Redeemed!

Posted: April 8, 2021 in Ruth

Ruth 4, “Redeemed!”

Is there anything better than redemption? To be purchased out of slavery – to be ransomed away from death – to be bought with a price, knowing without doubt that we truly belong to the Lord God – such a thought is almost too wonderful for words! Apart from Jesus, we are enslaved to death, being hopeless in our sinful state, destined to face the wrath of God due our sins. But then Jesus intervened! He went to the cross, shedding His blood for us, paying our debt on our behalf and ransoming us from the grave. This is the glory of redemption!

Normally, when crafting a sermon, we might start with an illustration or some other lighter idea to help prepare us for something with more theological heft, like the idea of redemption. Why start with it right out of the gate? Because that is the subject of final chapter of the book of Ruth. Whereas Chapter 1 began with repentance, Chapter 2 focused on providence, and Chapter 3 focused on surrender, Chapter 4 is all about redemption. It is here that we see the fulfillment of all of the hopes that had been laid out since the book’s beginning. It is no understatement to say that if we miss the idea of redemption, we miss the main meaning of the book of Ruth. Two women were lost, but through the merciful intervention of a righteous man they were redeemed, having been given a home, a life, and a future.

This is what happens to each of us with Jesus. In ourselves, we are lost having no hope of forgiveness or eternal life. In ourselves, we are naught but sinners, treasonous rebels against the God who gave us life and who daily sustains us. But through the intervention of a righteous Man – the Righteous Man – we are redeemed, given everything for which we hope yet can never gain on our own. We are purchased by our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is what is seen in the book of Ruth. It all began with tragedy, the sad result from the judgment of an Israelite man leading his family in rebellion against God as he abandoned the land of the covenant for what he believed were greener pastures. The man Elimelech, along with his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, eventually died in the land of Moab leaving behind three women as widows to mourn them. Although one of the Moabite daughters-in-law returned to the family of her birth, the other loved her mother-in-law Naomi and joined herself to Naomi’s people and the family of faith. Together, Naomi and Ruth returned to Israel childless and impoverished, with nothing to eat other than what Ruth would be able to glean from the fields of Bethlehem.

Undeterred, Ruth went to the fields and God providentially guided her to a worthy and wealthy relative of Elimelech’s who had heard of Ruth’s kindness toward Naomi. The man Boaz was more than willing to help Ruth, ensuring that she took home far more than a gleaning of food, but several weeks’ worth of groceries. This continued throughout the barley and wheat harvests, of which Naomi noticed as a sign of their possible redemption.

At the end of the harvest, Naomi counseled Ruth to go to Boaz privately and present herself for the kindness of redemption, which according to Hebrew law and custom meant that Boaz would pay off the debts of Elimelech and take his dead relative’s household to himself, providing for them as his own family and giving an heir to the man who had died. Boaz understood the custom well and when Ruth presented herself in such godly humility, he showed himself more than willing to help. Ruth could have had any husband in Israel: young, old, rich, handsome, etc. But she surrendered herself willingly to Boaz because this was Naomi’s only hope for redemption. Ruth loved Naomi too much to leave her and was willing to set any of her own comforts aside for her.

Boaz brought up only one potential wrinkle: there was another relative who was next in line. That man had the first right of refusal when it came to redemption before Boaz could step in and do it. Yet even then, the mercy of redemption was going to be granted. By the end of the day, one way or another, Ruth and Naomi would be bought back from hopeless poverty. The only question was who the redeemer was going to be.

Chapter 4 picks up at that point. Boaz does not waste any time but goes straight to resolve the matter. And resolve it, he does! First, we see the act of redemption itself, followed by its wonderful results.

We have our wonderful redemption in Christ Jesus, who gave everything for us…and the results He brings into our lives are glorious!

Ruth 4

  • Redemption (1-12).

1 Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there; and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz had spoken came by. So Boaz said, “Come aside, friend, sit down here.” So he came aside and sat down. 2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down.

  1. If verse 1 sounds like it is picking up in the middle of the story, that’s because it is. In Chapter 3, we saw the nighttime meeting of Boaz and Ruth when he promised to see to her redemption in the morning, and that was exactly what happened. Naomi had assured Ruth that Boaz would not rest until he had concluded the matter and she was right. Although it was not necessarily first light, Boaz was purposeful with his day. Once the town started going about the business of the day, Boaz went straight “up to the gate and sat down.” This was the ancient equivalent of going to city hall. Boaz went to the place where official business was conducted and sat himself there awaiting his turn to be heard. As it turns out, he didn’t have to wait long. The other “close relative” (the other go’el, kinsman-redeemer) just ‘happened’ to come along at the right moment. Boaz didn’t miss a beat and asked the man to take a seat so they could discuss business in front of the city elders.
    1. Question: Was this providence or planning? Boaz had a definite plan for the day but there is no record of him sending word to this relative asking for a city meeting. Certainly, Boaz could have done so (via one of his servants), and perhaps planned to do exactly that once he arranged the city elders to be present. Yet as it turned out, God brought the man along at exactly the right time.
    2. For the Christian, careful planning is wisdom in action. The proverbs tell us that “the plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty,” (Pro 21:5) and that “plans are established by counsel,” (Pro 20:18). The key is to remember that even our most carefully laid plans ought to be submitted to the will of God. Proverbs 16:9 tells us “A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” By all means, be diligent to plan ahead; just be also flexible to the superior plans of Almighty God. He knows what is best and He can redirect us to something better than what we imagined for ourselves. We can trust and rejoice in His providence!
  2. Who was this relative? We don’t know. In a book in which nearly every name is meaningful, it is interesting that there is no name given for the other close relative. Many Bible versions paraphrase it as “friend,” a more accurate translation that communicates the meaning would be closer to “So and So.” The Hebrew terms are what writers would use if they were referring to someone generic but unnamed, like an ancient “John Doe.” It might be better translated, “So Boaz said, ‘Come aside certain someone, sit down here.’” Did Boaz know the man’s name? Of course…he was a relative. The man’s name was purposefully not recorded.
    1. Is this an indication of the man’s disgrace? We know from later in the chapter that he did not follow through on his covenant and family duty, and for selfish reasons at that. That alone is shameful. But there is mercy in his anonymity. This man would have lived with the personal knowledge of having neglected his duty, but his posterity was not forever branded with his shame. His name was not recorded either for good or bad; he simply passed unknown into history.
    2. That said, God knew, just like God knows each of us. God knows our hearts, knowing us better than we know ourselves. He knows our thoughts and our motives. He knows who has faith and who does not. Just like this unnamed man had to eventually answer to God for his sins (both sins of commission and omission), so will each of us. For us, there is one book in which we do want our names recorded: the Lamb’s book of Life. Our inclusion in that book is the only way we are saved from God’s judgment (and it is available to all!).
  3. FYI: Why did Boaz call 10 elders specifically? We don’t know. Later in Jewish history, this was the number necessary as witnesses to a Jewish marriage or to have quorum for a synagogue. Perhaps the custom dates back to this event in Ruth 4.

3 Then he said to the close relative, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. 4 And I thought to inform you, saying, ‘Buy it back in the presence of the inhabitants and the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am next after you.’ ” And he said, “I will redeem it.”

  1. He got straight to the point, describing the situation and speaking of the need and the opportunity for redemption. Everyone in town had known of Naomi’s situation as her return to Bethlehem caused quite a stir. They knew she came back husbandless and childless, with only her daughter-in-law Ruth by her side. She also came back penniless and somehow estranged from her husband’s covenant inheritance of land. Although Boaz mentioned that Naomi “sold the piece of land” that was originally Elimelech’s, we aren’t told the details. We don’t know how it happened or when it occurred. We don’t know if Elimelech sold the land prior to leaving Bethlehem on his way to Moab, or if Naomi lost the land due to the death of her husband and sons, or if somehow the land was sold to provide at least a bit of food for the two women. Whatever had happened, it left Naomi destitute and the land in need of redemption.
  2. And redemption is the main point. Notice the repeated use of the word “redeem”: 5x in one verse. It is the exact same root as the word often translated “close relative” or “kinsman redeemer.” It was technical legal term that related specifically to this kind of situation, when something needed to be purchased back for the family inheritance. – Why did it matter? Remember why anyone in Israel had land in the first place: God. This was not real estate that anyone in Israel earned on their own or was inherently theirs; this was land that belonged to Almighty God and God gave it as a gift to His people. And God distributed it out to His people according to His will, as seen in the latter chapters of the book of Joshua. Thus, the physical land of Israel was not something that the people of Israel could randomly buy, sell, or trade. It needed to stay within the tribes and the clans to whom God gave it. Israelites could make temporary real estate deals, but every 50 years it had to go back according to God’s original distribution.
  3. What did that mean for Boaz and this situation? Redemption was required. The inheritance of Elimelech was required by God to stay within the overall clan to which Elimelech, Boaz, and Cousin So-and-So belonged. Someone had to make this purchase on Elimelech’s behalf. Of course, Boaz was happy to do it, but he couldn’t yet move on it. He spoke openly of his desire to redeem but knew it needed to first be offered it to his relative according to the law. Boaz certainly had his preferences, but he understood that even his preferences needed to be submitted to the word of God. The only way he would proceed was if he could do it the right way.
    1. Don’t miss the point for us: redemption is still required. There is only one way any of us goes to eternal life in heaven: if we have been redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ. Just like the land of Israel belonged to God, so do all of our lives. And just like the land of Israel was sold to someone else, so do our lives belong to death because we have sold ourselves into death through our sin. And there is no buying our own way out. There is no work any of us can do that would purchase our own freedom. The wages of sin is death and we have been sinning since before we can remember. We have an unfathomable number of sins, not even counting our inherent sinful fallen nature. Yet we only have one life to live. This is why we must be redeemed. This is why it is essential we surrender ourselves to our Redeemer, Jesus!
  4. As for the land redemption, Cousin So-and-So initially wanted it. And why not? There would be a bit of expense involved, but it would be worth it as he would grow his own inheritance. After all, although he would have to give a home to Naomi, Naomi was past the age of childbearing. Any land he purchased from the widow of Elimelech would surely go to his own children. As far as land deals go, this one seemed to be a great return on his investment. That was when Boaz hit him with the catch…

5 Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also buy it from Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance.”

  1. There it was: the land came with a bride. Not only would Cousin So-and-So bring Naomi into his home, he would also have Ruth…someone who was of childbearing age. Now there was a responsibility along with the real estate. By law, he would have to try to give a son to Ruth and the inheritance that he purchased through redemption would to that child rather than one bearing his name.

6 And the close relative said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem my right of redemption for yourself, for I cannot redeem it.”

  1. Once he thought of the ramifications, the man refused to be the redeemer. Why? Because he cared more about his land than either the law of Moses or the loving principle behind the law. He did not want to dilute any inheritance that his own sons might receive with a newcomer from another wife. It didn’t matter that it was commanded by God in His word, nor did it matter that the reason God commanded it was for compassion and mercy to be shown to a widow in desperate need. This man looked only to his own needs and acted in selfishness.
    1. Remember what Jesus declared to be the two greatest commandments: (1) to love God with all our heart, soul, and strength, and (2) to love our neighbors as ourselves. Through this man’s selfishness, he broke both He had no respect for the word of God, nor did he have any compassion on those among his own relatives who were in need.
    2. We don’t need to be in this man’s position in ancient Israel to commit the same sort of selfishness. Any time we put ourselves over the word of God, especially in the areas where God’s word instructs us how to relate to other people, we commit the same sin breaking the two greatest commandments. When we refuse to forgive as Jesus instructs us to forgive, we break the commandments. When we refuse to love as Jesus tells us to love, we break the commandments. When we harbor hatred in our hearts towards others (especially other Christian brothers and sisters), we break the commandments. How often we can break the two greatest commandments before we even get out of the house in the morning!
    3. Don’t forget: although we do break many commands of God every day, we need break only one to be guilty of the whole law (Jas 2:10). Again, we require Jesus’ redemption!

7 Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging, to confirm anything: one man took off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was a confirmation in Israel. 8 Therefore the close relative said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself.” So he took off his sandal.

  1. There is some disagreement about the custom. On one hand, there is a specific instruction in Deuteronomy 25 regarding the relative who refused to act as a redeemer. Deuteronomy 25:9–10, “(9) then his brother’s wife shall come to him in the presence of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, spit in his face, and answer and say, ‘So shall it be done to the man who will not build up his brother’s house.’ (10) And his name shall be called in Israel, ‘The house of him who had his sandal removed.’” If it seems harsh and disgraceful, that is because it was. To refuse to provide for one’s own family showed how particularly cruel the individual was, and this rightly deserved condemnation. (FYI: The principle still applies today. Paul wrote that the person who refuses to provide for his family through a willingness to work is worse than an unbeliever. ~ 1 Tim 5:8.)
  2. On the other hand, for as much as the law of Moses is in view on the issue of land and family redemption, this particular interaction does not seem to have the atmosphere of disgrace. It isn’t Ruth who removes the man’s sandal – no one spits in the man’s face – he is not publicly humiliated among the townspeople. Instead, this is said to have been a “custom in former times,” indicating something that took place on a regular basis – something that would not describe the rite of redemption.
  3. Some have suggested that the exchange of a sandal does not indicate a disgrace, so much as it symbolized the right to walk on the land as one’s own property. Deuteronomy also speaks of God giving the Hebrews the land from every place their feet had trod, i.e., anywhere they walked in the Promised Land belonged to them. It is possible that the custom seen in Ruth 4 reflects the same kind of idea.

9 And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, from the hand of Naomi. 10 Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from his position at the gate. You are witnesses this day.”

  1. Remember that Boaz had gathered 10 elders at the city gate before the transaction took place. They served as public witnesses for the purchase. Should any question arise in the future over to whom Elimelech’s land belonged, any one of the ten elders could verify the purchase.
  2. Was money exchanged? Was a title deed composed? None of that is said, but none of that is the main point. The main point is simple: the redemption was now complete! All of Elimelech’s house now belonged to Boaz. More than the land of Elimelech now belonging to Boaz, the surviving women in his home now were under Boaz’s care. Naomi and Ruth were saved, with Ruth becoming the new bride of Boaz.
  3. Notice that Boaz did it for the right reason. Unlike Cousin So-and-So who feared what might happen to his own inheritance, Boaz spoke clearly of his intent: “I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dad through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren.” Even at a personal cost, Boaz was willing to do the right thing. Remember that Boaz was not a young man. He probably already had children. Now he was starting all over again. Additionally, now the inheritance of his other children might decrease a bit with the birth of any future children that would come from Ruth. We are told of one son that she bore, but it seems possible that she would have had several children. Only one would have inherited the land of Elimelech; all the others would share in whatever inheritance Boaz passed to the rest. So yes, this cost Boaz…but it was worth it. Doing the right thing for the glory of God is always worth it!
    1. Our redemption came at great cost, without question. The only begotten beloved Son of God was whipped, beaten, bruised, pierced, and tortured for our sakes when He hung on the cross. There is no doubt that when the wrath of God fell on Jesus, it cost. But gloriously, to God, the cost was worth it! Isaiah prophesied that “it pleased the LORD to bruise Him,” (Isa 53:10), being that it fulfilled the will and plan of God. The apostle John saw how the future multitudes in heaven sing of Jesus, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom,” (Rev 5:12). Our redemption came at great cost, but it also gives great glory to God. He determined that the cost was worth it.
    2. How can we fathom such a gift? It is beyond our comprehension! It will take an eternity for us to wrap our minds around. The best we can do today is to proclaim His praises. May we do so with grateful hearts!

11 And all the people who were at the gate, and the elders, said, “We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman who is coming to your house like Rachel and Leah, the two who built the house of Israel; and may you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. 12 May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring which the LORD will give you from this young woman.”

  1. The city elders approved and gave their blessing to the purchase and to the union. In fact, they gave two blessings/benedictions:
  2. Blessing #1: Rachel and Leah. These were two of the famous wives of Jacob/Israel, sisters who were often jealous of one another especially during the years they gave birth. Interestingly, Rachel is listed first even though the tribe of Judah (which was the correlating tribe over Bethlehem) was born from Leah. Although both women gave birth multiple times, Rachel struggled with barrenness for much of her life. Perhaps this was a hint from the city elders of a potential struggle of Ruth’s with barrenness (which we’ll look at in a moment).
  3. Blessing #2: Perez, borne of Tamar. That Perez was of the lineage of Judah and thus an ancestor to many in Bethlehem is matter of historical record. It’s the mention of Tamar that stands out in the blessing. Recall that Tamar was actually the daughter-in-law of Judah, who was originally married through the process of levirate marriage to two of Judah’s sons (Gen 38). Both his older sons died as a result of God’s judgment on their sin (not unlike Mahlon and Chilion!), and Tamar had to result to deception to gain a son through Judah himself, since he refused to give his third son to her as a husband. The whole affair is rather sordid and an example of when levirate marriage goes wrong with people acting in selfishness rather than selflessness. Yet what God brought out of that situation was wonderful! Judah repented of his sin, grew in his maturity and character, and this ended up being the lineage that led all the way to Boaz (as will soon become clear).
  4. Overall, the blessings were the same: that YHWH God would be glorified in the lives of Boaz and Ruth through the multitude of children that would come from their wedlock. – Not every married couple is blessed with children (as seen through many godly examples in Scripture!), but for those who are, every child is a blessing – every child is a gift. In opposition to those in our culture who deride babies as burdens or unexpected pregnancies as punishment, God sees life as a gift! Children are to be treasured, brought up in the training and admonition of the Lord and the reason for our thanks to God.

Three and a half chapters had held out the hope of redemption for Naomi and Ruth. Finally, it was brought to completion! Boaz went straight to the task, not delaying – he did things according to the word of God – he did things according to the heart of God, not thinking of himself nor considering the cost. In doing so, Boaz becomes a great picture of the Son of God, who did all these things for us in our redemption. 

  • Results (13-22).

13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son.

  1. Result #1: Marriage. This came part-and-parcel with the redemption, but it is important that we see its fulfillment. Boaz did not merely stand in the city gate declaring how he acquired Ruth as his wife; he actually wed her. He followed through on his statement.
    1. So it will be with us and Christ. Although today this is still a promise for the future, the Bible already describes the church as the Bride of Christ. One day, this Bride will be present at the marriage feast of the Lamb (Rev 19). What will it look like? We have only glimpses in the New Testament and the book of Revelation, but it will be wonderful!
  2. Result #2: Children. Although this was one of the primary hopes of redemption, childbearing is by no means guaranteed. Yet the husband and wife were blessed with a baby boy. Notice how the son was born to Ruth: “the LORD gave her conception.” Of course all children are given by the Lord, but there is a deeper implication here: Ruth was previously barren. Although nothing in Chapter 1 is specifically mentioned of her being restrained from getting pregnant while in Moab, she and Mahlon obviously had no children while living outside of Israel. At the time, this may have been viewed as a curse or a judgment, though it surely was not due to any fault of Ruth’s. (Mahlon was a different story! He was judged by God.) Yet whatever sadness she endured during her time of childlessness, we can see at the end of the book that her childlessness was actually a blessing that was part of the plan and provision of God. How so? Think about it: if Ruth had already given birth to children in Moab, she would not have been eligible for redemption upon moving to Israel. Those children would have carried on the name of their deceased father and would have eventually grown to an age to care for Ruth and Naomi (if Naomi had survived). That means that Ruth would never have been married to Boaz, producing no children from him. As becomes clear later in the chapter, that would have completely eliminated David’s family tree, having a massive impact on the Messianic line. Much of what we know of Jesus’ lineage traces back to Ruth’s redemption. And her redemption traces back to her earlier childlessness. What was originally a tragedy was turned by God in His eternal plan to be a blessing for countless generations!
    1. What is it that is a hardship in your life? Although it seems tragic and impossible right now, we can be certain that it has not come as a surprise to God. He has known about this from before the foundation of the world. Trust it to the sovereign plan of God! Paul famously wrote of this idea to the Romans: Romans 8:28–30, “(28) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (29) For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” Notice two things in that: (1) This is promise and guarantee for believers; not for the world. Christians have this assurance; no one else. (2) Whatever else good that God brings out of our trials, His ultimate plan for us is to bring us to Himself in heaven. The things that God allows in our lives right now as believers serve to mold and shape us as believers, continually conforming us to the image of His Son, in which one day everything will be revealed when we stand glorified by the grace of God in heaven. IOW: It isn’t always about now. We tend to look at short-term gains, for the ways God is working good right now. It might not be right now; it might be something that serves a long-term or even eternal purpose. God had a long-term plan with Ruth’s redemption to bring forth Jesus from her lineage. That was an eventuality she never saw in this life; Jesus was born over 1000 years after she died…but that was God’s plan for her. What is God’s plan for you and me? He will reveal it in His time…even if it is in eternity.

14 Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel! 15 And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.”

  1. Result #3: Restoration. Boaz and Ruth were not the only people to receive a public blessing in the redemption; Naomi did as well. This time, the blessing was not pronounced by the elders at the city gates but by the women who initially witnessed Naomi’s return to Bethlehem and were astounded at her trials and grief. Now, the grief was gone! Naomi had been truly restored. No longer was she “Mara,” the bitter one; now she was once again pleasant “Naomi,” who could praise God and declare Him the blessed one for all of His gifts in her life. Notice the reversal from Naomi’s situation in Chapter 1. She originally left Bethlehem full and returned empty; now she was full once again. She left town with two sons; she came back with one daughter-in-law who was better than seven sons. Moreover, God gave Naomi not only the go’el redeemer in Boaz, but also the go’el redeemer of this newborn boy, who would provide for both Naomi and Ruth in their old age.
    1. Does God restore us in our redemption through Jesus? Yes! Though we were once estranged from God, having made ourselves His enemies through our own sin, now we are reconciled to Him. We have renewed and restored fellowship with God, something only possible through Christ. We are restored to things we never realized we lost, prior to our faith in Christ!

16 Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him. 17 Also the neighbor women gave him 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.

  1. Result #4: Generations. Of course, the son born to Boaz and Ruth was already mentioned in verse 13, but what is clear in verses 17 is how the genealogy did not end with this one son. This son went on to have children of his own, eventually showing himself to be the grandfather of the future king David. Multiple generations were impacted by this one act of redemption. On top of that, far more generations were affected by this one family line than only the generations of Boaz. All Israel was affected when David became king and his sons followed in the dynastic line. There was a ripple effect that went out far beyond this one family tree.
    1. So too, with us. For every person who comes to faith in Christ, there are many others impacted by our testimonies. And we pray for many more! Just like our faith is the product of someone else witnessing to us (and from someone who witnessed to them, and so on), so do we carry on the lineage as we share Jesus with others.
  2. Result #5 (the best one!): Messiah! Although this is not directly stated in our text, the ultimate impact of the rise of David’s dynastic line as king of Israel is the true Son of David, the Lord Jesus. This is the lineage from which God sovereignly chose to bring forth His Son. The redemption of Ruth and Naomi has a direct tie to our redemption and the redemption of the rest of creation as Jesus makes right what went wrong in the Garden of Eden. For clarity, by no means is every single human saved – for that, we need repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God crucified for our sins and risen from the dead. But the end of the Bible shows us the eternal state when there will be a new heaven and a new earth, all of which is made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus. The entirety of the redemptive plan of God rests on Jesus, and His family lineage goes straight through Boaz, Ruth, and Naomi.
  3. As for the text, we might need to make couple of notes: First, Naomi helped raise the boy, sharing the role of caregiving. The wording might be a bit confusing for us, as we don’t often think of grandmothers as nurses. One commentary notes that “the word translated ‘nurse’ means guardian rather than wet nurse,” (EBC), hopefully clearing up the confusion. Second, the boy was named by the townspeople, rather than by Boaz and Ruth. Specifically, the name came from “the neighbor women.” There are different thoughts to the meaning of his name. Some translate “Obed” as “worshipper;” others link it to the word for “servant,” suggesting that Obed is short for Obadiah (“servant of Yah”). Either translation is appropriate to the situation. Naomi and Ruth did most definitely worship when the gift of this son was given, and they no doubt raised young Obed to worship the Lord himself. Similarly, both Naomi and Ruth understood their roles as servants of the Lord God, and they desired the same for this baby boy.

18 Now this is the genealogy of Perez: Perez begot Hezron; 19 Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab; 20 Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon; 21 Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed; 22 Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.

  1. Some have viewed this as a later appendix to the book, being that it is a direct break from the narrative of the story as a whole. Yet it is this genealogy (which is an expansion of what was given in verse 17) that is the reason for this book’s existence in the first place. Why would anyone care about two widowed women being redeemed? Because it led to the birth of the greatest king in Israel’s history! And again, more importantly, it led to the King of kings and Lord of lords: Jesus Christ.

Conclusion:

We end with the same question with which we began: Is there anything better than redemption? And the answer is a resounding no. For Naomi and Ruth, it was what they most needed, and it was brought to completion through the selflessness, mercy, and love of Boaz. He was willing to set himself aside that these two women might be redeemed to the glory of God and God used it in a marvelous way, bringing about wonderful results. These were results that not only impacted the immediate lives of these women, but impact each and every one of us today.

Of course, our redemption is not found in an ancient farmer from Bethlehem. It is found in a carpenter who was born in Bethlehem. It is found in the holy Son of God who set His own glory aside, humbling Himself in selflessness, mercy, and love, that He might pay the price for our redemption, reconciling us to God. He deemed it worth the cost and through His work He brings wonderful results.

How we should rejoice in the work of Jesus’ redemption! Every day we wake is another day we can praise God for the gracious gift of His Son. It is a day we can remember the blessedness of God and declare His goodness to those around us. We have been redeemed! We have been purchased and restored unto God and the results from that will last through all eternity.

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