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Bible Commentaries

Wesley's Explanatory Notes
Ruth 4

 

 

Verse 2

And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down.

Ten men — To be witnesses: for though two or three witnesses were sufficient, yet in weightier matters they used more. And ten was the usual number among the Jews, in causes of matrimony and divorce, and translation of inheritances; who were both judges of the causes, and witnesses of the fact.


Verse 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:

Naomi — Both Naomi and Ruth had an interest in this land during their lives, but he mentions only Naomi, because all was done by her direction; lest the mention of Ruth should raise a suspicion of the necessity of his marrying Ruth, before he had given his answer to the first proposition.


Verse 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.

Buy it — According to the law, Deuteronomy 25:5.

To raise, … — To revive his name, which was buried with his body, by raising up a seed to him, to be called by his name.


Verse 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.

Mar — Either because having no children of his own, he might have one, and but one son by Ruth, who, though he should carry away his inheritance, yet would not bear his name, but the name of Ruth's husband; and so by preserving another man's name, he should lose his own. Or, because as his inheritance would be but very little increased by this marriage, so it might be much diminished by being divided amongst his many children, which he possibly had already, and might probably have more by Ruth.

My right — Which I freely resign to thee.


Verse 7

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.

All things — That is, in all alienation of lands. So that it is no wonder if this ceremony differ a little from that, Deuteronomy 25:9, because that concerned only one case, but this is more general. Besides, he pleads not the command of God, but only ancient custom, for this practice.

Gave it — He who relinquished his right to another, plucked off his own shoe and gave it to him. This was symbolical, and a significant and convenient ceremony, as if he said, take this shoe wherewith I used to go and tread upon my land, and in that shoe do thou enter upon it, and take possession of it.

This was a testimony — This was admitted for sufficient evidence in all such cases.


Verse 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.

From the gate — That is, from among the inhabitants dwelling within the gate of this city, which was Bethlehem-judah.


Verse 11

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:

Rachel and Leah — Amiable and fruitful. These two are singled out, because they were of a foreign original, and yet ingrafted into God's people, as Ruth was; and because of that fertility which God vouchsafed unto them above their predecessors, Sarah and Rebecca. Rachel is placed before Leah, because she was his most lawful, and best-beloved wife.

Did build — That is, increase the posterity.

Ephratah and Bethlehem — Two names of one and the same place.


Verse 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.

Pharez — As honourable and numerous as his family was; whom, though be also was born of a stranger, God so blessed, that his family was one of the five families to which all the tribe of Judah belonged, and the progenitor of the inhabitants of this city.


Verse 13

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.

Took Ruth — Which he might do, though she was a Moabite, because the prohibition against marrying such, is to be restrained to those who continue Heathens; whereas Ruth was a sincere proselyte and convert to the God of Israel. Thus he that forsakes all for Christ, shall find more than all with him.


Verse 14

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.

Which hath not, … — The words may be rendered, Which hath not made, or suffered thy kinsman to fail thee; that is, to refuse the performances of his duty to thee and thine, as the other kinsman did.

Famous — Heb. and his name shall be famous in Israel, for this noble and worthy action.


Verse 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 born him.

Thy life — That is, of the comfort of thy life.

Born him — Or, hath born to him; that is, to thy kinsman a son.

Better than seven sons — See how God sometimes makes up the want of those relations from whom we expected most comfort, in those from whom we expected least! The bonds of love prove stronger than those of nature.


Verse 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.

A name — That is, they gave her advice about his name; for otherwise they had no power or right to do so.

Obed — A servant, to thee, to nourish, and comfort, and assist thee; which duty children owe to their progenitors.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Ruth 4:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/ruth-4.html. 1765.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, October 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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