THE BLESSING OF GODLINESS
Lord, thank You for giving us happy endings.
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.
‘Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go’ (Ps 143:8)
Do you find this passage frustrating? I do! The women are shackled by culture and convention: Naomi is unable to act to redeem her family’s inheritance; Ruth is described as property to be acquired along with land (5,10). A guardian-redeemer needs to step in to help them as required by Mosaic Law. The two prospective guardian-redeemers initially discuss only property issues, although their role is to act for the blessing of the needy family, not themselves. What God intended for good has become a way to acquire land and wealth. When the other man – who, interestingly, isn’t even named – realizes that he will be obliged to accept new family obligations as well as land, he refuses to act. Boaz then shows his true character and intentions: he is happy to fulfill the Law. He is happy not only to redeem the land but also the women from their precarious situation and Elimelek’s family name, even at the expense of his own family line.
This passage finishes with what seems like a traditional blessing for Boaz; the elders ask the Lord to bless Boaz with children through ‘this young woman’ (11,12). Boaz, however, has shown that he values Ruth as more than someone who can bear him children. He values Ruth’s godly character and has seen what a blessing Ruth is to her mother-in-law. Most importantly, he is a God-fearing man who knows how God expects His people to behave in the light of God’s own character. Like Boaz, we need to be prepared to honor the Lord, rather than make decisions based purely on what we think is good for us. As the psalmist wrote, ‘Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who find great delight in His commands. Their children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.’(Ps 112:1,2)
Pray for yourself and your loved ones, that you may honor and obey God in your relationships and decision-making today.
Lord, teach us some of the deeper lessons to be learned from this book.
Book and Author Intros
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