Ruth 4
Barnes' Notes
Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down.
The gate is the place of concourse, of business, and of justice in Oriental cities (see Judges 19:15 note; Genesis 34:20; Deuteronomy 16:18).

Ho, such a one! - Indicating that the name of the kinsman was either unknown or purposely concealed 1 Samuel 21:2; 2 Kings 6:8.

And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down.
Every city was governed by elders (see Deuteronomy 19:12; Judges 8:14). For the number "ten," compare Exodus 18:25. Probably the presence of, at least, ten elders was necessary to make a lawful public assembly, as among modern Jews ten (a minyon) are necessary to constitute a synagogue.

And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's:
According to the law Leviticus 25:25-28, if any Israelite, through poverty, would sell his possession, the next of kin (the גאל gā'al) had a right to redeem it by paying the value of the number of years remaining until the jubilee (see the marginal reference). This right Boaz advertises the גאל gā'al of, so as to give him the option which the law secured to him of redeeming "our brother Elimelech's" land, i. e. our kinsman's, according to the common use of the term brother, for near relation (see Genesis 13:8; Genesis 24:27; Leviticus 25:25; Numbers 27:4; Judges 9:1).

And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and 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. And he said, I will redeem it.
See the margin; a phrase explained by the act of removing the end of the turban, or the hair, in order to whisper in the ear (see 1 Samuel 9:15 : 2 Samuel 7:27).

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.
Observe the action of the Levirate law. If there had been no one interested but Naomi, she would have sold the land unclogged by any condition, the law of Levirate having no existence in her case. But there was a young widow upon whom the possession of the land would devolve at Naomi's death, and who already had a right of partnership in it, and the law of Levirate did apply in her case. It was, therefore, the duty of the גאל gā'al to marry her and raise up seed to his brother, i. e. his kinsman. And he could not exercise his right of redeeming the land, unless he was willing at the same time to fulfill his obligations to the deceased by marrying the widow. This he was unwilling to do.

And 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.
I mar mine own inheritance - The meaning of these words is doubtful. Some explain them by saying that the גאל gā'al had a wife and children already, and would not introduce strife into his family. Others think that there was a risk (which he would not incur) of the go'el's own name being blotted out from his inheritance Ruth 4:10. Others take the word translated as "mar" in a sense of wasting or spending. If he had to find the purchase-money, and support Naomi and Ruth, his own fortune would be broken down, if, as is likely, he was a man of slender means. Boaz, being "a mighty man of wealth," could afford this.

Redeem thou my right ... - Literally, redeem my redemption - perform that act of redemption which properly belongs to me, but which I cannot perform.

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.
In former time in Israel - Showing that the custom was obsolete in the writer's days. The letter of the law (see the marginal reference) was not strictly followed. It was thought sufficient for the man to pull off his own shoe and give it to the man to whom he ceded his right, in the presence of the elders of his city.

Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe.
And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all 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 of Naomi.
Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of 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.
And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, 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:
See the margin. There is something of a poetical turn in this speech of the elders, and something prophetic in the blessing pronounced by them. It is unique and obscure. The Greek Version (lxx) is unintelligible. Jerome seems to have had a slightly different reading, since he applies both clauses to Ruth. "May she be a pattern of virtue in Ephratah, and have a name famous in Bethlehem." The meaning of "be famous" seems to be, Get thyself a name which shall be celebrated in Bethlehem, as the head of a powerful and illustrious house: literally it is, "proclaim a name," i. e. cause others to proclaim thy name, as in Ruth 4:14.

And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give thee of this young woman.
So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son.
And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel.
Without a kinsman - i. e. Boaz, not the infant Obed.

And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.
And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it.
And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Obed - i. e. serving, with allusion to the service of love and duty which he would render to his grandmother Naomi.

Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron,
It is probable that there was a family book for the house of Pharez, in which their genealogies were preserved, and important bits of history were recorded; and that the Book of Ruth was compiled from it. (See the note at Genesis 2:4)

And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab,
And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon,
And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed,
Salmon begat Boaz - Matthew has preserved the additional interesting information that the mother of Boaz was Rahab Joshua 2; 6. It is possible that the circumstance that the mother of Boaz was a Canaanite may have made him less indisposed to marry Ruth the Moabitess. As regards the whole genealogy in Ruth 4:18-22, it should be remarked that it occurs four times in Scripture, namely, here, 1 Chronicles 2:10-12; Matthew 1:3-6; and Luke 3:32-33, and is of course of singular importance as being the genealogy of our Lord. One or two difficulties in it still remain unsolved.

And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.
Notes on the Bible by Albert Barnes [1834].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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