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Wednesday, July 17th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Ruth 4

Coke's Commentary on the Holy BibleCoke's Commentary



Boaz calls upon the next kinsman, who refuses to redeem: accordingly, Boaz marrieth Ruth; and from this marriage comes Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Before Christ 1376.

Verse 1

Ruth 4:1. Boaz went up to the gate See on Deuteronomy 16:18. The Chaldee paraphrases this, He went up to the gate of the house of judgment, where the Sanhedrim sat.

Verse 2

Ruth 4:2. Ten men This number of witnesses, it seems, was necessary for the ratification of marriages, divorces, and the conveyance of right and property. See More Nevoch. pars 3: cap. 49: and Bertram de Rep. Jud. cap. 9: Boaz, in representing the distress to which Naomi, the sister of their brother, 1:e. their common relation, found herself reduced after her return from Moab, tells the kinsman, that, in order to supply her present necessities, she designed to sell the parcel of land which belonged to Elimelech; and that she had a right to do so, in such a state of necessity, is supposed by the best writers on this subject. See Selden de Success. in Bonis, cap. 15: p. 52.

Verse 5

Ruth 4:5. Thou must buy it also of Ruth This whole speech is rendered very confused by the present printed Hebrew text; but if we admit of some alteration from the best manuscripts, the passage will be cleared from obscurity, and when corrected will run thus: Ruth 4:4. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it; but if thou wilt not redeem it, tell me, that I may know; for there is none but thee to redeem it, except myself, who am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it, Ruth 4:5. Then said Boaz, on the day thou takest the land of the hand of Naomi, thou must also take Ruth the Moabitess. See Kennicott's Dissert. vol. 1: p. 447 and Houbigant, who has made the same observation.

Verse 6

Ruth 4:6. I cannot redeem it for myself, &c.— The Chaldee paraphrases thus: "I cannot redeem it upon this condition, because I have a wife already, and do not choose to bring another into my house, lest quarrels and divisions arise in it, and lest I hurt my own inheritance." The Jewish commentators understand it in the same manner. See Selden de Uxor. Heb. lib. 1: cap. 9.

Verse 7

Ruth 4:7. This was the manner in former time See the note on Deuteronomy 25:5. Though the custom there referred to was somewhat different from the present, there can be no doubt that this was founded upon it; and the ceremony seems to express, that the person refusing to redeem transferred all his right to the man to whom he delivered his shoe. The reason of the custom, as Bishop Patrick says, is plain enough: it being a natural signification that the man resigned his interest in the land, by giving to the person redeeming his shoe, wherewith he used to walk in it, to the end that he might enter in it, and take possession of it himself. The Chaldee, instead of his shoe, reads his right hand glove. The Germans and Dutch call gloves the shoes of the hands. Rabbi Jarchi observes, "It is now the custom with us, that a handkerchief or vail be given, instead of a shoe, when we purchase any thing." It is doubtful from the next verse, whether the kinsman or Boaz drew off the shoe; though it seems most likely to have been the former.

Verse 11

Ruth 4:11. The Lord make the woman—like Rachel, and—Leah See Genesis 24:60.

Verse 12

Ruth 4:12. Like the house of Pharez, &c.— Pharez, the son of Judah by Tamar, was the chief of the family of Elimelech, and of all the Beth-lehemites. Nothing, therefore, could be more natural than this blessing which the elders of the village give to Boaz and Ruth upon their marriage.

REFLECTIONS.—No sooner has the nearest kinsman quitted his right, than Boaz puts in his claim, ready to pay the money for the land to Naomi, and purchase Ruth for his wife; and he calls upon them to witness the contract, and insert it in the public register. Note; Thus hath our God, our divine Redeemer, when we were poor and destitute, and none were either able or willing to purchase the inheritance which we by sin had so deeply mortgaged, yea, utterly forfeited, paid down the price, even at the expence of marring his own inheritance; having left the realms of bliss and glory for our sake, and then, espousing us to himself, has made us sharers of that glory, to which the Father, as the reward of his sufferings, hath exalted him. What love, what fidelity, constancy, and subjection, then do we owe to him!

Verse 17

Ruth 4:17. The women her neighbours gave it a name They advised Naomi to give the child such a name as was suitable to their foregoing discourse, and to the case of Naomi. See Luke 1:59. Obed signifies a servant, as Josephus interprets it: the Chaldee paraphrases the name, "Obed, who served the Lord of the world with a perfect heart." The sacred historian adds, he is the father of Jesse, the father of David; and in these words points out to us what appears to have been the principal design of this book, which was, to inform us of the origin of the family of David, and consequently that of the Messiah; and on this account it is that the genealogy is annexed, Ruth 4:18, &c. We refer to the chronologists for the dates and ages of the persons mentioned in this genealogy, and in particular to Archbishop Usher's Chronol. Sacr. pars 1: cap. 12.

Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Ruth 4". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/ruth-4.html. 1801-1803.
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