Ruth 4:1 “…up to the gate and sat down there…”
City gates were used as a place of conducting business at that time. Commentary suggests a small covered area without walls. Since that is where folks would travel on their way out in the morning or back out after noon, it was easy to catch them for business.
2 “…he took ten men of the elders of the city…”
Boaz caught the other kinsman on his way out then snagged ten other city elders to sit and be witnesses. Scriptures say two or three witnesses were enough to establish most things, but commentary suggests that Jewish tradition would use more when conducting cases of great importance such as matrimony, divorce, or property.
3 “…Naomi…sold the piece of land…”
Checked on this since the text hasn’t mentioned Naomi selling any land. Commentary based on the KJV says she was in the process of selling or thinking about selling as the KJV says selleth, which could mean in the process of or have done. NKJV has sold which is pretty much a done deal in this context. Checked other translations. Appears the idea is that she was thinking of doing so. Whether she was actually doing so or Boaz was using the idea to broach the subject of redemption is not mentioned. Commentary suggests mentioning it was a way of finding out if the other kinsman was interested in performing the redemption.
4 “…Buy it back…”
The idea of keeping the land in the family is a big deal in Israel, at least during the times of the scripture. God seems to make this a high priority. There are several references to not moving the ancient landmarks, and the whole process of redemption and the jubilee year show that maintaining the land among the tribes was of great importance. Not sure exactly why, although it may be a deliberate display of God’s promise to Abraham regarding the land. He promised it to Abraham and his descendents, so keeping track of it would convey the importance of the promise. I wonder how land is dealt with today. Current Israel only has partial possession of the land. Not sure if tribal association plays a part in where they live.
5 “…you must also buy it from Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead…”
Speculating here as the commentary doesn’t say. Sounds like the land would have been part of the son’s inheritance. If the redeemer bought it from Naomi to keep it in the family, he would also acquire Ruth since she was a widow, and being so, he would need to raise up children by her in the name of the dead. That would make sense.
6 “…I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance…”
Man was apparently decent as he was going to redeem the land. But the addition of Ruth and acquiring her as a wife was going to throw a wrench in the works. Text doesn’t say how redeeming the land and Ruth would have ruined his inheritance. Perhaps the idea meant was that it would complicate his situation. One of those times I wish we had more details.
8 “…he took off his sandal”
How they agreed in a transaction. Similar to a handshake today. Verse seven explains it. This was also used in divorce. If a man divorced his wife, in the presence of witnesses, she would remove his shoe/sandal and spit on him.
11 “…all the people who were at the gate…”
Sounds like others had been walking through and had stopped to watch. Easy way to make a wedding announcement.
13 “…the Lord gave her conception…”
I like the fact that the scripture reminds us that God is still behind much of what we take for granted. Nothing happens that He doesn’t allow. He may not want it, but He allows it for our sake. I’ve heard people scoff at the idea that the birth of a child is a miracle. Since it only requires two biological donors, they say they don’t need God to make a baby. While the chances of a conception are very high, from a human perspective, no one can say for certain that it will take place, or that the child conceived will make it to term. The birth of a child is not a given, like a lot of other things that we take for granted. James was right. We need to say if the Lord wills we will do this and that. And remember to thank Him after the fact.
15 “…for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him”
Completion of God’s restoration. Text doesn’t say, but I would imagine that Naomi no longer referred to herself as Mara.
17 “…they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.”
Interesting that God tells of His heart of redemption through a story of redemption. Ruth was not Jewish, yet she is part of the line of Christ. In Matthew we learn that Rahab, also not a Jew and a prostitute as well, was also in the line of Christ. God keeps His word. If we repent of our sin, He will forgive and restore us to Himself. That is the whole of history from the garden of Eden until now, God restoring the relationship between Himself and humanity.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.