The book of Ruth is more than just a story about kindness even though that plays an important part in the book along with other sub-themes such as repentance, faith, grace, and works; characteristics that are considered to be New Covenant traits. What we see though is that the word translated into a form of kind (kindly, kindness) is found three times in the book of Ruth, it only refers to Ruth twice and the word is more often translated to “mercy.” Now on the other hand we have the word for redeem/redeemer and it is found 21 times in the four chapters of the book of Ruth with 13 of those times in the last chapter…but redemption is only half of what this prose is really about.
We pick up the story today at the end of the harvest and at the time of the year we are currently in: the Pentecost season.
Ruth 4:1 Now Boaz went up to the gate [Also a seat of authority/prominence; A funnel for the activity of the city; those coming and going] and sat down there; and behold [“just so happened”], the close relative [gâ’al / Ga-al / goel = redeemer; Not mentioned by name] of whom Boaz had spoken came by. So Boaz said, “Come aside, friend, sit down here.” So he came aside and sat down.
gâ’al / Ga-al / goel = substitute redeemer
Isaiah 47:4 As for our Redeemer, the LORD of hosts is His name, The Holy One of Israel.
Ruth 4:2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down.
We see a desire within Boaz who is a type of Christ to get this done. He is facilitating it to an end. What we will see is that he is orchestrating it in a sense. In 3:11 he says that he will do all the things that Ruth has asked – specifically in terms of redeeming her and Naomi in that respect and that is what he is doing here.
Showing the seriousness of the matter and leaving no doubt, and as was probably prescribed by custom, Boaz has ten elders at the gate to judge the matter or at the very least witness it.
Ruth 4:3 Then he said to the close relative, [the one that had the first right of redemption] “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech.
Ruth 4:4 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 [the other close relative] said, “I will redeem it.“
The situation is that land is not sold, but it is more of a lease until the jubilee when it all reverts to its original inheritor.
Here we see that the NKJV even puts the definition of redeem in the first sentence: buy back; in other words to gain or regain possession of (something) in exchange for payment.
Boaz makes it clear that he will redeem it if the other redeemer does not do it. I think by saying this and putting it out there Boaz is eventually giving him as easier way out. I think Boaz was being clever in presenting the land and Ruth separately, knowing good and well that he would more than likely go for the land. I think it is orchestrated this way because Boaz really wants to do this for Ruth.
Ruth 4:5 Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also buy it from Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance.”
Then Boaz slips in his BTW, oh by the way, Ruth comes with the property. Of course the other close relative immediately realizes that this means that he would have to marry Ruth and their first born son would then carry on the line for Elimelech and the land would return to that son and not the close relative and it appears that even the money that was paid for redemption would be lost in much the same way that a ransom is.
This can be a difficult ask of someone. So it may come as no surprise that he says no:
Ruth 4:6 And the close relative said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem my right of redemption for yourself, for I cannot redeem it.“
Four more times in this verse we see the word gaal.
There is speculation as to why he says no, but none of that can be substantiated by the Bible so we will leave it at that and move on
Ruth 4:7 Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming [form of the word ga-al] and exchanging, to confirm anything: one man took off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was a confirmation in Israel.
Deuteronomy 25:5-10 Which we read before. Of course back in Deuteronomy if the brother did this to the widow (which is not the case here) she would take the shoe and then spit in their face as well for not redeeming what he should have.
Ruth 4:8 Therefore the close relative said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself.” So he took off his sandal.
Nelson Study Bible: To be a redeemer the goel must:
- be related by blood to those he redeems Ruth 2:1
- be able to pay the price of redemption Ruth 2:1
- be willing to redeem Ruth 3:11
- be free himself
Notice that how Christ fulfilled these qualifications as well:
- Christ came in human flesh – John 1:1, 14; Word made flesh
- Christ was able through His blood – 1 Peter 1:18, 19; Redeemed by His blood which is more precious than silver and gold
- Christ was willing – Matthew 20:28; He came gave His life and lay it down for the sheep
- Christ was free from the curse of sin Hebrews 4:15; Tempted in all points but did not sin
In this we see more clearly how Boaz was a type of Christ as well as how this story foreshadows Christ as redeemer.
Now let’s delve into the other half as we march towards a conclusion and what this has to do with the day of Pentecost.
Ruth 4:9 And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, from the hand of Naomi.
Ruth 4:10 Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from his position at the gate. You are witnesses this day.”
Identifies Ruth as a gentile and this Christ type figure, Boaz is going to marry her and then note the prophetic overtones that come about because of this union.
Ruth 4:11 And all the people who were at the gate, and the elders, said, “We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman who is coming to your house like Rachel and Leah, the two who built the house of Israel; and may you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem.
The contract was done and the witnesses offered a marital blessing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. [One and the same (Genesis 35:19); where Christ was prophesied to come from (Micah 5:2); which is where Jesus was born (Matthew 2:1)]
Ruth 4:12 May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring which the LORD will give you from this young woman.”
These people are Bethlehemites and are the direct descendants of Judah, Tamar and Perez. The writer makes a point to bring this out, but just make a note of it for now, specifically the part about Tamar which we will bring up again in a few verses (:18)
Ruth 4:13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son.
God was intimately involved in the whole process as we have seen.
But notice that this Christ type figure, took a Gentile woman that had accepted God (Ruth 1:16) and came into the assembly of Israel, as his wife in this Pentecost season.
While God did not want the Israelites becoming involved in the nations around them, because He knew that they could/would be persuaded in going after false and pagan gods, He was not opposed to them accepting Him as their God becoming a part of the congregation of Israel.
Are we beginning to see the picture as it unfolds?
Ruth 4:14 Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a close relative [redeemer]; and may his name be famous in Israel!
who has not left you this day without a close relative… So not only do we see that Ruth is redeemed but Naomi too. Both the Jew and the Gentile needed redemption and God used both of them to accomplish His plan; to help one another in the course of events; and to foreshadow what was to come.
Peter and Paul had to address the issue of Gentiles not being accepted by the Jews/Israelites and here in Romans 11 Paul shows that not only were they accepted within the plan of God but that they were integral to one another just as we have seen in Ruth.
Romans 11:30 For as you [Gentiles] were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience [Israelites],
Romans 11:31 even so these [Israelites],also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you [Gentiles] they [Israelites], also may obtain mercy.
Israel will be shown mercy by the same mercy shown to the Gentiles
Romans 11:32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.
This has always been God’s plan. Salvation for both Jews and Gentiles some of which will be in the first resurrection.
Mat 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.
Mat 10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Mat 10:31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Psalm 105:1 Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Isaiah 12:4 And in that day you will say: “Praise the LORD, call upon His name; Declare His deeds among the peoples, Make mention that His name is exalted.
Again, the prophetic overtones and it continues in the next verse
Ruth 4:15 And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.”
Physically – after going through the trials she went through at the beginning of the book, this child no doubt rejuvenated Naomi from the bitter person that she had become.
Spiritually – through her eventual lineage the true “restorer of life” would come and return life to all who want it. Because we see who this child was in the next verses.
Ruth 4:16 Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him.
Ruth 4:17 Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “There is a son born to Naomi.” And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
The conclusion to the matter! Because of all of the virtuous things that Ruth had done from the beginning of the book and the fact that God was working closely with the whole situation, Ruth, a gentile, and Naomi a Jew were both redeemed not only into the line of David, but also the lineage of Christ. (Prophesied in Isaiah 11:1; verified in Mat 1).
Now we have the genealogy for the rest of the chapter – but don’t tune out yet!
Because now we have the rest of the story
Ruth 4:18 Now this is the genealogy of Perez: Perez begot Hezron;
Ruth 4:19 Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab;
Ruth 4:20 Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon;
Ruth 4:21 Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed
Ruth 4:22 Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.
Boaz taking the place of Elimelech, not only did he not lose anything like the other close relative feared, he gained a position of even more prominence
Preserving the lineage God is insuring that the scepter never pass from Judah and that Christ would be of that line. Christ in the line of David
Perez is the offspring of an adulterous relationship between Tamar, daughter-in-law, and Judah
Boaz takes Elimelech’s place
Salmon married Rahab the harlot, a Canaanite
David 8th son (usually goes to first son – kept going to 8th)
David and Bathsheba lost their first child. Uriah was killed. Solomon then born from their union.
God is intimately involved in this and He is is not limited by human frailties, and he can and does work through ordinary people to this end:
Hebrews 2:10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory
Galatians 6:16 Following God we are the Israel of God -> Godly Israel or Spiritual Israel.
Physical Israel was unable to have the law of God written on their hearts like God wanted (Deuteronomy 10:16; 5:29; 2 Corinthians 3:3).
Since the holy spirit was more readily available in Acts 2, we have been able to internalize God’s word. In this way we can become an Israelite or a Jew inwardly.
Romans 2:28-29 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.
By the faith of Christ we become a part of the seed of Abraham.
Galatians 3:7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.
Galatians 3:8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.”
Galatians 3:9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
In this way a Gentile can be made right before God and be changed into an Israelite spiritually.
Galatians 3:29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
We then become inheritors of the same exact promises God made to Abraham thousands of years ago.
Ephesians 2:11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—
Ephesians 2:12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, [the ordinances of the Jews; not the law] Ephesians 2:15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,
Ephesians 2:16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.
Ephesians 2:17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.
Ephesians 2:18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
Ephesians 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
God is not a respecter of persons and shows no partiality (1 Peter 1:17; Acts 10:34-35) and He wants ALL men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4).
Pentecost represents a time when we, Israelite and Gentiles that are Spiritual Israelites will enter into a marriage covenant of firstfruits just as the Book of Ruth so marvelously depicts.