Summary: In Boaz, we see a picture of our kinsman-redeemer, Jesus Christ.
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• The book of Ruth takes place “when the judges ruled” (1:1).
• Elimelech and Naomi move from Bethlehem (“house of bread”) to Moab to escape a famine.
• Elimelech and Naomi’s two sons, Mahlon and Kilion, die in Moab.
• Mahlon and Kilion had married Moabite women, Ruth and Orpah.
• When the famine in Judah ends, Naomi returns to Bethlehem with Ruth.
• Naomi: “I’m empty; I’m bitter.”
• Ruth gleans in Boaz’s field. He is one of Naomi’s kinsman-redeemers. He shows Ruth kindness.
• At the end of the harvest, Naomi plays matchmaker. She urges Ruth to ask Boaz to marry her.
• Boaz is willing to marry Ruth, but there is a kinsman nearer than him.
[Read Ruth 4]
THE GROUND AND THE GIRL
“Naomi…is selling the piece of land that belonged to our brother Elimelech” (4:1 NIV). “Naomi…sold the piece of land” (NKJV).
Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi and from Ruth the Moabitess, you acquire the dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property” (Ruth 4:5).
Two ancient practices are mentioned in this verse:
• REDEMPTION of land
“‘The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.
“‘If one of your countrymen becomes poor and sells some of his property, his nearest relative is to come and redeem what his countryman has sold. If, however, a man has no one to redeem it for him but he himself prospers and acquires sufficient means to redeem it, he is to determine the value for the years since he sold it and refund the balance to the man to whom he sold it; he can then go back to his own property. But if he does not acquire the means to repay him, what he sold will remain in the possession of the buyer until the Year of Jubilee. It will be returned in the Jubilee, and he can then go back to his property”’ (Leviticus 25:23-28; cf. Jeremiah 32:1-15).
• LEVIRATE marriage
If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her. The first son she bears shall carry on the name of the dead brother so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel.
However, if a man does not want to marry his brother’s wife, she shall go to the elders at the town gate and say, “My husband’s brother refuses to carry on his brother’s name in Israel. He will not fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to me.” Then the elders of his town shall summon him and talk to him. If he persists in saying, “I do not want to marry her,” his brother’s widow shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, take off one of his sandals, spit in his face and say, “This is what is done to the man who will not build up his brother’s family line.” That man’s line shall be known in Israel as The Family of the Unsandaled (Deuteronomy 25:5-10; cf. Matthew 22:23-28).
Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. But Er, Judah’s firstborn was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so the LORD put him to death. Then Judah said to Onan, “Lie with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother” (Genesis 38:6-8).
Why did the nearer kinsman changed his mind about redeeming the land? Because Boaz added that the person who redeems the land should also marry Ruth. The nearer kinsman obviously didn’t feel obligated to marry Ruth. Perhaps because she was a Moabitess; perhaps because he wasn’t Mahlon’s brother-in-law. It seems that Boaz is going above and beyond what the law required. There was nothing for the nearer kinsman to gain if he also married Ruth. If he has a son by Ruth, the child would be Mahlon’s heir and receive the land as his inheritance.
A FAMOUS FAMILY
“May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem” (Ruth 4:11).
“May he [Obed] become famous throughout Israel!” (Ruth 4:14).
• The marriage of Boaz and Ruth led to the birth of KING DAVID.
Now David was the son of an Ephrathite named Jesse, who was from Bethlehem in Judah (1 Samuel 17:12).
• The marriage of Boaz and Ruth led to the birth of the KING OF KINGS.