Ruth 4:11
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:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) The Lord . . .—In this way is the nuptial blessing invoked.

Is come.—Rather, is coming.

Rachel—though the younger sister and the junior wife—is put first, probably from her death and burial having associated her with Bethlehem (see Genesis 35:16; Genesis 35:19). In this way, too, we should explain the prophecy of Jeremiah as applied by St. Matthew (Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:18).

Build.—From the Hebrew word to build are derived the words for son and daughter, thus a twofold aspect in the word sometimes appears as here. (See also Genesis 16:2; Genesis 30:3).

Do thou worthily.—The Hebrew phrase (asah khayil) thus rendered, involves the notion of doing a thing with vigour and might. The khayil of a soldier is his valour—of a land, its material resources, and (Proverbs 31:10) the “virtuous woman” of the English Version is literally, woman of khayil. The good wish for Boaz here is that by his energy he may command continual prosperity.

Be famous.—Literally, proclaim a name.

Ruth 4:11. Rachel and Leah — Amiable and fruitful. These two are singled out, because they were of a foreign original, and yet ingrafted into God’s people, as Ruth was; and because of that fertility which God vouchsafed unto them above their predecessors, Sarah and Rebecca. Rachel is placed before Leah, because she was his most lawful and best beloved wife. Which two did build the house of Israel — Were blessed with a numerous posterity. They do not mention the two handmaids, because the former were Jacob’s principal wives, whose servants bare children not for themselves, but their mistresses.

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.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. 11. all the people and the elders, said, We are witnesses—A multitude, doubtless from curiosity or interest, were present on the occasion. There was no signing of deeds; yet was the transfer made, and complete security given, by the public manner in which the whole matter was carried on and concluded.

the Lord make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah—This was the usual bridal benediction.

Like Rachel and like Leah, amiable and fruitful. Those two are singled out, partly because they were of a foreign and heathenish original, and yet ingrafted into God’s people, as Ruth also was; and partly because of that singular fertility which God vouchsafed unto them above their predecessors, Sarah and Rebekah.

Rachel is placed before Leah, because she was his most lawful, and only intended, and chosen, and best beloved wife.

Build the house, i.e. increase the posterity. See Genesis 16:2 Exodus 1:21. Ephratah and Bethlehem, two names of one and the same place; of which See Poole "Ruth 1:2".

And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, we are witnesses,.... Both of the purchase of the estate by Boaz being legally made, and of the marriage of Ruth to him, the condition of the bargain:

the Lord make the woman that is come into thine house; not into his house, strictly and literally taken, the place of his habitation; for both he and she were now at the gate of the city, and as yet she was not introduced into his house; but by his marriage of her she was brought into his family, and was become a principal part of it, being his wife. This is a wish, prayer, or benediction of the elders, of one in the name of the rest, congratulating the married couple, and wishing them well; and particularly that the woman Boaz had married before them, as witnesses, might be

like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: the two wives of Jacob; the Targum adds, with twelve tribes; for though some of the tribes sprung from their maids, which they gave to Jacob, yet the children born of them were reckoned theirs by a moral estimation, as some express it. Rachel is set before Leah, though the youngest, and had the fewest children, because she was his first wife in his intention, and according to the covenant made with her father, though imposed upon and deceived; and she was his more lawful wife, and his most beloved one. By the children of these two, and their maidens, the house or family of Israel was built up, and became a great nation, consisting of twelve tribes, very numerous:

and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem; two names of one and the same place, Genesis 35:19. These words seem to be directed to Boaz, particularly praying that he might continue to do worthy and virtuous actions, as well as increase in wealth and riches, power and authority, and retain his name and fame, and grow in credit and reputation among his fellow citizens.

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 {g} Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem:

(g) Ephratah and Bethlehem are both one.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. like Rachel and like Leah] Genesis 29:31 to Genesis 30:24. May Ruth become the ancestress of a famous race! Dante ranks her fourth after Sarah, Rebecca, Judith, in Paradise; Parad. xxxii. 10 ff. For did build the house of Israel cf. Deuteronomy 25:9 and Genesis 14:2; Genesis 30:3 mg.

do thou worthily] lit. ‘achieve might’; the phrase is sometimes rendered ‘do valiantly,’ e.g. Numbers 24:18, Psalm 60:12; Psalm 118:15 f.; but here it is used in a moral sense, cf. Ruth 3:11. The reference is to Boaz, here and in the next sentence.

and be famous] To obtain this meaning the Hebr. text (lit. ‘proclaim thou a name’) must be slightly altered to ‘and let thy name be proclaimed,’ cf. Ruth 4:14. The LXX. favours this correction. How the wish was fulfilled is shewn in Ruth 4:17.

Verse 11. - And all the people who were in the gateway, and the elders, said, Witnesses! May Yahveh grant that the wife who has come into thy house may be as Rachel and Leah, who built, the two of them, the house of Israel! The people of the city in general, and the venerable elders in particular, were pleased with every step that Boaz had taken. They felt that he had acted a truly honorable part, at once in reference to Naomi, and to Ruth, and to the nearest kinsman, and likewise in reference to themselves as the representatives of the general population. Blessings rose up within their hearts, ascended into heaven, and came down - charged with something Divine as well as something human and humane - in showers upon his head, and upon the head of his bride. When they prayed that the woman who was the choice of their fellow-citizen's heart should be as Rachel and Leah, they simply gave expression to the intensest desire that Israelites could cherish in reference to an esteemed sister. When they spoke of Rachel and Leah - the mothers of Israel - as "building up the house of Israel, they first of all compared the people to a household, and then they passed over from the idea of a household to the idea of a house as containing the household. They added, more particularly in reference to Boaz himself, Do thou manfully in Ephratah. The expression is somewhat peculiar, ringing changes on the peculiar and remarkable term that occurs both in Ruth 2:1 and in Ruth 3:11. The expression is עֲשֵׂה־חַיִל. The people meant, "Act thou the part of a strong, substantial, worthy man." They added, in a kind of enthusiastic exclamation, Proclaim thy name in Bethlehem. They had, however, no reference to any verbal proclamation, or tribute of self-applause. The spirit of ideality had seized them. They meant, "Act the noble part - the part that will without voice proclaim in Bethlehem its own intrinsic nobleness." Ruth 4:11The people and the elders said, "We are witnesses," and desired for Boaz the blessing of the Lord upon this marriage. For Boaz had acted as unselfishly as he had acted honourably in upholding a laudable family custom in Israel. The blessing desired is the greatest blessing of marriage: "The Lord make the woman that shall come into thine house (the participle בּאה refers to what is immediately about to happen) like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel ("build" as in Genesis 16:2; Genesis 30:3); and do thou get power in Ephratah, and make to thyself a name in Bethlehem." חיל עשׂה does not mean "get property or wealth," as in Deuteronomy 8:17, but get power, as in Psalm 60:14 (cf. Proverbs 31:29), sc., by begetting and training worthy sons and daughters. "Make thee a name," literally "call out a name." The meaning of this phrase, which is only used here in this peculiar manner, must be the following: "Make to thyself a well-established name through thy marriage with Ruth, by a host of worthy sons who shall make thy name renowned."
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