This Chapter concludes this eventful History of Boaz and Ruth: and a most interesting conclusion, even in this point of view only, it forms. But in the higher relation of a spiritual tendency, it comes home infinitely more strongly recommended and endeared. The relationship of Boaz, and his claims to Ruth in consequence thereof, the chapter opens with, and the marriage which follows, under the auspicious blessings of the people of Israel, are recorded. And, as if to direct the Reader to the consideration of a much more important subject veiled under the history, the sacred historian closes the book with the genealogy of Boaz, leading from Pharez (the son of Judah, Jacob's son) unto David, and consequently from David to Christ.
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. (2) And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down.
It appears to have been the custom in Israel to settle all points of law at the gates of the city: perhaps, that all going by might attend if they pleased. It was therefore an open court. Hence the Psalmist describes the happiness of the man that had his quiver full of bows, in a plentiful progeny. And he saith, such shall not be ashamed, when speaking with the enemies in the gate. Psalms 127:5. To this spot Boaz came attended by the 'elders, and called the other kinsman, which had a prior claim in the mortgaged inheritance of Elimelech's family. There is a great beauty in the expression, Ho! such an one! turn aside. The gospel call is, Ho! every one. But when the Holy Ghost makes that call personal, like the young man of the prophet's to Jehu, it is delightful indeed. See Isaiah 55:1; 2 Kings 9:5.
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: (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. (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. (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.
If I do not greatly err, the chief point in the whole history turns upon this hinge. And if so, it will serve to throw a light upon the subject all along intended from it, in introducing under this endearing part of his character, by the representation of Boaz, the Lord Jesus Christ as our kinsman-Redeemer. Behold it in this light, and we see Jesus assuming our nature for the purpose of redemption.
We view him going forth from everlasting, as the great covenant head of his people. And when he saw our ruined nature, and everyone of the stock of Adam totally unable to redeem themselves, much less to save his brother, then Jesus, moved with compassion; resolved to undertake their cause. Angels durst not venture on redemption-work, for this would have been to have marred their own inheritance; therefore his own arm brought salvation, and of the people there was none with him.
In the law of redemption there were several things included which became necessary for the complete recovery and happiness of our ruined nature, and which none but our (Goel) kinsman-Redeemer, the Lord Jesus, could be competent to perform. He was, as Boaz proposed to the nearer kinsman to do, not only to redeem the mortgaged inheritance, but he was to marry the widow of the deceased kinsman, in order to raise up seed unto his brother. That our original birthright was lost is evident from our ruined and impoverished state. Our first father, deceived by Satan, sold his inheritance by tasting the forbidden fruit; and never could any of his own fallen seed have been found in circumstances sufficiently affluent to ransom it. But yet it must be recovered; and therefore the year of jubilee, which was typical of redemption by Christ, sent the insolvent home again to his possession. Jesus our brother, and Goel-Redeemer, then accomplished redemption. See Leviticus 25:23-28.
But the redemption of the mortgaged inheritance was connected also with the marrying the widow of the deceased brother, and to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance. And this the Son of God did, when in the fulness of time, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, that he might redeem them that were under the law. Galatians 4:4. Hence, by virtue of this mystical union, a foundation is laid for the marriage of believers with him, and that our nature, purified and made clean by this union, might recover its lost fruitfulness, without which it would have been forever barren and dead before God.
Neither was, this all. Though it be not noticed in this book of Ruth, there were two other grand offices belonging to our Goel-Redeemer, which the law enjoined, and which none but Jesus could perform. The one was, to ransom the poor brother who had not only lost his inheritance, but was in bondage also. And the other was, to avenge the blood of his slain kinsman on the slayer. Concerning the former, the, law enjoined, If a sojourner or stranger was rich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the stranger; after that he is sold he may be redeemed again. One of his brethren may redeem him. Leviticus 25:47-48.
Blessed Jesus! were we not sold in the loins of Adam, when the enemy sojourned in Paradise, and our unhappy parent sold himself and all his posterity? Were we not brought into bondage, slaves to sin and Satan, and justly exposed to the anger of the broken law of God! And didst not thou, dearest Redeemer, as our brother, redeem us from the curse of the law, by being made a curse for us'? Galatians 3:13.
And concerning the latter: here again, blessed Jesus, we behold thee the avenger of the blood of thy slain kinsman; for when the devil, who was a murderer from the beginning, (John 8:44.) murdered our whole nature in Adam; and no avenger could be found equal to the vast work of taking vengeance on the manslayer, then didst thou, because the children were partakers of flesh and blood, thyself likewise take part of the same, that through death thou mightest destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver them who through fear of death were all their life time subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:14-15. And then was that sweet scripture literally fulfilled. Deuteronomy 19:11-12. These are all sweet and interesting views of the Lord Jesus. And though I do not take upon me to say that all, or either of these things, are shadowed out in this scripture, yet I hope I may be forgiven for introducing them in this place, at the subject itself, without doing violence to it, seemed to lead that way.
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. (8) Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe.
This was an ancient custom, as we read, Deuteronomy 25:7-9. Spiritually considered, none but Jesus could undertake it. Had he declined it, and drawn off the shoe of offering to any other, what being in all creation could have been found to have put it on. Yes, precious Jesus! thou, and thou only couldst undertake it, without finally marring thine own inheritance: for though thou wert rich, yet didst thou for our sakes become poor, that we through thy poverty might be made rich. And now, having accomplished redemption through thy blood, God our Father hath highly exalted thee, and given thee a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-10.
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. (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.
There is a great deal of force in these expressions considered spiritually, and with an eye to Jesus. He hath purchased all that was Elimelech's; all that was our original inheritance in Adam. Angels arc witnesses of the blessed conditions in the covenant. The same sons of God which shouted for joy at creation, sang glory to God in the view of redemption; and are to grace our Lord's return, we are told, when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all that believe. Oh! dearest condescending Jesus, hast thou indeed purchased all that belongs to us? Didst thou bear our sins, and carry our sorrows, and in all our affliction wast thou afflicted! Witness, ye angels of light, the unequalled love of our Jesus! Oh! for grace to love him who hath so loved us.
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: (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.
It is easy to gather wherefore, in this blessing, the wives of the Patriarch Jacob are mentioned rather than those of Abraham or Isaac. Sarah had but Isaac in the covenant; and Rebekah but a Jacob. Her other son Esau rejected the blessing. Whereas Rachel, and Leah, were mothers to several' of the tribes of Israel. Pharez, who descended from Judah, was the progenitor of the Bethlehemite.
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.
The sacred writer justly ascribes the fruit of the womb unto the great Author. So saith the Psalmist, Psalms 127:3
And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. (15) And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath borne him.
It was a very common thing in Israel, to offer pious salutations upon any auspicious events, and especially when the hand of the Lord was seen in them. That is a sweet instance, Luke 1:42; Luk_1:45
And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it. (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.
The names in scripture are for the most part significant. It was the custom among God's people (and a very gracious one it was) for parents to name their children after some remarkable providence. Perhaps with this intent, that every time they hooked upon their child, or heard him named, they might have their memory refreshed in the recollection of that special mercy. Thus Hannah's Samuel was so called, because it was an answer to prayer. 1 Samuel 1:20. Places also have furnished our memorandums of God's mercies. Jacob's Bethel and Hagar's well, are eminent instances of the kind. Genesis 28:19; Gen_16:14.
Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron, (19) And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, (20) And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon, (21) And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, (22) And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.
There can be no doubt (for it seems to carry with it a decided evidence), that as the Holy Ghost hath been pleased to chose the book of Ruth with this genealogy, tracing back the pedigree of Boaz from Pharez the son of Judah, and carrying it forward to David, very Plainly the intention is, to shew our Lord's descent after the flesh from him: for our Lord sprang out of Judah. And as the Holy Ghost in the opening of Matthew's gospel, hath yet further followed up this genealogy his gracious design is manifest therein. But with what pleasing acknowledgment and holy joy, ought we of the Gentile church, to behold the junction of the Gentile with our elder brother the Jew in this genealogy. Reader! is it mint a matter of heartfelt satisfaction, to trace our alliance with Jesus among the poor Gentiles of the earth, when we see that Boaz sprung out of Rahab, and Obed from Ruth; both aliens by nature, from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise. Surely! we may well exclaim, in the contemplation of such marvellous grace, What hath God wrought; See Matthew 1:1-5.
AND now, my soul, before thou takest thy leave of this sweet book of God, pause over it, And review again, and again, the many, very precious things, contained in it, for thy edification, comfort, and delight.
I behold, O Lord, thy gracious providences strikingly exemplified, in this history. In a land of Bethlehem itself, the house of bread, thou turnest it into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein. And when our poor fallen nature, as in the case of this certain man Elimelech, had heft thee, and wandered into the world of sin And transgression, by which death entered into the world, and ruin followed: it was thou, by thy preventing mercy going before, didst again visit the land in favor, and incline the hearts of the people, by thy grace, to return to the Lord, that he might have mercy upon them, and to our God, that he might abundantly pardon.
And do I not behold in the history of this poor Moabitish damsel, the astonishing proofs of thy grace? What but almighty, sovereign, free, And unmerited grace, could incline the heart of thy poor sinner, to leave her country, and the gods of Moab, to join herself unto the people of God in Israel? What but the sweet drawings of the Lord Jehovah could prompt her to leave her father, and all that sine had, to go forth like Abraham, into a land that she knew not. Holy Father! was not all this the effect of thine everlasting love wherewith thou lovest the objects of thy grace, as thou didst behold them, in thy dear. Son, before the foundation of the world! Blessed Jesus! was it not, because thou didst set thy love upon Ruth before all worlds, and sine was the purchase of thy blood and righteousness, in the counsel of peace, from all eternity! Holy Spirit! didst thou not know her person, and was not thy gracious influences pledged to call her to thyself, and to reveal the Father's love, and the Redeemer's grace, to her heart, when in the economy of redemption, thou didst undertake to make sinners willing in the day of thy power. Oh! may my soul feel interested in the same precious discoveries of grace! And since I see in so striking. an instance, that the Father hath given the heathen to his blessed Son for an inheritance, and that he might be the Father's salvation unto the ends of the earth; may this view of the call and conversion of Ruth, so often as I shall peruse this sacred history, comfort my soul, under the teaching of God the Holy Ghost, with the assurance, that God also to the Gentiles hath granted repentance unto life. And O Lord! grant that I may be the happy partaker of it.
But principally, and above all (if anything upon earth can be more interesting) Lord, head us to see in Boaz, the man of Bethlehem, the God-man, Christ Jesus, pointed out, my Goel, my Kinsman-Redeemer, my husband, friend: performing the kinsman's part, redeeming our mortgaged inheritance, marrying our' nature, uniting believers to himself, rescuing our souls from everlasting bondage, and avenging the blood of our souls on the cursed enemy, who by his snares ruined us; Yes! dearest Jesus! thou art all this, and infinitely more. Thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood. Thou givest us grace by thy Holy Spirit, to seek thy fields and ordinances, and enablest us when there to glean among the sheaves. Thou commandest thy servants, the ministers of the bread of life, to let fall handfuls for our souls to gather. Thou spreadest thy skirt over us, and marriest us to thyself, and we become thine. Oh! for grace to abide by thee, and never, never to seek another field to glean in, nor by creature confidences to forget our entire dependence upon thee. Be thou all in all to our souls: for in thee all fulness dwells, and all the Father's love and Spirit's grace come to our souls in and through thee. Thou art such a Saviour and Goel-Redeemer as our souls need; and are we not, blessed Jesus, sinners suited for the display of the riches of thy grace to be manifested upon? Here, therefore, may our souls fix, cleave unto thee, and abide in thee, for thou hast betrothed us to thyself, until, at the marriage supper of the Lamb in heaven, we are brought home to dwell with thee forever, Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Ruth 4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany