The Book Of Ruth
Chapter 4:1-12
"Gate Conference"

 

Chapter 4:1-12
"Ruth's Reward"

J. Deering, AncientPath.net

 


RUTH 4:1-12

1. Master Study

2. Visualized Text

3. Outline With Text

4. Reference Materials

5. Questions


 

MASTER STUDY
Introduction, Visualized Text with Commentary and Q&A, Charts

 


 

INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS:

 

The beginning of chapter is the story of the transaction of the redeemer. In the story of Ruth the transaction is that of a Kingman-Redeemer, who wants Ruth willingly and not because of the value of her property. As far as Boaz is concerned Ruth is the only important element of this transaction. Boaz considers Ruth not only a woman of quality but also of deep admiration and love.

 

As the nation of Israel makes its way along the path to redemption (from her sins of idolatry, as a covenant people), back to her God she finds a redeemer who is anxiously awaiting her and willing to pay the price to acquire her, that is acquire back into full fellowship – because she (Israel) wants to be back into full fellowship.

 

The book was written to show God's grace to those who were in a covenant relationship to Him and had willfully wandered away, received chastisement because of their wandering, and sought a renewed relationship, through repentance, with their God. We can apply this same principle to renewing a right relationship with God when sins remove us from His fellowship. We come to Him, in our age, (1 John 1:9 ff) confessing our sins (idolatry) and a renewed fellowship based on the shed blood of Jesus. As we look at these verses we also see the application that can apply to those who do not know God, who have turned and forsaken their sin and are approaching their redeemer in terms of salvation. His character is the same. He is loving, caring, and looking forward to the redemption of all those who would come. He awaits us as his bride. Those who come to Him only to do as Ruth does, believe in Him (The Christ, Jesus) as the one who redeems, and to rest in His willingness and power to be that redeemer.

 

Boaz represents God (and Jesus the Christ) in these verses. We see that he is the one who in offering to be the redeemer, especially when he has no interest in wealth or property that we might have to offer, says "I will redeem." This redemption is based purely upon his character and his love.

 

After Boaz has made the transaction the elders offer a great blessing upon him because of his selfless act. There are two blessings offered here. The first is that Boaz and Ruth would be blessed like Rachael and Leah. These two women were sisters who married the patriarch Jacob. They were the mothers of most of the tribes of Israel. They were also Gentiles.

 

The second blessing is that Boaz and Ruth would be blessed like Perez who was the son of an incestuous relationship between his mother (Tamar)  and her father (Judah). The blessing was for a multitude of families to come out of them However, God worked through them in a mighty way and produced the lineage that would bring forth not only the nation of Israel, but the tribe of Judah from which not only King David would come but also the Messiah, Jesus The Christ.
 


 

THE VISUALIZED TEXT (NASB)  (conjunctions & prepositions (and other important words) underlined, words not in original text in italics)  (alternate text in purple)

 

(4:1)

Now

          Boaz

                   went up to the gate and

                   sat down there,

                             and behold,

                                      the close relative of whom Boaz spoke

                                                was passing by,

                             so

                                      he said,

                                                "Turn aside, friend, sit down here."

And

          He (Boaz)

                   turned aside and

                   sat down.

 

Brief Commentary on Ruth 4:1

 

While much of the book has been about the plans of Naomi, now Boaz – on his own – gets to fulfill the promised role of redeemer for Naomi, and also the promised role of Levirate Husband for Ruth. During much of the book it is easy to confuse these two goals.

 

Naomi needs a kinsman-redeemer in order to get out of abject poverty. She has lost her husband and her children, and only has temporary rights to her late husband's property. Upon her death, since her male children are already deceased, all of Elimelech's property rights will be acquired by someone outside the family that he established with Naomi. Naomi's kinsman-redeemer would be able to buy, or buy back from another, Elimelech's property rights and restore them to her.

 

Naomi would need a Levirate husband to continue her family line and provide a hereditary lineage, but she is too old to produce children (the whole point of the Levirate Marriage law).


Ruth, wife of Elimelech's late son Mahlon, has no male children to establish the family inheritance line either. However, if she were to find a willing Levirate husband then she also would be the benefactor of a redeemer who was able to father male children.

 

Boaz fulfills both needs. He is able to redeem Naomi (her land and property), and redeem Ruth (a wife who can bear children) in a single act.

 

The purpose of the dialog with the "close relative" is to demonstrate that Boaz is the only one WILLING to redeem at any cost.

 

Questions and Answers about Ruth 4:1

  1. What does the word "Now" indicate here?
    (A change of scene in the story that brings you into the moment of this scene)

  2. Who went up to the gate?
    (Boaz)

  3. Why did Boaz go "Up" to the gate?
    (The gate was probably at a higher level of ground than where Boaz was, especially if he was still in the area of the fields or the threshing floor. However it is also a common idiomatic expression that we still use today. I will go up-town or down-town, up-to a neighbor's house, etc., and does not necessarily indicate a higher area of ground. It can also be an expression that indicates a place of importance or power (I will go up to Washington).

  4. Why does Boaz "sit down"?
    (Sitting down is a common way of placing oneself in a position of humility when doing business with another or a group. It could mean that he was there to do business and not just to greet those there already.)

  5. Who is this close relative?
    (We do not know his name but we do know that he is of closer blood relationship to Naomi than Boaz, and that he is also a qualified kinsman-redeemer for her and her kin)

  6. When did Boaz speak of this man?
    (Ruth 3:12-13)

  7. What was the closer relative doing?
    (Passing by)

  8. Who spoke to the closer relative?
    (Boaz)

  9. What did he say to the closer relative?
    ("Turn aside [turn aside from the direction or errand you are on], friend, and sit here")

  10. Why did Boaz address him as "friend"?
    (As a close relative of both Naomi and Boaz he probably was a friend. We should not infer that Boaz did not know his name. For His own reasons, the Holy Spirit of God has chosen to keep the identity of this man to himself.)

  11. What did the close relative do in response to Boa's greeting?
    (He turned aside and sat down with Boaz)


(4:2)

And

          He (Boaz)

                   took ten men of the elders of the city and

                   said,

                             "Sit down here."

                                      So

                                                they sat down.

 

Brief Commentary on Ruth 4:2

 

It takes a minimum of 10 Jewish men to have a synagogue. The inference here is that there is a whole synagogue full of elders present to authenticate the transaction that is about to be made. They are the official witnesses of this important transaction of redemption. He has called them and they agree, indicating by their willingness to sit with him.

 

Questions and Answers about Ruth 4:2

  1. What does the word "And" indicate here?
    (a simple conjunction that indicates that more had gone on)

  2. What does it mean that Boaz "Took" ten men?
    (The Hebrew word laqach has at its primary root an idea of "to take," but has a wide variety of applications: bring, draw, fetch, get, receive, send for, all have valid meanings to the translation of this word. We should not then get the idea that Boaz "took" them from one place to another, but invited them to join him.)

  3. What did Boaz ask them?
    (Please, sit town here.)

  4. What does the word "So" indicate here.
    (The result of Boaz's request was that they sat down with him.)



(4:3)

Then

          He (Boaz)

                   said to the closest relative,

                             "Naomi,

                                      who has come back from the land of Moab,

                                      has to sell the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech.

 

Brief Commentary on Ruth 4:3

 

Boaz explains the situation that Naomi brings to the table. Land – In the Israel of the day you could not buy land. You could buy the rights to the use and harvests of the land, but the actual land remained in the family who originally had it granted to them. Boaz is bringing a deal to this close relative that will allow him to "own" and receive the income from Naomi's land, in exchange for paying a price to her. This land was owned by Elimelech, he was dead, but Naomi had control of it for the rest of her life, as the widow.

 

Questions and Answers about Ruth 4:3

  1. What does the word "Then" indicate?
    (After the elders sat down something happened and that is what's going to be told to us next)

  2. Who does this next thing?
    (Boaz)

  3. What does Boaz do next?
    (He speaks to the closest relative of Naomi)

  4. Why is Naomi's name brought up here?
    (Naomi is the object of the coming discussion, Boaz is trying to ascertain if this closest relative of Naomi's will be willing to redeem her land and whatever property that goes with the land)

  5. Why bring the "land of Moab" up here?
    (The whole city knows that Naomi has returned from Moab empty handed and without a husband to care and finance her. It also places an image of Whom Naomi brought with her (Ruth) without saying it out loud. Naomi would also have expenses incurred in feeding and housing Naomi as she has become Naomi's responsibility)

  6. What was Naomi's need?
    (According to Boaz, Naomi needed to sell the rights to the family land that belonged to her husband Boaz, because of her poverty (thus the need for the redeemer).

  7. What does Boaz mean by calling Elimelech "Our Brother"?
    (The word "Brother" designates kinship. It is of course possible that both Boaz and the closest relative were actually brothers of Elimelech, but unlikely given the context of the story.)

  8. Why use the past tense of the word "Belong"?
    (Apparently Naomi has inheritance rights to this land while she is still living. This was common practice as losing the land rights upon her husband's death would be devastating upon his immediate family. Wives were routinely allowed to keep the land rights upon their husband's deaths, but the land would revert to his family upon her later death as land rights were the property of men.)


 

(4:4)

                   "So

                             I thought to inform you, saying,

                                      'Buy it

                                                before those who are sitting here, and

                                                before the elders of my people.

                                      If you will redeem it, redeem it;

                             But

                                      if not,

                                                tell me

                                                          that I may know;

                                                for there is no one but you to redeem it,

                             and

                                      I am after you.'"

                   And

                             He (closest relative)

                                      said,

                                                "I will redeem it."

 

Brief Commentary on Ruth 4:4

 

This land was an important article in Jewish life. The redeemer could purchase the land, paying Naomi for its use, and it would always continue to be part of the family inheritance. It was a deal for the redeemer because it gave him first choice in the matter of acquiring income producing land.

 

Boaz goes on to tell this closest relative that if he does not want it then he, Boaz, would redeem it himself. This was to say, it is an incoming producing piece of property, and if you don't want the income then I'll purchase it myself.

 

Questions and Answers about Ruth 4:4

  1. What does the word "So" mean here?
    (The result of the previous thoughts)

  2. Why does Boaz mention the word "Redeem" so many times in this verse?
    (Boaz is pressing the point that this is a "redemption" not an outright purchase of the rights to use the land. This is not a negotiable sale)

  3. The word "Before" can mean a lot of things. What does it mean here?
    ("In front of")

  4. Why is Boaz making a point of doing this offer "In front of" the elders and "others sitting here"?
    (Boaz is making an honest offering to the closest relative (kinsman-redeemer) in front of noted witnesses so there will be a public witness of the offer and possible transaction)

  5. What is the immediate content of the offer?
    (Naomi's land)

  6. What does Boaz mean when he says, "there is no one but you to redeem it"
    (Boaz is saying that he has done the research and there is no one closer, who is a kinsman-redeemer, than you are. He is not implying that there is no one else who is interested, or whether there is or is not a kinsman-redeemer who is interested, only that the closest relative is this man, and he has the right to redeem Naomi's land if he so desires.)

  7. Why does Boaz say "I am after you"?
    (Boaz is humbly indicating that if the closest relative does not accept the proposal, then Boaz will be next in line to accept or reject)

  8. What is the closest relative's reply?
    ("I will redeem it.")



(4:5)

                   Then

                             Boaz said,

                                      "On the day

                                                you buy the field from the hand of Naomi,

                                                you must also acquire Ruth

                                                          the Moabitess,

                                                          the widow of the deceased,

                                                                   in order to raise up the name

                                                                             of the deceased

                                                                             on his inheritance."

 

Brief Commentary on Ruth 4:5

 

But – and there seems always to be a "But" in a deal that seems too good. But, if you acquire the land or Naomi – you also acquire her Moabite daughter and you must marry her as Levirate.

 

Questions and Answers about Ruth 4:5

  1. What does Boaz do next?
    (Boaz releases, as yet, more information about the acquisition of this land via kinsman-redemption)

  2. What is this new information?
    (On the day of the purchase of the land rights, from Naomi, you MUST acquire Ruth, the Moabitess AND MARRY HER, GET HER PREGNANT, AND RAISE HER CHILDREN – and keep having children until a male child is born, to carry out the law concerning Levirate Marriage. You will not acquire your brothers properties, you will only hold them in TRUST for his male children)


 

(4:6)

                   And

                             the closest relative said,

                                      "I cannot redeem it for myself,

                                                lest I jeopardize my own inheritance.

                                      Redeem it for yourself;

                                      you may have my right of redemption,

                                                for I cannot redeem it."

 

Brief Commentary on Ruth 4:6

 

The "closest relative" balks at this information. Another wife? What will happen to my own family if this transaction interferes with their inheritance. More Children? What if Ruth's first child is a boy and all I have is girls, will he get everything? The "closest relative" says, "NO. I cannot redeem it."

 

Questions and Answers about Ruth 4:6

  1. And the closest relative said?
    ("Oh, I can't do that!")

  2. Why the sudden change of mind of the closest relative?
    (Here there may be at least 3 scenarios: 1. The closest relative may married and have no children. If Ruth has a male child before his other wife then Ruth's male child will inherit no only Mahlon's portion of Elimelech's estate but also the major portion of this closest relative's inheritance. 2. The second scenario is similar. If the closest relative is married and has only a girl child, then the results would be the same. And 3. The closest relative may not be married at all. Ruth has no dowry or inheritance of her own. If he only takes Ruth he gains Ruth and Ruth only. He also would become less an "eligible bachelor" amongst other Hebrew women if he is married to Ruth the Moabitess.)

  3. What is the resolve of the other relative?
    ("You, Boaz, marry her; I relinquish my rights to be Naomi's kinsman-redeemer, for I cannot.")


 

(4:7a)

Now

          this was the custom

                   in former times

                   in Israel

                             concerning the redemption and

                             the exchange of land

 

Brief Commentary on Ruth 4:7a

 

Our narrator enters here to say (at the time that the book was written, probably at about the time of the ascension of David to King of Israel) the custom of shoe removal was no longer practiced, and therefore was already degraded to the form it is found in the next verse (the time of the events of the book of Ruth) from the version in Deuteronomy as law a few hundred years earlier.
 

(4:7b)

                                      to confirm any matter:

          a man

                   removed his sandal and

                    gave it to another;

and this was the manner of attestation in Israel.)

 

Brief Commentary on Ruth 4:7b

 

This custom does not refer to the law about refusing to marry a brother's widow, but was usual in the transfer of inheritances:  for this relative was not a brother, but simply a kinsman; and the shoe was not pulled off by Ruth, but by the kinsman himself.  The Targum renders, instead of his shoe, "his right hand glove," it probably being the custom, in his time, to give that instead of a shoe.  Jarchi says, "When we purchase any thing new, it is customary to give, instead of a shoe, a handkerchief or veil." Deut 25:7-10

 

Questions and Answers about Ruth 4:7a-b

 

  1. What does the word "Now" mean here?
    (Change of scene, this time we are moved to the presence of the Narrator)

  2. What does the narrator tell us?
    (That in Israel, during the times of the Judges, and perhaps earlier, when land rights are exchanged for money, even if via the kinsman-redeemer, a shoe was removed and given to another – publicly – to attest to the transaction. Please see the extended note in the commentary that follows concerning this practice.)


 

(4:8)

                   So

                   the closest relative

                             said to Boaz,

                                      "Buy it for yourself."

                   And

                   He (closest relative)

                             removed his sandal.

 

Brief Commentary on Ruth 4:8

 

In the Law version the woman seeking redemption of a redeemer who would not redeem her would remove a special shoe from the right foot of the proposed redeemer (indicating the breaking of a covenant), and spitting in his face (indicating the shame and loss of respect by the defaulting redeemer). By Ruth's time the law had been reinterpreted many times and the tradition had changed to the self removal of a shoe, which sometimes was coupled with spitting upon the ground.

 

Questions and Answers about Ruth 4:8

  1. What is the usage of the word "So" here?
    (Change of scene, this time the scene is the results of the information given earlier)

  2. What does the closest relative say to Boaz?
    (Buy it for yourself)

  3. What does the closest relative do then?
    (He removes his sandal)

  4. Go to Deuteronomy 25:9 and see where what was done here agrees or disagrees with The Law on this subject.
    (This law deals directly with the Brother-in-law who would not fulfill the role of Levirate. It is possible that Naomi's "closest relative" could be a flesh "Brother" of Elimelech but the text does not say. Verse 7 indicates that this version of the law was done during the times of the Judges and may indicate that following the letter of this law had fallen out of usage, and was perhaps defunct by the time of King David's ascension to the throne of Israel (the time of the writing of the book of Ruth).


 

(4:9)

                   Then

                             Boaz said

                                                To

                                                          the elders and

                                                          all the people,

                                      "You are witnesses today

                             that

                                      I have bought

                                                from the hand of Naomi

                                                all that belonged to Elimelech and

                                                all that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon.

 

Brief Commentary on Ruth 4:9

 

With the "closest relative" now out of the picture Boaz can redeem Naomi and marry Ruth.

 

Questions and Answers about Ruth 4:9

  1. What does Boaz do next?
    (Proclaims publicly that he has redeemed the land and property of Elimelech and his offspring, from Naomi)



(4:10)

                             "Moreover,

                                      I have acquired

                                                Ruth the Moabitess,

                                                the widow of Mahlon,

                                                          to be my wife

                                                          in order to

                                                                   raise up the name of the deceased

                                                                             on his inheritance,

                                                          so that

                                                                   the name of the deceased

                                                                             may not be cut off

                                                                                      from his brothers or

                                                                                      from the court of his birth place;

                                      you are witnesses today."

 

Brief Commentary on Ruth 4:10

 

Boaz makes clear his intentions for Ruth and the legal reasons for his actions. He makes sure that the elders know that they are the legal witnesses in this transaction.

 

Questions and Answers about Ruth 4:10

  1. What does Boaz do next"
    (Boaz publicly states that he is also fulfilling the right of Kinsman-Redeemer for Ruth)

  2. What does Boaz state as the reason for doing that?
    ("To be my wife.")

  3. What will that accomplish?
    (Ruth's late husband will have his name raised up on his inheritance)

  4. What will that accomplish?
    (The name of the deceased may not be cut off, A. from his brothers, B. from the court of his birth place)

  5. Who does Boaz call to be witnesses to this transaction?
    (All who are present; Elders, closest kinsman, the others who were present at the "gate of the city.")



(4:11)

And

                   all the people who were in the court, and

                   the elders,

          said,

                   "We are witnesses.

                   May the LORD make the woman

                             who is coming into your home

                                      like

                                                Rachel and

                                                Leah,

                                                          both of whom built the house of Israel;

          and

                   may you

                             achieve wealth in Ephrathah and

                             become famous in Bethlehem.

 

Brief Commentary on Ruth 4:11

 

The blessing that is presented here is unusual in that Rachel, Leah, and Tamar are all Gentiles, grafted into the nation of Israel and God's plan a very long time ago. The elders indicate that because of these women the "house of Israel" was "built" by these women – that their offspring were noble, productive, and prophetic. These families were the cornerstone of Israel in producing the family of Judah, the Davidic line, which eventually produced Messiah.

 

Questions and Answers about Ruth 4:11

  1. How did they respond to Boaz's announcement and transaction?
    (They all said, "We are witnesses." And they placed a blessing upon him.)

  2. What was the content of the blessing?
    (May the LORD
    make the woman who is coming into your home
    to be like Rachel and Leah
    May you achieve wealth
    May you become famous) there's more…)

  3. Who is Rachel?
    (Rachel was a Canaanite [Gentile], a daughter of Laban, wife of Jacob, mother of only two of Jacob's sons: Joseph and Ben-oni [later renamed Benjamin])

  4. Who is Leah?
    (Leah was a Canaanite [Gentile], a daughter of Laban, wife of Jacob, mother of Ruben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulon, and a daughter Dinah.)

  5. What makes these two women of such importance?
    (First in relationship to the story of Ruth, is the fact that these two women, who married Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham [whom the Promise had been given for the lineage of the Messiah] were Gentiles from Canaan. Gentiles, grafted into the family lineage of David [and then of Jesus, the Messiah. Of second importance is that these two women produced most the children who would become the patriarchy of the nation of Israel. The witnesses to Boaz's transaction wished Ruth the same family success – which she did have in David to Jesus.)


 

(4:12)

          "Moreover,

                   may your house

                             be like the house of

                                      Perez whom

                                      Tamar bore

                                                to Judah,

                                                through the offspring

                                                          which the LORD shall give you

                                                by this young woman."

 

Brief Commentary on Ruth 4:12

 

The blessing that is presented here is unusual in that Rachel, Leah, and Tamar are all Gentiles, grafted into the nation of Israel and God's plan a very long time ago. The elders indicate that because of these women the "house of Israel" was "built" by these women – that their offspring were noble, productive, and prophetic. These families were the cornerstone of Israel in producing the family of Judah, the Davidic line, which eventually produced Messiah.

 

Questions and Answers about Ruth 4:12

  1. What else did they bless Boaz with?
    (A similar blessing as before, but this time as the house of Perez, son of Judah (Leah's son), through his wife Tamar)

  2. Who are these characters?
    (Judah, son of Leah (Judah's fourth son), Patriarch of the Tribe of Judah,
    Tamar, widow of Er [Judah's oldest son], seduced her father-in-law [Judah] and had twins by him named Perez and Zerah.
    Perez, oldest son of Tamar, received the blessing from his father Judah to become the progenitor of the tribe of Judah and become the preeminent tribe of Israel and was promised that "The Scepter shall not depart form Judah" [Gen. 49:9-10]). The witnesses to Boaz's transaction wished Ruth the same family success – which she did have in King David to King of the Jews, Jesus.)


 

 Horizontal Chart for Ruth 4:1-12

 

Ruth 4:1-12 "The Gate Conference"

The Gate Conference
"
Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there, and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz spoke was passing by, so he said, "Turn aside, friend, sit down here." And he turned aside and sat down. And he took ten men of the elders of the city and said, "Sit down here." So they sat down. Then he said to the closest relative, "Naomi, who has come back from the land of Moab, has to sell the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. "So I thought to inform you, saying, 'Buy it before those who are sitting here, and before the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if not, tell me that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am after you.'" And he said, "I will redeem it." Then Boaz said, "On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of the deceased, in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance. And the closest relative said, "I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I jeopardize my own inheritance. Redeem it for yourself; you may have my right of redemption, for I cannot redeem it." Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning the redemption and the exchange of land to confirm any matter: a man removed his sandal and gave it to another; and this was the manner of attestation in Israel. So the closest relative said to Boaz, "Buy it for yourself." And he removed his sandal. Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, "You are witnesses today that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon. "Moreover, I have acquired Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, to be my wife in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance, so that the name of the deceased may not be cut off from his brothers or from the court of his birth place; you are witnesses today." And all the people who were in the court, and the elders, said, "We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built the house of Israel; and may you achieve wealth in Ephrathah and become famous in Bethlehem. "Moreover, may your house be like the house of Perez whom Tamar bore to Judah, through the offspring which the LORD shall give you by this young woman."


 

Verse Percentage Chart for Ruth 4:1-12

 

 


RUTH 4:1-12

1. Master Study

2. Visualized Text

3. Outline With Text

4. Reference Materials

5. Questions


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2012-11-20