Ruth 4


‘Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat down there just as the guardian-redeemer he had mentioned came along. Boaz said, ‘Come over here, my friend, and sit down.’ So, he went over and sat down. Boaz took ten of the elders of the town and said, ‘Sit here,’ and they did so. 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. 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 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. Then Boaz said, ‘On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.’ 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.’ Ruth 4:1-6

Decisions, judgments and administration in Israel took place at the gates of the cities. This is where people went to consult with the elders.

Boaz was somewhat crafty in his approach to gain the right to marry Ruth. He first informed the guardian-redeemer that there was a field of land that he had a right to buy.

After hearing of the land, the guardian-redeemer agreed to buy the land but then, Boaz said that there were obligations that came with claiming the land.

When informed that Ruth came with the land, the guardian kinsman decided that he wouldn’t buy the land, just in case he endangered his own inheritance. The land would eventually go to the sons of Ruth, and not to the heirs of the guardian-redeemer.

His investment would be lost once the possible sons of Ruth assumed the rights of inheritance, the guardian-redeemer would then have to relinquish his right to both the land and Ruth.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following, concerning the guardian-redeemer’s words, ‘I cannot do it’.

‘These words mean, simply, ‘I cannot afford it.’ There are two reasons that entered into this refusal. 1. The increased financial burden inherent in rearing another family, and 2. The stigma that popular prejudice fastened upon marriage to a foreigner, especially a Moabitess.’

‘(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.) So, the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, ‘Buy it yourself.’ And he removed his sandal. 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. 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!’ 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. 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 4:7-12

Because the readers of this book had to be informed concerning this custom indicates that the events that transpired here took place many years before the writing of the book.

When the shoe, or sandal, was given to Boaz by the guardian-redeemer in the presence of witnesses, the land transaction was sealed. Boaz not only had a right to redeem the land, but also the right to take Ruth as a wife.

Since Boaz and Ruth were the forefathers of David, and in the lineage of the Messiah, what is stated here certainly came to pass.

In reference to the Messiah, His birthplace in Bethlehem brought fame to this insignificant village of Palestine, as well as to the family of Boaz and Ruth, Micah 5:2. Judah was the family through which came the existence of the village of Bethlehem, Genesis 38:29.

‘So, Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. The women said to Naomi: ‘Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.’ Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. The women living there said, ‘Naomi has a son!’ And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David. This, then, is the family line of Perez: Perez was the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, Boaz the father of Obed, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David.’ Ruth 4:13-22

The birth of Obed was the guarantee that the family of Naomi would continue. The children took care of the aged parents. Perez was the son of Judah by Tamar, and David came from the lineage of Perez. This brief genealogy reveals the purpose of the writing of the book.

Though the ones who first received the book didn’t know the reason for this brief genealogy, we today understand it because of the mention of David, through whom God promised that the Messiah was to be born into the world, Matthew 1:5 / Matthew 1:16 / Luke 3:23 / Luke 3:32.

In the genealogy that is here in Ruth given, we must assume the customary recording of Jewish genealogies wherein only the main personalities of the genealogies were included while some generations were left out.

It’s stated here that ‘Nahshon was the father Salmon’, and Salmon, Boaz, covering a period of more than 250 years, the time between the death of Moses and the time of Gideon. This is too great a time for only two generations.

In the genealogy of the Messiah, the wife of Salmon was Rahab, Matthew 1:6 / Luke 3:32 / James 2:25. But as the genealogy is here stated, Boaz wasn’t the immediate son of Salmon and Rahab, though they were in the genealogy of Boaz.


What a wonderful love story, this book has revealed to us, faithfulness, godliness, selflessness and a desire to do what is right to everyone around but foremost to do what is right for God’s sake.

We can only be encouraged by the story to do likewise in our own lives, let us trust God to take care of our tomorrows, even when tomorrow seems uncertain to us at times.