Ruth – Lesson 5
RUTH – LESSON FIVE
Naomi and Ruth weren’t the only ones who had to wait. Boaz had to wait at the city gate until the near relative came along. He had no cell phone to call or text and no email to make instant contact. He sat and waited. He had time to organize his thoughts. He had to present his case truthfully, and he had to accept the verdict as graciously as possible. It was all in the hands of God and the near relative of Naomi.
Minutes must have seemed like hours with so much at stake. Little did he know what God had in store for this special family. Their role in God’s grand plan would be significant. But for now, they were just small town folks, trying to be obedient to God’s good laws. Boaz was just another prospective bridegroom who would like very much for Ruth to be his wife. We never know in advance where God will take us.
DAY ONE: BOAZ PREPARED TO MEET THE NEAR KINSMAN.
READ: Ruth 4:1-4
A. BOAZ ASSEMBLED THE LEGAL TEAM.
Boaz knew the relative would eventually come through the city gate. This was a place of much activity. No one could enter or leave the town without passing through the gate. There were temporary shops set up here. This is the location where city officials gathered to do business. Because it was such a busy place, it was easy to find witnesses to make a business transaction legal.
B. BOAZ PRESENTED THE CASE.
When the relative came through the gate, Boaz was ready with ten elders to witness the case. He seated his relative and witnesses and began his presentation. Here are the facts:
- Naomi was selling a piece of land that belonged to Elimelech.
- As the nearest relative, the man could purchase it. The witnesses could verify the sale. It was important that the land stay in the family
- If the relative didn’t want to purchase it, Boaz was the next in line to redeem it.
This sounded like a good opportunity for the relative to acquire more property for his own personal interests. A kinsman redeemer had to be a relative, he had to be able to purchase the land, and he had to be willing to buy it. The near relative met all of the requirements. So he indicated that he would buy the rights to the land.
C. QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY OR DISCUSSION
- Read Leviticus 25:23-24; Numbers 27:8-11. Why do you think it was so important for the land rights to stay in the family?
- Why do you think women were not allowed to farm the land themselves? (Numbers 36:5-12)
- How do you think Boaz felt at this point in the transaction?
- How are widows taken care of in your culture today?
- How careful are you to be absolutely truthful in presenting a need?
- What can you do to show kindness and concern to some family member who is going through a hard time?
DAY TWO: BOAZ ADDED A REQUIREMENT TO THE DEAL.
READ: Ruth 4:5-8
A. MAHLON’S WIDOW MUST BE ACQUIRED.
Boaz now explained another detail of the transaction that had not been mentioned before. When Elimelech died, the land rights were passed to his son Mahlon. Mahlon’s widow (Ruth) now has a claim to the land as well. When the relative bought the land rights from Naomi and Ruth, he would acquire the requirement to marry Ruth to carry on the family name.
The near relative was quick to accept the deal when it was all to his advantage. He would have more land to farm and a greater inheritance to leave for his own sons. But when Boaz pulled out his “ace in the hole,” the relative had to reconsider. When marriage to Mahlon’s widow was thrown into the deal, his long-term advantage was lost. A firstborn son born to Ruth would inherit the property. The land would not be a permanent part of the relative’s inheritance. The land would simply be held in trust for Ruth’s son. For the relative, this was a deal breaker.
B. RELATIVE REFUSED THE RESPONSIBILITY.
The relative was now quick to back out. This had a potential cost to him. It is true that Ruth might not bear a son. She had been barren in her marriage to Mahlon. But then again she might. The relative might lose the land he purchased. If he had no other sons, all of his property would go to Ruth’s son when he died. He would risk having his own name lost. The risk was more than he was willing to take. His pocketbook and his own heritage ruled over his kindness in providing for a family widow.
C. QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY OR DISCUSSION
- Why do you think the relative was never named in the story?
- How would you describe the relative’s priorities and his character?
- Do you think his decision was practical and wise or selfish?
- What was a promise given in Deuteronomy 15:10?
- Do you think he would have been blessed by God for his sacrifice?
- How often do you only consider your financial disadvantage when an opportunity to help a family member arises?
- How generous are you when you are presented with opportunities to give beyond your usual tithing?
DAY THREE: BOAZ ANNOUNCED THE RULING.
READ: Ruth 4:9-12
A. RULING WAS VERIFIED BEFORE WITNESSES.
The relative announced his decision to pass the redemption responsibility to Boaz. The adding of a wife was the deal breaker for one man and happy news for another. All that remained was the signing of the contract. Since there was no written paper to sign over his rights, the relative gave a visual verification for the witnesses to watch. He took off his sandal and passed it to Boaz. This indicated that he was passing his rights to Boaz.
Boaz then verbally announced the terms of the deal. Boaz had purchased the land of Elimelech, Mahlon and Kilion. He had also purchased Ruth, Mahlon’s widow as his wife to carry on the name of the dead.
Boaz had become a kinsman redeemer, a type of Jesus Christ. It is also implied that Boaz also took responsibility for Naomi because of Ruth’s commitment.
B. WITNESSES VERIFIED THE TRANSFER.
Boaz was in the same situation as the near relative. He also stood to lose his investment to Ruth’s firstborn son (if she produces one). We might wonder what the witnesses are thinking about each man. Did they lose respect for the near relative who wasn’t willing to help his family members? We know that they thought highly of Boaz. They pronounced a blessing on his marriage and the family Ruth would produce. They prayed that her family would be like the family of Jacob whose wives Rachael and Leah (with their maids) produced the twelve tribes of Israel!
They also pronounced a blessing on Boaz – that his action would become famous in the Bethlehem area. His action must have really impressed these men.
Then they pronounced a blessing on the God-given children of Boaz – that his family would be like that of Perez. As we look back in Genesis we find that Perez was the son of Tamar, who had gone to great lengths to assure the family line of Judah. Tamar’s son Perez had settled in Bethlehem. His descendants are listed in 1 Chronicles 2:5, 18-19, 50-54, and he was an ancestor of Boaz. Obviously he had become prosperous and was well known in this area.
We are blessed when we practice sacrificial love for family members. God designed families to help each other along the way of life. He is pleased when we go to great lengths to take good care of each other.
C. QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY OR DISCUSSION
- Read the story of Tamar in Genesis 38. Notice her extreme efforts to provide Judah with an heir.
- Read the list of names in Matthew 1:3, 5-6. How are these women honored? What do they have in common?
- Can you think of a time when you practiced sacrificial love and were blessed beyond what you might have imagined?
- Who would be blessed and encouraged to hear your story?
DAY FOUR: BOAZ AND RUTH MARRIED AND PRODUCED A SON.
READ: Ruth 4:13-17
A. BETHLEHEM WOMEN GAVE A PROPHETIC BLESSING.
As women, we would like a fuller description of the wedding! What did the bride wear, when and where did it take place, what were her colors, who were her attendants, etc.? But the story gets right to the point. They got married. Then she became pregnant. This is big news because she had been barren before and it took a miracle for her to conceive. With God’s help she bore a son.
The women of Bethlehem rejoiced with Naomi. They gave credit to God and prayed that Boaz would become famous throughout Israel because of his decision to become a kinsman redeemer. Their prayer was answered. His story is still read during the annual Pentecost festival.
B. NAOMI’S FAMILY WAS REDEEMED.
The women acknowledged that Naomi will have security for her old age because of her kinsman redeemer. Ruth has proved to be better than seven sons. (Seven sons symbolized the supreme blessing that could come to a Hebrew family.) Naomi couldn’t be happier. Ruth had given birth to a son who will carry on the family name. Naomi became the nurse for the child, who was named Obed.
The women acknowledged that Naomi now had a descendant. In time this line of Obed will lead to David. Ultimately Jesus will be born in this very place – Bethlehem. But for now these happy people are unaware of God’s larger purpose in their lives.
We can never know all that God is doing in our lives as well. We must live faithful and obedient lives and let God work out His plan for us as he chooses. Only eternity will reveal His full purposes.
C. QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY OR DISCUSSION.
- Read 1 Samuel 2:5. Hannah, who was barren, was enabled to conceive and bear a son. She rejoiced as she contemplated the unknowable workings of God.
- Who is the son that was born to Hannah? (1 Samuel 1:20)
- What role does he play in Israel’s history? (1 Samuel 3:19 – 4:1)
- How does this scenario illustrate Romans 8:28?
- When have you seen a difficult situation work out for your good?
DAY FIVE: OBED’S DESCENDANTS WERE REVEALED.
READ: Ruth 4:18-22
A. GENEALOGY OF PEREZ’S FAMILY LINE WAS GIVEN.
The story of Ruth ends with a genealogy of the family line of Perez (son of Judah by Tamar). Ten names are listed ending in David.
Judah was the royal line, but David was the first descendant of Judah to be crowned King of Israel. Since Tamar was not married when Perez was born, this was considered an illegitimate birth. According to Deuteronomy 23:2, Perez’s descendants were ineligible for inheritance for ten generations:
“No one born of a forbidden marriage nor any of his descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord, even down to the tenth generation.”
Note in the list of names that David is the tenth name. He will launch the Godly line of kings. God made a covenant with David in 2 Samuel 7:16 – “….Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.”
B. BOAZ BECAME A KINSMAN-REDEEMER.
God gave types in the Old Testament to help us better understand the anti-type in the New Testament. What are the requirements of a kinsman redeemer in the Old Testament?
- He had to be a kinsman
- He must be able to carry out the duties.
- He must be willing.
- He must assume all of the obligations.
Jesus is our kinsman redeemer.
- He is a kinsman of Adam (fully human).
- He was found worthy to redeem the earth (Revelation 5 – the Lion of Judah).
- He willingly paid the price (His own blood – the perfect lamb).
- He assumed all of the obligations needed. (He said, “It is finished.”)
C. QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY OR DISCUSSION
- Read Revelation 5. What is the reaction when a redeemer is found worthy?
- When did Jesus become willing to pay the price? (Mark 14:36)
- How does Ruth’s story help you understand Revelation 5?
- How often do you thank the Lord that He was willing to become your kinsman redeemer?
- What did you learn about a kinsman redeemer from this book?
The book ends well. The last section of Ruth might have said, “And they all lived happily ever after.”
- Naomi has a descendant who will carry on the family name and inherit the family property. Because of Boaz, she will be cared for all of her life.
- Ruth has a kind and generous husband who will treat her well and provide her with descendants and a home where God is honored.
- Boaz has a virtuous wife who will bring him comfort and a son to carry on the lineage of Judah.
- The people of Bethlehem are happy for this new family. They sense that somehow a great blessing will come to them. God is doing something good.
- All of God’s children are happy today. God had revealed the family that will give birth to Messiah in the little town of Bethlehem. We love to sing about this little town every Christmas. The story that started with Ruth never gets old.
PRINCIPLE FOR THE WEEK
God’s plan moves forward by God’s providence and man’s careful obedience.
Praise God every day this week for Boaz’s careful obedience to God’s good laws and determine to use Boaz for an example in your own decisions.
About the author
LaWanda Neel is a lifelong Bible student. She has served as a Teaching Leader for Bible Study Fellowship and has conducted studies for neighborhood and church groups. She is now retired and lives with her husband in Lakewood, Colorado. She spends time reading, studying, teaching, writing, traveling all around the world and entertaining her five grandchildren. This is her third Weekly Word series for Thrive Ministries. Contact her for questions or comments at [email protected]View all articles by: LaWanda Neel
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