17 June Ruth 4:1-17

17 June. Ruth marries Boaz

“Boaz went to the city gate and sat there until the close relative he had mentioned passed by. Boaz called to him, ‘Come here, friend, and sit down.’ So the man came over and sat down. Boaz gathered ten of the elders of the city and told them, ‘Sit down here!’ So they sat down.’”

“Then Boaz said to the close relative, ‘Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, wants to sell the piece of land that belonged to our relative Elimelech. So I decided to tell you about it. If you want to buy back the land, then buy it in front of the people who are sitting here and in front of the elders of my people. But if you don’t want to buy it, tell me, because you are the only one who can buy it, and I am the next after you.’”

“The close relative answered, ‘I will buy back the land.’ Then Boaz explained, ‘When you buy the land from Naomi, you must also marry Ruth, the Moabite, the dead man’s wife. That way, the land will stay in the dead man’s name.’”

“The close relative answered, ‘I can’t buy back the land. If I did, I might harm what I can pass on to my sons. I cannot buy the land back, so you can buy it yourself.’”

“Long ago in Israel when people traded or bought back something, one person took off his sandal and gave it to the other person. This was the proof of purchase in Israel. So the close relative said to Boaz, ‘Buy the land yourself,’ and he took off his sandal.”

“Then Boaz said to the elders and to all the people, ‘You are witnesses today. I am buying from Naomi everything that belonged to Elimelech and Kilion and Mahlon. I am also taking Ruth, the Moabite who was the wife of Mahlon, as my wife. I am doing this so her dead husband’s property will stay in his name and his name will not be separated from his family and his home town. You are witnesses today.’”

“So all the people and elders who were at the city gate said, ‘We are witnesses. May the LORD make this woman, who is coming into your home, like Rachel and Leah, who had many children and built up the people of Israel. May you become powerful in the district of Ephrathah and famous in Bethlehem…”

“So Boaz took Ruth home as his wife and had sexual relations with her. The LORD let her become pregnant, and she gave birth to a son. The women told Naomi, ‘Praise the LORD who gave you this grandson. May he become famous in Israel. He will give you new life and will take care of you in your old age because of your daughter-in-law who loves you. She is better for you than seven sons, because she has given birth to your grandson.’”

“Naomi took the boy, held him in her arms and cared for him. The neighbours gave the boy his name, saying, ‘This boy was born for Naomi.’ They named him Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse was the father of [King] David.”

          (Ruth 4:1-17)

 

 

As a relative, Boaz agreed to help Ruth and Naomi by buying a plot of land which belonged to Naomi’s late husband Elimelech. This meant that the land would remain within the family circle (see Leviticus 25:25).

To fulfil the laws of inheritance, another kinsman – who was more closely related to Ruth than Boaz – was given the option of buying the land, but when he came before the city elders, he decided that he could not (or did not want to) afford it.

So Boaz bought the land from Naomi and then married Ruth in order to keep the ownership of the land within Elimelech’s family.

Ruth and Boaz, in due course, had a son, Obed [meaning ‘worshipper’]. He, in turn, became the father of Jesse, the father of King David. As a result, Bethlehem became known as the ‘City of David’ (see Luke 2:11), and Ruth appears in the family history of Jesus Christ (see Matthew 1:1 & 5-6).

The photo (by Maysa Al Shaer) shows the view overlooking the city of Bethlehem. You can read more about Ruth and Boaz @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/29-the-journeys-of-ruth-and-samuel/ruths-journey-to-bethlehem


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