B The Ceremony To Document The Proceedings
1. The custom of the sandal in transactions.
Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging, to confirm anything: one man took off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was a confirmation in Israel. Therefore the close relative said to Boaz, Buy it for yourself. So he took off his sandal.
a. It was the custom in former times in Israel: Deuteronomy 25:5-10 describes the ceremony conducted when a kinsman declined his responsibility. The one declining removed a sandal and the woman he declined to honor spat in his face. But in this case, because there was no lack of honor was involved, they just did the part of the ceremony involving the sandal.
b. Buy it for yourself: The nearer kinsman said, The land is yours to redeem, because you are also willing to redeem the posterity of Elimelech by taking Ruth as wife, something I am not willing to do.
2. Boazs announcement to the elders and the people.
And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelechs, and all that was Chilions and Mahlons, from the hand of Naomi. Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from his position at the gate. You are witnesses this day.
3. The blessing of the witnesses to the wedding.
Why Did Naomis Husband And Sons Die
Naomi and her husband and two sons were from Bethlehem. Because of a famine, they relocated to Moab, a neighboring country where there was food. While they were there, Naomis husband died, and her two sons married women from Moab, one of whom was named Ruth. And then, within 10 years, both Naomis sons died.
What The Ot Says About Intermarriage W/ Examples
The Mosaic Laws, given by God at Mt Sinai in the mid 1400s BC, established Israel as Gods chosen people. Included in these laws were prohibitions and restrictions against inter-marrying with foreigners to prevent the Israelites from adopting their pagan religions and cultures. Even prior to the law, going back about 600 years to the time of the patriarch Abraham, it was preferable that the chosen line of Isaac not intermarry with the Canaanites . Judahs marriage to an un-named Canaanite produced three sons and led to the lowest point in his life . In contrast, Josephs marriage to the daughter of an Egyptian priest produced Ephraim and Manasseh , two of the namesakes for the twelve tribes of Israel. Moses himself married the Midianite Zipporah after fleeing Egypt to Midain . In Numbers 12, his brother Aaron and sister Mirian used Moses foreign wife as a pretense to question his authority. God responded by striking Mirian with leprosy for a week.
Returning to the Mosaic Laws, we note the following Scriptures prohibiting intermarriage:
We observe that the preceding Scriptures do not universally ban all intermarriage, only those with specific nations for specific reasons. Other Scripture allows marriage with a foreign woman captured in war .
In addition the statutes relating to intermarriage, the law contains the following significant decree in considering the Ruth-Boaz union:
Well further evaluate many of the previously mentioned OT Scriptures in our next section.
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Ruths explicit link to Rachel and Leah occurs in the blessing of the townspeople as they witness Boazs redemption of Ruth and of the land of Elimelech and Mahlon: May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your house like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built up the House of Israel . In the blessing, the townspeople add a specific reference to Judah, the founder of Boazs tribe: May your house be like the house of Perez whom Tamar bore to Judah .
The story of Tamar and Judah is also a story of family continuity achieved by the determination of a woman. Tamar bears twins, Perez and Zerah, after she masquerades as a prostitute to seduce her father-in-law, Judah, who had failed to fulfill his promise to give her his youngest son Shelah as a husband after his two older sons had died while married to her .
The references in the Book of Ruth to Rachel, Leah and Tamar serve not only to welcome Ruth into the Judahite community by linking her with the mothers of that community, they especially lead us to view Ruth in the mold of the heroic women who ensured the preservation of the people of Israel. Thanks to Ruth, the family of Naomi survives. The child born to Ruth and Boaz is a sonborn to Naomi who will renew her life. For Naomi, Ruth is better than seven sons , for she produces what Naomis sons failed to, an heir.
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The Marriage Of Ruth And Boaz
To sum up what weve written thus far, the Mosaic Law appears to prohibit intermarriage only to certain Canaanite nations however, Ezra extends this prohibition to all foreigners on a religious basis. Now that we’ve completed our brief look at some of the prominent intermarriages in the OT, we can turn our attention to the marriage of Ruth and Boaz. In doing so, well further evaluate some of the aforementioned Scripture as it pertains to the questions raised in our introduction.
Ruth was a Moabite from the land of Moab, located across the Dead Sea to the east of Israel. Moab was formed by the incestuous union of Lot and his oldest daughter . The Moabites worshipped a god named Chemosh and one of their idolatrous rituals included child sacrifice. Because of these practices and their oppression of Israel , the Moabites were cursed by God .
So, returning to the question of whether or not the intermarriage between an Israelite and a Moabite forbidden by the covenant law, we see that even though Moab is not named in the forbidden nations of Ex 34:10-16 or Dt 7:1-6, the curse against Moab in Dt 23:3-6 is enough to prevent intermarriage between an Israeli and a Moabite. Some scholars have made an attempt to validate the marriage of Ruth and Boaz by claiming that Ruth was not really a Moabite, but a member of one of the trans-Jordan tribes of Israel who happened to live in the land of Moab, but this theory conflicts with the text of the first chapter of the Book of Ruth.
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A The Nearer Kinsman Declines His Right Of Redemption
1. Boaz meets the nearer kinsman at the city gates.
Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz had spoken came by. So Boaz said, Come aside, friend, sit down here. So he came aside and sat down. And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit down here. So they sat down.
a. Now Boaz went: The previous chapter left us at a dramatic point. Ruth and Boaz were obviously in love and wanted to get married, with Boaz exercising the right of the goel the kinsman-redeemer. Yet, there was a kinsman closer to Ruth and he had priority. Would he claim the right of kinsman-redeemer towards Ruth, and keep her and Boaz from coming together?
b. Boaz went up to the gate: The gate of the city was always the place where the esteemed and honorable men of the city sat. For an ancient city in Israel it was a combination of a city council chamber and a courtroom.
i. The city gate was A kind of outdoor court, the place were judicial matters were resolved by the elders and those who had earned the confidence and respect of the people a place for business and as a kind of forum or public meeting place.
c. The near kinsman of who Boaz had spoken came by: Boaz surprised Ruth in Ruth 3:12 by telling her there was a nearer kinsman than himself. Now this man came by the city gates as Boaz sat there.
2. Boaz asks the nearer kinsman to redeem the land of Naomi .
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Lessons We Can Learn From The Story Of Ruth And Boaz
There is always a bigger story. We, like Naomi, are prone to desperation in situations. God guided in unseen ways to bring Ruth and Boaz together. Though the events may have seemed circumstantial they accomplished eternal import.
God is at the helm. His Sovereignty encompasses our lives and moves happenings to accomplish His will. Ruth and Boaz found each other because a Sovereign Hand lead in the everyday affairs of their lives.
Lovingkindness is a divine attribute. Boaz and Ruths coming together is much more than a sweet Cinderella story. Lovingkindness in action and affection is an attribute of God the Father. One whose life belongs to Christ, who is filled with His Spirit will reproduce His fruits. Christian faith is marked by lovingkindness.
Jesus is the Ultimate Redeemer. Boaz and Ruths love story pictured something yet to come. Jesus, our true Kinsman-Redeemer came that we might have life. His lovingkindness rescued us from our sins and redeemed us from eternal separation.
Joy and hope are never out of grasp. No matter how dark life becomes, Jesus is still our joy and hope for eternity. Happily ever after in this life is just a shadow of the glorious truth that awaits.
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The Story Of Ruth And Naomi
Ruth was a Moabite woman, from a country that was one of Israels traditional enemies. She was an outsider. But she married an Israelite and joined his family while they were living in Moab.
Her husband died how we dont know, as did her brother-in-law, also a Moabite, and her father-in-law.
When this happened, her mother-in-law Naomi decided she had no alternative but to return to her homeland, and to the village her family came from Bethlehem.
Map 5 at Bible Maps shows how far Moab is from Bethlehem- a long journey for an older woman.
Fond as she was of her two daughters-in-law, Naomi prepared to say good-bye to both of them.
What Happened To Ruth Before She Met Boaz
Even before Ruth met Boaz, her story of devotion honored God. Little did Ruth know how her actions on the road to Bethlehem toward her mother-in-law would endear her to the heart of Boaz, a man she hadnt yet met.
The story begins with Ruths deceased husbands mother, Naomi. Living in a pagan country away from her beloved Bethlehem, Naomi lost first her husband Elimelech and then both her sons Mahlon and Chilion. Naomis heart broke with grief. Few fates could be worse for a woman at that time than to be left without a husband or sons. It signified the loss of income, position, and support.
Dont call me Naomi, she said to those who had known her before. Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty Ruth 1:20-21 NIV.
Orpah and Ruth, her sons wives, pledged themselves to return with her to Bethlehem, the place shed once called home. Although Naomi convinced Orpah, to return to her village, Ruth could not be dissuaded.
Ruths poignant plea goes straight to the heart. Dont urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God Ruth 1:16 NIV.
Her declaration promised faithfulness not only to the mother of her deceased husband but to another people and to the One True God. Such profound loyalty eventually brought Ruth to be named in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
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Does Ruth Marry Boaz
One day, she met the owner of a field named Boaz, who received her kindly. Naomi urged Ruth to return to Boaz at night and uncover his feetan invitation to have relations with her. After they , Ruth bore Boaz a son named Obed, the future father of Jesse, who would become the father of King David.
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Did Boaz Already Have Another Wife When He Married Ruth
Q. I see that you are posting about Ruth on your blog. I have two questions for your, a little more in depth. Here goes:
1) Having translated the book of Ruth, Im curious about the poetic lines that Ruth recites to Naomi when she makes her pledge in chapter 2. Im wondering if you know where these words come from in Hebrew culture? Given the marriage themes in the book, I have wondered if they might have been part of the ancient Israelite marital vows or something similar. The poetry absolutely stands out there. Any insight on this?
2) I have also heard the theory that Boaz was already married when this story happened, and that he probably took Ruth as a second wife . I think this view is based on the fact that Boaz seems to be a wealthy and presumably middle-aged man. What are your thoughts about this?
Thats all. I am enjoying your blog!
Thanks for your kind words and for following up on my recent posts with these questions. Let me begin with the one about Boaz.
While its possible that Boaz did have another wife , it doesnt say anywhere in the book that he did, so we shouldnt assume this. What we do know about Boaz, as were told when we first meet him, is that hes a man of standing, prosperous and influential. As I explain in my Joshua-Judges-Ruth study guide:
Ill answer your question about Ruths poetic promise to Naomi in my next post.
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Gods Faithfulness To Us Underlies All Productivity
Overall, the Hebrew Scriptures portray God as the divine Worker, who provides a paradigm for human work. The Bible opens with a picture of God at workspeaking, creating, forming, building. Throughout the Hebrew Bible, God not only appears as the subject of many work verbs, but people often refer to him metaphorically as Worker. Throughout the Hebrew Bible God not only engages in many kinds of work himself, he also commands the people of Israel to work according to the divine pattern . That is, God works directly, and God works through people.
The main characters in the book of Ruth acknowledged God as the foundation for their work by the way they bless each other and through their repeated declarations of faith. Some of these expressions are praise for actions God has already taken . Others are pleas for divine blessing , or presence , or kindness . A third group involves more specific requests for divine action. May God grant rest . May God make Ruth an equal of Rachel and Leah . The blessing in Ruth 2:12 is particularly significant: May the Lord reward you for your deeds, and may you have a full reward from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge! All of these blessings expressed the assurance that God is at work to provide for his people.