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An Inheritance—Ruth 4:1–10

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An Inheritance

August 28, 2011

Lesson: Ruth 4:1–10

Key Verse: Ruth 4:5

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Introduction

Boaz was chosen as Naomi’s kinsman. Job was easily condemned by his so-called friends: “How long will ye torment my soul, and break me in pieces with words?” (Job 19:1). They were playing ‘god’ with the life of Job: “Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me. Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh?” (19:21–22). There is neither pity nor hope of redemption in the actions of men, whether without or within the congregations of believers. Job knew that only a redeemer-kinsman could save his life: “For I know that my redeemer (kinsman) liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (19:25–26). Job would know the truth of the words of his Redeemer-Kinsman, Christ Jesus: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:25–26). Boaz, as the kinsman elect of Naomi, is a revelation of the Kinsman Elect of God the Father, Christ Jesus.

Leviticus 25:25 gives us the understanding of what a kinsman is: “If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem (‘gaal’-kinsman; i.e., to ransom, to redeem) it, then shall he redeem (‘gaal’) that which his brother sold.” Naomi speaks to Ruth of Boaz as a kinsman: “Blessed be he of the Lord, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. …The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen” (Ruth 2:20). Christ is our Kinsman: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it written Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Gal. 3:13). For God the Father “hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21). Our Kinsman paid the ransom price!

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The Closer Kinsman—Ruth 4:1–5

Naomi knew that Boaz would see that she would receive a kinsman; saying to Ruth, “Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day” (3:18). Boaz went to one who was a closer kinsman than he; and spoke to him, “Ho, such a one! Turn aside, sit down here.” He also called together “ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here.” The kinsman and the witnesses of the elders sat with Boaz. Boaz stated the case to the kinsman, “Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech’s: and I thought to advertise thee, saying, But it 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.” The kinsman replied, “I will redeem it.”

Though the land would add to his own estate, the kinsman thinks twice about marrying Ruth. It seems that Naomi desires that the inheritance, which she lost, would be more than returned if the redemption included the blessing of Ruth becoming the wife of the kinsman. We see the providential purpose and work of the Lord whereby Christ Jesus would be the true Kinsman-Redeemer of His people. Thus Boaz includes Ruth in the redemption of Naomi: “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.” For whatever reason the kinsman without a name thought it better not to have a wife attached to the inheritance. Boaz, by the witness of the elders, revealed his compassion for Naomi and Ruth, and his desire to do things honestly and open, with regard to that which is right.

Discussion: Why did Boaz call the kinsman and elders together?

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The Name of Elimelech—Ruth 4:6–10

The kinsman replies to Boaz, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it.” The kinsman rightly made his decision on the truth that he thought it would hurt his own inheritance. Therefore, according to the “manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and give it to his neighbor; and this was a testimony in Israel. Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe.” Thus those who were there witnessed that the kinsman gave to Boaz the right to purchase the land which included the marriage to Ruth.

Boaz said to the elders and to 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 Naomi. Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife 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.”

By the providential grace, and the keeping of His covenant, Ruth became part of that promise, the people saying, “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 Bethlehem” (4:11). Ruth’s lineage could be traced back to Abraham, and was abiding in Moab.

The blessings of the Lord were shown in that He gave Ruth a son 4:13). Ruth bore a son, who, being in the lineal ancestor of Christ, became a witness to those of every nation, that there is a true Savior. These words of Matthew Henry remind us that we should more than value that life in the womb of a mother: “Prayer to God attended the marriage, and praise to him attended the birth of the child. What a pity it is that pious language should not be more used among Christians, or that it should be let fall into formality!” The women of Bethlehem rejoiced, “Blessed be the Lord, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman (one who redeems), that his name may be famous in Israel” (4:14). The name given to the child was ‘Obed,’ meaning, ‘to serve.’

The glorious mystery of the eternal Kinsman would come many years later. For Obed would father, Jesse, who would father David. From the line of David, Christ would come, to be born in Bethlehem. He would be the Redeemer-Kinsman of all those whom the Father would give Him. The time would come when another mother would rejoice in the coming of the Redeemer, saying, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden; for behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation” (Mary, Luke 1:46–50). Come to Christ, who is our Redeemer Kinsman. For in Him alone “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7).

Discussion: What is the true joy of Boaz taking Ruth as his wife?

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Lessons are based on the International Sunday School Lessons for Christian Teaching, copyright © 2011 by the Committee on the Uniform Series.

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