Boaz took an active role in being the redeemer far before he has the actual title, he set the wheels in motion and arranged the elders to meet with himself and the man with greater rights. He also led the conversation in such a way to ensure the other redeemer was going in with his eyes wide open and even if Boaz couldn’t become redeemer because this man opted to, he was ensuring the other redeemer would have to be willing to continue the line of Elimelech. The relative was not willing to risk the order of inheritance his family already had in place though, so the way was paved clear for Boaz to step in. Boaz addressed the other relative as friend, unlike the elders, and likely knew him and his life situation at that time. With that knowledge Boaz was able to make the land purchase less appealing to the relative by the elements of responsibility and risk he shared. When we try to influence a situation do we do it for personal gain, or do we try to help others as best we can?
Boaz did what was necessary in the law at that time to seal the deal and become the true redeemer for the household of Elimelech, despite the financial costs that would be lost by his current household. When I make a vow in private, can I publicly declare my intention to carry out those necessary actions? Sometimes I am afraid of failure and may not want to risk failing the task in a public way.
All of the town had talked about the return of Naomi, and how it was when she first arrived home that she felt the Lord had brought her back empty, they would also know her two daughters-in-law bore no children. The townsfolk, gathered at the gate as witnesses as Boaz claimed his right to marry Ruth, prayed for God to make her like Leah and Rachel, two women who had struggled with pregnancy but who God restored. It is so important to be surrounded by the right kind of people, here Ruth has a town to pray for her. In Exodus 17:11-12 Moses’ Israelite army could never have beat the Amalekites without the Lord and his support from Aaron and Hur to keep his arms raised high. We need help from our family, friends, and most especially our Christian community to provide love and support and prayer for the tough times that will come.
This scripture makes it clear that when Boaz and Ruth came together it was God who gave Ruth conception (v.13), and Naomi who was redeemed by this child (v.14), because her lineage was continued, the loss she experienced at the beginning of this book has now been turned into gain! Ruth and Naomi were blessed beyond measure by each other and God. I would love to see the culmination of God’s work in my life and the obvious healing and blessing he provided like we can see for Ruth and Naomi, but even they wouldn’t have known just how big God’s plan was in this!
It was written that a son was born to Naomi, not Ruth, because the lineage of Naomi and her deceased son continues on. It is stated so simply “They named him Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David” and yet here we see the lineage of the great king David, and ultimately the lineage of Jesus! Wow, what a way to finish what seems at first glance to be a simple love story and story of redemption, it was not just Naomi who was redeemed through the good character of Boaz and Ruth, but all followers of Christ! How God can work in both seemingly simple yet resounding ways is unfathomable!
1 Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down. 2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down. 3 And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech’s: 4 And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it. 5 Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance. 6 And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it. 7 Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel. 8 Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe. 9 And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi. 10 Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day. 11 And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The Lord make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Beth–lehem: 12 And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the Lord shall give thee of this young woman. 13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bare a son. 14 And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the Lord, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. 15 And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him. 16 And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it. 17 And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David. 18 Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron, 19 And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, 20 And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon, 21 And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, 22 And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.