that Gentile believers today are united to Christ in a bond that is pictured by marriage (2 Corinthians 11:2).

When Ruth came to the threshing floor, she had a totally private interview with Boaz, but the matter now is to be fully public, with everyone knowing that Ruth is redeemed as the wife of Boaz.When the Lord Jesus presents the Church to Himself, there will be a clear and universal announcement(Revelation 19:6-7).

Yet the marriage of Ruth to Boaz does not primarily picture the marriage of the Lord Jesus to His heavenly bride, the Church, but rather the union of Israel, God's earthly people, with the Lord Jesus at the end of the tribulation.Israel will be the earthly bride, but the church the heavenly bride, each being blessed in a different sphere.

The people who were present at the gate and the elders were fully agreeable to the words of Boaz, gladly taking the place of witnesses, and giving Boaz their unqualified blessing with the words of verses 11 & 12. There was no reserve on the part of the people because Ruth was a Moabitess, showing how God can resolve every national or racial problem by the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.


Being married to Boaz, Ruth gave birth to a son (v. 13), certainly a great joy to both the parents, but it is interesting that the women congratulated Naomi, saying, Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel"(v. 14).Not only was Ruth's widowhood taken away, but Naomi's desolation was no more. Naomi picture that desolate state of Israel in being so deprived of blessing (now for centuries). What a change then for Naomi! -- and due entirely to Boaz, "a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age" (v. 15). The life of Boaz was continued in his son.Also, it was Ruth who had borne him -- a daughter- in - law who was better to Naomi than seven sons.So also, in a coming day, Israel's desolation will be changed to most abundant joy and blessing when the Lord Jesus, the great Redeemer, will be recognized as their true Messiah.Naomi became a nurse to the new born child, and the neighbors said the son was born to Naomi, reminding us of Isaiah 54:1, for the one Son is promise of more to come. Israel has lost much through disobedience, but will gain much more than she has lost through the grace of the great redeemer, the Lord Jesus.

How beautifully this Book of Ruth illustrates His glory and His grace

Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Ruth 4". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lmg/ruth-4.html. 1897-1910.
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