13
May
2015

RUTH 4:1-10 REDEEMING THE BRIDE

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Ruth 4:1 Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there; and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz had spoken came by. So Boaz said, "Come aside, friend, sit down here." So he came aside and sat down. 2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, "Sit down here." So they sat down. 3 Then he said to the close relative, "Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. 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 said, "I will redeem it." 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." 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." 7 Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging, to confirm anything: one man took off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was a confirmation in Israel. 8 Therefore the close relative said to Boaz, "Buy it for yourself." So he took off his sandal. 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. 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."

This chapter focuses on three persons: a bridegroom, a bride, and a baby."

The key theme of this chapter is redemption. The words “redeem,” “buy,” and “purchase” are used at least fifteen times. There can be no redemption without the paying of a price. From our point of view, salvation is free to “whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord” (Acts 2:21, KJV); but from God’s point of view, redemption is a very costly thing.

Boaz went to the gate at the entrance of Bethlehem, and there (quite suddenly and unexpectedly, it would seem) he encountered the nearest kin. (One can only wonder why the nearest kin had not done what Boaz is now doing at an earlier time.) It is almost impossible to believe that this is the first time the nearest kin has heard of Naomi’s plight, of her return to Bethlehem from Moab, or of the sale of her husband’s property. Perhaps Boaz is giving the nearest kin the benefit of the doubt here. If this kinsman had chosen to merely ignore Naomi’s plight, he no longer has that option.

Shows God’s providence, Behold the close relative just happened to come by

This is surely a “divine appointment” arranged by God to facilitate what is about to transpire. God is in this transaction!

The fact that the man’s name was not given may have been poetic justice since he refused to become the redeemer. The words my friend became a catch phrase in Israel. Rabbinic writings used the designation for an unknown “John Doe.”

He who was so anxious for the preservation of his own inheritance, is now not even known by name."

The word 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.

When it comes to spiritual redemption, all people are in bondage to sin and Satan (Eph. 2:1–3; John 8:33–34) and are unable to set themselves free. Jesus Christ gave His life as a ransom for sinners (Mark 10:45; Rev. 5:9–10), and faith in Him sets the captive free.

The marks of the redeemer. Not everybody could perform the duties of a kinsman redeemer.

To begin with, he had to be a near kinsman (Lev. 25:25). This was the major obstacle Boaz had to overcome because another man in Bethlehem was a nearer relative to Ruth than he was (3:12–13). When you see this as a type of Jesus Christ, it reminds you that He had to become related to us before He could redeem us. He became flesh and blood so He could die for us on the cross (Heb. 2:14–15). When He was born into this world in human flesh, He became our “near kinsman”; and He will remain our “kinsman” for all eternity. What matchless love!

In order to qualify, the kinsman redeemer also had to be able to pay the redemption price. Ruth and Naomi were too poor to redeem themselves, but Boaz had all the resources necessary to set them free. When it comes to the redemption of sinners, nobody but Jesus Christ is rich enough to pay the price. Indeed, the payment of money can never set sinners free; it is the shedding of the precious blood of Christ that has accomplished redemption (1 Peter 1:18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.; see Ps. 49:5–9). We have redemption through Christ’s blood (Eph. 1:7), because He gave Himself for us (Titus 2:14) & purchased eternal redemption for us (Heb. 9:12). 1Co 6:20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body & in your spirit, which are God's.

There was a third qualification: The kinsman redeemer had to be willing to redeem. As we shall see in this chapter, since the nearer kinsman was not willing to redeem Ruth, Boaz was free to purchase both the property and a wife. The nearer kinsman had the money but not the motivation: He was afraid he would jeopardize his own family’s inheritance.

Five times in Ruth 4:1–2 you find people sitting down. When Jesus Christ finished purchasing His bride, He sat down in heaven (Heb. 1:3; Mark 16:19) because the transaction was completed. “It is finished!”[1]

Boaz's emphasis on raising up the name of the deceased (v. 10), namely, Mahlon, and his father, Elimelech, shows Boaz's concern for the reputation and posterity of his family line. These were important concerns in Israel because of God's promises concerning Abraham's seed and especially Judah's descendants (Gen. 49:10).

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