Read Ruth 4
Boaz Marries Ruth
4 Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat down there just as the guardian-redeemer he had mentioned came along. Boaz said, “Come over here, my friend, and sit down.” So he went over and sat down.
2 Boaz took ten of the elders of the town and said, “Sit here,” and they did so. 3 Then he said to the guardian-redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our relative Elimelek. 4 I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.”
“I will redeem it,” he said.
5 Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.”
6 At this, the guardian-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.”
7 (Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel.)
8 So the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it yourself.” And he removed his sandal.
9 Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelek, Kilion and Mahlon. 10 I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. Today you are witnesses!”
11 Then the elders and all the people at the gate said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the family of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. 12 Through the offspring the Lord gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.”
Naomi Gains a Son
13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14 The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”
16 Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. 17 The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
The Genealogy of David
18 This, then, is the family line of Perez:
Perez was the father of Hezron,
19 Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab,
20 Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
21 Salmon the father of Boaz,
Boaz the father of Obed,
22 Obed the father of Jesse,
and Jesse the father of David.
To really appreciate Ruth 4, let’s look back at Ruth 1. Consider all the sadness that starts the story of Ruth: Naomi’s family left their homeland because of famine. Then her husband died. Her sons didn’t have any kids for years, and then her sons died too. Naomi felt like the Lord’s hand had “turned against” her (1:13). She told her daughters-in-law not to follow her, since she would never have a son for them to marry (1:11). In essence, she thought there was no future for Ruth with her, and yet Ruth was determined to bind herself to Naomi and Naomi’s God with profound loyalty and love.
Now consider the way this story ends in chapter 4: God provides for Naomi and Ruth with Boaz. Ruth’s future is not widowhood and destitution as Naomi predicted. When Ruth has a baby, it’s as if “Naomi has a son!” in the form of a grandson (4:17). And then we see that this son is actually going to be the grandfather of David, the ancestor of Jesus, the Savior of the world (4:22).
This is not just about how a sad story turns out okay in the end. God mysteriously and beautifully works something beyond wonderful through the obedient acts of regular people facing suffering and uncertainty. God is quietly working through the whole story, but the characters don’t see it right away. Back in chapter 1, Naomi couldn’t see above the mountains of bitterness surrounding her. At the time, she wasn’t even talking about the possibility of redemption with Boaz. She didn’t see that God had made a way home for her when the famine in her homeland lifted. She told others that she was returning “empty,” even though she had loyal Ruth right there by her side (1:21).
She didn’t see it, but God was providing already! Even after Ruth had her baby, Obed, none of the characters knew that Obed would be the ancestor of David and Jesus himself! We may not see the fruit of our obedience just yet, but we can believe God is working providentially in our lives right now, and that He will bring about glorious fruit down the line beyond what we might imagine (see also Romans 8:28, Genesis 50:20, 2 Corinthians 4:17). We focus on faithful, courageous obedience; God takes care of the consequences of that obedience, and He works out even our most painful challenges for glorious purposes.
- Like Naomi, do our present sufferings sometimes blind us from seeing how God is providing right now?
- Do you believe God is working out His plans through your obedience today, plans that may go beyond what you might comprehend at the moment?
- Is there anything earthly we hold onto that hinders us from radically loving and committing to others?
For a helpful summary highlighting the beautiful complexities of the book of Ruth, check out this article from The Bible Project.
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