Reading For Thursday Ruth 4:1-12
Early the next morning Boaz went to the city gate. During this time in many cities, the gate complex was the center of social life, and legal judgments were often rendered there. Before Boaz would be able to perform his role as the kinsman-redeemer of Naomi and Ruth, a legal proceeding would be required. As the nearer kinsman passed by, Boaz called him to turn aside and sit down and at the same time Boaz asked ten of the elders of the city to sit down in order to witness the proceedings. Apparently the right of the Redeemer was exercised according to an order of kinship priority that is found in Leviticus 25:49. The order is the paternal uncle, his son, then other relatives. Boaz officially notified the closest kinsman that Naomi had to put her husband’s property up for sale. This meant that the closest kinsman had the right of purchase. Boaz indicates that he might be willing to purchase the property, but he has no legal right to do so. The closest kinsman was entirely willing to make the purchase. Apparently he thought that the property belonged solely to Naomi and that his duty would end with the purchase of the field from her. However, when he learned that the transaction would include marriage with Ruth, he withdrew. He felt that marriage to Ruth would in some way jeopardize his own inheritance.
Transfer of the legal rights of the Redeemer was symbolized by the removal of a sandal. In all likelihood, it was the closest relative that gave the sandal to Boaz in the presence of the elders. Boaz then announced before the witnesses and all the people that he had acquired from Naomi all which once had belonged to her husband and sons. Also, Boaz proudly declares that he had also acquired Ruth as his wife. The legal terminology is the same concerning the acquisition of the property and the wife, but Boaz clearly distinguishes between the acquisition of the property and the marriage to Ruth. Apparently, this ceremony attracted many of the townspeople of Bethlehem, and they seem most happy to see these two impoverished women redeemed by the legal intervention of Boaz.
Boaz boldly announces before these witnesses that he is happy to perform the responsibility of the Levirate marriage and raise up a descendant for Mahlon. The people in the gate give a proper response, and then they pronounce a blessing on Ruth and Boaz. They prayed that God would make her as Rachel and Leah that built up the house of Israel. Regarding Boaz the people prayed for wealth and fame. They prayed that his household would be like that of Perez, the son of Judah. Why Perez? Probably because he too was the offspring of Levirate marriage similar to that of Ruth and Boaz.
Thing To Consider:
- How does Boaz show wisdom in this legal matter?
- What did redemption actually cost? What risk was involved?
- What does Boaz announcement tell you about his feelings for Ruth?
- What does the people's response tell you about his reputation in the community?