Ruth 4:10
Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead on his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brothers, and from the gate of his place: you are witnesses this day.
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Ruth 4:10. Ruth the Moabitess have I purchased to be my wife — He had her by the right of the same purchase, and did not succeed into the right of a brother, as mentioned Deuteronomy 25.; for he was not a brother to Elimelech, but only a remote kinsman of the same family, who could not enjoy the land while she lived, unless he would take her with it; to whom it belonged while she lived, and was to go to her issue when she died. From the gate of his place — That is, from among the inhabitants dwelling within the gate of his city, which was Beth-lehem-judah. 4:9-12 Men are ready to seize opportunities for increasing their estates, but few know the value of godliness. Such are the wise men of this world, whom the Lord charges with folly. They attend not to the concerns of their souls, but reject the salvation of Christ, for fear of marring their inheritance. But God did Boaz the honour to bring him into the line of the Messiah, while the kinsman, who was afraid of lessening himself, and marring his inheritance, has his name, family, and inheritance forgotten.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. 10. Ruth the Moabitess … have I purchased to be my wife—This connection Boaz not only might form, since Ruth had embraced the true religion, but he was under a legal necessity of forming it. From the gate of his place, i.e. from among the inhabitants dwelling within the gate of this city, which was Bethlehem-judah. Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife,.... Which was the condition on which the purchase of the land was, that whoever bought that should take her for his wife; nor did Boaz do evil in marrying her, though a Moabitess. Moab was not one of the nations with whom marriage was forbidden; and though it was a Heathenish and idolatrous nation, and so on that account it was not fit and proper to marry with such, yet Ruth was become a proselytess; nor was this contrary to the law in Deuteronomy 23:3, since, according to the sense the Jews give of it, it respects men, and not women, and such men who otherwise were capable of bearing offices in the congregation;"an Ammonite, and a Moabite (they say (n)) are forbidden, and their prohibition is a perpetual one, but their women are free immediately:"

to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance; the name of Mahlon, Ruth's former husband, to whom the inheritance would have come had he lived; the raising up of his name is not upon a son of hers by Boaz, for her firstborn was called Obed, and not Mahlon, and is always spoken of as the son of Boaz, and not of Mahlon, but upon his inheritance, having bought his wife along with it, which the register of the purchase would show, and so cause his name to be remembered; and, as Jarchi says, when Ruth went in and out upon the estate or inheritance, they would say, this was the wife of Mahlon, and so through her his name would be made mention of:

that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of this place; might not be quite forgotten both in the city and in the court, and be remembered no more:

ye are witnesses this day; this is repeated, that they might answer to it, as they do in the next verse.

(n) Misn. Yebamot, c. 8. sect. 3.

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 {f} place: ye are witnesses this day.

(f) Or, of the city where he remained.

10. Moreover Ruth … have I purchased] do I buy, the same word and tense as in Ruth 4:9. This was an additional and voluntary feature of the transaction, due to the goodwill of Boaz, and as such receives the applause and congratulations of the people.

to raise up the name of the dead] One object of the marriage was to secure the preservation of the name of the dead (see on Ruth 4:5); by a legal fiction the child of the marriage would be regarded as the son of Mahlon, Ruth 4:17 (‘a son born to Naomi’).Verse 10. - And likewise Ruth the Moabitess, wife of Machlon, have I acquired to myself to wife, to establish the name of the deceased upon his inheritance, so that the name of the deceased may not be cut off from among his Brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day. This, to Boaz, would be by far the most delightful part of the day's proceedings. His heart would swell with manly pride and devout gratitude when he realized, amid all the cumbrous technicalities of old Hebrew law, that Ruth was his. And he would rejoice all the more, as, in virtue of her connection with Machlon and Elimelech, both of their names would still be encircled with honor, and might, by the blessing of Yahveh, be linked on distinguishingly and lovingly to future generations. Note the expression, "that the name of the deceased may not be cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place." The people who assembled at the gate might on some future day be able to say, "This boy is the heir of Machlon and Elimelech, who once migrated to Moab." Boaz then called ten of the elders of the city as witnesses of the business to be taken in hand, and said to the redeemer in their presence, "The piece of field which belonged to our brother (i.e., our relative) Elimelech (as an hereditary family possession), Naomi has sold, and I have thought (lit. 'I said,' sc., to myself; cf. Genesis 17:17; Genesis 27:41), I will open thine ear (i.e., make it known, disclose it): get it before those who sit here, and (indeed) before the elders of my people." As the field had been sold to another, getting it (קנה) could only be accomplished by virtue of the right of redemption. Boaz therefore proceeded to say, "If thou wilt redeem, redeem; but if thou wilt not redeem, tell me, that I may know it: for there is not beside thee (any one more nearly entitled) to redeem, and I am (the next) after thee." היּשׁבים is rendered by many, those dwelling, and supposed to refer to the inhabitants of Bethlehem. But we could hardly think of the inhabitants generally as present, as the word "before" would require, even if, according to Ruth 4:9, there were a number of persons present besides the elders. Moreover they would not have been mentioned first, but, like "all the people" in Ruth 4:9, would have been placed after the elders as the principal witnesses. On these grounds, the word must be taken in the sense of sitting, and, like the verb in Ruth 4:2, be understood as referring to the elders present; and the words "before the elders of my people" must be regarded as explanatory. The expression יגאל (third pers.) is striking, as we should expect the second person, which is not only found in the Septuagint, but also in several codices, and is apparently required by the context. It is true that the third person may be defended, as it has been by Seb. Schmidt and others, on the assumption that Boaz turned towards the elders and uttered the words as addressed to them, and therefore spoke of the redeemer as a third person: "But if he, the redeemer there, will not redeem." But as the direct appeal to the redeemer himself is resumed immediately afterwards, the supposition, to our mind at least, is a very harsh one. The person addressed said, "I will redeem." Boaz then gave him this further explanation (Ruth 4:5): "On the day that thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou buyest it of the hand of Ruth the Moabitess, of the wife of the deceased (Mahlon, the rightful heir of the field), to set up (that thou mayest set up) the name of the deceased upon his inheritance." From the meaning and context, the form קניתי must be the second pers. masc.; the yod at the end no doubt crept in through an error of the pen, or else from a ו, so that the word is either to be read קנית (according to the Keri) or קניתו, "thou buyest it." So far as the fact itself was concerned, the field, which Naomi had sold from want, was the hereditary property of her deceased husband, and ought therefore to descend to her sons according to the standing rule of right; and in this respect, therefore, it was Ruth's property quite as much as Naomi's. From the negotiation between Boaz and the nearer redeemer, it is very evident that Naomi had sold the field which was the hereditary property of her husband, and was lawfully entitled to sell it. But as landed property did not descend to wives according to the Israelitish law, but only to children, and when there were no children, to the nearest relatives of the husband (Numbers 27:8-11), when Elimelech died his field properly descended to his sons; and when they died without children, it ought to have passed to his nearest relations. Hence the question arises, what right had Naomi to sell her husband's field as her own property? The Rabbins suppose that the field had been presented to Naomi and Ruth by their husbands (vid., Selden, de success. in bona def. c. 15). But Elimelech could not lawfully give his hereditary property to his wife, as he left sons behind him when he died, and they were the lawful heirs; and Mahlon also had no more right than his father to make such a gift. There is still less foundation for the opinion that Naomi was an heiress, since even if this were the case, it would be altogether inapplicable to the present affair, where the property in question was not a field which Naomi had inherited form her father, but the field of Elimelech and his sons. The true explanation is no doubt the following: The law relating to the inheritance of the landed property of Israelites who died childless did not determine the time when such a possession should pass to the relatives of the deceased, whether immediately after the death of the owner, or not till after the death of the widow who was left behind (vid., Numbers 27:9.). No doubt the latter was the rule established by custom, so that the widow remained in possession of the property as long as she lived; and for that length of time she had the right to sell the property in case of need, since the sale of a field was not an actual sale of the field itself, but simply of the yearly produce until the year of jubilee. Consequently the field of the deceased Elimelech would, strictly speaking, have belonged to his sons, and after their death to Mahlon's widow, since Chilion's widow had remained behind in her own country Moab. But as Elimelech had not only emigrated with his wife and children and died abroad, but his sons had also been with him in the foreign land, and had married and died there, the landed property of their father had not descended to them, but had remained the property of Naomi, Elimelech's widow, in which Ruth, as the widow of the deceased Mahlon, also had a share. Now, in case a widow sold the field of her deceased husband for the time that it was in her possession, on account of poverty, and a relation of her husband redeemed it, it was evidently his duty not only to care for the maintenance of the impoverished widow, but if she were still young, to marry her, and to let the first son born of such a marriage enter into the family of the deceased husband of his wife, so as to inherit the redeemed property, and perpetuate the name and possession of the deceased in Israel. Upon this right, which was founded upon traditional custom, Boaz based this condition, which he set before the nearer redeemer, that if he redeemed the field of Naomi he must also take Ruth, with the obligation to marry her, and through this marriage to set up the name of the deceased upon his inheritance.
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