Respecting Community Standards
Key Verse: “Then said Boaz, 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.”
THE MOSAIC LAW required that when a man died childless, a close relative should marry the widow, thus keeping the deceased’s land in the family. Additionally, if the man died without a son, it was important that his widow remarry so that a son could be born and the family name perpetuated. (Deut. 25:5-10) Ruth and Boaz had fallen in love, desiring to marry, with Boaz fulfilling the role of a kinsman-redeemer, but there was a nearer kinsman who would have the first option of purchasing the property.—Ruth 4:1-4
In the Key Verse, Boaz informs the nearer kinsman he must also take Ruth as his wife, implying that by doing so future children from this union would receive an inheritance of the land as well.
“The kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it. Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel. Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe.”—vss. 6-8
Boaz then joyfully proclaimed that he would redeem both the property and the posterity of Elimelech and claim Ruth to be his wife. All the people present when Boaz made this declaration testified to being witnesses to this arrangement. Boaz married Ruth and she bore him a son named Obed, who later became the ancestor of Jesse, the father of King David. Naomi also was blessed in having the privilege of becoming a nurse to her grandson.—vss. 9-17
There are some interesting correspondences between Boaz and Christ pertaining to the concept of a kinsman–redeemer. The kinsman-redeemer had to be a member of the same family. Regarding Christ Jesus, we read the following concerning his relationship to humanity, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!”—Phil. 2:6-8, New International Version
Boaz, as kinsman-redeemer, purchased land that had been forfeited. Jesus purchased the earth that was sold to Satan through sin. Boaz, as kinsman-redeemer, was not motivated by selfishness, but rather by his love for Ruth. Similarly, Jesus was motivated to serve as a kinsman-redeemer because of his great love for fallen humanity. As kinsman-redeemer, Boaz took Ruth as his bride. Let us faithfully keep our vows of consecrated living that ultimately we will realize the fulfillment of the station to which we have been called, as the bride of Christ, “the Lamb’s wife.”—Rev. 21:9