Ruth 4:3
And he said to the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, sells a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's:
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(3) Naomi selleth . . .—Rather, the portion of land, which belonged to our brother Elimelech. has Naomi sold. The present tense of the English Version seems to suggest that the sale is taking place at this particular time, but the meaning clearly is that Naomi, as the representative of the dead Elimelech had, so far as it was possible for an Israelite to part with a family estate, sold the land to obtain in some sort the means of living. In the year of Jubilee, the property would return to the family, on which it was, so to speak, settled, but Boaz proposes to the Goel that he should redeem the property at once. We might perhaps compare this to the owner of a freehold buying from a leaseholder under him the residue of his lease, so that he may occupy his own estate.

Ruth 4:3. Naomi — Both Naomi and Ruth had an interest in this land during their lives, but he mentions only Naomi, because all was done by her direction; lest the mention of Ruth should raise a suspicion of the necessity of his marrying Ruth, before he had given his answer to the first proposition. Which was our brother Elimelech’s — He calls him their brother, because he was near of kin to them. And he mentions Naomi’s return out of the country of Moab, to intimate that her poverty constrained her to sell her estate which her husband left her.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.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). 3. Naomi … selleth a parcel of land—that is, entertains the idea of selling. In her circumstances she was at liberty to part with it (Le 25:25). Both Naomi and Ruth had an interest in the land during their lives; but Naomi alone was mentioned, not only because she directed all the negotiations, but because the introduction of Ruth's name would awaken a suspicion of the necessity of marrying her, before the first proposition was answered. Both Naomi and Ruth had an interest in this land during their lives, but he mentions only Naomi, partly because all was done by her direction, to which Ruth wholly submitted herself; and partly lest the mention of Ruth should raise a suspicion of the necessity of his marrying Ruth, before he had given his answer to the first proposition.

Selleth a parcel of land; which she might do because of her poverty, Leviticus 25:25. And he said unto the kinsman,.... That is, Boaz said to the kinsman he called to, and who sat down by him before the ten elders that were present:

Naomi, that is come again out of the land of Moab, selleth a parcel of land; meaning, that she was determined upon it, and was about to do it, and would do it quickly, and he had it in commission to propose it to a purchaser:

which was our brother Elimelech's; not in a strict sense, but being akin to the kinsman and himself, and having been a neighbour of them all, and an inhabitant of the place, he is called their brother; though some Jewish writers (f) say, that he was in a strict sense a brother of Boaz and this kinsman, and that Tob, Elimelech, and Boaz, were brethren, and so Tob was reckoned the nearest kinsman, and had the first right to redeem, because he was the elder brother but this does not seem likely; See Gill on Ruth 3:13.

(f) Midrash Ruth, fol. 34. 2.

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:
3. selleth] The tense is perfect, and implies is resolved to sell; the sale does not take place till Ruth 4:9. Cf. Genesis 23:11; Genesis 23:13, for the same idiomatic use of the perfect. Naomi came into possession of her husband’s property after his death, see Ruth 4:9 n.; this was not in accordance with Pentateuchal law, which says nothing about the inheritance of widows.

our brother] in the wider sense of member of a family or race; cf. Exodus 2:11, Leviticus 19:17, Jdg 14:3 etc.Verse 3. - And he said to the kinsman, Naomi, who has returned from the land of Moab, has resolved to sell the portion of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. Boaz, it is evident, had talked over with Ruth the entire details of Naomi's plans, and could thus speak authoritatively. Naomi, we must suppose, had previously taken Ruth into full confidence, so that Boaz could learn at second- hand what in other circumstances he would have learned from Naomi herself. The verb which we have rendered "has resolved to sell," is literally "has sold," and has been so rendered by many expositors, inclusive of Riegler and Wright. The Syriac translator gives the expression thus, "has sold to me." The subsequent context, however, makes it evident that the property had not been sold to any one, and consequently not to Boaz. The perfect verb is to be accounted for on the principle explained by Driver when he says, "The perfect is employed to indicate actions, the accomplishment of which lies indeed in the future, but is regarded as dependent upon such an unalterable determination of the will that it may be spoken of as having actually taken place: thus a resolution, promise, or decree, especially a Divine one, is very frequently announced in the perfect tense. A striking instance is afforded by Ruth (Ruth 4:3) when Boaz, speaking of Naomi's determination to sell her land, says מָכְרָה נָךעמִי, literally, 'has sold' (has resolved to sell. The English idiom would be 'is selling')" ('Treatise on the Use of the Tenses in Hebrew,' pp. 13, 14). In King James's English version the verb is thus freely rendered "selleth." Luther's version is equivalent - beut feil, "offers for sale;" or, as Coverdale renders it, "offereth to sell." Vatable freely renders it as we have done, "has determined to sell" (vendere decrepit) so Drusius (vendere instituit). The kind family feeling of Boaz, shining out m the expression, "our brother Ehmelech," is noteworthy. "Brother" was to him a homely and gracious term for "near kinsman." He then said, "Bring the cloak that thou hast on, and lay hold of it" (to hold it open), and measured for her six measures of barley into it as a present, that she might not to back empty to her mother-in-law (Ruth 3:17). מטפּחת, here and Isaiah 3:22, is a broad upper garment, pallium, possibly only a large shawl. "As the cloaks worn by the ancients were so full, that one part was thrown upon the shoulder, and another gathered up under the arm, Ruth, by holding a certain part, could receive into her bosom the corn which Boaz gave her" (Schrder, De vestit. mul. p. 264). Six (measures of) barley: the measure is not given. According to the Targum and the Rabbins, it was six seahs equals two ephahs. This is certainly incorrect; for Ruth would not have been able to carry that quantity of barley home. When Boaz had given her the barley he measured out, and had sent here away, he also went into the city. This is the correct rendering, as given by the Chaldee, to the words העיר ויּבא; though Jerome referred the words to Ruth, but certainly without any reason, as יבא cannot stand for תּבא. This reading is no doubt found in some of the MSS, but it merely owes its origin to a mistaken interpretation of the words.
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