Under Gods Command (Ruth 4:1-15)

Ruth and Boaz are married   

Ruth 4:1-15   1Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat down there just as the guardian-redeemer he had mentioned came along. Boaz said, “Come over here, my friend, and sit down.”

So he went over and sat down. 2Boaz took ten of the elders of the town and said, “Sit here,” and they did so. 3Then he said to the guardian-redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our relative Elimelek. 4I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.”    

 “I will redeem it,” he said.   

  5Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.”

  6At this, the guardian-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.”

 7(Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel.)     

8So the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it yourself.” And he removed his sandal.  

   9Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelek, Kilion and Mahlon. 10I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite,r Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. Today you are witnesses!” 

   11Then the elders and all the people at the gate said, “We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the family of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. 12Through the offspring the LORD gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.” Naomi Gains a Son  

   13So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”

 Boaz knew he could find his relative at the town gate. This was the center of activity. No one could enter or leave the town without traveling through the gate. Merchants set up their temporary shops near the gate, which also served as “city hall.” Here city officials gathered to transact business. Because there was so much activity, it was a good place to find witnesses (4:2) and an appropriate place for Boaz to make his transaction.

Boaz cleverly presented his case to the relative. First he brought in new information not yet mentioned in the story—Elimelek, Naomi’s former husband, still had some property in the area that was now for sale. As the nearest relative, this man had the first right to buy the land, which he agreed to do (Leviticus 25:25). But then Boaz said that according to the law, if the relative bought the property he also had to marry the widow (probably because Mahlon, Ruth’s former husband and Elimelek’s son, had inherited the property). At this stipulation, the relative backed down. He did not want to complicate his inheritance. He may have feared that if he had a son through Ruth, some of his estate would transfer away from his family to the family of Elimelek. Whatever his reason, the way was now clear for Boaz to marry Ruth.

Of all the ancestors (including Abraham) they could have named, why did these men mention Perez? The birth of Perez was an example of the “levirate” practice, whereby the brother or relative of the dead husband married his widow (Genesis 38). Boaz, as guardian-redeemer, was following this levirate practice since Ruth’s former husband had no living brothers. (See the note on 3:1-9.) The descendants of Perez made Judah a prominent tribe. Boaz, David, and all the Judean kings were descendants of Perez.

Ruth’s love for her mother-in-law was known and recognized throughout the town. From the beginning of the book of Ruth to the end, her kindness toward others remained unchanged.

God brought great blessings out of Naomi’s tragedy, even greater than “seven sons,” or an abundance of heirs. Throughout her tough times, Naomi continued to trust God. And God, in his time, blessed her greatly.

Lets Bring it Home: Even in our sorrow and calamity, God can bring great blessings. Be like Naomi, and don’t turn your back on God when tragedy strikes. Instead of asking, “How can God allow this to happen to me?” trust him. He will be with you in the hard times.

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