7th June 2017

Ruth: Week 5 (Wednesday, June 7 2017)


Though only four chapters in length, the Book of Ruth has long been recognised - even by those who don’t believe the Bible - as a literary masterpiece. But for all its literary beauty and excellence, it is so much more than that. It is, for example, about a loving relationship between a young woman and her mother-in-law. It is also about a young maiden from Moab and the man who loved and redeemed her. It is about a romance that triumphs over racial and religious prejudices. We learn from example that the Book of Ruth is about real, genuine love. This series will also teach us that God has a special place in His Word for women, and for the unique, miraculous role they play in His plan. Perhaps nowhere else in God’s Word is a woman’s strength of character and purity of motive more evident than here. Most importantly, the Book of Ruth is a story of God’s purpose to redeem all those who will put their trust in Him, simply because He loves them.


Chapter 3

v10 ‘My daughter, I pray that the LORD will be good to you’, said Boaz. ‘You are even more kind to me now than you were earlier. You have not run after young men, poor or rich. v11 Now, my daughter, do not be afraid. I will do everything that you have suggested. Everyone in the town knows that you are a good woman. v12 It is true that I am a redeemer. But there is a redeemer closer to you than I am. v13 Stay here for the night. It may happen in the morning that he will redeem you. If so, that will be good. He will redeem you. But if he does not want to redeem you, then I will redeem you. I promise this, as the LORD lives! Lie down until morning.

v14 So Ruth lay by his feet until the morning. She got up before anyone might recognise the person next to him. Boaz said, ‘Do not let anyone know that a woman came to the threshing floor.’ v15 He also said, ‘Bring me your shawl. Hold it in front of me.’ When she did, he poured a lot of barley into it. He gave her help to pick it up. Then he went back to town. v16 Ruth came back to her husband’s mother. Naomi said to Ruth, ‘What happened, my daughter?’ Ruth told her all that had happened with Boaz. v17 She also said, ‘He gave me all this barley. He told me not to come back to my husband’s mother with empty hands.’ v18 Naomi replied, ‘Wait, my daughter. And see what happens. The man will make sure that he finishes everything today.’

Verses 10-18 We know already that Boaz was an honourable man. He was kind to Ruth. And he kept her visit secret so that nobody would think bad things about her. He also thought about how Ruth and Naomi would need food now. They would need food now because the fields were empty. He gave her another large quantity of grain. He was very generous. However, he could not marry Ruth yet. There was a man who was a closer relative to Elimelech’s family than Boaz. Boaz had to ask this man if he wanted to marry Ruth.

Chapter 4

v1 Boaz went to the gate of the town. He sat down there. Then the other redeemer came past him. He was the one that Boaz had talked about. Boaz said, ‘My friend, come here and sit down.’ So the man went over and sat down. v2 Boaz had found 10 important men from the town. He said to them, ‘Sit down here’ and they sat down. v3 Boaz said to the other redeemer, ‘Our brother Elimelech had part of the field. Naomi, who has returned from Moab, wants to sell it. v4 I thought that I ought to tell you about it. I suggest that you buy it. Buy it in front of all the people who are sitting here and in front of our people’s leaders. If you will redeem it, then redeem it. But if you will not redeem it then tell me. Then I will know. There is nobody else to redeem it except you first and me second.’ ‘Yes, I will redeem it’, the other man said. v5 Boaz said, ‘On the day that you buy the field from Naomi you also buy it from Ruth. She is the woman from Moab. She is the widow of the dead man. You must take her also to continue the dead man’s name on his land.’ v6 The other redeemer replied, ‘I cannot redeem it. If I did, I might put my own land in danger. You redeem it in my place. I cannot do it.’

Verses 1-6 Boaz arranged a public meeting with this man. There were 10 witnesses. They met at the city’s gate. Men arranged matters there. And they decided what was fair there. It was necessary for men who were not in the same family to witness the arrangements. We do not know this other man’s name. Boaz said that Naomi had land to sell. Boaz had to offer the land to him first because he was a closer relative of Elimelech.

The man was glad to buy the land, so that it would still belong to Elimelech’s relatives. However, Boaz said that he must also marry Ruth. And he must make her son the owner of the land. He must be the one to give Elimelech an *heir. That *heir would have a right to Naomi’s land. This changed everything. The man could not risk his own family’s future. He would have to provide for Ruth’s child or children until they became adults. So, he would have less money to give to his other children. And perhaps, when he died, some of his own land would also belong to Ruth’s child. So again, there would be less land for his other children to own. For these reasons, this man gave Boaz his right to the land and to Ruth.

v7 Now this is how they finished selling or redeeming anything in earlier times in Israel. A man took off his shoe and gave it to the other man. This was the proper way in Israel. v8 He said to Boaz, ‘You buy it.’ And he took off his shoe. v9 Then Boaz said to the important men and to all the people, ‘Today you saw what I did. I bought from Naomi all that Elimelech, Mahlon and Kilion had. v10 Ruth, the woman from Moab, was the wife of Mahlon. She also is now mine. This means that everyone will remember him. And they will remember where his land was. His family will not forget him and the people from his village will not forget him. You have all seen this today.’ v11 The most important people and everyone else said, ‘We have seen it. We pray that the woman coming into your home will be like Rachel and Leah. These two women built up the house of Israel. We want you to be important in Ephrathah and famous in Bethlehem. v12 We pray that your family will be like the family of Perez, the son of Tamar and Judah. We pray that this will happen because of your child. We pray that the LORD will give you a child by this young woman.’

Verses 7-10 The man took off his shoe. This was the custom to show that he agreed to give up his rights to the property. He agreed to pass them to another man. Boaz took the shoe from him to make the arrangement final. Then Boaz said that he would take Ruth to be his wife.

Verses 11-12 The agreement was now legal. There were witnesses to it. The witnesses were happy with what had happened. They blessed Boaz. The witnesses prayed that Ruth would be like Rachel and Leah. And they prayed that she would be the mother of a great family. Rachel and Leah were the wives of Jacob, and they were important in the history of God’s people. The 12 family groups of Israel came from these two women. The witnesses also prayed that Boaz would do many good things. They prayed that he would be famous for all these good things.

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