The Agora
Bible Commentary

1 2 3 4

Ruth 4

Rth 4:1

Christ has redeemed us from curse of Law: Gal 3:13.

BOAZ WENT UP TO THE TOWN GATE: That is, to make public his intentions. (Cp Christ, "evidently set forth": Gal 3:1; "not done in a corner": Act 26:26.) Cp Pro 31:23: her husband was respected at the city gate!

Rth 4:2

TEN: 1Ki 21:8: a traditional quorum.

Rth 4:3

The next of kin might purchase this land, and thus keep it in family (Lev 25:24). Otherwise, it might be sold until Jubilee.

Rth 4:4

"I WILL REDEEM IT,' HE SAID: "Yes, he would redeem the land' he was willing enough to buy it, and add it to his own inheritance until the year of jubilee restored it to the family which originally owned it. He was the more willing to do this since there was no immediate prospect that there would be any other heir upon whom the property might devolve; so there was a fair chance that it might become his for good" (WJR).

The nearest kinsman -- like the Law of Moses -- had first claim to redeem, but -- as v 6 shows -- lacked the ability (cp Rom 8:3; Gal 3:10,13; Heb 9:15; Rom 3:25).

Rth 4:5

Notice how the redemption of the Land is linked to the redemption of the people who live on the Land!

LAND: Ruth was the real "treasure in the field" (Mat 13:44). Boaz buys the field (concealing the true value of the "treasure" Ruth).

THE MOABITESS: Since Naomi was past childbearing age (Rth 1:11), thus Ruth would be the Levirate wife. But marrying a Moabitess would be abhorrent to a "strict" Jew, who rested on letter of Law rather than the spirit.

YOU ACQUIRE THE DEAD MAN'S WIDOW: No picking and choosing which duties to take over and which not (and so also in the ecclesia). Even if Ruth had been married to the younger brother, the rights of the family would come through because Orpah stayed in Moab a Moabitess, whereas Ruth was here in Bethlehem as Israelite.

Rth 4:6

The nameless gaal refuses to redeem. Typ LM, with no power to forgive (Gal 3:10). But Christ, as gaal, became a curse for us (Gal 3:13), and also redeemed those under first covenant (Heb 9:15; Rom 3:25).

BECAUSE I MIGHT ENDANGER MY OWN ESTATE: How? (1) By impoverishing his own children (the Law lacked power to grant salvation); (2) By marrying Moabitess (cp Peter's fears of Gentile associations: Acts 10).

"But by his feebleness he DID mar his own inheritance, for the fact that the Messianic line came through Boaz and Ruth fairly plainly implies that this kinsman's line ceased. In deciding selfishly he decided badly" (WJR).

Rth 4:7

Not an act of contempt, but a simple custom of transferring property. Taking off shoe is giving up right to walk on land (ct Gen 13:17!). Shoe sym taking possession of (cp Psa 60:8; Deu 25:7-10).

Why no spitting, as in Deu 25:9? Becs Ruth was not there, in city gate! Did Boaz not take her to gate, so as to avoid this embarrassing aspect of Law, and make it easier for the kinsman to say "No" in the first place?

Rth 4:8

Cp Deu 25:7-10. Thus, he became "the unsandaled one".

Rth 4:9

If such an act is witnessed by 10 men (a quorum), it becomes as legally binding as the finest document drawn up by the best NY lawyers!

THE PROPERTY OF... KILION: Orpah, by remaining in Moab, had given up any claims to inheritance.

Rth 4:10

So why is Ruth, even now (though she plainly worships the God of Israel), still called a "Moabitess"? Perhaps... what had been her condemnation at first (the "unclean" Moabitess! the "idolatress") has now become a "badge of honor"... the former Moabitess who freely chose to come to Israel! The former worshiper of false gods who freely and gladly sought out and chose the God of Israel. (Like the "scarlet letter" of Hester Prynne, her shame had become her honor: see Lesson, Scarlet letter, the.) [And if that ISN'T the point, well then, it SHOULD be!]

Rth 4:11

RACHEL AND LEAH: Who left their home in a strange land to go to the Land of Promise! (Rachel later died in childbirth at Bethlehem: Gen 35:16,19.)

BUILT: Play on words: the word for "build" and the word for "son" are practically identical. Cp 2Sa 7:13.

Rth 4:12

TAMAR: Another Gentile bride. Tamar (a Canaanite woman) had invoked the Levirate Law to insure her inheritance in Israel (Gen 38). Another ancestor of Boaz (Mat 1). "The allusion to Pharez whom Tamar bare unto Judah is also highly appropriate, for not only was this the only other levirate union mentioned in the Bible, but the grudging acknowledgement by Judah that Gentile Tamar had such a right of marriage is closely paralleled by the attitude of the unnamed kinsman in this Book of Ruth" (WJR).

PEREZ: Sig "to break out, expand".

Rth 4:13

Ruth, childless for (almost) 10 years (Rth 1:4), is now married to Boaz (a much older man), and conceives a child (almost immediately). The child becomes Boaz's legal son also (since he has no other children?), and thus the heir of both inheritances (Mahlon/Kilion's and Boaz's). Thus two people who had no children (cp Abraham and Sarah) are enabled by God to conceive, and now have a special child -- a link in the royal line of Judah that leads (ultimately) to the Lord Jesus Christ. Typical of the ecclesia saved in the childbearing (1Ti 2:15). The new son sym new walk in Christ (Rom 7:4).

Rth 4:14

KINSMAN-REDEEMER: How can a mere baby be the gaal? Because, in faith, Naomi sees the true gaal, who will be Obed's descendant! Cp idea, Joh 8:56 with Gen 22:18: Abr rejoiced to see my day.

Rth 4:17

OBED: Sig "servant, worshiper". Thus sym the true sons of ecclesia, who love Israel.

According to the levirate law, Obed should have reckoned as the son of Chilion; yet there is no hint of this. Perhaps this is because there was no other child born to Boaz, and therefore Obed reckoned as his.

Rth 4:19

RAM: Aram in Mat 1:3.

Rth 4:20

NAHSHON: Prince of Judah in wilderness: Num 1:7.

SALMON: Married Rahab the harlot of Jericho (Mat 1:5). At least 300 years before David's birth -- covered here by only 3 generations. Poss some generations omitted.

Rth 4:21

Boaz: In Mat 1, Boaz is reckoned as the tenth generation from Abraham (cp Deu 23:3).

Rth 4:22

DAVID: "This is the first mention of David. If, as seems probable, the author of Judges and Ruth was Samuel, then the last word he wrote was an expression of faith that the youth he had anointed would one day be King of Israel" (WJR).
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