A CROWD OF WITNESSES
Thank You, Loving Father, for the wonderful things You have done in my life.
Read Ruth 4:1–12
Boaz Marries Ruth
4 Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat down there just as the guardian-redeemer[a] he had mentioned came along. Boaz said, “Come over here, my friend, and sit down.” So he went over and sat down.
2 Boaz took ten of the elders of the town and said, “Sit here,” and they did so. 3 Then he said to the guardian-redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our relative Elimelek. 4 I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you[b] will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.”
“I will redeem it,” he said.
5 Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the[c] dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.”
6 At this, the guardian-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.”
7 (Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel.)
8 So the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it yourself.” And he removed his sandal.
9 Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelek, Kilion and Mahlon. 10 I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. Today you are witnesses!”
11 Then the elders and all the people at the gate said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the family of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. 12 Through the offspring the Lord gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.”
- Ruth 4:1 The Hebrew word for guardian-redeemer is a legal term for one who has the obligation to redeem a relative in serious difficulty (see Lev. 25:25-55); also in verses 3, 6, 8 and 14.
- Ruth 4:4 Many Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Vulgate and Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts he
- Ruth 4:5 Vulgate and Syriac; Hebrew (see also Septuagint) Naomi and from Ruth the Moabite, you acquire the
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHave you ever witnessed something spectacular? How many times have you relived that moment?!
The action is heating up. Along comes the ‘bad guy,’ the kinsman who could carry Ruth off (1). He was happy enough to buy the field, but not so happy when he realizes it comes with a widow attached (5,6). We hold our breath. But all is well!
We are drawn into this scene as we learn so much more of the customs of the time. The rights and responsibilities of families (6), how business was done (7), the importance of fertility (11,12).
Boaz prepares himself well for his meeting. He must have suspected that the unnamed kinsman wouldn’t want to risk his own family’s inheritance by bringing some unknown widow into the picture. Waiting in the wings are the ten elders who will be witnesses (9,10).
It wasn’t only the elders that witnessed the transaction, but a lot of very happy, willing to be involved, well-informed bystanders (11,12) who would doubtless be talking about it all long after. Just how we should be when we bear witness to Jesus in our lives.
What works of God have you witnessed in your life? How can you share the story with someone today?
God, You never cease to amaze me with Your unconditional love for me. May I always be bursting with praise to You.