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.’
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.
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.