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Ruth 4:9, 10: Boaz's Right as Kinsman-Redeemer Proclaimed

Verse 9:[1] And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi.

[That I have taken possession of all that was to Elimelech, and to Chilion and Mahlon] All their resources (Drusius). With Elimelech dead, Chilion and Mahlon were the heirs: with one of these dead, the other was made the sole heir of the whole; and it is likely that the survivor (according to the law of interim possession) had both wives, Ruth and Orpah: but, with both dead without children, the inheritance belonged to the nearest relative, not indeed absolutely, but until a son might be born of the widow, who was made the lord and owner of the inheritance left by the deceased (Bonfrerius). Or, with Chilion dead without children, and Orpah having returned to her own people, not taking care to raise up seed to Chilion, all things were devolving to Mahlon (Menochius).

Verse 10:[2] Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, (Deut. 25:6) that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.

[I have taken in marriage] Hebrew: unto wife:[3] the unto παρέλκει, is superfluous, arising from a Hebraism (Drusius). Question: How was it lawful for Boaz to marry a Moabitess, since it is said in Deuteronomy 23:3, …a Moabite shall not enter into the church of the Lord, even after the tenth generation? For this reason Beza[4] says that Boaz sinned (Tirinus). Response: That law was thus established, not concerning women, but concerning men only (Tirinus out of Serarius, Bonfrerius). For, on account of the fault of the men, not of the women, that punishment was inflicted, as it is gathered out of Numbers 22 (Augustine in Serarius). The law only pertains to the men, who were going to be competent for offices and functions among the Israelite people, and would transfer the same privileges to their posterity (Bonfrerius). But those that were born of a Moabite mother, but a Jewish father, were not, nor were reckoned, Moabites, but rather Jews: for sons are wont to be referred to the house and stock of their fathers, not of their mothers (Tostatus, and out of him Serarius, Bonfrerius, Tirinus).

[So that I might raise up the name of the dead] Question: How was this fulfilled by Boaz, when Obed, born of this marriage, was not called the son of Mahlon, or of Elimelech, but of Boaz, both here, and in Matthew 1? Response: Boaz satisfied the law as far as it was in him; he did not forbid the son received from Ruth to be called the son of Mahlon (Estius). Indeed, Boaz took care that initially he be called the son of Mahlon, as it is indicated in verse 14. Nevertheless, afterwards the name of Boaz grew, whether because he far excelled Mahlon in power, wealth, and virtue; or because the providence of God brought that to pass, so that He might recompense his eminent piety in this deed, and so that in this manner he might be reckoned among the progenitors of Christ; especially since it is more fitting in the genealogy of Christ that the natural progenitors be reckoned, than the legal (Bonfrerius).

[So that his name might not be blotted out from his family and brethren and his people, וְלֹא־יִכָּרֵ֧ת שֵׁם־הַמֵּ֛ת מֵעִ֥ם אֶחָ֖יו וּמִשַּׁ֣עַר מְקוֹמ֑וֹ] So that the name of the dead might not be cut off from his brethren, and from the gate of his place (Montanus, Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Drusius, Piscator, Junius and Tremellius). In the place of the deceased, or the dead, in the Chaldean books it is שכיבא, the sleeper, that is, the dead: Death is often called sleep in this manner (Drusius). From his brothers, that is, from his tribe, or family: From the gate of his place, that is, from his fellow-citizens; it is Metonymy (Junius, Piscator). From the court of his people, or rather from the gate of his city? The Chaldean has, from the gate of the sanhedrin, which was in that place. Whereby the dignity of the family appears to be signified: he would subjoin that this dignity is to be raised up, which is the governors, who would sit at the helm of the republic. It is evident that this was fulfilled in David and his posterity (Drusius).

From the gate of his place, that is, from among the inhabitants dwelling within the gate of this city, which was Beth-lehem-judah.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּאמֶר֩ בֹּ֙עַז לַזְּקֵנִ֜ים וְכָל־הָעָ֗ם עֵדִ֤ים אַתֶּם֙ הַיּ֔וֹם כִּ֤י קָנִ֙יתִי֙ אֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר לֶֽאֱלִימֶ֔לֶךְ וְאֵ֛ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֥ר לְכִלְי֖וֹן וּמַחְל֑וֹן מִיַּ֖ד נָעֳמִֽי׃

[2] Hebrew: וְגַ֣ם אֶת־ר֣וּת הַמֹּאֲבִיָּה֩ אֵ֙שֶׁת מַחְל֜וֹן קָנִ֧יתִי לִ֣י לְאִשָּׁ֗ה לְהָקִ֤ים שֵׁם־הַמֵּת֙ עַל־נַ֣חֲלָת֔וֹ וְלֹא־יִכָּרֵ֧ת שֵׁם־הַמֵּ֛ת מֵעִ֥ם אֶחָ֖יו וּמִשַּׁ֣עַר מְקוֹמ֑וֹ עֵדִ֥ים אַתֶּ֖ם הַיּֽוֹם׃

[3] Hebrew: לְאִשָּׁה.

[4] Theodore Beza (1519-1605) served as Rector of the Academy and Professor of Theology in Geneva. He was the colleague, then successor, of Calvin. He issued a Greek New Testament, and later published his Annotationes in Novum Testamentum. He authored notable and highly influential theological works, such as Tractationes Theologicas and Summam Totius Christianismi, as well as poems and contributions to the Huguenot metrical psalter of Clement Marot.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Nov 13, 2019

Matthew Henry: 'Boaz now sees his way clear, and therefore delays not to perform his promise made to Ruth that he would do the kinsman's part, but in the gate of the city, before the elders and all the people, publishes a marriage-contract between himself and Ruth the Moabitess, and therewith the purchase of all the estate that belonged to the family of Elimelech. If he had not been (Ruth 2:1) a mighty man of wealth, he could not have compassed this redemption, nor done this service to his kinsman's family. What is a great estate good for, but that it enables a man to do so much the more good in his generation, and especially to those of hi…

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