Ruth Chapter 4

Ruth was a Moabite woman, who had married the son of an Israelite woman named Naomi. After her husband and both her father-in-law and brother-in-law had died, Ruth moved to the land of Israel with Naomi, in order to care for her. Ruth had gleaned from the field of a man named Boaz, who was related to Naomi. In following a suggestion from Naomi, Ruth asked Boaz if he would offer her family redemption through marriage. Redemption was offered in Israel, so that a man’s inheritance could continue with his family even after he had passed away. (To redeem, was to deliver another from distress or bondage.) Boaz had agreed to ask the nearest relative to Naomi, if he wanted to offer redemption, and if he would not, Boaz would marry her and redeem their inheritance. This chapter begins:

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.

Boaz went to the kinsman and in the presence of elders and witnesses, told him that the land of Naomi’s husband had been offered for redemption. He was allowing the man the opportunity to buy from Naomi, through marriage to Ruth of Moab, so that her children would be able to have the 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.

The man declined the offer to redeem the land, because it might have ruined his own inheritance, or because he would not have benefited personally from it. Instead, he told Boaz that he could redeem it, and as was the custom, he gave his shoe to Boaz as a testimony to his refusal. It was part of the law for a man to redeem the widow of his brother (or near kinsman), and when refused the reputation for his refusal would be witnessed and known to others (see Deuteronomy 25). It seemed a bit selfish for this man to refuse, but Ruth was blessed to have the second chance for redemption, through Boaz.

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.

Boaz told the witnesses that he would then purchase the land and belongings of Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, and all that had passed on to their sons, Chilion and Mahlon. He would also take Ruth to be his wife, and any children they had, would be heirs of the inheritance of Elimelech, so that their family line would continue in the land. Verse 11 and 12, sound much like a blessing upon their marriage and his posterity with Ruth.

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.

Ruth and Boaz were married and had a son. She blessed Naomi that day, with her son and a posterity to carry on her name and place in Israel. Naomi took the son and raised him. He was called Obed and became the father of Jesse, who was the father of David the king. In kindness, Boaz fulfilled his promise to Ruth and offered redemption through marriage. In doing so, he gave a full life back to Naomi. I am sure there was joy and rejoicing for both Ruth and Naomi at this time.

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.

This is the family line from Pharez who was an ancestor to Boaz, to kind David. Pharez was the son of Judah, of the twelve sons of Israel, and Tamar, his daughter-in-law (see Genesis 38). This connection is interesting to me, because Pharez was the resulting child of a father, Judah, who refused to allow his younger son to redeem the widow of his first born, and was tricked into becoming the path for redemption to Tamar.

This idea of redemption can teach us of the redemption which we all should seek. We, like Naomi and Ruth, have an inheritance promised to us. This is an inheritance from our Father in Heaven, but we have been separated from this inheritance through the spiritual death of our first parents, and our own resulting spiritual death. We are separated from God, and cannot receive the inheritance in the state that we find ourselves in at this time. We live here on this earth, in the spiritual state much like of physical state of widows in Israel. When we realize that we have our spiritual brother, Jesus Christ, nearby, as they learned of Boaz, we can turn to Christ, and plead for His offering of redemption. He has the power to offer it to us, because he paid the great and infinite cost of the atonement. If we are virtuous, He will offer us this redemption, through our personal covenants with Him. When we make and keep the covenants we make with God, we make our inheritance sure, just as the marriage and bearing of a son to Ruth and Boaz made Naomi’s inheritance sure. And much like I believe there would have been joy and rejoicing in the family of Ruth, and believe there will be great joy and rejoicing after our own redemption by the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Jesus-Portrait

I think that it is no coincidence, that we should have this record that teaches us of Tamar, who was to be redeemed through Judah and his son Pharez, which eventually gives us Boaz. Boaz then redeems Ruth and Naomi through his son Obed. Finally, through his line, there is a connection to Jesus Christ, who is the great redeemer of all mankind. The story of Ruth, is a story of redemption: redemption from famine, redemption from an unrighteous nation and redemption through marriage. Redemption is the key to plan of happiness, which allows all mankind the opportunity to return to our heavenly home and to then choose to receive all the blessings that God has in store for us.

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I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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