Ruth 4:18-22 (Perez to David – From the Breaker to the Beloved)

Ruth 4:18-22
Perez to David
From the Breaker to the Beloved

Introduction: At 2:24 on the morning of the 10th of September, I was lying in bed, pondering the enormity of what the book of Ruth pictures. I was so overwhelmed with the all that this story details that I actually covered my face and said, “O God, I am so unworthy before you.”

Many views concerning what the book of Ruth is showing us in redemptive history have been given in the past, but none that I know of take into consideration who Elimelech, Mahlon, and Chilion actually picture. Thus, they miss the actual overall significance of what we’re being shown. I will give my thoughts on them and I believe they are correct, but you must decide for yourself after considering the whole.

The story of Ruth is one of five megillah scrolls read each year by observant Jews. It is read at Pentecost. Thus it is particularly intended to picture that time in redemptive history which is known as the church age. It is given to show how Gentiles were brought under the wings of the Lord and how the church will be used to bring the Jewish people back to the Lord.

Text Verse: “God has given them a spirit of stupor,
Eyes that they should not see
And ears that they should not hear,
To this very day.” Romans 11:8

Here He is, tending to the an entire panorama of history which is pictured in a short little book, tucked away in a seemingly remote corner of His word, and yet He has also tended to the individuals in the story as well. In other words, just as they are a part of the story, we are too because we’re in the greater picture being presented.

And so the minute care of the individuals, and the minute care of the greater story, must equate to the same minute care that He dotes on each of us. Ruth and Naomi had to wait until the end to see the results of their story, but we get to see in advance the results of the pictures they’ve made. Things that haven’t happened yet are still known to us.

And so we can trust that because we are a part of that same larger picture, the end will work out just fine for us. I know that if someone were there ready to take my head off for my faith, that this thought would be a huge comfort to me at that time. “He has it all under control and this is just a step I was ordained to take.”

Israel has probably felt like the punching bag of the world for eons, but they won’t always feel that way. Although they don’t know it and haven’t seen the truth of what Ruth pictures, they will someday and then they, like Naomi, will sit contentedly in the presence of their Redeemer, just as she did.

This is a truth that the Bible presents to us and it presents it in types and pictures that have to be drawn out in order to understand their meaning. But the meaning is there and it is to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Generations of Perez (verses 18-22)

18 Now this is the genealogy of Perez:

The term “genealogy” is the Hebrew word toledot. It is the same word used for the first time in Genesis 2:4, which said, “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,” (KJV)

This is the 30th time that a set of genealogies or “generations” has been listed in the Bible. Each comprises either a narration or a list of genealogies which point to God’s work in redemptive history. This word translates over into the Greek word genesis which is used five times in the New Testament, but only once in the same sense from the Old. That time is Matthew 1:1 –

“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.”

Each generation so far has built upon God’s redemptive plans, showing us the main line leading to Christ, such as Noah, Abraham, etc., and those that branch off of that main line, such as Ishmael, Esau, and so on.

This 30th genealogy in the Bible is that of Perez, the son born to Judah and Tamar. From him, a list of 10 names are given. This is a common form of such generational genealogies. From Adam to Noah, 10 generations are listed. From Shem to Terah who is Abraham’s father, there were 10 generations. Here, from Perez the son of Judah, 10 generations will be listed until King David.

18 (con’t) Perez begot Hezron;

Perez means to Break through, break out, or break open. He is “The Breaker.” Hezron means “Enclosure,” such as being enclosed or surrounded by a wall; like a Village.

19 Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab;

Ram means “High,” or “Exalted.” Amminadab means “My Kinsman Is Noble” or “People of the Prince.”

20 Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon;

Nahshon means “Enchanter” or a “Serpent-person,” in essence one who foretells. According to Jewish tradition, he was the first man who entered the Red Sea during the Exodus. Therefore, “Nahshon” is used as an appellation of a brave person who goes first in spite of any danger. Salmon means “Garment” or “Clothed.”

21 Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed;

Boaz means “In Strength” or “In Him is Strength,” meaning “in the Lord is Strength.” Obed means “Servant” or “Serving.”

22 Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.

Jesse means “My Husband,” as well as “Jehovah Exists.” As such the name Jesse contains the most profound notion that human marriage reflects divine revelation. That alone should tell us that this story of marriage in the book of Ruth is there to reveal to us a portion of God’s divine revelation. David means “Beloved.”

Although the dating of this list for Perez cannot be determined precisely, it can come close. William Ussher in his book, The Annals of the World, dates the time of Perez to 2236AM and he says that David was born in 2919AM. And so this chronology here spans about 680 years.

Give the king Your judgments,
O God And Your righteousness to the king’s Son
He will judge Your people with righteousness
And Your poor with justice, so it shall be done

The mountains will bring peace under each church steeple
And the little hills, by righteousness
He will bring justice to the poor of the people
The children of the needy He will save and bless

And He will break in pieces the oppressor
They shall indeed always fear
You As long as the sun and moon endure
Throughout all the generations through

II. Wonderful Pictures

The book of Ruth isn’t just a love story, or a story of the redemption of one family in Israel. God doesn’t waste words; nothing is superfluous. Also nothing that is needed is left out. Every story is given to show us pictures of other things. Ruth is just a bit longer than many such pictures.

In the first chapter, six people were named. Elimelech, Naomi, Mahlon, Chilion, Orpah, and Ruth. The names of two specific locations were given as well. Bethlehem in Judah and Moab. The family was identified further as being in Ephrathah Bethlehem. Each name’s meaning was explained.

The story began with the words, “Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled.” This then is the time of Israel’s pure theocracy. Eventually, this was replaced by the times of the kings. The people got tired of the way things were and asked for a king. At that time, the Lord said this to Samuel –

“And the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.'” 1 Samuel 8:7

This first period is represented by Elimelech, whose name means “God is King” or “My God is King.” Either way, he represents the time from the giving of the Law of Moses, through the time of the judges until the time of the kings. His wife Naomi represents the Israelite people. Her name means “Pleasantness of the Lord, a perfect name for the people He called as His own.

The two sons then represent the two kingdoms. The first is that of the northern kingdom known as Israel, represented by Chilion. His name means “Wasting Away” and it perfectly describes what happened to these people. They were exiled by Sennacharib, King of Assyria in 722BC and simply wasted away as a kingdom.

Malon, whose name means “Man of Weakness” or “Great Weakness,” represents the southern kingdom known as Judah. They were the bearers of the law, something actually termed as weak by Paul in Romans 8:3. And again in Hebrews 7:18, it says this about the law –

“For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness…” Hebrew 7:18

This then is a story of the people of Israel throughout their history, represented by Naomi who is the only character consistently noted from the beginning to the end of the book. Even though I showed that the movement of Elimelech and his family from Israel couldn’t be considered disobedience, the picture it makes is just the opposite. It reflects the continuous disobedience of the people of Israel.

Throughout their history, the biblical record shows that they incessantly disobeyed God’s commandments and also joined themselves to foreigners in their rebellion against Him. Thus they suffered exile. In their exiles the theocracy and the kingdoms died.

First, Chilion, representing the northern tribes, married off to the world and died as a kingdom. The people turned away, just as did Orpah, whose name means “Back of the Neck.” They turned away from their religion and their homeland. They were married off to foreigners and the kingdom ended.

I explained that Chilion was the elder of the two, but that doesn’t seem to make sense. Didn’t the southern kingdom come first? The answer is “no.” There is a king who is overlooked by almost everyone, and yet he is identified as a king at the same time as King David. Going to 2 Samuel 2, we read this –

“Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. Only the house of Judah followed David. 11 And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.” 2 Samuel 2:10, 11

The kingdom of Judah came after Saul and during the time of Ishbosheth. This is important later in the story of Ruth. Mahlon, the younger son picturing the younger southern kingdom of Judah, returned after their exile, but only through the Gentiles pictured by Ruth. They were subject to Gentile rule from this point on.

They were no longer a kingdom and thus Malon died. The kingdom ended. However, Gentiles clung to them, just as Ruth clung to Naomi. The Edomites, for example, were assimilated into the Jewish people in 129 BC under the rule of John Hyrcanus. Even the New Testament notes such Gentiles, particularly Roman centurions, but others as well who clung to Israel.

The order is exact. First Elimelech died. He departed while the sons remained. Then the two sons died, but Naomi lived on. Naomi, whom it is agreed reflects the people of Israel, and Ruth whom it is agreed reflects the Gentiles, were being prepared for redemption and it would occur in the land of Israel.

The time that Naomi was said to be in Moab while everything happened was “about 10 years.” This number 10, according to EW Bullinger “…signifies the perfection of Divine order. … It implies that nothing is wanting; that the number and order are perfect; that the whole cycle is complete.” The cycle was complete and it was time for a new direction.

When Naomi was about to return to Israel, she said to her daughters in law “Go, return each to her mother’s house. The Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me.” (1:8) When she said that, the word for “dead” was hammetim.  It was plural, not singular. All three entities were dead.

God was about to do a new thing. The time of the weak kingdoms, which were ineffective, had ended. But the line had been preserved, even though the kingship was dead. In Jeremiah 22:24, this is recorded, thus ending Judah’s kingship – “As I live,” says the Lord, ‘though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet on My right hand, yet I would pluck you off.'”

It was this king who was carried away exile to Babylon, thus the kingly line was cut off. In his place, a puppet king, Zedekiah, was installed and he too was eventually removed, the temple was destroyed, and Judah went into exile.

It seemed as if that was the end of the story and that the promise of an everlasting kingship to David had failed, but later in Haggai 2:23, God made a promise to Zerubabbel that someday the kingly line would be restored through him. It would be someone who would come, destroy the Gentile nations, and reestablish Israel’s kingship under a true theocracy once again. Here is that verse –

“‘In that day,’ says the Lord of hosts,
‘I will take you, Zerubbabel
My servant, the son of Shealtiel,’ says the Lord,
‘and will make you like a signet ring;
for I have chosen you,’ says the Lord of hosts.'” Haggai 2:23

The signet was promised to be reestablished through him. His name means, “Seed of Babylon.” He is the link between the genealogies listed in Matthew and Luke. Those records went in different directions at David, one through his son Solomon and one through his son Nathan, but they reunited in Zerubbabel. The line would continue until the fullness of time would come and Christ would be born.

It is at this time that the story says that Namoi heard that “the Lord had visited His people by giving them bread.” The word for “visited” indicates a divine superintendence over the affairs that were occurring. Bread has come to Bethlehem. Jesus, the Bread of Life has arrived.

Upon their return, Naomi said that she wished to be called Mara, not Naomi. She is Bitterness from the Almighty, not Pleasantness of the Lord. Though the name isn’t used again, indicating that she is still Pleasantness of the Lord to the Lord, this state of bitterness remained for her until the final part of the drama was realized.

At this time, Boaz enters the picture, which was at the beginning of Chapter 2. His name means “In Him is strength.” Where Malon, picturing the law, was weak, He pictures Christ who comes in the strength of the Lord. It is His genealogies which are reunited in Zerubbabel. He is the one who will bring back a theocratic kingdom. He is introduced “at the time of the barley harvest.”

Barley, as I explained, is the crop of hairy ears. It signifies awareness. In this case, the time of spiritual awareness has arrived.

This is at the time of the Passover and the Feast of Firstfruits, both fulfilled in the work of Christ. He is our Passover Lamb and He is the Firstborn from the dead.

Ruth is an insert story. A story which really occurred in redemptive history at the time of the judges, but it pictures much of redemptive history. Ruth 2 & 3 are an insert into the insert story. What does that mean? To answer, one needs to remember that Boaz showed up at the time of the Barley harvest.

However, it says at the end of chapter 2 that, “Ruth stayed close by the young women of Boaz, to glean until the end of barley harvest and wheat harvest.” First there is the barley harvest, Christ. Then there is the wheat harvest which pictures the church age. This is symbolized by Pentecost, which is 50 days after the Feast of Firstfruits. It is when the Holy Spirit came to dwell among men.

Because it says that Ruth remained in Boaz’ fields through both the barley and wheat harvests, it is speaking of the entire church age. But, the events of chapter 2, pictured Christ’s passion. We saw this in the meal with the bread, the sour wine, and the parched grain.

Again, in chapter 3, it said “Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor.” This then isn’t chronological. The wheat harvest comes after the Barley harvest even though the end of chapter 2 mentioned that Ruth remained in Boaz’ field’s throughout both harvests, barley and wheat.

In other words, the events of chapter 2, chapter 3, and even a portion of chapter 4 are all an insert, leading to the final events of chapter 4. Christ suffered his passion in chapter 2 and the Gentiles joined him in this, receiving His work and asking to be brought under His redemptive care in chapter 3.

Before that happened, Ruth had attempted to step back from the picture and let Naomi be the one to unite with Boaz. However, this was not the plan. The redemption had to come through Ruth. This is why the Author identified Ruth as a Moabitess four separate times in Chapter 2, but never once in chapter 3.

The plan of redemption means that our foreign status is never considered. With Christ’s work finished, we are no longer strangers. Only in chapter 4 is Ruth again tied to Moab. This is done three times to show that it is through the Christ of the church that God would actually redeem Naomi; the people of Israel.

And that then brings us to the symbolism of Chapter 4 after that insert. Ruth had asked to come under the wings of Boaz in chapter 3. However, Boaz let her know that there was a closer redeemer. And so Boaz had to go to the gates of the city, the place where legal matters are settled to first to straighten out that matter.

This pictures a most unusual encounter which is found in the book of John. There in John 12, it says this –

“Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. 21 Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”
22 Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus.
23 But Jesus answered them, saying, ‘The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.'” John 12:20-24

Before He could be our Redeemer, He had to prove He was qualified where no one else could qualify. He had to die in fulfillment of the law in order for the Gentiles to come under His wings. Everything had to be fulfilled in a particular order, one thing leading to another.

And so as Boaz went to the gate of Bethlehem, Christ went to the cross. The word for gate is shaar. It is the same word used for example in Genesis 28:17 when speaking of the Gate of heaven when Jacob said this –

And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”

In that Genesis sermon, we saw that the gate pictured the work of Christ. The same is true here. The place of heaven’s judgment is being pictured. There at the gate Boaz awaits the closer goel. When he shows up, he isn’t identified by name. Instead a term is used which conceals who he is while revealing his nature.

When called, ten witnesses are brought in. Who are these ten witnesses? They are the Ten Commandments, the representatives of the entire Law of Moses. They are what witness to the standards of God.

The nearer goel is given the details concerning “Naomi who has come back from the country of Moab.” In other words, the people of Israel. They have an inheritance that is in need of redemption. They have no theocracy and no kingdom. To this unnamed goel, the right to redeem is offered. Who is he? He is man under law.

He is any man who is under the Law. In other words, any Israelite male living under the law. Why is he a closer relative to Naomi? Because he is born of a father and a mother of Israel and thus a complete blood relative. Christ is also a near kinsman, but he is only related through the mother. Therefore, any man under law who can meet the demands of the law, has the right to redeem.

Boaz explains his right to him and he agrees to redeem. However, Boaz then throws in the fact that Ruth is a Gentile wife of Mahlon and he must marry her to raise up a son for the name of the dead. With this the redeemer resigns his rights. Why?

The answer is that even if he thought he could keep the law perfectly, as the young man who came to Jesus did, there was more involved than he realized. Jesus highlighted this to him. He is noted in all three of the synoptic gospels. Luke records it this way –

“And he said, ‘All these things I have kept from my youth.’
22 So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, ‘You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’
23 But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.”
Luke 18:21-23

Truly, no one can meet the full measure of God’s law. Thus Israel was given grace once a year on the Day of Atonement. Where they failed under the law, if they confessed, they were forgiven. Thus the law was fulfilled on an individual basis through the death of a substitute.

All failed and all either confessed or they were not forgiven. They were considered free from guilt because of this wonderful provision of grace which came year by year. In the case of the man at the gates with Boaz, he was told that he would have to acquire Ruth. She is a Gentile. And the law anticipated that Gentiles would be brought into the commonwealth of Israel.

This is noted throughout the entire Old Testament, and even in the law itself. First, in Isaiah 49:6 it says this –

“Indeed He says,
‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob,
And to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,
That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.'” Isaiah 49:6

In Romans 15, Paul cites the law in Deuteronomy to also show that this is true. There in Deuteronomy 32:43, it says –

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people;
For He will avenge the blood of His servants,
And render vengeance to His adversaries;
He will provide atonement for His land and His people.”

Man under law, the nearer goel, had the grace of God extended to him on the Day of Atonement, but that went no further. He could not redeem the Gentiles. The ten witnesses, the Ten Commandments – representing the law, testified against him.

Only one who had perfectly fulfilled the law could redeem the land, qualify to marry Ruth, and raise up a son in the name of the dead husband, representing the dead kingship of Judah. And only this person could also redeem the Gentiles. Only Jesus qualifies. Only He was born under the law, but without Adam’s inherited sin.

Only He is known to be in the kingly line which descends from both Nathan and Solomon as testified through His genealogies which meet at Zerubbabel. Only He fulfilled the law as testified by the gospel records. Only He gave His life in fulfillment of that same law. And therefore, only He is able to redeem. No other person could in the past, and no other person will ever be able to. Only Jesus Christ is qualified.

The nearer goel, Man under Law, realized this and thus he plucked off his sandal and handed it Boaz, to Him in Whom is Strength, and in picture – to Christ. In that act, he gave up any future claim to redeem and faded out of history.

We need to remember here what Naomi said to Ruth after the night at the threshing floor. In 3:18 she said, “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.”

While visiting the church during that Genesis 3 sermon, my friend Sergio was checking the Hebrew and Greek of each passage. At the end of that sermon, he came to me and noted that the word Naomi used for “finish” is the Hebrew word kalah. It is the same word used in Genesis 2:1, 2 which says –

“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.”

This same word used by Naomi is translated in the Greek Old Testament as teleo, which not coincidentally, is the last word Jesus uttered on the cross as is recorded in John 19:30 –

“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” (Tetelestai/Teleo) John19:30

The rest which Ruth looked for, the rest that Naomi looked for, and the rest which man has looked for since his fall, it is the same rest which became available to man at the death of Christ on the cross. The Lord finished His work and offered that rest to man.

Man lost that offer at the fall and has sought it out ever since. Christ, through His satisfaction of the law, has restored that opportunity to enter God’s rest once again. In Him, it is finished – once and forever.

Not too long ago, I went to a synagogue to observe their Shabbat service in respect to a friend that was killed. After leaving, the Jewish man that drove me back home told me, “The rabbi of the synagogue perfectly fulfills the 613 laws of the Torah.”

How sad it is that they believe this. There is no man other than Christ who ever did or who ever could. There is no longer a Day of Atonement either. That was fulfilled in Christ. If this is not true, then no person is saved or ever will be saved.

He is our Atonement and apart from Him there is only separation from God. We all must take off our sandal and acknowledge that we have no right to step into His place. The ground where He stands truly is holy. Thus after ceding his right to redeem, the unknown goel is dropped from history, never to be mentioned again. The law is fulfilled and annulled. It is finished.

It is obsolete; it has expired. The law can no longer provide the grace it once did on the Day of Atonement. It is a heresy to claim that the Day of Atonement is yet to be fulfilled. It is finished. And so Boaz makes the statement –

“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.” Ruth 4:9, 10

The word for “dead” here is not plural though like it was in verse 1:8 when Naomi spoke to her daughters in law. It is singular. All are one and all have been acquired in one great act by Christ. Elimelech, the theocracy; Chilion, the older brother and the first kingdom; Mahlon, the younger brother and the second kingdom; and Ruth, the Gentile people – are all His.

What this means is that even the Orpah’s of the world can be redeemed through Christ. He, in one act, redeemed all people for Himself and all rights to the kingdoms of both Israel and Judah, along with the theocratic rule of Elimelech. In other words, Christ is Lord. He is Jehovah incarnate.

Ruth, the Gentile who has come under His wings will be His wife to raise up the name of the dead – all of the dead mentioned. But this leaves the seemingly odd point from the previous sermon about the child born to them, Obed, being Naomi’s redeemer.

Obed the Servant is introduced and Boaz just as suddenly leaves the picture. Obed is Christ, the Servant. Just as numerous children were born and who pictured Christ at their birth – Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Benjamin, Perez, and others, Obed now fills this role. He is the Servant that Isaiah speaks of many times and the one Paul tells us about in Romans 15:8, 9 –

“Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written:
‘For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles,
And sing to Your name.'” Romans 15:8, 9

This is the reason why Obed was named by the women of Israel and why they exclaimed, “… 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.”

After the church age, Israel will be restored to life. This is depicted in placing Obed in Naomi’s bosom. After all the years of separation and bitterness, Naomi will be redeemed through the child, and Israel will be redeemed through the Servant. Thus, it is an implicit reference to the fact that the law is fulfilled and that this child, Christ, is the embodiment of the law.

This is actually seen in the book of Revelation. During the coming tribulation period, Israel will call on Christ and will be saved in and through this time of trial. There in Revelation, it says this –

“But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.” Revelation 12:14

Just as the women prophesied over Naomi that the child would be a nourisher of Naomi’s old age, so Christ will nourish the redeemed of Israel through the tribulation period and into the kingdom age to come. The pattern is exact and we have been shown in advance of its coming.

And this truth was anticipated in the six measures of barley that passed from Ruth to Naomi, from a Gentile to a Jew in chapter 3. It came from Boaz, picturing Christ, it went through Ruth, picturing the Gentiles, and it was received by Naomi, picturing the bitter Jewish people, awaiting their redemption.

As we saw and as the Bible shows us, despite his intentions to be betrothed to the church, Christ has still maintained compassion for, and a desire to support, Israel until they receive Him as their rightful Redeemer and their King.

It is through the same grace which saved and established the church that the remnant of Israel will be saved, not through the law. Paul explains this in Romans 10:4, where he says, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

We see in this picture that the church was redeemed first through Christ and only afterward will national Israel be redeemed. This is the order which Paul meticulously explains in Romans 9-11 and which also was pictured in the stories of Joseph’s life back in Genesis. It is also mentioned by the prophet Micah –

“Therefore He shall give them up,
Until the time that she who is in labor has given birth;
Then the remnant of His brethren
Shall return to the children of Israel.
And He shall stand and feed His flock In the strength of the Lord,
In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God;
And they shall abide,
For now He shall be great To the ends of the earth;
And this One shall be peace.” Micah 5:3-5

This prophecy from Micah is speaking not of just the time after the Babylonian exile, but of the time after the Roman exile. We know this because only after Ruth becomes Boaz’ wife and after the time of the entire harvest season does Messiah, the greater David rule.

Christ came the first time to serve and to suffer. He will come again to rule and reign. And this is why the narrative closes out with the name of David followed immediately by his genealogy. First, it says, “‘There is a son born to Naomi.’ And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.”

This is given to show the record leading up to David, who is the next major figure to picture Christ in the Bible. His life will anticipate the great coming King who will unite Israel under one eternal kingdom, who will shepherd His people, who will root out every form of wickedness, and whose throne will be established in righteousness.

David is noted here at the end of Ruth because of God’s promises to him which are recorded in 2 Samuel 7:12-16 –

“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. 15 But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”’”

Christ is at this time the Lord of the Gentile church, but he is not yet reigning on His throne from Jerusalem and amidst His people Israel. However, from the look of things, it seems like that is coming soon.

Finally, the book of Ruth closes out with the ten generations from Perez to David. It almost seems like an afterthought and most scholars say it was added later and has no bearing on the narrative. But this is the furthest thing from the truth. If your commentary says that, put a big fat “X” through it… make it a red one for emphasis. This genealogy is an integral part of the book of Ruth and is given for several important reasons.

The first is that there is a requirement under the law which says, “One of illegitimate birth shall not enter the assembly of the Lord; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 23:2

One of illegitimate birth is excluded until the tenth generation. Again, the law says, “None of you shall approach anyone who is near of kin to him, to uncover his nakedness: I am the Lord. The nakedness of your father or the nakedness of your mother you shall not uncover.” Leviticus 18:6, 7

Even though Perez was born before the law, his birth was still considered illegitimate under the law. And so David’s right to rule could be considered invalid. Therefore, the genealogy is given to show that he is in fact the 10th generation from that illegitimate union between Judah and Tamar recorded Genesis 38. Thus David is made known to be qualified to enter the assembly.

Likewise the law says this in Leviticus 18:11 – “The nakedness of your father’s wife’s daughter, begotten by your father—she is your sister—you shall not uncover her nakedness.” Abraham was married to his sister, Sarah, the daughter of his father. Boaz is recorded as the tenth generation from Abraham and therefore David is qualified in this regard as well.

Thirdly, this genealogy bears an unusual stamp that has been missing since before the fall of man. As I said earlier, the word for “genealogy” or “generations” is toledot. The first time the word was used was in Genesis 2:4 – “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,…” (KJV)

The word toledot in Genesis 2:4 was prior to the fall of man. Its spelling was tav, vav dalet, lamed, vav, tav. In other words, there are 2 vavs in the spelling. The next time the word was used was in Genesis 5:1, after the fall of man, and was spelled with one vav. The second vav fell out of the word just as man fell in the garden.

Vav is the sixth letter of the Hebrew aleph-bet and it is pictured by a tent peg. The number 6 in the Bible represents “man” such as man being created on the 6th day. So you see “fallen man” is what’s being relayed. The second vav fell out of the word, just as the man fell from grace.

The word toledot is used 39 times throughout the Old Testament in various places when referring to different groups of people, but it is never spelled with two vavs again until this genealogy at the end of Ruth. In every occurrence between Genesis and Ruth, and those after Ruth, one or both of the vavs is missing.

But in this genealogy, the lineage of King David is given and the second vav is restored. Up until then, God was working through various people and various covenants. These were to Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses. The final covenant is to David.

As I said at the beginning of this sermon, this is the 30th time that the word “toledot” is used in the Bible. As always, when considering a number, I go to Bullinger’s work to see what he says about that number. He says that 30 “…being 3 x 10, denotes in a higher degree the perfection of Divine order, as marking the right moment.”

And doesn’t that fit perfectly? The 30th instance of the word is the right moment for the vav to be reinstated into the line leading to Christ. David is the final peg in the line of covenants prior to Christ’s coming. At this time, the second vav is reintroduced to the word toledot to indicate that the restoration of fallen man would come through the line of David.

In all, these are the only two times in the whole Bible that the word toledot is spelled with two vav’s. Thus they should form both a contrast and a confirmation. In contrast, one was before the fall of man, the other was after it.

In one, man had no knowledge of good and evil; after it, he possessed it. In one, there was no need of a Redeemer; in the other there was such a need. In the first, man was destined to live forever; in the second man was destined to die.

In other words, everything that was possessed before the fall is in contrast to that after the fall. However, in confirmation of the two, they show that God has a plan and that it is being worked out. What was lost will be restored.

The Lord that was seen in the Garden is anticipated in the restored earth. Man was whole and man will be made whole again. It is all seen in this obscure word hidden in this genealogy of Perez through David.

The 39 toledots in the Bible correspond to the 39 books of the Old Testament. It is as if they are anticipating the coming Christ and His work. The fortieth such generation is the one in Matthew. To understand the significance of the number 40 we go again to Bullinger –

He says that 40 is associated “with a period of probation, trial, and chastisement. It is the product of 5 and 8, and points to the action of grace (5), leading to and ending in revival and renewal (8).”

In Christ, the time of trial and chastisement has ended. In Christ there is grace, revival, and renewal. If you are born again through Him, you are no longer fallen, but complete and alive forevermore. The likeness of God that was given at the creation was lost, but that likeness is restored in us when we call on Jesus as our Savior.

That’s what these little hidden things in the Bible are telling us. Paul explains this mystery in 1 Corinthians 15:48, 49 –

As was the man of dust (that’s Adam – the fallen man, the man without the tav), so also are those who are made of dust (there is something missing); and as is the heavenly Man (full and complete), so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust (fallen and earthly), we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man (restored and complete). 1 Corinthians 15:48, 49 (Charlie Garrett’s parenthetical inserts.)

Forth, the ten names of this genealogy, make a picture of the work of Christ to come. They are Perez, Hezron, Ram, Amminadab, Nahshon, Salmon, Boaz, Obed, Jesse, and David. Translated, they say, “Break Through, Enclosure, Exalted, My Kinsman is Nobel, Enchanter, Clothed, In Him is Strength, Servant, My Husband, Beloved”

Obviously we have to insert our connectors to these names, and without trying to stretch it too far, it would then say, “The One who broke through death is exalted, He is my noble Kinsman, the foreseer, clothed in the strength of the Lord, a Servant is my husband, beloved.” It is a picture of the work of the Lord Jesus.

And a fifth reason for this genealogy goes back to the story of Judah and Tamar. In that story, Tamar received the pledge of Judah which consisted of his signet, cord, and staff. The Hebrew term was eravon, a guarantee or a deposit. That deposit belonged to Tamar until it was returned to Judah.

That pictured the church age as we saw then. This genealogy and the story of Ruth takes us from the church age through to the return of the people of Israel and the time of the Kingdom age. The placing of Obed in Naomi’s lap pictures the redemption of Israel of the future, after the church age. This then is looking forward to the tribulation and then the millennial reign of Christ.

And so the genealogy is taking us from Perez, the Breaker of death, all the way through to David, the Beloved King on His throne – each picturing Christ – from advent to advent. The interim period is the church age. There are probably other reasons for this genealogy, but those are the five points that I gleaned from it.

Thus ends the book of Ruth and the beautiful story of redemption of both Jew and Gentile by the work of Christ. Unfortunately, in order to keep this to a manageable length, a lot of details were skipped over, but there is one that I’d like to share before we close.

In the first Ruth sermon, I mentioned a series of gender discords in the book. In the first chapter, there were nine of them. Seven were spoken by Naomi and two by the Author of the book. Then there is another in relation to Boaz where a word was used to describe him in the masculine once and in the feminine once.

Finally, there is one in chapter 4. Nobody has ever been sure of why they are there and many speculations have been given. However, after much thought and loss of sleep, I believe there may be an answer. These are the discords that are recorded:

In 1:8-13 the two daughters-in-law are referred to by Naomi in the masculine five times. In those same verses, Naomi refers to her sons in the feminine twice. Then in 1:19-22 the Author refers to Naomi and Ruth as they travel from Moab to Bethlehem twice in the masculine. In 4:22, Rachel and Leah, the wives of Jacob are referred to in the masculine.

The reason for these discords, I believe, can be seen when compared to who the people picture. The sons of Naomi picture the two kingdoms. Therefore, any future sons ostensibly born to replace them would also picture kingdoms. The word “kingdom” in the Bible is a feminine word malakhut, and therefore, the sons are spoken of in the feminine.

Naomi pictures the people of Israel. Ruth pictures the Gentiles uniting with the Lord God of Israel. Orpah pictures the Gentiles of the world not yet united to Christ. Leah represents the people under the law, as we saw many times during her life, and Rachel pictures those under grace, again as we saw many times.

In the Bible, people groups are always referred to in the masculine – such as goyim – “Gentiles,” or anashim – “peoples.” This then is why those gender discords are listed in the book of Ruth. It is referring to those bodies or groups of people whom they represent. This fits the picture and it gives an explanation, a reasonable explanation, for those instances of gender discord.

The other gender discord was in the words used to describe Boaz. In 2:1 it was masculine and in 3:2 it was feminine. I explained what I believe was the reason for that gender discord in detail when we did that sermon.

In these instances of gender discord, one has to assume that the pictures I’ve presented are correct and that the plan of redemption shown in Ruth is as I’ve described. They would also have to acknowledge that the dispensational model of history is valid. I believe all of these are sound. But each of us is accountable for what we accept. To me, I firmly believe that God still has a plan for Israel.

No other view of the Bible makes sense without violating Scripture to such a point that anything can mean anything. God is ever faithful and true, even to His unfaithful people whom He has called. He loves them. And He loves us as well, even enough to allow us to make our own choices.

The greatest choice of all, and the choice that will mark our eternal destiny, is what we will do about Jesus Christ. In the end, this wonderful book He has given us is all about Him. If you’ve never understood the plain and simple message of salvation, please give me another minute to share it with you…

Closing Verse: And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 2
For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins. Romans 11:26, 27

Next Week: Exodus 1:1-14 (Bitterness and Bondage in the Land of Egypt) (1st Exodus Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. He knows your trials, troubles, and woes and He is there with you through them. So cling to Him and let Him do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Generations of Pere

Now this is the genealogy of Perez:
It is listed as follows, just as the Bible sez

Perez begot Hezron; Hezron begot Ram next
And Ram begot Amminadab, so says the text

After that Amminadab begot Nahshon, as the Bible so relates
And Nahshon begot Salmon, telling us names but no dates

Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed
Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David

These are the generations which are found in Ruth
And they are carefully placed here for us to learn
They show us glorious things and reveal deep truth
And knowing their meaning should make our hearts yearn

Some glorious day, we will be raptured out of here
We will be in the presence of our wondrous Lord
And shortly afterword purified Israel will shout and cheer
When Christ returns to them, so says the Word

And we have it all laid out before us
Here in detail in the Bible’s pages
All of it pointing to our Lord Jesus
The plan of redemption for all peoples and all ages

Hallelujah to our great Lord and our King!
Hallelujah, let us rejoice and to Him make noise and sing!

Hallelujah and Amen…

41 Toledot





Ruth 4:13-17 (A Restorer of Life)

Ruth 4:13-17
A Restorer of Life

Introduction: Other than just a short genealogy which comprises five verses of names, we will finish the story of Ruth today. Next week, we’ll look into the details and try to piece together what God is showing us in this wonderful story.

For today though, we will see the birth of a son to Boaz and Ruth and how, curiously, it is said to be Naomi’s son. But everything in God’s word has meaning and even those things which seem rather curious have reasonable explanations. This is certainly true with the words about the son who was placed in the lap of Naomi.

Text Verse: “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward.” Psalm 127:3

In a newborn child, there is an infinite amount of possibility. What will the child do? How long will he live? What will he look like, act like, enjoy doing…? The path which a newborn baby will follow is completely unknown to us. But there are so many hopes tied up in the child as well.

The son born in today’s story is given a name based on expectations of what he will do as he grows up. This child and the record of his birth in no small way prefigures the Person and work of Jesus Christ.

It is one of the marvels of God’s word that two people, in the same story, can both picture Him in differing ways. This is one of the great joys of the Bible. All we have to do is read and think, “How does this point to Jesus?” Once we do that, the story makes so much more sense. And so it is with father Boaz and little baby Obed… both are types of Christ.

As always, these treasures are right there in front of our eyes in God’s superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

 I. Boaz and Ruth, and a Son for Naomi (verses 13-15)

13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife;

With the agreement settled at the town’s gate because Boaz was willing and able to fulfill the requirements of the law, Ruth, according to that law, became his legal wife. In chapter one, I noted that some scholars speculate that Mahlon died because he married a Moabite woman.

In essence, it was judgment on his disobedience. Likewise, it was also speculated that no children were born to him during their marriage as punishment as well. However, I argued numerous reasons why these were incorrect assumptions. First, when God judges this way, the Bible will state it.

Secondly, Naomi’s words to her daughters later in that chapter to “return to their gods” implied that they had married into a family who had been following the Lord. Thirdly, Ruth has now married Boaz. If God were to have killed the sons for disobedience by marrying Moabite women, then the same disobedience would be seen in Boaz for him doing so.

Fourth, just because Ruth and Orpah had not borne children cannot be seen as any type of punishment. God withheld children from Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Tamar, among many others, in order to meet His goals. As this verse will show, the Lord will intervene and grant a child to Ruth.

For these and several other reasons I cited, what we read was not punishment on Naomi’s sons, but God working out His plans in redemptive history just as He determines to meet His perfect end for the plan He has established.

13 (con’t) and when he went in to her,

Without being disobedient to either the Law or to the culture of the society, but rather being obedient in all ways, Boaz was granted his wife, and because of this, it says “he went in to her.” It is one of the Bible’s ways of saying they came together in the bed. The beautiful friend became his beautiful wife and companion as well.

13 (con’t) the Lord gave her conception,

There is a stress in verse 13 which is lacking in most translations. It repeats the word “and” five times. Young’s Literal Translation shows the sequence of the thought that we should pay attention to –

And Boaz taketh Ruth, and she becometh his wife, and he goeth in unto her, and Jehovah giveth to her conception, and she beareth a son.

And Boaz took Ruth – according to the Law of Moses, given by the Lord.
And she became his wife – according to the Law of Moses, given by the Lord.
And he went into her – according to the Law of Moses, given by the Lord.
And the Lord (meaning Jehovah) gave to her conception.
And she bore a son – thus a male-child who can fulfill the portion of the law of the Lord concerning raising up a son in the name of the dead, according to the Law of Moses, given by the Lord.

It is a logical sequence of events which shows perfect obedience to the law, acting upon that law, and the Lord ensuring that the allowance of the law will be fulfilled, and this, because a child was conceived and the child was born which turned out to be a son. Every detail shows the hand of the Lord all over the verse.

Despite Boaz having gone into his wife, it is still God who controls the womb. But even then, there is a difference in the workings of God for different individuals. In this verse, it is the Lord, Jehovah, who gave Ruth conception.

This isn’t always the case in Scripture. In Genesis 29, it says that the Lord, meaning Jehovah, opened Leah’s womb to have children. This is the case until the birth of her fourth son Judah. After that, it is God, or elohim, that gave her the final two children. Why would that be?

Likewise, in Genesis 30:22, it says this, “Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb.” Instead of Jehovah, it says elohim, or “God,” for the birth of Rachel’s child, just like Leah’s last two. There is a difference to be noted. The Lord, or Jehovah, is the one who monitors the covenant and directs events especially related to the fulfillment of that covenant and the coming of Christ. This is the same reason why in Genesis 38, when Judah’s sons were deemed unacceptable to carry on the covenant line it said that the Jehovah, not elohim, killed them.

It’s a notable pattern found throughout Scripture. If one had never read the Bible, but was given these insights before reading it, they would be able to more clearly guess what was going to happen in advance of it happening. In the case of the child born to Boaz and Ruth now, it is the Lord, Jehovah, who is noted as giving her conception and so the guess might be that this child would lead to Jesus, and he does.

13 (con’t) and she bore a son.

It is through a son that the name of the dead is to be raised up. Whether they had daughters or not isn’t recorded because this is dealing with redemption and inheritance and therefore the male-child to be born to the union is what the Bible is focused on.

Ruth had desired a son to raise up the name of her dead husband and a male-child is granted. However, as we saw in the previous sermon, Boaz noted this at the gates of the city –

“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.” Ruth 4:9, 10

The word “dead” is singular. Though all that was Elimelech’s, Chilion’s, and Mahlon’s was bought from Naomi, the name of all of them are united in Ruth’s dead husband Mahlon. This child is to be the heir of all three estates. This son will lead to David and then to Jesus.

Matthew Henry shows that because of this, something more wonderful can be proclaimed about the birth of the child –

“Ruth bore a son, through whom thousands and myriads were born to God; and in being the lineal ancestor of Christ, she was instrumental in the happiness of all that shall be saved by him; even of us Gentiles, as well as those of Jewish descent. She was a witness for God to the Gentile world, that he had not utterly forsaken them, but that in due time they should become one with his chosen people, and partake of his salvation.” Matthew Henry

This 13th verse of chapter 4 is the realization of the blessing that was bestowed upon Ruth and Orpah back in Chapter 1. There in the 9th verse, during a time of great grief and sadness, Naomi said this to them –

“The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.”

Ruth has been granted the fulfillment of the petition by Naomi and has indeed found the rest that she sought in the house of her husband. As Lange says about this, “Sorrow in Moab has been changed into happiness in Israel.”

Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name
For His anger may last a moment, but I will tell you this
His favor is for life – honor and blessing; never shame

Weeping may endure for a night
But joy comes in the morning time
When the day turns from darkness to light
God will raise You up in delight sublime

Remember Joseph who suffered many a trial
And also remember Naomi and Ruth
The troubles that came ended after a while
Because they clung to the Lord, the God of truth

14 Then the women said to Naomi,

Who these women are isn’t stated. It could be the midwives at the birth of the child or the collective group of women from Bethlehem. Whichever it is, the last time the women of Bethlehem were mentioned in connection with Naomi was in chapter 1. There this we read this –

“Now the two of them went until they came to Bethlehem. And it happened, when they had come to Bethlehem, that all the city was excited because of them; and the women said, ‘Is this Naomi?'”

20 “But she said to them, ‘Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?'”

Though she said to them “call me Mara,” there is no longer the need for this name. She is no longer Bitter and lacking the Lord’s grace, but she is rather Naomi – the Pleasantness of the Lord. She had left Israel full and returned empty. She was now full again.

She had left Israel in hopes of finding sustenance and instead she found death. Now she has been granted both new and restored life. She, had left with a family and a name, and had come back with a daughter-in-law with no male child to bear the family name. Now she had a family and a name once again.

Throughout all of the time since their return, nothing was heard of the women of Bethlehem in relation to her. She and Ruth alone were noted, indicating their solitary state. Now the women are there at the birth of Naomi’s redeemer, ready to praise the Lord because of her newly found hope and to heap a blessing upon her.

What was lost is regained and the life that seemed futile is now filled with hope and expectation.

14 (con’t) “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a close relative;

A shout of praise is given to the Lord for the great thing which he has done for Naomi! She who had nothing but a daughter in law and an inheritance she couldn’t maintain has now been granted more than she could have imagined. Blessed be the Lord for what He has done! Credit is given where credit is due.

And it was because he has not left her without a close-relative, a goel – a kinsman redeemer. However, there is a giant disagreement among scholars concerning this. It is a divide which separates into one of two factions. The question is, “Who is the goel?”

The scholars at Cambridge say this – “…throughout the story the near kinsman is Boaz. He has done all, and more than all, that could be expected of a go’el; he has redeemed the property, and now (this day) he has secured an heir for Naomi’s family.”

This view is held by many great and studious scholars. But there is another view. John Gill, among other notable names, rightly states that it is the child who is Naomi’s goel, not Boaz. Gill says, “the text speaks of what was done that day, and what is after said in the next verse all relates to the child born.”

This is the answer and it is what will be seen in the fulfillment of the pictures given here. The wording is specific that the women say “this day” when the child is born. Just because Boaz was the goel throughout the story doesn’t mean that he continues to be the goel here.

The Hebrew reads literally, “Blessed be the Lord who has not caused to fail to you a kinsman.” Going back to the previous verse, it said, “And Boaz taketh Ruth, and she becometh his wife, and he goeth in unto her, and Jehovah giveth to her conception, and she beareth a son.”

The text of the Bible gives the credit not to Boaz, but to Jehovah through Boaz. And only when the child is born does the verse say, “Blessed be the Lord who has not caused to fail to you a kinsman.” Were Boaz the kinsman, they could have said this long before the birth of the child.

It is singular that Ruth is mentioned for the last time in verse 13, our first verse of the day. However, Naomi is mentioned explicitly three more times after that – in verses 14, 16, and 17, and she is mentioned implicitly by the word “you” in all of the verses 14-17.

Ruth is also mentioned implicitly in these verses, but only in relation to Naomi, not as to her alone. The peculiar and beautiful words, being devoted to Naomi and not to Ruth, are meant to tell us something about redemptive history that is both exciting and wonderful. It is something that is yet future to us now in the stream of time.

It was Naomi whose life was used as such a positive example for Ruth that she literally clung to her rather than returning to her own family. It was Naomi who had suffered the majority of the pains. She lost her life in Israel, she lost her husband, and she lost her two sons. After that, she even lost her beloved daughter in law Orpah.

She was a widow with no seed to continue the family name. She was in such dire straights that she asked the women of Bethlehem to call her Mara instead of Naomi. And yet, Ruth continued with her, determined to reside as a foreigner in a new homeland.

The bond between the two went beyond the bond of most natural lines of descent. No mother could hope for a more faithful, obedient, hardworking, and dedicated daughter than Ruth was to her. Despite her foreign-born status, she never gave up on her devotion and love for her mother in law, her blessed Naomi. What do you suppose that is picturing?

And then, almost at the closing of the story, it is the near blood-relative, Boaz, who has a son by Ruth, but it is the mother-in-law who is congratulated for having a son! This child who came, not from the nearest close-relative who remains unnamed in the story, is called the goel of Naomi by the women.

And legally, this is correct. It is he who will inherit the estate of Elimelech, Chillion, and Mahlon because his mother, Ruth, was Mahlon’s wife. Boaz redeemed the inheritance from Naomi and Ruth was a part of the redemption in order to raise up a son in his name. That son then is the legal redeemer of Naomi.

Her house isn’t built up by Boaz, her house is built up by this child, for whom Boaz redeemed it. That’s why last week in verse 11, it said this, “The Lord make the woman who is coming to your house like Rachel and Leah, the two who built the house of Israel.” The house is built up through the woman by the sons born to the woman.

As Lange says about this – “He is the grandson of her family, though not of her blood. Ruth’s goel was Boaz, but Naomi’s the son of Ruth; for Ruth lives in the house of Boaz, but Naomi in that of the child, which belongs to him by virtue of his birth from Ruth.”

It may seem confusing, but it pictures redemptive history which has proven to be even more confusing to many as well. Only when this story is properly understood, does the greater story of redemption come into correct focus.

14 (con’t) and may his name be famous in Israel!

Well, whose name? Is it the Lord who was mentioned in the beginning of the verse? Is it Boaz, who some say is the goel? Or is it the child? The answer is the child. Boaz is not the goel of Naomi and the child is the nearest antecedent in the verse.

The women exclaim concerning this child-redeemer, “May his name be famous in Israel!” And they exclaim more…

15 And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age;

With all certainty, the goel of Naomi is the child. These words show us that with clarity. “And may he be to you a restorer of life.” In this is the thought of bringing happiness, joy, and enjoyment. It is this child that is born that will bring these things to her.

She was Bitter and dead; he will make her joyful and vibrant. She was without hope; he will bring her a newfound sense of purpose. It is the child in her lap, not Boaz, who will bring these things to her. And in addition to that, he will be a nourisher of her old age.

This is not something given to Boaz to do because he is old himself. Rather it is something which will come from the child who is young and will be able to care for her and tend to her in her own old age. This is what the blessing of the women indicates. A future hope in the child, not a present hope in the husband of Ruth.

15 (con’t) for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.”

This again shows us that Naomi’s goel is the child. The women refer to Ruth as the mother of the child. Ruth isn’t of Israel, but is married into Israel. And it is Ruth who is said to love her. In the Hebrew, the tense of the verb is perfect. In essence, “your daughter-in-law, who has completely loved you.”

It is she who is “better than seven sons” to Naomi. What seven sons could not have done, she was able to do. Only through a woman can a child be born. If she had seven sons but none of them were married, they could never have given her what she has obtained.

In the Bible, the number seven indicates spiritual perfection. The women of the town knew that the value of Ruth and her love for Naomi was transcendent and that it had been through this love that a new hope was transcendently granted.

Because the son was born to Ruth, though he was not of direct blood, he was to be considered the most cherished of all sons. It is an indication that the legal parameters of Israel through physical descent could not compare to the wholly-devoted and self-sacrificing foreign-born daughter.

It is the connection which is based on love which has brought Naomi to the point that she has come. The in-grafting of the child into her heart and family line was because of the love of the daughter-in-law which in turn makes the child of more heartfelt love than would have been possible through natural means.

Benson gives us wonderful words to express this state that Naomi has found herself in – “See how God sometimes makes up the want of those relations from whom we expected most comfort, in those from whom we expected least!”

Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, indeed
When the plowman shall overtake the one who reaps
And the treader of grapes him who sows seed
For this my soul rejoices and my heart leaps

The mountains shall drip with sweet wine
And all the hills shall with it flow
It will fill the tables with joy at mealtime
And bring to the peoples a contented and radiant glow

The Redeemer will come and restore all once lost
And He will do it for His people without charge or cost

II. His Name is Obed (verses 16 & 17)

16 Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom,

This is a symbolic act of adoption as her own. In Genesis 30, when Rachel was unable to bear her own children, she gave her maidservant to Jacob to have one for her. When she did this, she did it with this thought in mind –

“Here is my maid Bilhah; go in to her, and she will bear a child on my knees, that I also may have children by her.” Genesis 30:3

By having the child born in her lap, it signified that the child belonged to her. This verse about Naomi is similar. Obviously she would hold the baby and play with it often, but the purpose of specifically saying this in the Bible was to tell us the significance of the act. The record of the words shows the intent of the passage. And the next words continue to confirm this…

16 (con’t) and became a nurse to him.

This is not the usual term for “nurse” where a woman would suckle a child. That word is yanaq. Rather this is the word aman. It means to confirm or to support. It is the same word that is used to describe Mordecai, the uncle of Esther, where it says –

“And Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman was lovely and beautiful. When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.” Esther 2:7

It is also used in the following passage from Isaiah which is speaking of the men, not the women, who would tend to Israel in the future –

“Kings shall be your foster fathers,
And their queens your nursing mothers;
They shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth,
And lick up the dust of your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord,
For they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me.” Isaiah 49:23

That passage from Isaiah 49 is actually showing us a portion of the fulfillment of the pictures we’re seeing in the book of Ruth right now. Go take a gander there after the sermon today and you can be a leg up on the final sermon we have in Ruth next week.

Naomi, as the aman, or nurse, then is the one to raise the child in the law and culture of Israel. She will be the one who willingly bears the responsibility noted in Deuteronomy 6 –

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9

This is the implication of the words that have been given in this verse. Were it not so, then the Bible would have skipped over it because these are the things any normal mother or grandmother would do. There would be no need to mention them otherwise, but because it does, we’re asked to consider the words with the additional weight that these things apply to Naomi specifically.

17 Also the neighbor women gave him a name,

Surprisingly, commentators deny this as if it doesn’t say what it says. They say, that they merely “recommended a name” to Ruth. But it says they gave him the name. Literally, they “called out a name.” This is the name they called him.

Whether it became a nickname that stuck, or whether it was a name that they called him and so Ruth decided to run with it, we don’t know. Either way it was the neighbor women who named him. And we’re given a reason why they named him as the verse continues…

17 (con’t) saying, “There is a son born to Naomi.”

He is given a name because he is a son born to Naomi. This is why they named him. It doesn’t say that they “recommended” he be given a name, but that they called out a name because Naomi has a child. The name is being tied to the fact that he is Naomi’s son. And the name that he is given is tied to the fact that he is a son. And so we continue…

17 (con’t) And they called his name Obed.

The name they called out for this wonderful child is Obed. It is being tied to the fact that he is Naomi’s son and to the fact that he is, in fact, a son. And so they call him Obed, which means “servant.” What does him being Naomi’s son have to do with him being a servant?

This is what confounds people, but the answer comes from the account itself. Just three verses ago, as soon as it was said that Ruth was given conception and bore a son, the women said, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel!”

In the very next verse, it says, “may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age.” The son is the close relative, the goel, who is Naomi’s redeemer. He is the one who will be the restorer of life and the nourisher of her. He will be a servant to her and so they call him Obed.

As would be expected of the ladies of Bethlehem, they would see him as able to serve her as she grew older and became less and less able to care for herself. There was a point where it would fall to him, as her goel, to care for her, to restore her, and to nourish her.

Despite the troubles of old age to come, the Pulpit commentary says that “…now a sealed fountain of reviving waters had been opened in the wilderness.”

* 17 (fin) He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.

The narrative portion of the book of Ruth ends with a note of resounding greatness. In the previous chapter, Boaz had hinted that a blessing was upon Ruth because of her noble character. He exclaimed in the dark of night at the threshing floor, “Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter!”

In an utterance of prophecy as much as a blessing, he spoke words which he actually became a participant in. Because of his attentive care for her, and because of her true and noble character, the two of them became ancestors of David, the great king of Israel, Israel’s sweet psalmist, and a prophet of God.

And in turn, each of them became ancestors of the greatest King of all, and in Whom all of the Messianic prophecies are ultimately directed and fulfilled. Boaz then shows us that there is more than just adherence to the law to bring about what is good and right.

The unnamed closer-relative adhered to the law, but by him Ruth and Naomi remained unredeemed. Following the letter of the law only shows that the law cannot prevent misery. Instead, it only increases it. It only shows us that something more than the law is needed: grace.

Paul tells us this in an exacting way in the New Testament. First he asks if the law, which is good, brings about death. His answer is that no, it is sin which brings about death. Here are his words from Romans 7 –

“Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” Romans 7:13-15

Later, in the book of Galatians, he shows us then what the law’s purpose was –

Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.” Galatians 3:21-25

Where the closer relative relied solely on the law, only misery for Naomi and Ruth would remain. But Boaz, using the law and adding in grace and love, prevailed over the law. He followed the spirit and intent of the law, not the mere letters which comprise it.

He too could have declined to redeem Ruth, but through granting of grace, a bond of love was formed which prevailed over the law. There was no removal of his sandal, there was no spitting in his face for not fulfilling his duties. Instead, there was the ability to redeem and there was a desire to redeem. And so.he.redeemed.

In this story of redemption, there is found the truth that no law exists which is as strong and as capable as the law of love. Paul tells us this in Romans 13 –

“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:8-10

The closer relative sought to not help his distressed relative by using the provisions of law for his own benefit. In the process, he harmed her. Boaz sought to use the law to help her and he did it also through an exercise of love. Thus he not only followed the provisions of the law, he fulfilled the law. Indeed, love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:10)

In our fallen state, we cannot love perfectly and so we can never perfectly fulfill the law. The law only shows us our desperate need for God’s mercy. But God cannot show mercy to the point of violating His own righteousness. Sin must be judged. And so God sent His Son into the world.

The Bible says, God is love. As this is so, His Son is love and thus He can love perfectly and thus perfectly fulfill the law. This He did and then in the most amazing display of love ever, He willingly gave His own life up in exchange for our sins.

The Bible tells us that if we call out to receive this gift of love and receive Jesus Christ as Lord, we will be save from God’s wrath. I would pray that if you have never asked God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ, that you would do so today. If You do, you will be counted among the redeemed of the Lord. What an offer! Don’t wait another day.

Closing Verse: “And now the Lord says,
Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant,
To bring Jacob back to Him,
So that Israel is gathered to Him
(For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord,
And My God shall be My strength)” Isaiah 49:5

Next Week: Ruth 4:18-22 (Perez to David – From the Breaker to the Beloved) (13th Ruth Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. He knows your trials, troubles, and woes and He is there with you through them. So cling to Him and let Him do marvelous things for you and through you.

And They Called His Name Obed

So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife
And when in to her he went
The Lord gave her conception, a new life
And she bore a son when her months were spent

Then the women said to Naomi
“Blessed be the Lord, who has not this day left you
Without a close relative
And may in Israel his name be famous too

And may he be to you of life a restorer
And of your old age a nourisher

For your daughter-in-law, who loves you
Who has borne him, she is better than seven sons, it’s true

Then Naomi took the child
Who seemed the lifting of her curse
And laid him on her bosom in a manner mild
And to him she became a nurse

Also the neighbor women to him a name they gave
Saying, “There is born to Naomi a son
And they called his name Obed, meaning a servant or a slave
He is the father of Jesse, the father of David
In Israel, he became a very great one

From sadness and heartache too great to be measured
Came joy and blessing more than could be thought
In Naomi’s lap was placed a son that she treasured
A son through whom her redemption was bought

In the marvelous way God directs our lives’ events
Even the worst of times will be forgotten memories
Some day the difficulties that we face will all make sense
We’ll understand why we faced such great adversities

Until then we need to trust God, giving to Him our cares
And hold fast to the promises of His word
In that treasure to us He gladly shares
The story of redemption centered on our Lord

Yes, it is all about our Lord Jesus
He who has done all things wondrously
And has promised to always care for us

Hallelujah and Amen…


Ruth 4:7-12 (I Eschew This Shoe)

Ruth 4:7-12
I Eschew This Shoe

Introduction: On the internet, there is a site called Reverend Fun. It’s linked to Bible Gateway and the site itself is run by a guy who makes cartoons out of Bible passages. From time to time, I’ll send him an idea for a cartoon and he may or may not accept it, but on several occasions he’s used one of them.

Back in 2004, just a couple years after I met the Lord, I submitted an idea to him for a cartoon based on one of the verses in today’s sermon. He accepted it and published it on November 3rd of that year. Unless you’ve read the verse and knew what it’s referring to, you’d never get the punch-line, but after today’s sermon, you should be all up-to-speed on my type of humor, at least as far as the book of Ruth is concerned.

Things that are referred to in the Bible have importance. How often do we read over a passage and not think about the individual words that make up the whole. But Jesus said that even the letters, even the smallest letter, and even the little markings on the letters make a big difference. They all have meaning and they all are used to tell us something.

Some of the Hebrew letters look so similar to one another that a mere brush-stroke will change the word because the letter is different. The Hebrew D looks like the Hebrew R. The Hebrew B looks like the Hebrew K. Others are very close as well. Just the smallest marking can change the entire word.

If these little marks are important, how much more the words which they comprise! If all of the information that God deems necessary for us to know about Him, about His plans for us, and about Jesus are contained in a mere 1189 chapters of the 66 books of the Bible, then how important is every single word contained there?

Any moderately large dictionary or encyclopedia will have more words in them than the Bible. And yet they relay information which is of far less weight than the Bible. Surely then each word of Scripture is immensely important.

Here’s a question? How many times are shoes mentioned in the Bible? Who cares, right! But in actuality, shoes have great importance in what God is conveying to us. And from the biblical concepts concerning shoes, there is literally volumes of information in commentaries about them.

Societies have entire traditions concerning shoes, some of which find their origins in the Bible. The answer is that shoes, or sandals, are mentioned about 35 times. And yet the 35 times they are mentioned form a marvelous tapestry of human life and interaction – both between man and man, and man and God. All that from just a few dozen references…

Text Verse: “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Matthew 3:11

The details are where the excitement is. When you go home after a sermon, you will remember between 2 and 4 things that you heard. That’s it. In all honestly, I’m sure God is much more pleased if you remember 2 or 3 things about the precious details of His word than He is that you would remember 2 or 3 things about irrelevant stuff that is added to sermons to make your church time more enjoyable.

If you like the details of God’s word, then you are showing Him the respect He deserves. So we should dig into that same precious word. What a gift and what a treasure it is. After all, it is His superior word. So let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Transfer is Made (verses 7 & 8)

Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging,

The verses we looked at last week showed us how Ruth’s closest goel, or kinsman redeemer, was afraid of ruining his inheritance if he acquired Ruth and so he claimed that he could not exercise his right of redemption. But this wasn’t correct, he could have, he simply refused to do so because Ruth was from Moab.

Because of his failure to act, an ancient rite would now take place. The words “was the custom” are inserted by translators because this rite isn’t specifically addressed in the law in the manner it’s used here. The rite as stated in the law only covers one aspect of what transpires and so the custom is more inclusive, and probably older, than the provision detailed in the law.

To understand this, an example might be to think about the use of lights on a car. Car headlights go back before any laws concerning how and when to use the lights. People turned them on when they needed them. But eventually, the law chose certain times when they would be mandatory. Motorcycles have to use them all the time. In a car, we have to turn them on at a given time of day and they need to be used until a given time of the next day. During certain weather conditions, we may be required to use them.

But we also turn them on when they aren’t required by the law, such as when we’re in a funeral procession. And so what the law requires is only a portion of the customs of the use of lights. The same is true with what will now transpire. One aspect of it is noted in the law, but other aspects are based on custom within the society, or maybe because of tradition or some other reason.

7 (con’t) to confirm anything: one man took off his sandal and gave it to the other,

In America, when a legal matter is confirmed, it is usually signed and then notarized or stamped with some other official seal. This is our legal way of confirming matters, whether they refer to marriage, the sale of real estate, the making of wills, and so on.

In ancient Israel, witnesses were called at the gate of the city, the place where legal matters were resolved. The matter would be discussed, the decision would be made, and in order to confirm the matter, a sandal was transferred from one person to another.

In Deuteronomy 25, such a transfer was mandated for a person who failed to perform the duty of raising up the name of a dead brother through the widow. This partially applies to the matter of Ruth. There in Deuteronomy, it says –

“If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family; her husband’s brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. And it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. But if the man does not want to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate to the elders, and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to raise up a name to his brother in Israel; he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother.’ Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him. But if he stands firm and says, ‘I do not want to take her,’ 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.'” Deuteronomy 25:5-10

What is shameful in this transfer in Deuteronomy is twofold. The woman was shamed by the man because he failed to do what he was instructed to do by the law. And the man was shamed because he had to submit to allowing a woman to assume the requirements of the law in his place.

The law gave the man the preeminent position in almost all matters, and some leaned almost to an incredible level in favor of the man, such as the rite of jealousy when a man thought his wife had been unfaithful to her. Read the account in Numbers 5 sometime and you’ll see what I mean.

Another example was that a woman was to have her hand cut off if she, in hopes of protecting her own husband, were to have grabbed at the private parts of another man. That is found in this same chapter of Deuteronomy –

“If two men fight together, and the wife of one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of the one attacking him, and puts out her hand and seizes him by the genitals, 12 then you shall cut off her hand; your eye shall not pity her.” Deuteronomy 25:11, 12

This may seem harsh… she was only protecting her husband, right? But the significance of the spot, especially among the covenant people, was what mattered. Her actions could not be excused.

In the case of raising up a name for a dead husband, when a man failed to perform his duty to the woman in the way he should, he was as much harming the name of her dead husband as shaming the woman. It was a direct attack against that very same spot on the dead husband, the point of procreation.

And so the law provided for the woman to respond by actively taking the very symbol of his rights over her, the sandal. After that, she was allowed to further degrade him by spitting in his face. This act was considered immensely degrading, just as it is today. Do a quick study on spitting in the Bible and you’ll see that instantly.

As a final disgrace, the law said that “his name shall be called in Israel, ‘The house of him who had his sandal removed.” It was to be a permanent reminder to all people of his failure to meet the requirements of the law and that he had born this disgrace which was granted to a mere woman to perform. He was thrice and permanently shamed for his failure.

In the law, the sandal went from the one who possessed the right to the one who should have received it. Knowing this, we know that it was the unnamed relative of Boaz who took off his shoe and gave it to Boaz. This was the formal transfer of his right of redemption.

In this, a form of grace has been granted because the man wasn’t forced to bear the disgrace of his refusal to act. The reason why is because Boaz pre-empted the man by saying in verse 4 that, “there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am next after you.”

Boaz graciously preempted any possible shame on the man by stating in advance that he was next in line, thus implying that he was willing to perform the duty. Instead of the name of the dead dying out and also shaming the woman, the name would continue on and the woman wouldn’t be shamed. Therefore, there was no need to call this portion of the law out before the witnesses.

Knowing all this so far doesn’t explain why the shoe is the means of transfer for legal matters. It would be a shame to not know some of what it symbolizes, so let’s take a quick look. Throughout history and in many cultures, the shoe carries much of the same connotation. There are positives and negatives, but they all tie into the same symbolism.

Because we are mobile creatures, the shoe symbolizes several things. It symbolizes motion to where we are going and the footprints behind us which bear the shoe marks are a reminder of where we have been. When our feet stop, that is our time of rest in our place of rest, and thus our place of possession. Our shoes silently wait for us at the door.

When Moses and Joshua came into the presence of the Lord, they were told to take off their shoes because another, greater One possessed the authority over the land. Unlike the prints of the soles of their shoes, their footprints were created by God, implying His mastery over them. When David claimed he would be victorious over the land of Edom, he wrote these words in the 60th Psalm –

“Moab is My washpot;
Over Edom I will cast My shoe;
Philistia, shout in triumph because of Me.” Psalm 60:8

Today in the Middle East, it still has this connotation. When Saddam Hussein was overthrown, the people of Iraq removed their shoes and threw them at statues of him, signifying their renunciation of his rule.

Just a few years later a man named Muntadhar al-Zaidi shouted, “This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog,” and threw his shoe at President Bush during a press conference. Bush moved quicker than a bunny rabbit and the shoe missed him. Shoes are also indicative of readiness to comply. When Moses was given the instructions for the Passover, he was told this –

“You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. 11 And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover.” Exodus 12:10, 11

It was a time of motion and preparedness. It showed that where they were was no longer their home. However, from that time, all the way through 40 years in the wilderness, Deuteronomy 29:5 tells us that their shoes never wore out. They were made to always be ready for the walk before them so they could comply with the Lord’s movements until they came to the spot chosen for them.

In America, when we want to evaluate someone’s character, we say “walk a mile in his shoes.” Only then can we know if we measure up to his standards or if we can assume the duties he was able to perform. Finally, the idea of the “dead man’s shoes” being those at a funeral demonstrate that another had to fulfill what the departed one could not.

In all, shoes represent the totality of the individual in many ways, both actual and potential. In this exchange then, the implication is that the right of walking on the land which was to be redeemed has been resigned and that the authority now belongs to Boaz. Because Naomi and Ruth are tied into the exchange, then the brother has given up all rights to them and their possessions as well.

He has no authority to place his foot in their doors from this point on. Finally, the handing over of the shoe demonstrates his inability or refusal to meet the requirements of the law. All of this is implied in the simple act of handing over his sandal to Boaz.

7 (con’t) and this was a confirmation in Israel.

These words lack the force of the original. The Hebrew says ha‘teudah – “the confirmation,” not “a confirmation.” The handing over of the shoe was the testimony because of the significance of the shoe. The transfer of the shoe was sufficient evidence in all ways and for all such cases. (KJV also wrong)

Therefore the close relative said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself.”

Knowing already that Boaz is willing to redeem and that he can redeem, the man states out loud in the presence of the witnesses, qeneh lakh – “Buy for yourself.”

8 (con’t) So he took off his sandal.

His integrity is maintained because of Boaz. Ruth could have first gone to him and insisted on her right of redemption and then the law would have applied if he refused to fulfill the obligation. But because of Boaz and the tactful way that he handled the matter, there was no loss of face, only the imparting of grace. He took off his own sandal and he willingly and legally made the transfer.

Who is qualified to fill this shoe?
I wore it in the past but can wear it no more
There was something that I needed to do
But I could not. Someone take it, I implore

I could not meet the law’s requirements
And so the right to the land is no longer mine
I must now step back from the inheritance
And cede it to another; I must decline

Surely there is one noble Man who will
Take this shoe from me and accept the right
To fulfill the necessary redemption and this shoe fill
One who is worthy in these people’s sight

I know that there is One who by all means will
This right of redemption gladly fulfill

II. The Purchase is Finalized (verses 9 & 10)

And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day

Again as was noted in verse 4 last week, the ten witnesses that Boaz called together are representatives for all the people. Regardless of how many other people were actually present – ten or fifty, these ten testify to and for all. To them he acknowledges that he is both qualified to redeem and willing to redeem.

9 (con’t) that I have bought all

The word for “I have bought” is the word qaniti which is from the word qanah. It means to buy or to acquire. This form of the word, qaniti, is used 5 times in the Bible. Two of them are in this account today. And two of the others actually tie in directly with what this account pictures.

The first is when Eve had her first child. She said, qaniti ish eth Yehovah – “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” Because of this, she named her son “Cain” which is a play on the word qanah, “to acquire.”

Another time that this word is used was when Joseph said to the people of Egypt, “Indeed I have bought you and your land this day for Pharaoh. Look, here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land.” (Genesis 47:23) If you go back and watch both of those sermons, you may be able to figure out some of what the book of Ruth is picturing in advance of our last sermon.

9 (con’t) that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, from the hand of Naomi.

Everything that belonged to Elimelech and also his sons Chilion and Mahlon have been purchased. The order of the names of the sons are reversed from chapter one. There it listed them as Malon and Chilion. But now Chilion is named first.

Boaz, knowing the family, has named Chilion first showing that he was the firstborn. Regardless of the order of birth though, because of the death of all three of them, the entire scope of the inheritance belonged to Naomi. It is from her that the purchase is made.

10 Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife,

The “moreover” must have been hard for Boaz to even utter. His heart was probably beating so hard that speaking was difficult. The first time his eyes glanced upon her in the field, it was apparent that he was attracted to her. Now he has the joy and pleasure of announcing that she would be his wife.

Interestingly, he calls her “Ruth” but he again says, “the Moabitess.” The Bible is asking us to not forget that she is a gentile. This isn’t a mistake or an unnecessary addition, but a reminder. After this, he notes that she is “the widow of Mahlon.”

10 (con’t) to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance,

Though a gentile, she was the wife of Mahlon and so through her, the name of the dead will be perpetuated “through his inheritance.” This ties the name to that which the name is entitled under the law. The word “dead” here is singular, not plural. However, in verse 1:8, it was plural.

There it said, “Go, return each to her mother’s house. The Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead (plural) and with me.” Now however, all three, Elimelech, Chilion, and Mahlon are combined into one singular, rather than individually.

All three of the names will be linked through Ruth in a distinguished and loving manner for the future generations to remember. These hints are not unimportant, but all reflect a greater plan of redemption which is prefigured by this wondrous story of life and love in Bethlehem.

10 (con’t) that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren

Boaz again mentions “the name of the dead” but this time it is tied to his brethren. Not only will the name be raised up for the entitled inheritance, but it will also be raised up “among his brethren.” This means that the Israelite heritage is also preserved, and yet it is through a Gentile! Think of the irony! Now, think of the church.

10 (con’t) and from his position at the gate.

And finally, in addition to the inheritance and the heritage, his name is being raised up for “his position at the gate.” Literally it says, “the gate of his standing.” The rights and benefits of all that the gate implies will remain secure. The legal aspects of the name of the dead remain secure… through a gentile.

10 (con’t) You are witnesses this day.”

The transaction has taken place, the formal announcement of a marriage has been proclaimed, and it has been witnessed not by 2 or 3 witnesses, but by 10 and by any others who had come in and out at that time and stopped to uncover their ear. The matter has been published. Boaz has met the requirements of the law and has carried through with the accomplishment of His promise.

In chapter 1 Naomi, during her time of great distress and anguish, had bid farewell to her daughters. At that time, she pronounced a blessing upon them when she said, “The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.”

The blessing has come true for Ruth. She has found rest under the wing of Boaz and together they have their rest under the wings of the Lord God of Israel. Orpah was not excluded from what has happened because she was inherently unworthy, but because she willingly chose the path she took.

I have purchased it all in one fell swoop
Everything is included in the deal
This will be published as the greatest scoop
The sandal in My hand is the needed proof and seal

The right of redemption was passed to Me
And I accepted the right and also prevailed
It has been witnessed by all ten, you see
I have qualified in what the law detailed

And so to Me goes the title and the deed
To Me goes the inheritance and the bride
Yes, I am the holy and chosen Seed
The narrow Path that leads to Heaven’s pastures wide

III. May You Prosper in Ephrathah and be Famous in Bethlehem (verses 11 & 12)

11 And all the people who were at the gate, and the elders, said, “We are witnesses.

With their approval, the matter is now established. None have challenged the proceedings and rather, all who had gathered, both elders and any others, were in agreement. And so in agreement, a blessing upon them is pronounced…

11 (con’t) The Lord make the woman who is coming to your house like Rachel and Leah,

The name of Jehovah is pronounced once again over Ruth. Naomi blessed her in the first chapter, Boaz in the second. In the third, Boaz noted that she was blessed of the Lord. And now again, all those present heap a blessing in the name of the Lord upon her.

Specifically, they tie her to Rachel and Leah, noting Rachel first. There are several reasons for putting her before Leah, even though the people of Bethlehem were descendants of Leah, Rachel was the beloved of Jacob and his first desire for a wife. She also died and was buried not far from Ephrathah where they lived.

And finally, who Rachel pictures in the story of redemptive history explains why she would be named first in the Bible. To understand that completely, one would need to watch all of the sermons which encompass her lifetime. She pictured New Testament grace instead of Leah who pictured the Old Testament law.

To Boaz, these two women of note are being introduced as a hopeful comparison to Ruth – a wife for his house and a mother to his household as we see next…

11 (con’t) the two who built the house of Israel;

These two women are credited with the building of the house of Israel, meaning the nation itself. This word translated as “build” is banah, the same word used to describe the “building” of Eve from Adam’s rib. So there is a hidden play on intent here.

From this word, banah, are derived the Hebrew words for “son” and “daughter.” And so it indicates the building of the house through children. It is spelled with three Hebrew letters, Beth, Nun, and Hey.

Beth means “house,” Nun reflects continuance, or an “heir,” and thus subsequent generations, and Hey conveys the meaning of “behold” as when something great is revealed. It also signifies “breath” such as when you breathe out when you behold something wonderful. And it could even refer to the breath of life.

Their blessing is that Ruth will continue to “build” the great name of the House of Israel through subsequent heirs just as Rachel and Leah did when they “built” the house of Israel. This blessing then is literally fulfilled in her great-grandson David and her greatest descendant, Jesus. It is reflected in the word of the Lord to David in 2 Samuel 7 –

“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his Father, and he shall be My son.” 2 Samuel 7:12-14

And one final note of curiosity is that the word “two” when speaking of Rachel and Leah is masculine, not feminine even though it is speaking of the two women. In chapter 1, there were 9 instances of such gender-discord. There was one in chapter 3 also. This is the final such instance in the book of Ruth.

11 (con’t) and may you prosper in Ephrathah

The words here are actually not as clear as we have them in English and so it isn’t known for certain whether this is still speaking about Ruth – may “she” prosper, or Boaz – may “you” prosper. It simply says, “and make.” va’aseh khayil be’ephrata – “and make prosper in Ephrathah.”

Either way, this uses the same word, khayil, which was already used to describe both Boaz, in verse 2:1 and Ruth in verse 3:11. It indicates virtue and wealth. And not just material wealth, but wealth in all aspects of life. And so here is found another play on words. The name Ephrathah means “fruitfulness.” Therefore it is a blessing for great prosperity in the place of fruitfulness.

11 (con’t) and be famous in Bethlehem.

This verse finishes with the blessing that they will be famous in Bethlehem. The Hebrew is uqera shem b’bethlehem – “and proclaim name in Bethlehem.” In this, it means that when people speak about the famous folks of Bethlehem, they will be included in the list. Surely this has been literally fulfilled in the mouths of God’s people for thousands of years.

12 May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah,

These words go directly back to Genesis 38 which is one of the most remarkable passages in Genesis as to what it pictures. Ruth, like Tamar, was denied her rightful justice until she personally came forward to claim it, just as Tamar did.

Where Judah failed toward Tamar and was forced to state, “She is more righteous than I,” Boaz proved his righteousness in doing what another would not do and fulfilled his obligation as the next closest relative to Ruth.

Perez was born to Tamar by Judah and he was used by God as a picture of Christ to come. But he is also, literally Boaz’ ancestor as well. The blessing upon these two by the people of the town is an acknowledgement that despite Judah’s superstition concerning Tamar being a bad luck omen, she turned out to be a blessing and the mother of a noble house.

Likewise, the closer relative to Ruth is being given an implicit rebuke. He was superstitious that the marriage to Ruth was the cause of the death of her husband and so he backed out of redeeming the land lest he would marry her and die.

The townspeople then are blessing Boaz at the same time as rebuking the goel. Their blessing is that the same prosperous name which Tamar had been granted would be granted to Ruth also. In this union we see a continuation of the subtle bed-tricks which are detailed in the Bible which have lead to great things. The first was when Lot’s two daughters got him drunk and slept with him. The second was when Laban switched daughters on Jacob and gave him Leah instead of Rachel. The third was when Tamar posed as a prostitute and seduced her father-in-law Judah. And the fourth was when Ruth silently crept into the threshing floor of Boaz in order to request redemption.


All four of these are found tied together in this one story. Lot’s bed-tricking older daughter bore a son named Moab who was an ancestor of Ruth. Jacob’s bed-tricking wife Leah, bore Judah who is an ancestor of Boaz. Tamar’s bed-tricking of Judah likewise led to Boaz. And Ruth’s bed-tricking of Boaz has resulted in her marriage. This son who will be born to them will have four unique events which led to him and he in turn, meaning all the names involved in the bed-tricks, will lead to King David and then to Jesus. What seems like somewhat scandalous or possibly even immoral occurrences to most people, have all been used for a good purpose and end.

The stories have been misunderstood and unfairly maligned over the centuries when in fact they have been told for a much more important reason than merely teaching against perceived immorality.

*12 (fin) because of the offspring which the Lord will give you from this young woman.”

The blessing is pronounced and it finishes with these happy words for Boaz. He is an elderly man who will have a young and beautiful bride. He has proven himself faithful to both the letter and the spirit of the law and he has been blessed by his people in the name of the Lord.

We’re closing in on the final details of the book of Ruth and in the near future, we’ll look at how all of them picture other things, great things, in the history of redemption. The marvel of the Bible is that it contains everything necessary to have a personal relationship with God. This is lacking in nature and can only be revealed by Him personally through special means.

Those special means have come to pass and they have been compiled into the Bible. This book shows us the great love of God for us and what He did to bring us back to Himself and to a place of idyllic perfection. If you’ve never made a commitment to Jesus, who is the only one who can grant that right, let me tell you how you can…

Closing Verse: “But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.” John 5:36

Next Week: Ruth 4:13-17 (A Restorer of Life) (12th Ruth Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. He knows your trials, troubles, and woes and He is there with you through them. So cling to Him and let Him do marvelous things for you and through you.

I Eschew This Shoe

Now this was the custom in former times
In Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging
To confirm anything in those climes
Including even a marriage arranging

One man took off his sandal
And gave it to the other
And this was a confirmation in Israel
Of a matter between one another

Therefore the close relative to Boaz said
“Buy it for yourself.”
So he took off his sandal and gave it to Boaz instead

And Boaz said to the elders and all the people
“You are witnesses that I have bought this day
All that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s
From the hand of Naomi it has now come my way

Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon
As my wife, I have acquired
To perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance
Today this has transpired

That the name of the dead may not be cut off
From among his brethren in any such way
And from his position at the gate
You are witnesses this day

And all the people who were at the gate, and the elders, said
“We are witnesses here in Bethlehem, the House of Bread

The Lord make the woman who is coming to your house
Like Rachel and Leah, the two of them
Who built the house of Israel
And may you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem

May your house be like the house of Perez
Whom Tamar bore to Judah in days gone by
Because of the offspring which the Lord will give you
From this young woman, now apple of your eye

There in that same town of Bethlehem as we know
Came the Savior of the world, our Lord Jesus
He came without pomp or a flashy show
Instead He came and looked like any of us

The stories that we see in the Bible’s pages
Are given to show us hints of Him
God has marked out His plan for the ages
And done it in places like the town of Bethlehem

In these stories we can relate so well
Because they can fit the lives of any of us
Such is the masterful way the Bible does tell
Of the marvelous workings of God in Jesus

And so we thank You O God as we live out our days
Reading Your word and giving You all of our praise

Hallelujah and Amen…


Some similar looking letters in Hebrew –

ב כ Beth and Kaph

ך ר Resh and Dalet

ה ח Heth and Hey

ס ם Mem-sofit and Samekh




Ruth 4:1-6 (To Perpetuate the Name of Elimelech)

Ruth 4:1-6
To Perpetuate the Name of Elimelech

Introduction: What are some excuses for someone to fail to take a necessary action when it was within their ability to accomplish that action? Greed, fear, pride, stupidity, arrogance, superstition, and hatred are some reasons that come to mind immediately.

Within the past few years, the US president failed to act on and support a movement which was occurring in a terrorist nation, Iran. If that movement had taken root and prevailed, there may have been a new leadership and an easing of world tensions.

Also, they may have been more aligned with the common interests of the US and her allies. But for several of the abovementioned reasons, he failed to act. Since that time, the situation in the Middle East has spun out of control and the world is a far less stable place.

One of the most prevalent reasons for people to not act is superstition. There are people that live by the horoscope and won’t do certain things if it gives a bad word. People are afraid of certain numbers. Thirteen is a common one. The number four is too.

In China, the number four has almost the same pronunciation as the word “death” and so nearly an entire nation is paralyzed by tetraphobia. They would rather not act on something necessary, than do it if the number four is somehow involved.

The list is long and it is complex, but it is real. Unlike some phobias which are not grounded in superstition, the ones that are become sinful because they fail to rely on God’s overarching providence and attention.

Instead, they demonstrate a fear that He is not in control, and that acting – even if it is in accord with His will, is not our first priority. The prophets of Israel spoke of these things and told what the cure and remedy for them is…

Text Verse: And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Isaiah 8:19, 20

Instead of seeking answers in horoscopes or mediums, and instead of failing to act out of superstitious fears, we are told to seek the Lord. As Isaiah says, “To the law and to the testimony!” In order to seek the Lord and be in His will, we actually have to open His word, study it, and follow it’s precepts.

Today, we will see someone superstitiously turn away from following the law of the Lord in order to protect his earthly inheritance. What a shame it is for him. He enters the pages of redemptive history and he fades from them as well without his name ever being mentioned… all because of superstition.

Instead of being obedient to the law and becoming a great name, he fades into the unknown obscurity of history. Let us not be found in such a sad state. Instead, let us follow the Lord, trust the Lord, and be obedient to His word above all else. The way to do these things is to know His word and so let’s turn to that superior word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. At the Gate of Bethlehem (verses 1 & 2)

1 Now Boaz went up to the gate

Now Boaz went up… In the previous chapter, we read this as spoken by Naomi –

“Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking.” Ruth 3:2, 3

Ruth went “down” to the threshing floor and Boaz now goes “up” to the gate. But elevation isn’t always a consideration when going up or going down in the Bible. Rather, the importance of an area often indicates a higher position, regardless of elevation.

In the Bible, when one is going toward the land of Canaan, they are always said to go “up” regardless of elevation or direction on the compass. When one goes towards Jerusalem, they are always said to go “up” in the same way. The same is true when leaving either area. The Bible will then say the person is going down.

In Genesis 46, Joseph left the place where he was to go “up” to, Goshen, and then when he left Goshen to go back and speak to Pharaoh, he went “up” in the opposite direction. The first was “up” in direction towards Canaan because Goshen was on the way there. The second was up in legal elevation, toward the royal throne. And so it is going “up” in a courtly sense.

This might sound unimportant, but the words are intended to get us to think things through, not haphazardly skip over. Boaz went “up” to the gate because the gate is the place of judgment. Whether the threshing floor was actually lower than the gate isn’t as important as that the gate is where the matter decided upon at the threshing floor would be adjudicated.

1 (con’t) and sat down there;

The gate and walls of ancient Middle Eastern cities were usually built out of stone and the gate normally had an arched entrance with deep recesses on each side. In these recesses, they built seating where people could relax, conduct business, guard if necessary, judge cases, and so on.

These recesses would be in the shade and catch any breezes coming through as well. On many other occasions throughout the Old Testament, the gates are noted as the place of judgment, commerce, and activity. The judges of the cities would spend their time there at the city gates.

Boaz set out to get to the gate early in order to make sure that he would be there before the person he intended to see would pass through on his way to work, probably in his own harvest field. If he missed him, then it might not be until the end of the day that he would have a chance to see him again as he passed through the gate to go home for the evening.

There in the city gate, the place of judgment, Boaz waited for the case to be presented and decided.

1 (con’t) and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz had spoken came by.

And behold! In Hebrew, v’hinneh. The thought is prefixed to this section of the verse to show that, sure enough, the man Boaz had hoped to see had come. The hand of God was ensuring that Boaz was up and at the gate early enough to be there when this most important moment would come to pass.

The “close relative” or goel, meaning the one who had the first right of redemption came by as anticipated. The matter would be settled today, just as Boaz had promised Ruth in the dark hours of the previous night at the threshing floor.

1 (con’t) So Boaz said, “Come aside, friend, sit down here.”

The very fact that Boaz was sitting at the gate was a plain enough declaration that he sought out the settlement of a judicial matter. The language used here was a form of judicial summons. The words are “Come aside, friend; sit down here.”

In Hebrew, the word translated as “friend” is peloni almoni. They are words that have no true equivalent value in English but they are a way of addressing a definite person without stating his name. The Greek translation of this verse calls him “hidden one.”

The words come from two other Hebrew words. The first is palah which means to identify, distinguish, or specify. The second is alam, which means to bind, or to be silent, or speechless. This then gives the twofold sense of identifying a person while concealing him at the same time.

The only other two times this phrase is used are in 1 Samuel 21:3 and 2 Kings 6:8. Both of those times it is referring to a known place which is not named. A good way of understanding this phrase would be to think of a mountain range full of caves. In one of the caves there is gold.

If someone wanted me and only me to know where the gold was, he’d take me and show me. If someone else asked me where I was working when I brought in a bag of gold, I would say, “in such and such a cave in the mountains.” I have revealed, but I have also concealed. I’m working at the mountains and in a cave, but I ain’t telling which or where…

In this statement, Boaz has revealed to the man that he has identified him, but concealed who he is in relation to the circumstances which he intends to relay. Hence, the man knows this is a judicial-type of summons.

Throughout the meeting, his name won’t be given at all. As we will see, he will be concerned about preserving his own inheritance which includes his own name, and yet his name is lost to history, buried in the grave of unending oblivion. The irony is palpable.

However, at the same time as showing a mark of contempt for him, it is also somewhat a mark of grace. Because he will not fulfill the duty of the kinsman, according to the law he should rightfully be openly and publically disgraced. However, by concealing his name, the shame of the situation is in part hidden from us as well.

1 (con’t) So he came aside and sat down.

Knowing that he has been summoned for a legal matter, the goel, or the kinsman redeemer, came to his place at the court of adjudication and took his seat. Whatever the matter is, he shows no sense of fear by claiming urgent business elsewhere or by putting the matter off. He is, at this time, unaware of what will transpire.

And he took ten men of the elders of the city,

There is nothing in the law to require this action here. The law merely states, even in the most severe matters, that two or three witnesses are all that is necessary to testify to a matter. As Paul states concerning such things even in the New Testament –

“By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.” 2 Corinthians 13:1

This builds on Jesus’ words of Matthew 18:16 which repeats the same thought. The elders of the city were authorized to handle matters such as this one. Deuteronomy 25 deals specifically with this issue, but no set number of elders is given.

Because two or three witnesses is the only expected standard required for establishing a matter under the law, then there must be a reason why the Bible records Boaz’ action of specifically calling ten men of the city to be witnesses.

In the first chapter, it said that Naomi and her family dwelt ten years in Moab. At that time, we looked at what the number ten signifies. Now we need to do so again. According to EW Bullinger in his book Number in Scripture, he shows that the number ten –

“…signifies the perfection of Divine order. It implies that nothing is wanting; that the number and order are perfect; that the whole cycle is complete.”

The Bible is asking us to reflect on what is complete. What is the perfection of divine order that this account is picturing? What are these ten men picturing who are asked to sit and witness for or against the unnamed and yet known goel, the nearer kinsman? These are the questions that the Bible is asking us to consider.

2 (con’t) and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down.

In agreement to the call of Boaz, these witnesses will be at hand during the presentation of the matter. In essence, they will testify to what occurs, witnessing for or against the interested parties as the matter is resolved. How will it be resolved is what is now to be determined.

My inheritance O God is only You
Nothing more will my heart ever seek
For only You are faithful and true
You care for the lowly, the humble, and the meek

I know that my Redeemer lives!
And I know that in Him my hope is found
I trust the surety that His redemption gives
No other place of refuge can ever be found

In Christ alone will I hope and trust
To Him alone will I set my gaze
It is Jesus my Lord who is faithful and just
He is my sure hope now and for all my days

II. I Will Redeem (verses 3 & 4)

Then he said to the close relative,

It is Boaz who has called and it is Boaz who speaks first to present the matter at hand. If, as we have seen, Boaz pictures Christ, then who is this nearer relative, this one who has the first right of redemption? He is nearer to Naomi than Boaz, and so Boaz must defer to him first in order to ensure a proper legal position is maintained.

In God, there is no unrighteousness. In God, there must be a proper satisfaction of the law. There can be no skirting around an issue. Justice must be served because God is perfectly pure, holy, and righteous. Christ is our Redeemer, but there must be an order and a propriety to how He redeems. This is evidenced by Boaz’ proper handling of the matter which must be decided.

3 (con’t) “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab,

It is a legal matter, it involves the goel, and it is now known to involve Naomi. Naomi has only been back in the land for a short time, a few months at most. She is a widow who has been gone for an extended period of time to a foreign country.

These are the facts presented to the unnamed individual thus far.

3 (con’t) sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech.

In these words, the tense is perfect. In other words, whether she has actually sold it, or whether she intends to sell it, in her mind it is as if already sold. This has occurred because she cannot maintain it herself. She is destitute and needs the money from the sale of the land in order to support herself.

The land is then noted to be that which “belonged to our brother Elimelech.” If you remember what his name means, you might be able to see what is happening here. His name means either “God is King” or “God is My King.” Either way, he is an Israelite and God is his king. He lived during the time of Israel’s theocracy.

Boaz calls him “our brother” indicating that they are closely related to him and in a position to rectify whatever the situation required of them according to the law. In this, he never mentions Ruth even though Ruth is a participant in what is occurring as well.

Because Ruth married Naomi’s son, she is entitled to take part in what has occurred, but because she is a gentile and this would involve a marriage to her, she is not named in the proceedings at this point. The matter at hand will first deal with Naomi and her inheritance which came from Elimelech to her. Once that proposition is settled, then the second matter could be addressed.

Some scholars, such as in the Cambridge Bible commentary, incorrectly argue that Naomi had no right to sell the property. Their words are that “this was not in accordance with Pentateuchal law, which says nothing about the inheritance of widows.” In other words, the law of Moses gave Naomi no such right.

In Numbers 27, this, however, is written concerning such an inheritance –

“And you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘If a man dies and has no son, then you shall cause his inheritance to pass to his daughter. If he has no daughter, then you shall give his inheritance to his brothers. 10 If he has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. 11 And if his father has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to the relative closest to him in his family, and he shall possess it.'” Numbers 27:8-11

These instructions were given to ensure that the property of the family remained within the family. Naomi is the closest relative and the inheritance is hers as long as she is alive. The issue of the family name is separate from the issue of the land although they are closely tied together as well. This will be seen as we continue.

And I thought to inform you, saying, ‘Buy it back in the presence of the inhabitants and the elders of my people.

The words, “I thought to inform you” are literally translated “I will uncover your ear.” It is a way of saying that there is something previously unknown to his ear which he will now reveal. The metaphor conveys the idea that he would move the hair of his head out of the way so that he would hear. In essence, “Hey, I have something to tell you that you probably didn’t know.”

What he will tell him is noted as “in the presence of the inhabitants and the elders of my people.” This might lead to the idea that there was a large gathering of the elders and the people at the gate, but the intent of the words is that the ten elders are representative of the people of the city, including all the elders and the inhabitants.

What is being done is to be open knowledge to all. There is nothing concealed in the matter and anyone who happens to be listening is representative of all who will come to know what has transpired. It is in essence, a matter which will be published for all to know about. There certainly may have been others assembled there, but his words go beyond them to all who lived in the town.

In his talk with Ruth of the previous night there on the threshing floor, Boaz’ words to her were, “…in the morning it shall be that if he will perform the duty of a close relative for you—good; let him do it. But if he does not want to perform the duty for you, then I will perform the duty for you, as the Lord lives!”

However, instead of mentioning Ruth, he has only brought up the matter of the land. He is acting on behalf of the name of Elimelech first without apparent regard for the women. It is the piece of land which belonged to Elimelech which must first be addressed.

This doesn’t mean that the other matters aren’t just as important, but that each has its place. The nearer relative, the goel, should be aware of the law, but if he’s not, all aspects of it will still be brought out in due time.

The individual laws within the Law of Moses were given to ensure the proper working of the society. They were there to safeguard property, family names, and to make sure things were handled fairly. Adherence to the law was of paramount importance, just as it once was in America.

Without adhering to laws, there is only chaos and disorder. And so every detail of the law was carefully adhered to for the good of the people, all the people. In Leviticus 25, this is recorded –

“If one of your brethren becomes poor, and has sold some of his possession, and if his redeeming relative comes to redeem it, then he may redeem what his brother sold. 26 Or if the man has no one to redeem it, but he himself becomes able to redeem it, 27 then let him count the years since its sale, and restore the remainder to the man to whom he sold it, that he may return to his possession. 28 But if he is not able to have it restored to himself, then what was sold shall remain in the hand of him who bought it until the Year of Jubilee; and in the Jubilee it shall be released, and he shall return to his possession.” Leviticus 25:25-28

This is exactly what has come to pass in Naomi’s case. She became poor and was determined to sell her property in order to live. If a close relative came to redeem it, they could do so. If Naomi later became wealthy and able to redeem it, she could do so.

If there was no redemption of it, then in the Year of Jubilee, which occurred every 50th year in Israel, it would be returned to the one who originally owned it, regardless of redemption. Naomi was poor, she possessed land which bore the name of Elimelech, and therefore, the law expected its redemption.

This expectation was now being directed to the unnamed goel whom Boaz was addressing. It is a piece of property from the widow of Elimelech. It must have looked like a good deal for him to increase his wealth in a rather simple way. And so Boaz continues with his words…

4 (con’t) If you will redeem it, redeem it;

The fact that Naomi’s land can be redeemed proves that it is her right as the widow to possess and/or sell the land. Although she is childless and possibly too old to have more children, she carries within herself the embryonic or emergent right of the heir.

This is presupposed in Boaz’ words, and within the law itself. The opportunity to redeem it is available and it has been presented to the nearest goel. The question is basically, “Are you willing to redeem the land of Naomi in this way. What do you say?”

4 (con’t) but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know;

The Hebrew actually says, “but if he will not redeem it.” Nobody translates it this way, but there is nothing to assume that this isn’t the intended meaning. He is addressing not only the goel, but the elders. It is not only looking for his acceptance of the offer, but of their acknowledgment that his acceptance is either valid or invalid. In what this pictures, the term “he” perfectly fits what is occurring.

In essence, Boaz has insisted to know whether the one who is expected to meet the demands of the law will, in fact, meet those demands. He has a right to know and he wishes to know. The law must be adhered to and the demands of the law must be settled.

The expectation is the same as in any properly functioning society. There is one standard and all are obligated to work within that one standard. To not do so will inevitably lead to anarchy, chaos, and societal breakdown. The law must be met. Boaz will now let him know why he is advising him about the land…

4 (con’t) for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am next after you.’”

“Dear brother. You are closer to Elimelech than I and the law affords you this marvelous opportunity to meet the demands of the law if you can and if you will. I am, in the integrity of my words, and in accordance with that great, honorable, and noble law which has been given to us by God through the hand of Moses, giving you the opportunity to step forward and redeem. However, if you are unwilling or unable to do so, I have your back, dear brother. I am next after you.”

4 (con’t) And he said, “I will redeem it.

“The matter is settled! It is good, dear brother, that you were willing to take action and redeem the inheritance of our departed brother Elimelech. What a fine example of Israelite values and integrity you are; that you have stepped forward and placed your foot on that wonderful inheritance. Claiming it as your own shows the caliber of man you are! And what nice sandals adorn your feet. Good job dear brother!”

Redeem me from the oppression of man
That I may keep Your precepts, O God
I will follow You always and as best as I can
I will remember You with each step that I trod

Make Your face upon Your servant shine
And teach me Your statutes, this to You I pray
Then endless joy will certainly be mine
And eternally I will walk in Your light-filled way

Rivers of water run down from my eyes
Because men do not keep Your law
Instead they are filled with deceit and lies
When I looked around, this is what I saw

III. I Cannot Redeem (verses 5 & 6)

Then Boaz said,

Boaz responds… “There is more. A wee bit more. It’s just a small thing really. But it is the law, and the law is the law. So good of you to be willing to fulfill every jot and tittle of the law. Let me tell you what the law also requires…”

5 (con’t) “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,

Within the law is the concept of entailment. The Essential Law Dictionary defines entailment as “A restriction of the way a property will be inherited that is different from what the ordinary rules of inheritance would dictate.”

The ordinary rules would apply if Elimelech’s sons had lived. They would be the heirs. However, both died. Likewise, if neither daughter-in-law came from Moab, Naomi would be the sole owner. As she was probably beyond child-bearing years, the land would be sold to the nearest kinsman free from any other encumbrances.

But… Ruth­. came. with. her. She attached herself and her future to Israel and the God of Israel in her remarkable words of chapter 1 –

“Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.” Ruth 1:16

She therefore possessed all the rights of an Israelite and was thus the rightful heiress of her dead husband, Mahlon. Anyone who would redeem her inheritance would thus need to provide for the continuance of his name as prescribed by the law as Boaz continued to explain to the nearer goel

5 (con’t) to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance.”

This is what Ruth had desired and this is what Boaz promised to her. The issue of the land, though separate from the family name, is inextricably tied to the name because of her standing within the law itself. Because Orpah didn’t come with her, the land which belonged to Elimelech and which partly was to belong to Chilion was transferred to the estate of Mahlon.

This is what entailment dictates and it is what the law mandates. The law was meticulously given to cover all possible contingencies that could arise. Ruth and her sad state, because of the death of Elimelech, Chilion, and Mahlon, was such a contingency which the law provided for.

The land belonged to Naomi but o­nly Ruth was able to raise up the name of the dead through the bearing of a child. If the nearer goel determined to not marry Ruth in order to raise up a child in the name of dead, which is a requirement of the sale, then he would give up the other rights of the goel as well.

Because of Ruth, the two issues of land and name were indissolubly intertwined. The gracious nature of the law was intended to care for the name of the dead while also protecting the rights of the living. And believe it or not, all of these details form a greater picture which is found in redemptive history.

And the close relative said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance.

With only a few exceptions, scholars are in agreement that the goel claimed he could not redeem the land because it would involve increasing his expenses during his life to care for Ruth and probably Naomi. This then would involve unnecessarily dividing his inheritance with Ruth’s firstborn who would bear the name of Malon’s family line.

In essence, as Ellicott explains it, “It would, therefore, be like mortgaging one’s own estate, and that for the benefit of another.” However, this is not the case. It is an incorrect analysis of the situation. In Deuteronomy 25, the perpetuation of the name has nothing to do with the inheritance of land in the one raised up.

All it says is that… “…it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel” (verse 6). Nothing within the law required him to “ruin” his land or monetary inheritance. It merely required that he perform this one duty of having a child through the widow so that the name of his dead brother would live.

Rather than this faulty assumption, it is her state as a Moabitess which he is concerned about. This is why Boaz specifically brought up her nationality in the previous verse. Elimelech, Mahlon, and Chilion all died in Moab and he is concerned about the same happening to himself and his family.

It is a repetition of what occurred many generations earlier when Judah perceived exactly the same thing in his daughter Tamar –

“Then Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord killed him. And Judah said to Onan, ‘Go in to your brother’s wife and marry her, and raise up an heir to your brother.’ But Onan knew that the heir would not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in to his brother’s wife, that he emitted on the ground, lest he should give an heir to his brother. 10 And the thing which he did displeased the Lord; therefore He killed him also. 11 Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, ‘Remain a widow in your father’s house till my son Shelah is grown.’ For he said, ‘Lest he also die like his brothers.’ And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house.” Genesis 38:6-11

This is the “ruin” he was concerned about. Instead of the grace found in the law, which included even this gentile convert, he was overwhelmed with superstition of what acquiring Ruth would might mean. However, Boaz was not. He understood that the law included the gentiles in the rejoicing of God’s gracious provision.

As it says in the law itself in the Song of Moses, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people.” Paul uses that very verse and ascribes it to the work of Christ in Romans 15:10. And this leads to one of the reasons why Judah and Tamar are mentioned later in this chapter in a positive light.

6 (con’t) You redeem my right of redemption for yourself,

Boaz is granted the right of redemption and all that accompanies it. And thus, he is also granted Ruth the Moabitess as wife. The heavy, difficult beatings of his heart over the anxiety of the moment surely turned to heavy beatings of his heart over the joy and anticipation of securing the desire of that excited heart.

To him would come this beautiful friend, this lovely gentile, and this woman of virtue who had stolen his heart from the moment he saw her gleaning in the fields. Boaz has prevailed.

*6 (fin) for I cannot redeem it.

Unfortunately, our verses today end not on a completely joyous note, but rather on a lie which is in itself a violation of the very law that the goel has so meticulously been presented. He had scrupulously followed the minute details of the law in order to shirk his responsibility to Ruth.

And yet he violated the law in the very process of clinging to its provisions. When he uttered the words ki lo ikal ligol – “for I am not able to redeem” he wasn’t truthful. Rather, he could redeem, but he simply refused to do so. In his lie, he disqualified himself from the right of redemption. Obedience to the law is more than mechanical, but it involves a higher law, that of love.

And thus it is with each of us in most areas of life. We can; we simply don’t. Those things that we should do and know are right to do, but which we don’t do become a stumblingblock to us. Sins of omission are no less grievous than sins of commission.

And of all of the sins of omission that we could ever face, the greatest is to not receive God’s gracious offer of Jesus. Often, it is a passive action, not an active one. We may not hate the thought of Jesus, we simply ignore what His life means to us. We love the world, we treat it as our inheritance, and we lose out on what is true life. As Matthew Henry states about this situation –

“…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.” Matthew Henry

What a terrible thought that is! We would give up the pleasures and the treasures of heaven for a short span of life pursuing the wind. Jesus asked what profit it is to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?

The answer is “none.” And yet it is the path that most take. Please, don’t be found on that path, but instead take the path that leads to life, eternal life, in a restored relationship with God. If you’ve never made a commitment to Jesus Christ, it is the most important decision that you could ever make. Without Him, there are only the prospects of eternal separation from God. With Him, there is life, eternal life. Give me a moment to explain this to you and to show you how you can be saved through His precious blood…

Closing Verse: Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:11-14

Next Week: Ruth 4:7-12 (I Eschew This Shoe) (11th Ruth Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. He knows your trials, troubles, and woes and He is there with you through them. So cling to Him and let Him do marvelous things for you and through you.

To Perpetuate the Name of Elimelech

Now Boaz up to the gate went
And there he sat down
And behold, the close relative, the gent
Of whom Boaz had spoken came by the gate of Bethlehem town

So Boaz said, “Come aside, friend, sit down here.”
So he came aside and sat down kind of near

And he took ten men there
Of the elders of the town
And said, “Sit down here.”
And so they also sat down

Then he said to the close relative, there at hand
“Naomi, who has come back to Israel
From the country of Moab, sold the piece of land
Which belonged to our brother Elimelech who in death fell

And I thought to inform you, saying
‘Buy it back, for such is your right
In the presence of the inhabitants, I am praying
And the elders of my people, yes in their sight

If you will redeem it, redeem it
But if you will not redeem it, then tell me
That I may know, for I admit
There is no one but you to redeem it, as you can see

And I am next after you
And he said, “I will redeem it
This I will do

Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field
From the hand of Naomi, as you have said
You must also buy it from Ruth the Moabitess
Yes, from the wife of the dead

That the name of the dead through his inheritance will be perpetuated
This is what the law requires, just as I have stated

And the close relative said
“I cannot for myself it redeem
Lest I ruin my own inheritance
This won’t work out, it would seem

You redeem for yourself my right of redemption
For I cannot redeem it, I appeal to the law’s exemption

In the requirements of the law there is no hope
No man can meet its demands perfectly
It reflects God’s standards, far beyond the scope
Of our hopeless state, beyond all our ability

And yet for God all things are possible, we know
And so He stepped out of heaven’s glory
And united with human flesh in order to bestow
The good news found in the gospel story

Yes, Christ took on the likeness of a man
And in this appearance to the cross He went
Being obedient to the law to fulfill the plan
From heaven to earth on this mission He was sent

He alone can redeem man who fell so long ago
In His grace and mercy, He came to dwell among us
Fulfilling the plan when to the cross He did go
All hail the Lamb of God, our precious Lord, Jesus

Hallelujah and Amen…

Ruth 3:14-18 (Shesh Seorim – Six Measures of Barley)

Ruth 3:14-18
Six Measures of Barley

Introduction: The hardest working person I’ve ever known is actually an uncle of mine. My guess is that every person who has ever met him will agree this is true. We all know someone who is exceptional at what they do, and they may be restless to get at it from day to day, but even the hardest worker would literally stagger and fall when working by his side.

He never was a big guy, and over the years he wizened up quite a bit so that now he’s smaller than me, but the work effort he puts out today in his late 70s is more than most could in their prime. He lives on a mountain which was once where a town that made charcoal settled.

Eventually, they cut down all the trees and the charcoal business disappeared. The town remained, but it’s no more than 50 or so people who live there year-round. Over the years, the trees all grew back – some are astonishingly big, and every year the forest gets thicker and thicker.

I remember talking to him once and he told me when he was young, loggers started coming up to the mountain to cut the timber that had come back and he said, “I couldn’t stand hearing them work. This is our mountain and I’ll take care of it. But after a while I realized that nobody could ever take care of the trees alone. There’s enough work to go around.”

We cut, the Lord replaces. The wounds of our abuse fade into memory and the earth is designed to put out more trees which make more forests. It seems as if it is a never-ending cycle of work… futility really. The work never ceases. There is no time when true rest can come about.

At least not in the sense of freedom from the bondage of our labors. We’re a prisoner to our need for staying ahead of having stores of food, roofs that leak, and roads that need repair. However, this wasn’t the way it was originally intended. Instead of working the garden, we were placed there to serve and worship God.

Soon enough we were expelled from the garden, but at the same time, we were given the hope of returning some day to that restful place and that contented state. The Law of Moses gives snapshots of that lost 7th day and the reclaiming of it. The book of Ruth uses those snapshots in an interesting way to point us to the One who offers us the true rest that we lost so long ago.

Text Verse: “For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all His works.'” Hebrews 4:4

Today’s five verses contain a short set of words which have always puzzled me, v’yamad shesh seorim – “and measured six of barley.” I thought about them as I read them each time, but never enough to figure them out. I knew I’d get around to them someday though.

That time came as I began typing this sermon. Because of the insights of others and some of my own personal thoughts, I was thankful to the Lord for finally opening them up to me. We’ll start to open them up to you today as well.

Eventually, the whole story of Ruth and why it was included in the Bible will be revealed and yes,,, it points to the work of Jesus, all of it. This wonderful little book, contained within the marvelous larger book we call the Holy Bible is replete with details about Him because He is the center and focus of it.

It’s all to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. Shesh seorim – “Six of Barley” (verses 14 & 15)

14 So she lay at his feet until morning,

Whether awake or asleep, but surely not asleep, Ruth continued to lay in the same spot throughout the rest of the night. The Hebrew here is the same as it has been three other times in this same chapter. It literally says that she lay “at the places of his feet.”

There, awaiting the daylight, her mind probably went around and around about what would occur the next day. The name of her dead husband would be raised up, but through who? She probably thought through every possibility and every contingency that would arise, even with her limited knowledge of the actual circumstances ahead.

The kindness that Boaz had shown to her must have made her heart yearn for the nearer kinsman to refuse the offer. No matter his age, wealth, or position within the society, she had the certainty of Boaz’ actions. In another person, she would have only uncertainty.

Matthew Henry, always the one to look for Christological significance in a passage, beautifully relays words for us to consider here –

“This narrative may encourage us to lay ourselves by faith at the feet of Christ: He is our near Kinsman; having taken our nature upon him. He has the right to redeem. Let us seek to receive from him his directions.” Henry

In like manner to those words for us, Ruth lay herself at the feet of Boaz and awaited his directions. Even to this day we use the same terminology for obtaining instruction from one wiser than ourselves. To sit at the feet of someone indicates a reverential fear of, or a desire to learn from, that person. It is the place of submission and even servitude. This was where Ruth spent the rest of her night, certainly pondering how the events of the next day would unfold.

14 (con’t) and she arose before one could recognize another.

At the earliest showing of light on the horizon, she arose, or literally “stood up.” The intent was to depart before the shadows turned to recognizable faces. The Hebrew here instead of “before one could recognize another” more appropriately says “before a man could recognize his friend.”

Without a verbal greeting, there would only be an unrecognizable shape passing by. The early departure was a necessary precaution to preserve the integrity of both Ruth and Boaz. Ruth, because she was an unmarried woman, and Boaz, so that the events of the coming day would not seem tainted by preplanning in order to deceive or manipulate what would transpire.

14 (con’t) Then he said, “Do not let it be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.”

In this, the NKJV translation is just right. Most translations say “a woman.” Look at your Bible and see if it is right.The word has a definite article in front of “woman.” It literally says, ha’ishsha, “the woman.” “Do not let it be known that ‘the’ woman came…”

This might not sound overly important, but it has caused a lot of conversation and speculation by scholars for the past 2500 years or so. Because of the wording, some have speculated that this was something that he said to his hired hands, not to Ruth. But that isn’t supported by the account because she came secretly. It would involve inserting something not indicated elsewhere.

Others suppose that he said this as a prayer to God, as if he were petitioning God to keep the matter secret. If this were the case, the Bible would have certainly said that “he said in his heart” or “he said to God.” Again, it is inserting an idea which is forced.

In the next verse, it will say “And he said” when speaking to Ruth. In other words, it is one continuous conversation with her, not with his workmen, nor in a prayer to God. Therefore, the term “the woman” is used in a particular way by Boaz to meet a particular purpose and it makes a particular picture for us.

What it logically indicates is that he is speaking to Ruth about Ruth. “You, Ruth, do not let it be known that ‘the woman’ (meaning you, Ruth), came to the threshing floor.” He is concerned about her integrity being stained and possibly about the perception of him being in collusion with Ruth concerning the matter before it was settled.

In his words to her, as recorded in the Bible, he has acted rightly, fairly, and in a judicious manner. He has acknowledged that there is a kinsman closer than he, and that kinsman must be given the first opportunity to accept or decline the right of redemption. And this then leads to the contingency that he might accept the right.

If he did and he later found out that Ruth had been with Boaz, he could assume, though incorrectly, that they had been intimate. This would, in turn, reflect negatively on both of them. There is an order and a propriety which Boaz had ensured would be followed so that all was done according to the law.

In this, we can see a picture of Christ who came in a proper fashion to redeem those who were under the law. He didn’t circumvent the law, but worked within the parameters of the law, to redeem His people. Paul explains this in Galatians 4 –

“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:4, 5

If you substitute Boaz for Jesus and Ruth for Gentile believers, you can get a better understanding of the point I’m making. The Bible scholar, John Lange, describes the actions of Boaz as follows –

“It would have been very unpleasant to Boaz to have people connect himself with any woman in a suspicious way; but scandalous rumors of this kind, with Ruth for their object, would have been exceedingly injurious. To say nothing of the fact that an undeserved stain would have been fixed on the good name of Ruth, it would have rendered it very difficult for him to prosecute her claims in Bethlehem.” Lange

As I said, there is an order and a propriety which Boaz is adhering to based on the law and customs of his people. Likewise, the same was found in Christ. He came under the law and fulfilled the law in order to redeem us. Thus God is both “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:26

When the fullness of the time had come about
God sent forth His Son, our Lord Jesus
Born of a woman, born under the law, not without
To do something wonderfully marvelous for us

To redeem those who under the law do trod
That we might receive adoption as sons of God

And because you are sons, adopted this way
God has the Spirit of His Son sent forth
Into your hearts, so that you can more than say
Yes, even crying out, “Abba, Father!” in this new birth

15 Also he said, “Bring the shawl that is on you and hold it.”

Before her departure, Boaz makes a gesture that is intended, as we will see, for Naomi. He asks for Ruth’s shawl. Because the word for “shawl,” which is mitpakhat, is used only twice in the Bible, once here and once in Isaiah 3, its meaning isn’t sure and so it is translated a variety of ways – veil, shawl, cloak, garment, cape, mantle, covering, etc.

It is something other than her dress. Rather it was a garment either over her head, over her shoulders, or maybe tied around her waist that could be used for any such purpose, or any other purpose. The word comes from another word, taphakh, which is also only used twice in Scripture. Taphakh, means to “bear” such as in having children as is seen Lamentations 2 –

“You have invited as to a feast day
The terrors that surround me.
In the day of the Lord’s anger
There was no refugee or survivor.
Those whom I have borne and brought up
My enemies have destroyed.” Lamentations 2:22

Taphakh can also mean to “spread out” such as in these words in Isaiah 48 –

“Indeed My hand has laid the foundation of the earth,
And My right hand has stretched out the heavens;
When I call to them,
They stand up together.” Isaiah 48:13

To bear children implies the spreading out of a family. The stretching out of the heavens demonstrates God’s sovereign, “all powerful, and eternal attributes” (HAW). By understanding this root, translators can determine at least partly, the type of garment. It would be, like a shawl, capable of spreading out.

15 (con’t) And when she held it, he measured six ephahs of barley,

The word ephah is not in the original. It has been inserted here by the NKJV translators, but the impossibility of their translation is astonishing. An ephah equates to about a bushel of wheat. One ephah, or one bushel, would be as much as a Ruth could carry in a basket, just as she did at the end of her first day of labor in the fields back in verse 2:17.

Unless Ruth was as large as a cow, and equally strong, there is no way she could carry six ephahs of barley. It is doubtful that Boaz wanted to see her dragging a shawl full of barley the size of a recliner home that morning, so we can ignore this translation.

The next Hebrew measure down from that is a seah. Six seahs would equal two ephahs, an amount still too much for her to carry unless she worked out at Golda’s Gym on a regular basis. Some translations say six measures, some six scoops, and some six units.

Each of these is vague enough to let us know that six of some particular but unknown size were put into her shawl. The unit of measure though is not what is significant here. There are three separate and distinct points of importance to consider.

The first is why he gave her the barley. The answer is two-fold. First, if she were to go home walking freely and wearing her best shawl and she were seen, someone could make a supposition that she had been out all night doing something, whatever “something” might be – and it might not be a good thing that they supposed.

Instead, she would appear far less suspicious if she had a sack full of grain. They could even suppose that she worked so late that she fell asleep while working. Thus her image would only be improved, not diminished.

The second reason is that this is a gift for Naomi. She is the one who stood in relation to Ruth as a parent and so she would have to consent to any marriage. One scholar of the past, S. A. Cook, shows that this was a cultural norm even as far back as the Code of Hammurabi. The widowed mother was the one who was approached by the intending bridegroom.

This is actually a right analogy for what is being pictured here in relation to Christ and the church. And that brings us to the second and third major points to consider, and one which has caused me to stop and ask “why” every time that I have read the book over these past many years. Why six measures, and why barley?

The Bible specifically gives the number, even though it doesn’t tell the size of the measure. What is it about the number six and what is it about barley rather than wheat that the Bible is trying to tell us? The number six, according to EW Bullinger,

“…has to do with man; it is the number of imperfection; the human number; the number of MAN as destitute of God, without God, without Christ.” As he says, “it is certain that man was created on the sixth day, and thus he has the number six impressed upon him. Moreover, six days were appointed to him for his labour; while one day is associated in sovereignty with the Lord God, as His rest.”

Insightful as ever, Bullinger rightly tied the number six in with labors and that at the end of the labors there is the anticipation of “the Lord God, and His rest.” It is exactly what Naomi was seeking for Ruth, and thus implicitly, for herself through Ruth.” One cannot enter rest until the work is done.

And so Bullinger gives us one more thought to consider concerning the number six – “Six, therefore, is the number of labour also, of man’s labour as apart and distinct from God’s rest. True, it marks the completion of Creation as God’s work, and therefore the number is significant of secular completeness.”

This is actually spoken of in the Law of Moses. We’ll take a moment to read two passages, one from Exodus and then one from Deuteronomy to show us insights into this demonstration of labor resulting in rest

“Six years you shall sow your land and gather in its produce, 11 but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave, the beasts of the field may eat. In like manner you shall do with your vineyard and your olive grove. 12 Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed.” Exodus 23:10-12

“If your brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you and serves you six years, then in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you. 13 And when you send him away free from you, you shall not let him go away empty-handed; 14 you shall supply him liberally from your flock, from your threshing floor, and from your winepress. From what the Lord your God has blessed you with, you shall give to him. 15 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this thing today. 16 And if it happens that he says to you, ‘I will not go away from you,’ because he loves you and your house, since he prospers with you, 17 then you shall take an awl and thrust it through his ear to the door, and he shall be your servant forever. Also to your female servant you shall do likewise. 18 It shall not seem hard to you when you send him away free from you; for he has been worth a double hired servant in serving you six years. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all that you do.” Deuteronomy 15:12-18

In an astute observation, Lange gives us these words to consider concerning what this is showing us – “Naomi receives what she may take as an intimation that the time has come, when after long labor she must let Ruth go out free. The day of rest is at hand.” If we see this in relation to “the fullness of times” when Christ came and then our relationship to Him through His work, we can see the reason for six measures.

That explains the number six, but why barley? The reason for specifying barley is because of what barley pictures. First, it is a picture of the resurrection of Christ because barley was what was presented at the Feast of Firstfruits. Leviticus 23 gives the following instruction concerning this feast –

“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 10 ‘Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest.'” Leviticus 23:9, 10

This first sheaf was from the first crop to mature, the barley crop. Paul, in the New Testament, shows that this feast was fulfilled in Christ’s resurrection –

“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.” 1 Corinthians 15:20-23

Barley also, as we saw in a previous Ruth sermon, is known as the crop of hairy ears because of its hairy appearance. The word “barley” in Hebrew is seorah which is closely related to the word se-ar or hair. Hair in the Bible indicates an awareness of things, particularly that of sin.

The goat for example, which is used in Leviticus for the sin offering, is known as sair. We have an awareness of sin in the hairy goat sin offering. In Numbers there is a type of person known as a Nazirite. This is someone who made a vow or was consecrated to the Lord.

During the time of that vow, they were never to cut their hair. Samson was a Nazirite from birth as were Samuel and John the Baptist. Paul took a Nazirite vow in Acts. The hair on their head was a reminder of their state, just as the hairy goat is a reminder of our sin. It is man’s place to be aware.

The time of the barley harvest, the design of the barley resembling hair, the tied-in significance of an awareness of sin, the six measures of barley, and so much more – all of it is important in grasping the hidden treasures found in this book of Ruth. God uses real, tangible things to show us spiritual truths about His Son, Jesus.

Imagine the wisdom of God who created the grains, who ordained the time the grains would come forth, and who designed them with particular traits, each resembling Christ’s work. Imagine the pomegranate which has many seeds, pointing to the many individual laws within the Torah.

Think of the almond which points to the duration of God’s attentive care over His redemptive plans, and even the barley which has a hairy appearance and which comes forth at the same time that His Son came from the grave.

These, and a trillion other items in nature have all been created and ordained to show us truths about His immense love for us as is found in the giving of His Son and the reconciliation which is possible because of that Gift!

The simple words v’yamad shesh seorim, or “and measured six of barley” are far more important to this story than we otherwise may appreciate. God ensured the number and the type were included, not for us to hurriedly pass over, but to ponder and to savor when the pondering is rewarded with knowledge.

And the same is true with the continuation of verse 15…

15 (con’t) and laid it on her.

The six measures, intended for Naomi, are placed where? On Ruth! Ruth’s time of labor is done and eventually Naomi will receive the fruit of that labor as well. Every word has particular meaning and every word shows us hints of Christ and His plan.

15 (con’t) Then she went into the city.

Actually, the Hebrew is masculine, not feminine. “He” meaning “Boaz” when into the city. Different texts read either “he” or “she” and so translators have to choose which is correct and why. The Masoretic Text, the Septuagint, and the Jewish Targums, read “he” and this is certainly correct, not the word “she.” Even ye olde King James Version blew it on this one.

The reason for choosing “she” is simply because she is the one who was mentioned as receiving the barley, but both of them have missions to perform. Hers was to go back to Naomi; his was to go to the city and to bring the matter to a completion.

In picture, only translating it “he” makes sense. It was Jesus who rode into Jerusalem and accomplished the work necessary to redeem His people. And only He rose from the dead in fulfillment of that work. In type and picture, the correct reading is “he.” And so off they go to their respective places for the day ahead.

In his work of Contemplations, Bishop Hall beautifully summarizes this blessed night there on Boaz’ threshing floor –

“Boaz, instead of touching her as a wanton, blesseth her as a father, encourages her as a friend, promises her as a kinsman, rewards her as a patron, and sends her away laden with hopes and gifts, no less chaste, but more happy, than she came. O admirable temperance, worthy the progenitor of Him in whose lips and heart there was no guile!” Bishop Hall

But now Christ is risen from the dead
And has become the firstfruits of those
Who have fallen asleep; over whom many tears were shed
In this veil of time, of trials, and woes

For since by man came death, including you and I
By Man also came the resurrection of the dead
For as in Adam certainly all are destined to die
Even so in Christ all shall be raised to life instead

But there is an order to the Resurrection call
Christ was first, the pattern for the rest when He comes
When He does, He will make a shout out to us all
And we will rise as if to the sounds of heavenly battle drums

III. Sit Still, My Daughter (verses 16-18)

16 When she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “Is that you, my daughter?”

In another curious use of wording, Naomi asks, mi at biti, or literally “who are you my daughter.” There is ample speculation about this, such as it was too dark to see and so she asked who it was. That’s illogical because she says “my daughter” in the next breath.

Other ideas are that she is actually asking “how have you fared.” That doesn’t follow either because if she wanted to know how it went, she would have asked, “How did it go?” Rather, the Pulpit commentary rightfully notes that “there is something arch intended” here.

In other words, there is an over-arching nature to her question of “Who are you?” The question isn’t asking “Who are you” in person, but “Who are you” in standing. Stated differently, the questions is, “Are you the widowed Ruth, or are you the betrothed of Boaz? Who are you, my daughter?”

16  (con’t) Then she told her all that the man had done for her.

The answer to Naomi’s question is still left open. Rather than a “I am Boaz’ betrothed,” she relays the hopes discussed in the dark hours of the now-passed night. “Boaz has made a promise. He will secure a kinsman redeemer for me, be it our closer relative or be it he, I shall be redeemed.”

The joy of such a thought to both of them must have been immense. Just a short time earlier, they stood on the dusty roads of Moab weeping at the grim prospects of the future. Now, they were within hours of finding security and rest in one who would perform the redemption. The only question left isn’t “if,” but “who.”

17 And she said, “These six ephahs of barley he gave me;

Now the barley is presented. Though to them it was merely barley as a sign of hoped-betrothal, to us it bears the significance of the completion of our work and the hopeful entrance into the rest which was anticipated since the dawning of man. A rest which was lost to Adam and which had not yet been available again until the coming of Christ and the resurrection of Christ.

17  (con’t) for he said to me, ‘Do not go empty-handed to your mother-in-law.’”

It is significant that the barley passes from a Gentile to a Jew, not the other way around. Though it originally came from a Jewish man, it went through Ruth and then to Naomi. It is a Gentile who carried it until is was time to be handed to the one for who it was originally intended. *Anyone seeing a parallel to the story of Judah and Tamar here? How about the church and Israel?

Despite his intentions to be betrothed to Ruth if possible, he still maintained compassion for, and a desire to support, Naomi. Again, it is an important consideration to understanding the entire scope of what is pictured.

18 Then she said, “Sit still, my daughter,

Naomi would know the anxiety of Ruth’s heart and constitution at this immensely nervous moment of her life. She was probably already pacing and it would only intensify as the moments passed. And so Naomi rightfully asked her to sit and relax until the matter, which was out of her control, would be settled.

18 (con’t) until you know how the matter will turn out;

In the Hebrew, Naomi’s words are ekh yippol davar (3:31) – “how will fall word.” The word davar means “word,” but it carries the idea of a matter or an affair here. Where the word falls is where the matter is settled. This type of terminology shows the certainty of an occurrence. A great example of this is found in Ecclesiastes 11 –

“If the clouds are full of rain, They empty themselves upon the earth; And if a tree falls to the south or the north, In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie.” Ecclesiastes 11:3

When the tree has fallen, it isn’t getting up and moving. When the matter of Ruth’s redemption falls, it will be once and for all-time decided. And when a man breathes his last and falls to the ground, his eternal fate is settled. There is a finality in the idea of that which falls. Here in this verse, it is “Who will be Ruth’s redeemer?”

*18  (fin) for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.”

Boaz gave his assurances to Ruth, he gave a token through Ruth to Naomi, and he had departed at the first dawning of the morning to work out the consummation of his plans. Naomi therefore knew, with all certainty, that he was intent on seeing the matter through.

Having seen his actions towards Ruth in the past and his kind attitude which accompanied him, she knew that he had his heart set on her and he had every intention of having her. But first it had to be determined if he was the one qualified and able to bring about her redemption.

Again, as we have asked several times so far in Ruth, can you see Jesus and his actions in this story? Everything so far has been carefully detailed and recorded for the sole purpose of us beholding His work on our behalf. It is a story of great love and affection, both in the immediate story, but also in the picture it presents.

Christ waited patiently for the fullness of times to come and then He went about the business set before Him in order to procure a bride for Himself. He also followed the law to the letter, fulfilling it completely. Thus He embodies the law for us. In the coming chapter, we will see the only obstacle to Boaz’ right to claim Naomi.

We will come to understand how everything in Ruth is simply a mirror and a picture of the great plan and work which was set before Christ Jesus as He came to clear every obstacle which could hinder Him from receiving His own bride.

There is a time, and it may not be far off now, when we will see the consummation of this great plan. Christ will come for His bride and He will sweep her away to be with Him forever. God chose this beautiful story of Ruth to show us hints of how that was made possible.

If you would like to join the many souls who have called out to Christ and been redeemed by His work, let me explain to you why it is necessary and how you can join those who are even now awaiting that wondrous day when He will come for us…

Closing Verse: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Next Week: Ruth 4:1-6 (To Perpetuate the Name of Elimelech) (10th Ruth Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. He knows your trials, troubles, and woes and He is there with you through them. So cling to Him and let Him do marvelous things for you and through you.

Shesh Seorim – Six Measures of Barley

So she lay at his feet until morning
And she arose before one could tell another by name
Then he said, “Do not let it be known, as a gentle warning
That the woman to the threshing floor came

Also he said, “Bring the shawl that is on you and hold it
And when she held it, he measured six of barley
And laid it on her, this gift he did submit
Then she went into the city at that hour so early

When she came to her mother-in-law at the dawning of the sun
She said, “Is that you, my daughter?”
Then she told her all that the man for her had done
And she showed what she had brought her

And she said, “These six measures of barley he gave to me
For he said, ‘Do not go to your mother-in-law with hands that are empty

Then she said, “Sit still, my daughter
Until you know how the matter will turn out, I pray
For the man will not rest
Until he has concluded the matter this day

Like Ruth whose time for rest will come soon
We have a time of rest from our labors as well
Which is graciously granted to us by an act of faith
And with that we enter our rest as the Bible does tell

In Christ the hope of the seventh day is here
His victory over the devil ensures that we may so partake
Of this marvelous gift so precious and dear
Granted to us through a decision we make

Call on Christ Jesus and your labors will end
In Him there is an eternal blessing marvelous and grand
In His presence eternal life we will spend
As He sits on the throne at His Father’s right hand

Hallelujah and Amen…