Ruth 4:1 Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there, and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz spoke was passing by, so he said, "Turn aside, friend, sit down here." And he turned aside and sat down.
BBE: And Boaz went up to the public place of the town, and took his seat there: and the near relation of whom he had been talking came by; and Boaz, crying out to him by name, said, Come and be seated here. And he came and was seated.
CEV: In the meanwhile, Boaz had gone to the meeting place at the town gate and was sitting there when the other close relative came by. So Boaz invited him to come over and sit down, and he did.
GWT: Boaz went to the city gate and sat there. Just then, the relative about whom he had spoken was passing by. Boaz said, "Please come over here and sit, my friend." So the man came over and sat down.
KJV: Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down.
NET: Now Boaz went up to the village gate and sat there. Then along came the guardian whom Boaz had mentioned to Ruth! Boaz said, "Come here and sit down, 'John Doe'!" So he came and sat down.
NJB: Boaz, meanwhile, had gone up to the gate and sat down, and the relative of whom he had spoken then came by. Boaz said to him, 'Here, my friend, come and sit down'; the man came and sat down. (NJB)
Young's Literal: And Boaz hath gone up to the gate, and sitteth there, and lo, the redeemer is passing by of whom Boaz had spoken, and he saith, 'Turn aside, sit down here, such a one, such a one;' and he turneth aside and sitteth down.
Septuagint (LXX): kai Boos anebe (3SAAI) epi ten pulen kai ekathisen (3SAAI) ekei kai idou o agchisteutes pareporeueto (3SIMI) on eipen Boos kai eipen (3SAAI) pros auton Boos ekklinas kathison (2SAAM) ode kruphie kai exeklinen (3SAAI) kai ekathisen (3SAAI)
English of Septuagint: And Booz went up to the gate, and sat there; and behold, the relative passed by, of whom Booz spoke: and Booz said to him, Turn aside, sit down here, such a one: and he turned aside and sat down
NOW: Ruth 3 concludes with Naomi saying to Ruth,
The theme of Ruth 4 is redemption and restoration.
In the heart & home of Boaz
De·noue·ment also dé·noue·ment \da\-nu/-ma/ [French denouement, lit, untying, from Mid French desnouement, from desnouer to untie, from Old French desnoer, fr des- de- + noer to tie, fr Latin nodare, fr nodus knot] (1752) final outcome of the main dramatic complication in a literary work; outcome of a complex sequence of events. The final resolution of a plot in a play. The "untying" of the plot so to speak.
The context - The previous chapter left us with a "cliff-hanger" - Ruth and Boaz are obviously in love, and want to get married, with Boaz exercising the right of the Goel - the kinsman-redeemer. Yet, there is a kinsman closer to Ruth, and he has priority. Will he claim the right of kinsman-redeemer towards Ruth, and keep her and Boaz from coming together?
The NET Bible note says that…
The Book of Ruth opens with three funerals but closes with a wedding and a birth. There is a good deal of weeping recorded in the first chapter, but the last chapter records an overflowing of joy in the little town of Bethlehem.
J Vernon McGee notes that
BOAZ WENT UP TO THE GATE AND SAT DOWN THERE: (Dt 16:18; 17:5; 21:19; 25:7; Job 29:7; 31:21; Am 5:10, 11, 12,15)
Gate (08179) (sa'ar) indicates the main entrance to a city or building and can be used to stand for city or town itself. The gate of the city "was the place of rule, where all matters were settled, all transfers made" (Ridout). A number of places in the Scripture illustrate the fact of doing business at the city gate (see Ge 19:1; 23:10; 34:20; 2Sa 15:2 = [Absalom won converts by offering to settle their disputes in their favor in the city gate]; Neh 8:1; and Ps 69:12). Kings would sit at the city gate for legal business (2Sa 19:8; Jer 38:7). In Dt 15:7, 8 (Note: "towns" = "gates"), the city gate was where transaction and legal business was carried out. Boaz’s action was to seat himself down in this strategic location, signaling that he was ready to conduct business. These observations point out that this matter of redemption was a forensic or legal matter, indeed paralleling the truth that the believer's redemption in the NT is a forensic matter, whereby the guilty sinner as if standing in a court of law is declared in right standing with God on the basis of our Greater Goel's eternal work of redemption accomplished at Calvary.
Recent archaeological excavations at ancient Dan have uncovered a raised platform next to the gate at which court proceedings were carried out in the name of the king of Israel.
The writer of proverbs in describing the "Proverbs 31 Woman" (Pr 31:10, 29, 30) records that…
In the ancient east, the main gate of the town was a short passageway through the thick city wall which provided the town an entrance and exit. A series of small alcoves lined the passage, and the whole gate area served as both bazaar and courthouse, functioning as the local law court. Furthermore, the ancient city gate was open to the public scrutiny which would allow others to observe whether justice was properly meted out.
The gate was the place where the esteemed men of the city sat. There the ancients gathered to buy and sell, to settle legal matters, and to gossip. The city gate was somewhat analogous to our modern city council chamber and courtroom rolled into one. Think of many of the small towns in the Midwest US which were established around a city square which was usually the site of the city or county courthouse.
As an example of the type of business conducted at the city gate Moses gives instructions that an Israelite who doubted the virginity of his bride was to make a formal accusation to the “elders of the city.” If her parents gave proof of virginity showing the accusation was false, the husband was to pay a penalty and was prohibited from divorcing the woman. However, if she was found not to be a virgin, then she was to be put to death. Moses writes that
So clearly the city gate was the site of serious judgments and Boaz had a serious issue to bring before the Goel and the elders.
AND BEHOLD! THE CLOSE RELATIVE (GOEL) OF WHOM BOAZ SPOKE WAS PASSING BY: (Ru 3:12-note)
Don't miss once again the mysterious, sovereign, providential hand of God in this event for it just so “happened” (another "designed, divine coincidence") that the closest relative walked by at that very moment. I wonder how many times I have missed seeing such a "designed, divine coincidence" because at that very moment I was not walking in the Spirit but walking in Sin! I often wonder (and this is purely speculative of course) if this isn't why in the book of the Revelation, God will wipe away every tear from our eyes? (Re 7:17-note, Re 21:4-note)! Lord, give us 20/20 spiritual vision to see the "divine coincidences" not as annoyances but as opportunities, for the advancement of Thy Kingdom for the sake of Thy Name through our Great High Priest. Amen.
As Rob Morgan (Ref) says…
I love to think that God appoints
Behold (02009) (Lxx = Idou' = prompter of person's attention) is an exclamation used to point out an important fact or action which follows and functions as an interjection demanding attention. The idea is "look!" "see!" It serves to arouse the reader's attention and/or calls for special attention to what is getting ready to transpire.
Behold (02009) (hinneh) is an interjection meaning behold, look, now; if. "It is used often and expresses strong feelings, surprise, hope, expectation, certainty, thus giving vividness depending on its surrounding context." (Baker) Hinneh generally directs our mind to the text, imploring the reader to give it special attention. In short, the Spirit is trying to arrest our attention! And so hinneh is used as an exclamation of vivid immediacy (e.g., read Ge 6:13)! Hinneh is a marker used to enliven a narrative, to express a change a scene, to emphasize an idea, to call attention to a detail or an important fact or action that follows (Isa 65:17, Ge 17:20, 41:17). The first use of hinneh in Ge 1:29 and second in Ge 1:31 - "And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day."
W E Vine observes it is notable that when behold (hinneh) is used in Isaiah, it always introduces something relating to future circumstances and that is exactly the sense of hinneh in this passage in Jeremiah.
Spurgeon reminds us that "Behold is a word of wonder; it is intended to excite admiration. Wherever you see it hung out in Scripture, it is like an ancient sign-board, signifying that there are rich wares within, or like the hands which solid readers have observed in the margin of the older Puritanic books, drawing attention to something particularly worthy of observation." I would add, behold is like a divine highlighter, a divine underlining of an especially striking or important text. It says in effect "Listen up, all ye who would be wise in the ways of Jehovah!"
Butler writes that "The "behold" emphasizes the providential aspect of he "came by" of the nearer kinsman. And it reminds us that providence always comes to those who are prompt about pursuing their duties as Boaz was here. Those who complain that they never experience providential help will be found to be those who are dilatory in their duties. "I being in the way [doing his duty], the Lord led [providentially] me" (Ge 24:27) is the way Divine providence favors people. (Bible Biography Series: Ruth the Ancestress of Christ)
Close relative (01350) (goel/ga'al) is actually a verb in the Hebrew (accounting for is frequent translation as "redeem") which has active participle, Go'el, (which is translated kinsman, redeemer or avenger) and a passive participle, Geullah, this latter used in Ruth 4:6, 7-note.
As the TWOT states "The participial form of the Qal stem of the verb has practically become a noun in its own right though it may properly be considered as merely a form of the verb. (Harris, R. L., Harris, R. L., Archer, G. L., & Waltke, B. K. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament Moody Press)
The basic idea of ga'al is to redeem or do the part of a kinsman and thus to redeem his kin from difficulty or danger.
Boaz was a man on a mission, immediately addressing the goel, the nearest kinsman-redeemer, and then gathering 10 elders. Naomi had been correct in her assessment of Boaz's determination to settle the matter as quickly as possible (Ru 3:18-note)
Matthew Henry - Providence favored Boaz in ordering it so that this kinsman should come by thus opportunely, just when the matter was ready to be proposed to him. Great affairs are sometimes much furthered by small circumstances, which facilitate and expedite them.
SO HE SAID TURN ASIDE "FRIEND SIT DOWN HERE" AND HE TURNED ASIDE AND SAT DOWN: (Isa 55:1; Zech 2:6)
MR. NO NAME!
Friend (06423) is a Hebrew idiom (used two other times in OT = "such and such" = 2Ki 6:8YLT, 1Sa 21:2YLT) which translates the rhyming expression peloni almoni which means "a certain unnamed person or place". The words "my friend" became a catch phrase in Israel. Rabbinic writings used the designation for an unknown “John Doe.”
The idea in Hebrew is "Mr. So-and-so" or "Mr. No-Name" either whose name is not known (unlikely in this case) or who is not worth mentioning. How ironic that the very one who was so anxious for the preservation of his own inheritance, is now not even known by name!
Lawrenz notes that…
Commenting on the omission of the nearer relative’s name, Matthew Poole writes
Matthew Henry - Because he refused to raise up the name of the dead, he deserved not to have his name preserved to future ages in this [Book of Ruth] history.
The NET Bible notes record that…
Expositor's Bible Commentary adds that
J. Vernon McGee has an interesting note on friend writing that
In any event, the goel responded to Boaz, for he was a man who commanded respect in Bethlehem. The goel knew he would be prepared for some serious business when he was invited to sit down.
He turned aside - Butler observes that
Adam Clarke has an interesting thought on the conduct of business at the city gate…
|BBE: Then he got ten of the responsible men of the town, and said, "Be seated here". And they took their seats.
CEV: Then Boaz got ten of the town leaders and also asked them to sit down. After they had sat down,
GWT: Then Boaz chose ten men who were leaders of that city and said, "Sit here." So they also sat down.
KJV: And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down.
NJB: Boaz then picked out ten of the town's elders and said, 'Sit down here'; they sat down. (NJB)
Young's Lit: And he taketh ten men of the elders of the city, and saith, 'Sit down here;' and they sit down.
English of Septuagint: And Booz took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, "Sit ye here"; and they sat down
AND HE TOOK TEN MEN OF THE ELDERS OF THE CITY AND SAID SIT DOWN HERE SO THEY SAT DOWN: (Ex 18:21,22; 21:8; Dt 29:10; 31:28; 1Ki 21:8; Pr 31:23; La 5:14; Acts 6:12):
He took (03947) (laqach) conveys the primary meaning to grasp or take hold of. Boaz took hold of 10 men from the elders to serve as witnesses, although only two or three witnesses were needed for judicial proceedings (cf. Dt 17:6).
Centuries later 10 became the number necessary for a Jewish marriage benediction or a quorum for a synagogue meeting. For an official prayer meeting in modern Judaism 10 men are required. The point is that this was a time in history when few written records were kept, and attestation by a number of witnesses was the most efficient way to be certain that a transaction was made legally secure.
Elders (02205) is related to the Hebrew word (zaqan) for beard. The elders functioned in both a political and judicial role. They would hear disputes, weigh the evidence and render a decision. As alluded to earlier, in the case of Boaz, they were functioning primarily as witnesses rather than as jurors. Elders would serve as judges as elsewhere in the OT we see that they were to deal with criminal cases (Dt 21:18, 19, 20, 21), and with family matters, such as levirate marriage (Dt. 25:7, 8, 9).
The Hebrew word is translated with the Greek (Septuagint -LXX) noun presbuteros which was used to refer to men who were older or more senior and is transliterated into English as “presbyter”, a word that was used for leaders in the Jewish community and eventually becoming a term used to describe those who were members of the Jewish ruling council, the Sanhedrin. In regard to the Greek word presbuteros, the secular practice was for older men with seniority to serve as ambassadors to other states and as advisors within the Greek political community or in the management of public affairs. So these were men of "ripe age" and experience to whom was committed the direction and government of individual churches. It should be emphasized that in the context of its Biblical use the concept of elder had less to do with age per se than with the quality of one's spiritual character (reputation is what others think about you but character is what those most intimately associated know is really true about you) and possession of the ability to teach. Simply being older, including even being older in the faith, does not by itself qualify a man for leadership in the church.
Matthew Henry comments on the character of Boaz which was indicated by his willingness to call public witnesses writing that
Sit down - A key phrase in Ru 4:1,2 (4x). Boaz commanded (Hebrew verb in form of a command) them to sit, and they responded to Boaz, a "pillar" (cp 1Ki 7:21) in the community, a man of excellence and one not given to jesting or wasting people's time.
So - Consequently. Undoubtedly the respect of the elders for Boaz's reputation prompted their response to the request of Boaz.
When I was a boy in the 1950's a handshake was good enough to seal a deal, and this action could be relied upon. Not so today. Society has become so litigious that if Boaz were carrying out his plan today, he would have needed to hire a lawyer to file legal papers and speak with the nearest goel's attorney as well as Naomi's attorney and real estate agent. In ancient times, a man’s spoken word was sufficient to consummate a transaction and was validated by the spoken testimony of witnesses (in legal matters it took two - Dt 19:15).
Amplified: And he said to the kinsman (Goel), Naomi, who has returned from the country of Moab, has sold the parcel of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech
BBE: Then he said to the near relation, Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is offering for a price that bit of land which was our brother Elimelech's:
CEV: he said to the man: Naomi has come back from Moab and is selling the land that belonged to her husband Elimelech. (CEV)
ESV: Then he said to the redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belonged to our relative Elimelech.
GWT: Boaz said to the man, "Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the field that belonged to our relative Elimelech. (GWT)
KJV: And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's:
NET: Then Boaz said to the guardian, “Naomi, who has returned from the region of Moab, is selling the portion of land that belongs to our relative Elimelech.
NJB: Boaz then said to the man who had the right of redemption, 'Naomi, who has come back from the Plains of Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our brother, Elimelech. (NJB)
Young's Literal: And he saith to the redeemer, 'A portion of the field which is to our brother, to Elimelech, hath Naomi sold, who hath come back from the fields of Moab;
English of Septuagint: And Booz said to the relative, The matter regards the portion of the field which was our brother Elimelech's which was given to Noemin, now returning out of the land of Moab
|THEN HE SAID TO THE CLOSEST RELATIVE (GOEL) "NAOMI, WHO HAS COME BACK FROM THE LAND OF MOAB HAS TO SELL THE PIECE OF LAND WHICH BELONGED TO OUR BROTHER ELIMELECH": (Ps 112:5; Pr 13:10)
Then - This little "time" sensitive word (see importance of expressions of time) marks a progression in the discourse (next in order of time) and emphasizes the willingness and wisdom of Boaz to wait until all the "players were in place". It would not have been prudent to speak with the nearest kinsman redeemer in the absence of witnesses. The wise man is willing to wait. The writer of proverbs records that…
To the closest relative - The Goel or Kinsman redeemer, the man who had the first right of redemption.
Naomi… has to sell the piece of land - As a destitute widow, Naomi undoubtedly needed the money for living expenses (and this even in spite of Boaz's gracious gifts of grain). No information is given as to how she came to possess it. This verse reveals for the first time in the story that Naomi owned the property.
Has to sell - The Hebrew is in a form of the verb (see note below) that indicates the sale was as good as done. The only thing that remained to be determined was the buyer. The property might be sold to anyone, but covenant law allowed Naomi the right to have her kinsman-redeemer buy the land back from a stranger at any time.
Fruchtenbaum - In the Hebrew text the tense ("sell") is perfect, which normally indicates completed action, and therefore it would mean that it had already been sold. But Ru 4:5 and Ru 4:9 indicate that she was in the process of selling the land, and so the perfect tense would then indicate her determination or resolve to sell the land, and thus, most translations use the present tense, which is correct… the land had not yet been sold; otherwise, it would have to be redeemed from its new owner and not from Naomi. (Fruchtenbaum, A. G. Ariel's Bible commentary: The books of Judges and Ruth. San Antonio, Tex.: Ariel Ministries)
The NET Bible notes that…
The Amplified Version translates this verse as follows:
The well respected Old Testament commentary (Keil and Delitzsch) translates this verse like the Amplified…
NKJV renders it as if Naomi had "sold the piece of land" which implies a transaction had taken been consummated.
Young's Literal has "a portion of the field… hath Naomi sold".
In context, Boaz tells the nearest kinsman to buy the land and so in effect to redeem it. Leviticus records that
The land would ultimately be returned at Jubilee (Lev 25:28). Since Jubilee came only every fifty years God had provided another way to redeem the land and that was through the provision of the kinsman redeemer.
Mills - The English text emphasizes Naomi’s return, but the Hebrew literally reads, “The portion of the field which is our brother Elimelech’s, has been sold by Naomi who has returned from the fields of Moab.” By placing the field first in his sentence, Boaz emphasized the material aspect rather than the personal aspect of the transaction, and in so doing probably appealed to an avaricious streak in this relative. (Mills, M: Ruth : A study guide to the book of Ruth Dallas: 3E Ministries, 1999)
Our brother - Calling Elimelech our brother is the Hebrew word ('ah) that means simply "a relative" or "kinsman", in this case bringing out the fact both Boaz and the nearer goel were related to Elimelech.
Piece of land which belonged to Elimelech - Remember that Ruth was married to Mahlon, so at first this statement seems somewhat confusing.
Butler - The availability of this land is another illustration of the failure of Elimelech in moving to Moab. His move to Moab was to procure gain, but all it did was produce loss. Anytime we leave the place where God wants us in order to procure gain in the world, we will end up a big loser. (Ibid)
Warren Wiersbe offers a reasonable explanation that "In the case of Ruth and Naomi, Elimelech’s property had either been sold or was under some kind of mortgage, and the rights to the land had passed to Ruth’s husband Mahlon when Elimelech died. This explains why Ruth was also involved in the transaction. She was too poor, however, to redeem the land. (Wiersbe, W: Be Committed: An Old Testament Study. Ruth and Esther. Victor. 1993)
The Bible Background Commentary - Since Yahweh has granted the land to the Israelites as tenants, they cannot sell it, and if they mortgage a portion of it to pay debts, it is the obligation of their kinsman to "redeem" the land by paying off the mortgage. This demonstrates both the sense of obligation and the solidarity that are the hallmarks of ancient Israel's communally based society. Evidence of this legislation's being put into practice is found in Jeremiah's redeeming of his kinsman's land during the siege of Jerusalem (Jer 32:6-15) and in the legal background to Ruth 4:1-12. In this way the land remained within the extended family as a sign of their membership in the covenantal community. The importance of this inalienable right to land can be seen in Naboth's refusal to relinquish the "inheritance of my fathers" when King Ahab offers to buy his vineyard (1Kings 21:2, 3).
Ruth 4:4 "So I thought to inform you, saying, 'Buy it before those who are sitting here, and before the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if not, tell me that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am after you.' " And he said, "I will redeem it." (NASB: Lockman)
|BBE: And it was in my mind to give you the chance of taking it, with the approval of those seated here and of the responsible men of my people. If you are ready to do what it is right for a relation to do, then do it: but if you will not do it, say so to me now; for there is no one who has the right to do it but you, and after you myself. And he said, I will do it.
CEV: I am telling you about this, since you are his closest relative and have the right to buy the property. If you want it, you can buy it now. These ten men and the others standing here can be witnesses. But if you don't want the property, let me know, because I am next in line. The man replied, "I will buy it!" (CEV)
GWT: So I said that I would inform you. Buy it in the presence of these men sitting here and in the presence of the leaders of our people. If you wish to buy back the property, you can buy back the property. But if you do not wish to buy back the property, tell me. Then I will know that I am next in line because there is no other relative except me." The man said, "I'll buy back the property." (GWT)
KJV: And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it.
NJB: I thought I should tell you about this and say, "Acquire it in the presence of the men who are sitting here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you want to use your right of redemption, redeem it; if you do not, tell me so that I know, for I am the only person to redeem it besides yourself, and I myself come after you." ' The man said, 'I am willing to redeem it.' (NJB)
Young's Literal: and I said, I uncover thine ear, saying, Buy before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people; if thou dost redeem -- redeem, and if none doth redeem -- declare to me, and I know, for there is none save thee to redeem, and I after thee.' And he saith, I redeem it.'
Septuagint (LXX): kago eipa (1SAAI) apokalupso (1SFAI) to ous sou legon ktesai (2SAMM) enantion ton kathemenon (PMPMPG) kai enantion ton presbuteron tou laou mou ei agchisteueis (2SPAI) agchisteue (2SPAM) ei de me agchisteueis (2SPAI) anaggeilon (2SAAM) moi kai gnosomai(1SFMI) oti ouk estin (3SPAI) parex sou tou agchisteusai (AAN) kago eimi (1SPAI) meta se o de eipen (3SAAI) ego eimi agchisteuso (1SFAI)
English of Septuagint: and I said, I will inform thee, saying, Buy it before those that sit, and before the elders of my people: if thou wilt redeem it, redeem it, but if thou wilt not redeem it, tell me, and I shall know; for there is no one beside thee to do the office of a kinsman, and I am after thee: and he said, I am here, I will redeem it
|SO I THOUGHT TO INFORM YOU: (Jer 32:7, 8, 9,25; Ro 12:17; 2Cor 8:21; Php 4:8)
Thought to inform you - This reads more literally "I will uncover your ear", a small but significant detail. Boaz could have just said "I was going to tell you… " but the point is that Boaz did not seek to hide anything from the nearest Goel. Boaz had promised that Ruth would be "covered" with someone's wings and his first objective was to remain true to his word.
The Greek translation (Septuagint) conveys this openness of Boaz by using the verb apokalupto (word study) (601) (from apo = from + kalupto = cover) which means to remove the veil or covering so as to expose to full view what had previously been hidden. Apparently the nearest relative did not know that he was in fact first in line to perform the role of kinsman redeemer. Boaz could have "gotten away with it" but he was open and honest. While Boaz was surely in love with Ruth, he was still willing to trust God with the outcome (Pr 3:5, 6).
Matthew Henry - Boaz might have said, “My money is as good as my kinsman's; if I have a mind to it, why may not I buy it privately, since I had the first proffer of it, and say nothing to my kinsman?” No, Boaz, though fond enough of the purchase, would not do so mean a thing as to take a bargain over another man's head that was nearer akin to it; and we are taught by his example to be not only just and honest, but fair and honorable, in all our dealings, and to do nothing which we are unwilling should see the light, but be above-board.
SAYING "BUY IT BEFORE THOSE WHO ARE SITTING HERE AND BEFORE THE ELDERS OF MY PEOPLE IF YOU WILL REDEEM IT REDEEM IT": (Ge 23:18; Jer 32:10, 11, 12)
Before those who are sitting here - This phrase emphasizes the formal nature of this transaction and as we find out later reflects not only the elders' presence but the fact that there were other Bethlehemites in attendance.
If you will redeem it, redeem it - As alluded to earlier, the Mosaic Law provided for land to stay within a family, even if it had to be sold temporarily due to poverty. The Law allowed for the seller to redeem the land themselves later if they were able (if they somehow acquired the necessary funds) or for a close relative (the goel) to redeem it. If neither of these alternatives was possible (no money or no willing Kinsman-Redeemer, the land by divine decree must still be returned to the original owner (or their posterity) in the Year of Jubilee, which as noted above "cycled" every fiftieth year. The point is that the land was not to be sold permanently because the Jews were in a sense tenants and ultimately the land belonged to God, Moses recording that…
Redeem means “to set free by paying a price.” In the case of Ruth and Naomi, Elimelech’s property had either been sold or was under some kind of mortgage, and the rights to the land had passed to Ruth’s husband Mahlon when Elimelech died. This explains why Ruth was also involved in the transaction. She was too poor, however, to redeem the land.
BUT IF NOT, TELL ME THAT I MAY KNOW FOR THERE IS NO ONE BUT YOU TO REDEEM IT AND I AM AFTER YOU AND HE SAID "I WILL REDEEM IT": (Lev 25:25, 26, 27, 28, 29)
I WILL REDEEM IT…
But - Always introduces a "change of direction" and cause us to stop and ask what is the change?
I will redeem it - Not, "I will think about it", but an immediate affirmative reply. Does not his swift answer and his subsequent response make us question his motive. Does he really want to aid a poor widow or does he want to take advantage of her plight?
Redeem is found 4 times in one verse and all are translated in the Lxx with the verb agchisteuo which means to exercise the rights and responsibilities of next of kin, to redeem, to do a kinsman's office to a woman. Here are the 21 uses of agchisteuo in the OT (not in NT) - Lev 25:25f; Num 5:8; 35:12, 19, 21, 24f, 27; 36:8; Deut 19:6, 12; Josh 20:3, 9; Ruth 2:20; 3:13; 4:4, 6f; Ezra 2:62; Neh 7:64
I - In the Hebrew sentence the "I" is emphatic so that the sentence reads something like "I, I will redeem it". The nearer kinsman-redeemer was happy add this fine parcel of land to his financial portfolio, for in that day land was especially equated with one's wealth and social status. The fact that he answers affirmatively without asking any other questions indicates that he must have reasoned that at Naomi's age she would ever give birth to a son (who would carry on Elimelech's name and would thereby become the rightful heir to the land according to the Mosaic Law). His quick affirmation also indicates he did not know there were "strings attached" so to speak. And so few men who would be able to function as a kinsman redeemer would have passed up the opportunity that appeared to have presented itself. In other words he would look like the generous, altruistic Goel (with the esteem that surely must have come with the carrying out of such a "selfless" act) and eventually end with the parcel of land.
On the other hand, just imagine how Boaz must have felt upon hearing nearer kinsman's emphatic affirmation "I will redeem it"! Boaz's hopes must surely have sunk, and yet there is no record that he gave evidence of the disappointment he surely must have felt inside. Boaz is quite a man of character, irregardless of the circumstances!
Butler - If we cannot be above board in our dealings and if we are wanting to hide things when doing business, it indicates dishonesty and deceit. And we need to remember that though we can conceal things from men, we cannot conceal anything from God (Nu 32:23). And if God knows about it, He can and does reveal it whenever, wherever, and to whomever He chooses, and to our great shame. (Ibid)
Ruth 4:5 Then Boaz said, "On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of the deceased, in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance." (NASB: Lockman)
|BBE: Then Boaz said, On the day when you take this field, you will have to take with it Ruth, the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, so that you may keep the name of the dead living in his heritage.
CEV: "If you do buy it from Naomi," Boaz told him, "you must also marry Ruth. Then if you have a son by her, the property will stay in the family of Ruth's first husband." (CEV)
GWT: Boaz continued, "When you buy the field from Naomi, you will also assume responsibility for the Moabite Ruth, the dead man's widow. This keeps the inheritance in the dead man's name." (GWT)
KJV: Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance.
NJB: Boaz then said, 'The day you acquire the field from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the man who has died, to perpetuate the dead man's name in his inheritance.' (NJB)
Young's Literal: And Boaz saith, 'In the day of thy buying the field from the hand of Naomi, then from Ruth the Moabitess, wife of the dead, thou hast bought it, to raise up the name of the dead over his inheritance.'
Septuagint (LXX): kai eipen (3SAAI) Boos en hemera tou ktesasthai (AMN) se ton agron ek cheiros Noemin kai para Routh tes Moabitidos gunaikos tou tethnekotos kai auten ktesasthai se dei hoste anastesai to onoma tou tethnekotos (RAPMSG) epi tes kleronomias autou
English of Septuagint: And Booz said, In the day of thy buying the field of the hand of Noemin and of Ruth the Moabitess the wife of the deceased, thou must also buy her, so as to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance
|THEN BOAZ SAID ON THE DAY YOU BUY THE FIELD FROM THE HAND OF NAOMI YOU MUST ALSO ACQUIRE RUTH THE MOABITESS:
Then - This time phrase marks a key transition point in this exchange, for now Boaz (still with integrity) "plays his trump card", informing the nearer kinsman of his duty to redeem the posterity of Elimelech, if he wishes redeem the property of Elimelech. The nearer kinsman isn’t just dealing with aged and childless Naomi, but is also dealing with Ruth who is young and fully capable of giving birth to a son who would inherit the land.
Henry Morris - The right of a kinsman-redeemer to redeem the property of a dead relative, thereby preventing it from passing outside the family, is set forth in Leviticus 25:25-34. These events described in the book of Ruth indicate that this right of property redemption was also directly linked to the responsibility of raising up children to preserve "the name of the dead upon his inheritance." (Morris, Henry: Defenders Study Bible. World Publishing)
THE WIDOW OF THE DECEASED IN ORDER TO RAISE UP THE NAME OF THE DECEASED ON HIS INHERITANCE: (Ru 3:12,13; Ge 38:8; Dt 25:5,6; Mt 22:24; Lk 20:28)
What Boaz stipulates appears to be related to the so-called "law of levirate marriage" (but see the note below regarding this interpretation). Moses instructed the Israelites in Deuteronomy that "When brothers live together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a strange man. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her to himself as wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. And it shall be that the first-born whom she bears shall assume the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out from Israel." (Dt 25:5,6)
When Elimelech died, the property went to Mahlon; and when Mahlon died, the property then included the widow Ruth. She was now part of the redemption responsibility, and the property would go to any son born to her to perpetuate the family line. In other words a goel was needed to buy the land and take Ruth as wife to carry on the name of Ruth's husband, Mahlon. In carrying on the name of Mahlon, the line of Elimelech would also continue.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary adds that "Apparently at the death of Elimelech the property had passed to Mahlon so Mahlon’s widow Ruth was included in the redemption responsibility. A son, to whom the property would belong, should be raised up to perpetuate the family name." (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., et al: The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 1985. Victor).
Boaz informs the nearer goel that he had to "buy (07069) (qanah) the field" and also "acquire" (same verb qanah = "buy") Ruth! Not only did this come as a surprise to the nearer goel, but Boaz also made known Ruth's nationality “Ruth the Moabitess.” The fact that Ruth was a Moabitess may also have been a problem to him. (Both Mahlon and Chilion had married Moabite women and died!) In any event what looked like a "windfall" suddenly seemed far less attractive since the man would be required to marry Ruth (acquire the dead man’s widow) and the income derived from the land would not go directly to the redeemer’s estate. Moreover, his own estate would possibly have to be divided with Ruth’s children. With an expectant intake of breath we await his reply. It’s worth noting that the nearer kinsman tried to protect his name and inheritance; but we don’t even know what his name was or what happened to his family!
The Wycliffe Bible Commentary - "Both the alienation of land and the extinction of a family were to be prevented by the law of the goel. The goel would not come into possession of the land himself, but would hold it in trust for his son by Ruth, who would inherit the name and patrimony of Mahlon (her first husband)." (Pfeiffer, C F: Wycliffe Bible Commentary. 1981. Moody)
The interpretation of this passage however does have some difficulties.
The Expositor's Bible Commentary comments that Boaz "reminded the kinsman of a condition he must satisfy to redeem the land. He must marry (qanah "buy," "acquire," "redeem") Ruth the Moabitess (Heb., "buy the field from the hand of Naomi and from Ruth") to bear children to restore the name of Elimelech to his inheritance in accordance with the levirate law (see Deut 25:5, 6). The firstborn son of their marriage would legally be Mahlon's son. It is difficult to know whether the kinsman must buy Ruth (NASB, RSV follow the Vulgate and Syr.) or buy from Ruth (with KJV, NIV, following the MT). Furthermore, this case differs from the levirate law on several counts: (1) here a more distant relative than a brother was expected to marry the widow (Ed note: “levirate” means “husband’s brother” ) (2) the kinsman removed his own shoe instead of the rejected widow doing it; and (3) apparently no disgrace was involved, as the significance of removing the shoe here was to seal a legal transaction. Boaz probably hoped to discourage the kinsman from buying the land by reminding him that the purchase of the land obligated the kinsman to marry Ruth, though he gave the kinsman every opportunity to do just that. (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary OT 7 Volume Set: Books: Zondervan Publishing)
John MacArthur - Both redeeming Ruth and the land would not have been required by the letter of the levirate law (Dt 25:5, 6). Perhaps this exemplified Boaz’s desire to obey the spirit of the law or maybe redemption of land and marriage had been combined by local tradition. (MacArthur, J.: The MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word Pub)