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went up to the
passing by, so
here." And he
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
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
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: 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
J Vernon McGee -- Ruth 4:1.mp3
J Vernon McGee -- Ruth 4:2-5.mp3
J Vernon McGee -- Ruth 4:6-7.mp3
J Vernon McGee -- Ruth 4:8-22.mp3
John Piper -- Ruth 4 - The Best is Yet to Come.mp3
NOW: Ruth 3 concludes with Naomi saying to Ruth,
Sit still, my daughter until you know how the matter turns out; for the
man will not rest until he has settled it today.
The theme of Ruth 4 is redemption and restoration.
In the heart & home of Boaz
Ruth & Naomi: Redeemed & Restored
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
Bible note says that...
The disjunctive clause
structure...here signals the beginning of a new scene.
OPENS WITH 3 DEATHS
ENDS WITH ONE MARRIAGE & ONE BIRTH
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
Weeping may endure for a night,
but joy cometh in the morning
Weeping may endure for a night; but nights are not for ever. Even in the
dreary winter the day star lights his lamp. It seems fit that in our
nights the dews of grief should fall. When the Bridegroom's absence
makes it dark within, it is meet that the widowed soul should pine for a
renewed sight of the Well beloved.
But joy cometh in the morning. When
the Sun of Righteousness comes, we wipe our eyes, and joy chases out
intruding sorrow. Who would not be joyful that knows Jesus? (Ed:
Our Greater Goel - the ultimate Kinsman Redeemer) The first beams of the
morning brings us comfort when Jesus is the day dawn, and all believers
know it to be so. Mourning only lasts to morning: when the night is gone
the gloom shall vanish. This is adduced as a reason for saintly singing,
and forcible reason it is; short nights and merry days call for the
psaltery and harp.
Thomas Brooks: Weeping may endure for
a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Their mourning shall last but
till morning. God will turn their winter's night into a summer's day,
their sighing into singing, their grief into gladness, their mourning
into music, their bitter into sweet, their wilderness into a paradise.
The life of a Christian is filled up with interchanges of sickness and
health, weakness and strength, want and wealth, disgrace and honor,
crosses, and comforts, miseries and mercies, joys and sorrows, mirth and
mourning; all honey would harm us, all wormwood would undo us; a
composition of both is the best way in the world to keep our souls in a
healthy constitution. It is best and most for the health of the soul
that the south wind of mercy, and the north wind of adversity, do both
blow upon it; and though every wind that blows shall blow good to the
saints, yet certainly their sins die most, and their graces thrive best,
when they are under the drying, nipping north wind of calamity, as well
as under the warm, cherishing south wind of mercy and prosperity. Thomas
J Vernon McGee notes that
has had to stand aside with his arms folded, but now he is free to move
because Ruth has claimed him as her kinsman-redeemer. And I say
this reverently to you, my friend: Christ, like Boaz, is not free to
move in your behalf until you claim Him as your Kinsman-Redeemer. Boaz
is ready to act in the capacity of kinsman-redeemer. Ruth is to wait and
let him be the one to make all the arrangements. He is the one now who
will step out into the open and claim her, actually jeopardizing
everything that he has and everything that he is. But he wants her; he
loves her. This is the great message of this book: redemption is a
romance; because God loves us He redeemed us. You will have to invite
Him in. God offers the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus, but you
have to reach out your hand and take it by faith. By faith you receive
Christ." (J Vernon McGee -- Ruth 4:1.mp3)
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)
AT THE CITY GATE
(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...
Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land. (Pr 31:23)
This is an apt description of Boaz "known
in the gates"! He was not only a man of stellar reputation
(what others think they know is true about us) but also a man of
spotless character (what God alone knows is true about us).
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
the girl's father and her mother shall take and bring out the
evidence of the girl's virginity to the elders of the city at the
gate. (Dt 22:15, cf. 2Sa 15:2; Job 29:7; La 5:14).
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:
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)
There are some words that just are
not found in God’s dictionary, words like accident, chance, oops, and
coincidence. He orders and ordains the events of our lives. I like the
little poem by Anna Waring that says:
I love to think that God appoints
My portion day by day.
Events of life are in His hand,
And I can only say,
“Appoint them in Thine own good time,
and in Thine own best way.”
The Psalmist said, “Our times are in
His hands.” The Bible teaches that the steps of God’s people are ordered
of the Lord. Jesus said that the hairs of our heads are all numbered.
Think of that! God is more concerned about us than we are concerned
about ourselves, more concerned about us than a mother or father is
about his or her child. Experts tell us that the average person has over
100,000 hairs growing on their head. But who among us has ever cared
enough to try to count every hair? What mother in all history has ever
loved her child enough to count the hairs on his or her head? But God is
so concerned about the details of our lives that He counts the hairs on
our head. He sees every sparrow that falls, and nothing is hidden from
His sight. He orders and arranges and leads and guides and works all
things for good.
And our lives become a daily series of small miracles, and His care is
seen in the so-called coincidences that occur every day. God in His
grace orchestrates apparently random incidents and events in our lives
into a series of everyday miracles which, taken together, fulfill for us
His preplanned and precious will.
If thou but suffer God to guide thee
And hope in Him through all thy ways,
He’ll give thee strength, whate’er betide thee,
And bear thee through the evil days.
Who trust in God’s unchanging love
Builds on the rock that naught can move.
Be patient and await His leisure
In cheerful hope, with heart content
To take whatever thy Father’s pleasure
And His discerning love hath sent,
Nor doubt our inmost want are known
To Him who chose us for His own.
(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.
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)
for word study of ga'al and go'el)
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
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 adds that
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)
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
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...
The phrase “my friend” renders two
words in Hebrew that are a figure of speech called farrago. The words,
meaningless out of context, rhyme. The English hodge-podge or
helter-skelter are two good examples of farrago (a
confused mixture; a medley). The author of Ruth decided there was no
need to reveal the name of the next of kin. For our sakes he is just
“Mr. So-and-so.” (Lawrenz, J. C.. Judges, Ruth. The People's Bible.
Milwaukee, Wis.: Northwestern Pub. House)
Commenting on the omission of the
nearer relative’s name, Matthew Poole writes
Doubtless Boaz knew his name, and
called him by it; but it is omitted by the holy writer, partly because
it was unnecessary to know it; and principally in way of contempt, as is
usual, and as a just punishment upon him, that he who would not preserve
his brother’s name might lose his own.
Matthew Henry writes that...
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
This close relative, who is a
literary foil for Boaz, refuses to fulfill the role of family guardian.
Because he does nothing memorable, he remains anonymous in a chapter
otherwise filled with names. His anonymity contrasts sharply with Boaz's
prominence in the story and the fame he attains through the child born
to Ruth...In the present (NET) translation “John Doe” is used
since it is a standard designation for someone who is a party to legal
proceedings whose true name is unknown.
Expositor's Bible Commentary adds that
The idiom was used when the writer did not deem it essential to give
the person's name (cf. 1Sa 21:2; 2Ki 6:8). It does not mean that Boaz
did not know his name. The use of this idiom here has also been
interpreted as deliberate on the part of the storyteller. As it was
shameful not to fulfill the role of kinsman-redeemer, the kinsman was
unworthy of mention by name. (Gaebelein,
F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary OT 7 Volume Set: Books:
J. Vernon McGee has an
interesting note on friend
The Septuagint threw some light upon this (meaning
of "friend") by giving the word kruphie, which means “hidden one.”
(Ed: obscurity, concealed)
The Hebrew conveyed the same idea by the use of two words, the first
meaning “to point out” and the second meaning “to conceal.” It
was the clear intention of the writer to conceal this name. (Ibid)
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
A good deal of the readiness of the
nearer kinsman to stop and take care of some business at Boaz's request
is complimentary of Boaz. It shows that the kinsman respected Boaz
enough to change his plans immediately upon being summoned by Boaz to
turn aside for awhile. Such respect does not come to everyone, but it is
earned by faithful conduct over an extended period of time. Especially
would unselfishness be a factor here. Boaz has already shown us in the
Book of Ruth that he had an unselfish spirit and was concerned about the
needs and problems of others. Hence, when he wanted others to give
attention to his needs, they were more willing to oblige him. Likewise,
if you want people to give you help in your time of need, you need to
have a faithful record of giving help to others when they have need for
Adam Clarke has an interesting
thought on the conduct of business at the city gate...
Probably it required this number to
constitute a court. How simple and how rational was this proceeding!
1. The man who had a suit went to the city gates.
2. Here he stopped till the person with whom he had the suit came to the
gate on his way to his work.
3. He called him by name, and he stopped and sat down.
4. Then ten elders were called, and they came and sat down.
5. When all this was done, the appellant preferred his suit.
6. Then the appellee returned his answer.
7. When the elders heard the case, and the response of the appellee,
they pronounced judgment, which judgment was always according to the
custom of the place.
8. When this was done, the people who happened to be present witnessed
And thus the business was settled without lawyers or legal casuistry. A
question of this kind, in one of our courts of justice, in these
enlightened times, would require many days' previous preparation of the
attorney, and several hours' arguing between counsellor Botherum and
counsellor Borum, till even an enlightened and conscientious judge would
find it extremely difficult to decide whether Naomi might sell her own
land, and whether Boaz or Peloni might buy it! O, glorious uncertainty
of modern law!
men of the
elders of the
here." So they
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
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.
Septuagint: And Booz took ten
men of the elders of the city, and said, "Sit ye here"; and they
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
(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
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.
(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
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
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
Honest intentions dread not a public cognizance.
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).
4:3 Then he
said to the
"Naomi, who has
back from the
Moab, has to
which belonged to our
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;
eipen (3SAAI) Boos
dedotai (3SRMI) Noemin
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...
he who makes haste with his
feet errs. (Pr 19:2b, see also Pr19:2NLT).
Do you see a man who is hasty
in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him. (Pr 29:20,
see Pr 29:20NLT)
The plans of the diligent lead
surely to advantage (Good description of Boaz's plan and actions - he
took no shortcuts! Do I?), but everyone who is hasty comes
surely to poverty. (Pr 21:5, see also Pr 21:5NLT).
To the closest relative -
The Goel or Kinsman redeemer, the man who had the first right of
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
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.
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
The perfect form of the verb here
describes as a simple fact an action that is underway (cf. NIV, NRSV,
CEV, NLT); NAB “is putting up for sale.”
The Amplified Version translates
this verse as follows:
And he said to the kinsman, "Naomi, who has
returned from the country of Moab, has sold the parcel of land
which belonged to our brother Elimelech".
The well respected Old
Testament commentary (Keil and Delitzsch) translates this verse like
piece of field which belonged to our brother (i.e., our relative)
Elimelech (as an hereditary family possession), Naomi has sold.
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
Leviticus records that
If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so
poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman
(Goel - the kinsman redeemer) is to come and buy back what his relative
has sold. (Lev 25:25)
The land would ultimately be returned at
Jubilee (Lev 25:28). Since
came only every fifty
years God had provided another way to redeem the land and that was
through the provision of the kinsman redeemer.
Jubilee means a joyful shout
or clang of trumpets, the name of the great semi-centennial festival
of the Hebrews. It lasted for a year. During this year the land was to
be fallow, and the Israelites were only permitted to gather the
spontaneous produce of the fields (Lev 25:11, 12). All landed property
during that year reverted to its original owner (Lv 25:13-34;
27:16-24), and all who were slaves were set free (Lev 25:39-54), and
all debts were remitted.
The advantages of this institution
were manifold. "
1. It would prevent the
accumulation of land on the part of a few to the detriment of the
community at large.
2. It would render it impossible
for any one to be born to absolute poverty, since every one had his
3. It would preclude those
inequalities which are produced by extremes of riches and poverty, and
which make one man domineer over another.
4. It would utterly do away with
5. It would afford a fresh
opportunity to those who were reduced by adverse circumstances to
begin again their career of industry in the patrimony which they had
6. It would periodically rectify
the disorders which crept into the state in the course of time,
preclude the division of the people into nobles and plebeians, and
preserve the theocracy inviolate." (Easton's Bible Dictionary)
Mills notes that
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
Our brother - Calling
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.
of land which belonged to Elimelech - Remember that Ruth was
married to Mahlon, so at first this statement seems somewhat
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,
4:4 "So I
before those who are
sitting here, and
elders of my
If you will
redeem it; but
tell me that I may
one but you to
redeem it, and I am
after you.' " And he
said, "I will
redeem it." (NASB:
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
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
ton kathemenon (PMPMPG)
(2SPAI) agchisteue (2SPAM)
me agchisteueis (2SPAI)
tou agchisteusai (AAN)
eimi agchisteuso (1SFAI)
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
SO I THOUGHT TO INFORM YOU: (Jer
32:7, 8, 9,25; Ro 12:17; 2Cor 8:21; Php 4:8)
to inform you - This reads
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 word "advertise" in the KJV
text is translated from two Hebrew words. The first Hebrew word means
to reveal, disclose, publish, remove, and uncover. The second Hebrew
word means ear. The combination of the words means literally to
uncover the ear (push back the hair or head covering of another so you
can speak in their ear). The first Hebrew word is translated "uncover"
in Ruth 3:4,7 regarding Ruth uncovering Boaz's feet at night on the
Much character is revealed in
acknowledging our place in line. The flesh always wants the
preference. It always wants to be first in line. One can see this when
shopping in some store or standing in line at a cafeteria or bank or
some public event. People are always crowding ahead of others in line
by pushing and shoving and cheating. Boaz would not do that, however.
He had high character and would stay in his place in line. It is a
humbling position, but it is also a very honorable one. (Ibid)
The Greek translation
this openness of Boaz by using the verb
apokalupto (word study)
(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 comments that
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
SAYING "BUY IT BEFORE THOSE WHO ARE SITTING HERE AND BEFORE THE ELDERS OF MY
IF YOU WILL REDEEM IT
(Ge 23:18; Jer 32:10, 11, 12)
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
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...
land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine;
for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me. (Lev 25:23)
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)
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?
I - In the Hebrew sentence
the "I" is emphatic so that the sentence reads something like
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!
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
said, "On the
field from the
Naomi, you must
widow of the
raise up the
name of the
deceased on his
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
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.
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.'
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: 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 adds that
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
OF THE DECEASED
ON HIS INHERITANCE: (Ru 3:12,13; Ge 38:8; Dt 25:5,6; Mt
22:24; Lk 20:28)
Your purchase of the land from Naomi requires your marriage to Ruth so
that she can have children to carry on her husband's name and to
inherit the land. (TLB)
so that the field will stay in the dead man's family (TEV)
in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property
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.
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 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 says that
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)."
C F: Wycliffe Bible Commentary. 1981. Moody)
The interpretation of this passage
however does have some difficulties.
The Expositor's Bible Commentary comments
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:
John MacArthur adds that
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)
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