Summary: This is not just a story of the covenant faithfulness (chesed) to Namoi and Ruth. It is about God’s covenant faithfulness to Israel.” [
You will remember that we discovered in the last chapter that although Boaz was a near relative and was willing to be her goel (kinsman-redeemer), there was another relative who was closer in line than Boaz. As one commentary states, “So this is not just a story of the covenant faithfulness (chesed) to Namoi and Ruth. It is about God’s covenant faithfulness to Israel.” [Duguid p. 181] God is making provision for a king for Israel even before the Israelites knew they needed or wanted a king.
First, The Transactions At The City Gates. (4:1-6)
Naomi was correct in her assessment that Boaz’s determination to settle the matter as quickly as possible (3: 18). I think it is important to note that Boaz did it all by the book. He followed God’s plan in order to redeem Ruth in the right way. Everything that Jesus did to be our redeemer was by the book. He fulfilled the Law and payed the price for sin and He did legally.
• Boaz had a Plan. (vv. 1-2)
“Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there; and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz had spoken came by. So Boaz said, “Come aside, friend, sit down here.” So he came aside and sat down. 2
And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down.”
Boaz’s first move was to go to the city gates and sit there. The city gates played a large part in the life of the city in those days. Of course it was the place that people came and went from the city. It was also a place where business transactions were frequently made and it was the place where judges and city officials could be found.
Apparently was not too long until Boaz saw the man he was seeking and called out to him, translating the Hebrew idiom (peloni almoni) as “friend” but would be better translated as “Mr. So and So.” “The use of the idiom here has been interpreted as deliberate on the part of the story-teller. As it was shameful not to fulfill the role of kinsman-redeemer, the kinsman was (therefore) unworthy of mention by name.” [F.B. Huey. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Vol. 3 “Deut., Joshua, Judges, Ruth and 1, 2 Samuel.” (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992) p.541]
Boaz prepared the way for this to be a correct legal proceeding by inviting ten of the elders of the city to sit and hear the proceedings (v. 2).
• Boaz Presents His Case. (vv. 3-4)
“Then he said to the close relative, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. 4
And I thought to inform you, saying, ‘Buy it back in the presence of the inhabitants and the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am next after you.’” And he said, “I will redeem it.”
When Israel came into the Promised Land during the days of Joshua, the land was divided among the tribes and then among the family groups. God intended that the land stay within those tribes and family groups, so the land could never permanently be sold. Every fifty years, (the year of Jubilee) it had be returned to the original family group (Leviticus 25:8-17).
But God even provided a way that one did not have to wait fifty years. God made provision for land that was “sold,” that it might be redeemed back to the family by the kinsman-redeemer.
It was the kinsman-redeemer’s responsibility to protect the persons, property, and posterity of the larger family – and all of these duties went together.
Boaz says “I thought to inform you” (v. 4) is literally “I will uncover your ear.” Boaz says there is something I think you need to know. Noami had either sold land belonging to her husband Elimelech or was about to (commentaries are not in agreement about how this should be translated. This was within her rights and was a sign of her poverty. Because of her poverty Naomi needs to raise money to live on, but as a kinsman he could buy it and keep it in the family. When Boaz presents his case to the nearer kinsman, he brought it up as a matter regarding real estate – something any man would be interested in. Anyone would want to buy back a piece of property and keep it in the family name by keeping it for one’s self.
When Boaz put it in terms of purely a land transaction, there was no hesitation on the nearer kinsman’s part. Of course he said, “I will redeem it.” (v. 4)