Boaz went to the gate of the town. He sat down there

Chapter 4

v1 Boaz went to the gate of the town. He sat down there. Then the other *redeemer came past him. He was the one that Boaz had talked about. Boaz said, ‘My friend, come here and sit down.’ So the man went over and sat down. v2 Boaz had found 10 important men from the town. He said to them, ‘Sit down here’ and they sat down. v3 Boaz said to the other *redeemer, ‘Our brother Elimelech had part of the field. Naomi, who has returned from Moab, wants to sell it. v4 I thought that I ought to tell you about it. I suggest that you buy it. Buy it in front of all the people who are sitting here and in front of our people’s leaders. If you will *redeem it, then *redeem it. But if you will not *redeem it then tell me. Then I will know. There is nobody else to *redeem it except you first and me second.’ ‘Yes, I will *redeem it’, the other man said. v5 Boaz said, ‘On the day that you buy the field from Naomi you also buy it from Ruth. She is the woman from Moab. She is the widow of the dead man. You must take her also to continue the dead man’s name on his land.’ v6 The other *redeemer replied, ‘I cannot *redeem it. If I did, I might put my own land in danger. You *redeem it in my place. I cannot do it.’

Verses 1-6 Boaz arranged a public meeting with this man. There were 10 witnesses. They met at the city’s gate. Men arranged matters there. And they decided what was fair there. It was necessary for men who were not in the same family to witness the arrangements. We do not know this other man’s name. Boaz said that Naomi had land to sell. Boaz had to offer the land to him first because he was a closer relative of Elimelech.

The man was glad to buy the land, so that it would still belong to Elimelech’s relatives. However, Boaz said that he must also marry Ruth. And he must make her son the owner of the land. He must be the one to give Elimelech an *heir. That *heir would have a right to Naomi’s land. This changed everything. The man could not risk his own family’s future. He would have to provide for Ruth’s child or children until they became adults. So, he would have less money to give to his other children. And perhaps, when he died, some of his own land would also belong to Ruth’s child. So again, there would be less land for his other children to own. For these reasons, this man gave Boaz his right to the land and to Ruth.

v7 Now this is how they finished selling or *redeeming anything in earlier times in Israel. A man took off his shoe and gave it to the other man. This was the proper way in Israel. v8 He said to Boaz, ‘You buy it.’ And he took off his shoe. v9 Then Boaz said to the important men and to all the people, ‘Today you saw what I did. I bought from Naomi all that Elimelech, Mahlon and Kilion had. v10 Ruth, the woman from Moab, was the wife of Mahlon. She also is now mine. This means that everyone will remember him. And they will remember where his land was. His family will not forget him and the people from his village will not forget him. You have all seen this today.’ v11 The most important people and everyone else said, ‘We have seen it. We pray that the woman coming into your home will be like Rachel and Leah. These two women built up the house of Israel. We want you to be important in Ephrathah and famous in Bethlehem. v12 We pray that your family will be like the family of Perez, the son of Tamar and Judah. We pray that this will happen because of your child. We pray that the *LORD will give you a child by this young woman.’

Verses 7-10 The man took off his shoe. This was the custom to show that he agreed to give up his rights to the property. He agreed to pass them to another man. Boaz took the shoe from him to make the arrangement final. Then Boaz said that he would take Ruth to be his wife.

Verses 11-12 The agreement was now legal. There were witnesses to it. The witnesses were happy with what had happened. They blessed Boaz. The witnesses prayed that Ruth would be like Rachel and Leah. And they prayed that she would be the mother of a great family. Rachel and Leah were the wives of Jacob, and they were important in the history of God’s people. The 12 family groups of Israel came from these two women. The witnesses also prayed that Boaz would do many good things. They prayed that he would be famous for all these good things.

v13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. He had sex with her. Then she was going to have a baby. The *LORD gave her a baby son. v14 The women said to Naomi, ‘The *LORD is good. Today he has given you a *redeemer. We pray that his name will be famous in all Israel! v15 He will give you a new life. He will give you help when you become old. Your son’s wife loves you. She is better to you than 7 sons. She is the boy’s mother.’ v16 Naomi held the boy in her arms. She took great care of him. v17 The women that lived there said, ‘Naomi has had a son.’ They called him Obed. He was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David.

Verse 13 Ruth and Boaz became husband and wife, and God gave them a son. All through this story, we see God giving good gifts to his people who are true to him.

Verses 14-17 Now Naomi had a child to make her happy, too. Her friends praised God for the baby. And they prayed that the baby would have a good life. Naomi had returned to Bethlehem feeling bitter and empty. Now she again had a child to look after. She was hopeful for the future. Everyone shared her joy. Her name was still Naomi. (They did not call her Mara!) The baby’s name was Obed, which means ‘servant’. Like Boaz and Ruth, he served God.

v18-22 This is the *family tree of Perez:

·        Perez was the father of Hezron.

·        Hezron was the father of Ram.

·        Ram was the father of Amminadab.

·        Amminadab was the father of Nahshon.

·        Nahshon was the father of Salmon.

·        Salmon was the father of Boaz.

·        Boaz was the father of Obed.

·        Obed was the father of Jesse.

·        Jesse was the father of David.

Verses 18-22 Perez was the son of Judah by his *daughter-in-law Tamar, who was also a widow. (See Genesis chapter 38.) Judah’s family gained God’s promise in Genesis 49:8-10. From this family came Boaz and, later, great King David. Jesus, the greatest of all kings, came from Bethlehem from the same family. Jesus was the son of Mary. Like Ruth, she obeyed God and always trusted him. There is no special book in the Bible about Mary, but God has given us this lovely book about Ruth. In this book, we read about ordinary people. They are living as members of God’s family because they respect and obey him. It gives us a pattern for our own lives.

Word List

ancestor ~ any person from the past from whom the families of your father or your mother have come.

barley ~ a type of grain.

daughter-in-law ~ son’s wife.

Ephrathites ~ people that lived in Bethlehem.

family tree ~ a list of your parents, grandparents and so on.

famine ~ time when food plants do not grow.

glean ~ get what other people leave.

grain ~ the seeds of *barley and wheat.

heir ~ the person who receives land or money after his father or family member dies.

judges ~ leaders of Israel who tried to govern as God directed them.

lord ~ one who rules or is a master.

LORD ~ a special name for God that his people use.

Mara ~ a word that means ‘bitter’.

New Testament ~ the second part of the Bible. The writers wrote it after Jesus had lived on the earth.

redeem ~ to pay another person’s debts and to protect them when they cannot help themselves. In the *New Testament, we learn that Jesus redeems his people (see Galatians 3:13-14 and 1 Peter 1:18). He pays the price for what they have done wrong.

scribe ~ a man who writes as his work. People pay him to write letters and records.

shawl ~ a square of cloth; women wear it over their shoulders.

sheaf/sheaves ~ some plants of wheat or *barley tied together.

sister-in-law ~ here it means the wife of your husband’s brother.

The Almighty ~ a name for God, someone more powerful than anyone else.

thresh ~ to beat the *barley and wheat so that the grains fall out.

vinegar ~ what wine becomes if we leave it open to the air.

winnow ~ after *threshing, you winnow to make the *grain separate from the rest of the plant.

worship ~ to love and thank someone (God) more than we love anyone else.