|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:1-8 This matter depended on the laws given by Moses about inheritances, and doubtless the whole was settled in the regular and legal manner. This kinsman, when he heard the conditions of the bargain, refused it. In like manner many are shy of the great redemption; they are not willing to espouse religion; they have heard well of it, and have nothing to say against it; they will give it their good word, but they are willing to part with it, and cannot be bound to it, for fear of marring their own inheritance in this world. The right was resigned to Boaz. Fair and open dealing in all matters of contract and trade, is what all must make conscience of, who would approve themselves true Israelites, without guile. Honesty will be found the best policy.
Verse 8. - And the kinsman said to Boaz, Acquire for thyself; and drew off his shoe. On the instant that he said, "Acquire for thyself," viz., the land with its living appurtenant, he drew off his shoe and presented it. Josephus allowed his imagination to run off with his memory when, mixing up the historical case before us with the details of the ancient Levirate law (Deuteronomy 25:7-9), which were, in later times at all events, more honored in the breach than in the observance, he represents Boaz as "bidding the woman loose the man's shoe and spit in his face." The actual ceremony was not an insult, but a graphic and inoffensive attestation. Yet it gradually wore out and was superseded. No vestige of it remained in the days of the writer, and the Chaldea Targumist seems to have been scarcely able to realize that such a custom could ever have existed, he represents the anonymous kinsman as drawing off his "right-hand glove" and handing it to Boas. But take note of the German word for "glove," viz., Hand. schuh (a hand-shoe).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, buy it for me,.... Which is repeated to show he gave his full consent to it, that he should make the purchase of it if he pleased, and which he confirmed by the following rite:
so he drew off his shoe; thereby signifying that he relinquished his right to the purchase of the estate, and ceded it to him; the Targum has it,"and Boaz drew off the glove off his right hand, and bought it of him;''and so Aben Ezra,"and Boaz drew off his shoe, and gave it to his kinsman,''as if this was some acknowledgment for yielding his right unto him; and about this there is a great dissension among the Jewish writers (l); one says it was the shoe of Boaz that was plucked off; another says it was the shoe of the kinsman; which latter seems most correct: and it may be observed, that this custom is different from what is enjoined Deuteronomy 25:6 there the woman was to pluck off the shoe of him that refused to marry her, but here the man plucked off his own shoe, who chose not to redeem; nor is there mention of spitting in his face; nor does it appear that Ruth did the one or the other; though Josephus (m) affirms it, and says, that she both plucked off his shoe, and spit in his face; neither of which are mentioned.
(l) Midrash Ruth, fol. 35. 2.((m) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 5. c. 9. sect. 4.)
Ruth 4:8 Parallel Commentaries
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