Ruth 4

Ruth 4:1–22

Boaz acts as a Kinsman-Redeemer and Marries Ruth

These studies are designed for believers in Jesus Christ only. If you have exercised faith in Christ, then you are in the right place. If you have not, then you need to heed the words of our Lord, Who said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten [or, uniquely-born] Son, so that every [one] believing [or, trusting] in Him shall not perish, but shall be have eternal life! For God did not send His Son into the world so that He should judge the world, but so that the world shall be saved through Him. The one believing [or, trusting] in Him is not judged, but the one not believing has already been judged, because he has not believed in the Name of the only-begotten [or, uniquely-born] Son of God.” (John 3:16–18). “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life! No one comes to the Father except through [or, by means of] Me!” (John 14:6).

Every study of the Word of God ought to be preceded by a naming of your sins to God. This restores you to fellowship with God (1John 1:8–10). If there are people around, you would name these sins silently. If there is no one around, then it does not matter if you name them silently or whether you speak aloud.

Outline of Chapter 4:

       vv.   1–8      Boaz and the other kinsman before the elders

       vv.   9–12    Boaz testifies before the elders concerning Ruth

       vv.  13–17    Boaz marries Ruth; they have a child

       vv.  18–22    The generations of Perez


       v.    17a        A Comparison Between Obed and Christ Jesus

       Addendum   The Great Parabolic Nature of the Book of Ruth

       Addendum   Perverting the Relationship Between Ruth and Naomi

I ntroduction: Since Ruth has claimed Boaz as her kinsman redeemer, he can now act. Prior to this, he could not act other than in providing his field for her to glean from. However, in Ruth 3, she came to Boaz and made it clear that she wanted him to marry Ruth and to redeem her mother-in-law’s land. Similarly, Jesus Christ respects our volition. He has already acted on our behalf, and has paid for our sins. We have naught to do but to claim Him as our Kinsman Redeemer. This act of faith brings us into eternal life. However, we must act just as Ruth acted. For us, it requires faith alone in Christ alone. For her, she laid herself at the feet of Boaz.

In Ruth 4, Boaz will go to the town square and run down the other relative who is closer to Ruth’s late husband than he is. When he first suggests the buying of the land, the other man recognizes this as a shrewd financial move, and is willing to do it. However, when he realizes that Ruth comes with the package deal, he bows out and, in front of witnesses in the square, relinquishes his interest in the property.

In order to allow myself a little artistic license, I will name this other potential redeemer, Bob—Bob, the other redeemer. Now, please recognize that Boaz wants to marry Ruth. He is surprised that she was even interested in him. However, he knows that the Law of God is not subject to shortcuts. Elimelech and his son, Mahlon, were more closely related to Bob. If Boaz married Ruth as a redeemer of Naomi’s property, some impropriety could be alleged, as the nearer relative was not given a chance to do his duty. This may or may not have become a problem; however, since Boaz chooses to do things correctly, it does not become a problem. His seeking out a nearer relative does not indicate a lack of interest by Boaz—it is simply indicative of his character, which prompts him to act in full accordance with the Law.

So, immediately the next morning, Boaz goes early to the town square, knowing that he will run into this nearer relative there and he pulls him aside, along with a handful of witnesses, in order to present him with the proposition of redeeming the property of Naomi and marrying her daughter-in-law, Ruth. Bob the other potential redeemer will relinquish this right, which gives Boaz the clear go-ahead to marry Ruth (whom he was more interested in than the land).

Boaz then marries Ruth and they have a son, Obed, who sires Jesse, who is the father of David. This places Ruth, a Moabitess, in the line of Christ, which is confirmed to us by Matthew in Matt. 1:5 (Matthew delighted in pointing out the inappropriate people in the line of Christ—e.g., Tamar and Rahab in vv. 3 and 5, respectively).

This chapter can be separated into two very different parts: the bulk of the chapter is devoted to the relationship between Rotherham and Boaz, and then the final few verses follow out the royal line from Judah’s son Perez to King David.

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart Index


Boaz and the Other Kinsman Before the Elders

Slavishly literal:


Moderately literal:

And so Boaz went up [to] the gate and so he sat down there. And, behold, the redeemer is passing by who had said, Boaz. And so he said, “Turn aside [please], sit down [please] here, such [and] such a one.” And so he turned aside and he sat down.



Then, Boaz had gone up [to] the gate and he had sat down there. And, observe, the kinsman-redeemer passed by [of] whom Boaz had spoken. And he said, “Turn aside, if you would; sit down here, friend, [my] friend.” So he turned aside and sat down.

At the same time, Boaz went up to the gate and waited there until he saw the kinsman-redeemer he had mentioned to Ruth. Boaz said to him, “Stop, for a moment, if you would, buddy, and have a seat.” So he stopped and sat down.


What we would expect is that, if Boaz were on the top of a hill, where one normally threshes grain, than we would go down into the city. However, the verb is the Qal perfect of ׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH], which means to go up, to ascend, to rise. Strong's #5927 BDB #748. Recall in Ruth 3:6, when Ruth went from Naomi’s house to Boaz, she went down to get there.

Boaz goes to the town gate, which, insofar as we are concerned, this is the town hall or the city courthouse. In the ancient world, cities were compact, with narrow streets and building mushed together, and all of this was surrounded by a wall (often, the buildings themselves were a part of the wall). If anyone went from their house to their land, they would go out this gate—more specifically, to an area just inside the gate. The gate is therefore where most of the public business was transacted, commerce occurred, and visiting took place. Everyone walked by the gate, and some went there just to see what was going on. When witnesses were required, this would be the place to go. Barnes calls it the place of concourse, of business, and of justice in the Oriental world (Gen. 34:20 Deut. 16:18 Judges 19:15). Often when we have an area designated for residential use today, we add in a park. After all, hundreds upon hundreds of houses seem to cry out for some place to gather. So it was for the gate—right at the gate, there would be benches and an open area designed for human interaction.

What Boaz said to the man was turn aside; Boaz used the Qal imperative with a voluntative hê. The voluntative hê is tacked onto imperatives to smooth them out and to recognize the volition of the person being spoken to. We might add the words please or if you would.


Then Boaz uses the pronoun phêlônîy (י .נֹל ) [pronounced ploh-NEE], which means such a one, a certain one. Strong’s #6423 BDB #811. This is always followed by the adjective alemônîy (י .נֹמ ל-א) [pronounced ahl-moh-NEE]. Strong’s #492 BDB #48. This has a pleasant, almost goofy, alliteration going on. Together, they are translated variously as such a one, such a one (Young); my friend (NIV); a certain one [or, friend] (NASB). I am thinking that this is a friendly greeting, along the lines of buddy, my buddy or friend, o friend. This phrase is only found here and in 1Sam. 21:3 2Kings 6:8. Apparently, he didn’t know his name was Bob? Actually, this is an interesting point. Boaz knows this guy by name. He knew enough about his relation to Elimelech and Naomi to know how close he was as a relative to Ruth, and he knew that this man is closer. However, his name is not recorded in Scripture. I don’t think it is because his identity is unknown to Boaz (that would make little or no sense) nor do I think that the writer of this book is intentionally concealing his name. His name is lost to history because he is a man who has no real historical consequence. I personally believe that he is an unbeliever, whose name is not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and hence, not recorded here in Scripture.

And so he took ten men from elders of the city, and so he said, “Sit down here.” And so they sat down.



Then he took ten men from the elders of the city and he said, “Sit down here.” And they sat down.

Then he took ten men from the elders of the city and he said, “Sit down here.” And they sat down.


The first verb is the Qal imperfect of lâqach (ח ַק ָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH] which means to take, to take from, to take in marriage, to seize. Strong’s #3947 BDB #542. Apparently, this was kind of an impromptu court/public notary thing. Boaz was going to transact some important business, and this needed to be witnessed by several of the men of the community. In other words, if either man decided to go back on his word, then there would be ten witnesses to testify to their original agreement. Having witnesses observe and then be ready to testify about a business transaction was a part of many ancient cultures (e.g., Gen. 23:18 Isa. 8:2 Jer. 32:10, 44). It would be reasonable that at least one of these witnesses would be alive long enough to stand as a witness to any disagreement which later arose. I should add that these are not just any group of ten men—these witnesses were taken from the elders of the city, or the pillars of that village. The elders were often those who governed the city (Deut. 19:12 Judges 8:14).

At the gate of the city, we have what was essentially an informal courthouse (informal by our standards). This does not mean that its decisions were slipshod and non-binding; it just means that the truth and justice were not hampered by law, as it is in our system. There would be stone benches on which they could sit, discuss, deliberate, offer opinions, and finally, when necessary, render a decision which would be binding upon the parties present. They functioned as witnesses, jurors, judges, and as attorneys, lacking the clear-cut delineations of our judicial system. With ten such respected witnesses, it would be hard for one who lost the case to later proclaim that he won.

And so he said to the redeemer, “A portion of the field which [was] to our brother, Elimelech, has sold Naomi, the one returning from a field of Moab.



Then he said to the kinsman-redeemer, “A portion of the field which [belonged] to our brother, Elimelech, Naomi is selling ([Naomi is] the one returning from a field of Moab).

Then he said to the kinsman-redeemer, “A portion of the field which belong to our late brother, Elimelech is being sold by Naomi, who just returned from Moab.


Boaz calls Elimelech their brother. The word is âch (חָא) [pronounced awhk], which simply means brother. It can refer to a literal brother, as in Gen. 4:2 27:6; to a close relative, as in Gen. 14:14, 16 (Lot was Abram's nephew, not his brother) Lev. 10:4; as well as to a fellow-countrymen (Lev. 19:17 25:14, 46). Strong's #251 BDB #26. Obviously, Boaz and Bob are related to Elimelech, but they are not necessarily both his literal brothers (although that is not altogether out of the question).


One of the difficult things to determine is whether this land had already been sold or whether Naomi had it up for sale. In the Hebrew, we have the 3rd person feminine singular, Qal perfect of mâkar (ר-כָמ) [pronounced maw-KAHR], which means to sell, to buy. Strong’s #4376 BDB #569. We generally think of a perfect tense as a completed action and imperfect as action which will occur in the future or is on-going. However, the perfect tense simple views an event or an action as a whole, without regard to duration or even to its completeness. Context determines whether the action of the verb is past, present or future. The perfect tense can look back on a completed event; it can view an ongoing event from the standpoint of its entire action; and it can even be used of a future event (many prophecies are in the perfect tense—a use often referred to as the prophetic perfect). However, what we do know is that Naomi, not Elimelech, is represented as the one having sold the property (or the one selling the property).

There are three basic views given with respect to the when of the sale of this property: (1) Elimelech, prior to leaving Israel for Moab, sold the property to get up enough travel scratch. (2) Naomi, since she had returned, had sold the property to someone else in a financial emergency. The reasons that anyone would hold to either of those two views is the use of the perfect tense of mâkar. Otherwise, we might expect the verb to be in the Qal active participle and preceded by the verb to be. (3) However, my educated guess is that Naomi had not yet sold the property, but was required to, by personal financial constraints, now to do so. Therefore, throughout the exposition of this book, I have presented the property as having belonged to their family and that Elimelech had not sold prior to taking his family to Moab. I have several reasons for taking this position. In v. 5, Boaz tells the other redeemer that he would be buying the property from the hand of Naomi—that does not sound as though she had already sold the property, but it sounds as though she is selling the property directly. We have the same phrase in v. 9 of this chapter as well. Furthermore, the language, if Naomi had already sold the land to another, would be different. Bob would be redeeming the land on behalf of Naomi and her family, rather than purchasing it from her hand. In any case, Naomi is looking to Boaz as her near relative to purchase the property in order to keep the property in the family (which would additionally involve the marriage of Boaz and Ruth).

An odd side issue is raised by some rabbis over the years. They question whether Naomi had the right to sell the property. That is pretty goofy. The property belonged to their family through the husband, and would have been passed down through his sons. He died, as did his sons, and there are no more direct male heirs to inherit the property. Therefore, who else could have owned the property other than Naomi? Furthermore, the problem of ownership and inheritance by females when there are no male heirs was dealt with in Num. 36. Females were allowed, under certain circumstances, to inherit the land of their father. No doubt, the case of Naomi was similar enough to not even require a separate ruling.

Boaz first states what would be the upside for this other guy: the fact that there is some property involved which is being sold in a distress sale. Elimelech apparently owned some land which Ruth and Naomi lacked the capital to cultivate. They were obviously without money—they needed funds just to get by—and the only option open to them was to sell off the inheritance which belonged to Naomi’s late husband, Elimelech (and to his late sons). What is even better, in this case, for Bob the other redeemer, is that the person who buys this property will not have to sell it back later or give it back in the Year of Jubilee, as it will still be in the family.

“And I said I would reveal your ear [to] you to say, buy [it] in front of the inhabitants and in front of the elders of my people, if you will redeem, redeem and if you will not redeem, make known to me and I will know that none besides you to redeem. And I after you.”



“And I said [that] I would uncover your ear, saying, buy [it], in front of the ones sitting—in front of the elders of my people. If you [desire to] redeem it, then redeem it; if you do not [desire to] redeem it, then make [that] known to me and I know that none besides you will redeem [it]. And I [come] after you.”

“And I said that I would speak of this matter to you in front of witnesses, and give you the opportunity to purchase the property, if that is what you want. You have the first right of redemption and I would be next in line.”


The verb used is the 1st person, Qal imperfect of gâlâh (ה ָלָ) [pronounced gaw-LAWH], which means to depart, to remove, to reveal in the Qal. These are obviously very different in meaning; however, context makes it fairly clear which meaning is reasonable. Strong's #1540 BDB #162. This is followed by feminine noun ôzen (ן∵זֹא) [pronounced OH-zen], which means ear. Strong’s #241 BDB #23. According to Barnes—I don’t know if I buy this or not—this refers to the act of removing a turban or part of the hair in order to whisper into one’s ear (we have the same phrase in 1Sam. 9:15 2Sam. 7:27). Tom Waits has used the expression, Let me pull on your coattails about something here.


What Boaz would say is the Qal imperative of qânâh (ה ָנ ָק) [pronounced kaw-NAWH] and this means to purchase, to redeem, to buy, to get, to acquire. Strong’s #7069 BDB #888. He is encouraged to buy the land before the masculine plural, Qal active participle of yâshabv (ב ַש ָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV] and it means to remain, to inhabit, to sit, to dwell. In the Qal participle, masculine plural, it should be rendered those inhabiting, those dwelling in, the inhabitants of, the ones dwelling in, dwellers of, those sitting, the ones sitting. Strong's #3427 BDB #442. Prior to this, we have the preposition neged (דגנ) [pronounced NEH-ged], which means in front of, in the sight of, opposite to. Strong’s #5048 BDB #617.

The verb for redeem is again found four times in this verse; first in the 2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect, followed by the Qal imperative. It is repeated in the Qal imperfect and accompanied by a negative. The last usage is in the Qal infinitive construct.

Boaz reveals a great deal here; primarily, in front of witnesses, that if this other person does not wish to make this purchase, then he, Boaz, would like to purchase the land. Boaz, as we have seen, is quite successful; and this other person, whether successful or not, will realize that this is a great deal, knowing that Boaz would like to purchase the distress property.

And so he said, “I—I will redeem.”



So he answered, “I, [even] I, will redeem [it].”

So he answered, “I will redeem it.”

Apparently, this other relative is well-off enough to purchase the property, and the prospect of purchasing the property in a distress sale appealed to him. He uses the 1st person personal pronoun, to indicate clearly that he will be the person to purchase this property.

Let’s see if we can put some numbers to this. Let’s say the land is worth $20,000 and was sold for $10,000, as the Law said that it should be returned to the original family in the Year of Jubilee. Now, let’s say that it was sold 30 years prior to the next Year of Jubilee. It might, therefore, carry a value of $6,000 rather than $10,000 because what is being purchased is really an extended lease. Now, let’s say 15 years later, it is redeemed by the original family. Unlike our economy today, they do not pay a higher price for the land, but they pay the original amount prorated according to the time remaining on the lease; so, to redeem this land then 15 years later, it would cost $3000. So, you see, redeeming a piece of property meant that it could be picked up at a very decent price—assuming, of course, that Naomi has already sold the property). For most people with a little bit of scratch, this is a no-brainer. Now, it is not as clear as to the value of the property if Bob buys it directly from Naomi. However, in any case, it is still a distress sale, and Bob, being a redeemer, will not have to relinquish this property in the future, as he was related to Elimelech.

And so said Boaz, “In a day of your buying the field from a hand of Naomi and from Ruth the Moabitess, a woman of the dying. You will buy to establish a name of the dying unto his inheritance.”



Then Boaz added, “In the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi then you will buy Ruth, the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to cause to stand the name of the dead unto his inheritance.”

Then Boaz added, “When you purchase the field from Naomi and Ruth, the Moabitess whose husband has died, you will purchase with the intention of establishing Ruth’s late husband’s name in connection with his inheritance.”

Now, Boaz throws in the catch. There is a cloud on the title, as we would say in real estate. A cloud on the title refers to anything which may be problematic in the conveying of a clear title from party A to party B. The land belonged to Elimelech and to Naomi by marriage when he died. It would be naturally passed to the sons of Elimelech, Mahlon and Chilion, who also died. Since Mahlon married and since his surviving wife, Ruth, is living in Bethlehem, she also has a claim upon the title. In other words, there may be a problem with gaining clear title to this land, even as a near relative of Elimelech. The most logical way to clear up this title problem is to marry Ruth. The land can then be bought, it remains in the family forever, and there is never a question as to the title of the property. Marrying Ruth removes the cloud on the title.

Now, if you don’t think that there is a problem here with the title of the land, let me point out that one of the debates carried on from very early on about this passage is did Ruth or Naomi have the right to sell the property. The rabbis began discussing this issue early on and even J. Vernon McGee devotes a page or two to this topic. If theologians, centuries later, are discussing ownership of this property and who has the right to sell it and who does not—then that should be evidence enough that the circumstances surrounding this matter creates some confusion as to clear custody of title. Now, this is one of the few issues that I don’t feel like spending much time with, personally believing the matter to be resolved by the implications of Num. 36, which would certainly allow the claim of title to Ruth and Naomi.

In the Hebrew, it is unclear and it appears as though Boaz is buying the field from the hand of Naomi and from Ruth. That is how the Hebrew reads. However, in the Vulgate and the Syriac, it reads that you will acquire Ruth the Moabitess. As you read through the very literal translation and the almost literal translation, you will see that the latter makes more sense than the former. However, I should, at this point, give you one of the rules of textual criticism. First of all, textual criticism is the science of choosing the most accurate reading (with respect to the autographs), and therefore, the best understanding of the text. One of the rules is that when two readings are given, the more obscure and less intelligible reading is the one to be preferred. To many, this will make little sense, at first. However, when copying a manuscript of Scripture, if an intentional change is made to the text (which is actually quite rare with respect to the Bible), then the logical change would be from an obscure or confusing reading to more intelligible one. Therefore, in cases where it appears as though the text was changed intentionally, the less intelligible reading is the preferred reading.

Boaz adds the catch. Recall that we are in the times of the judges, and that everything was not always done in the way that it should have been done. There was a catch to purchasing this land in a distress sale. The land belonged to the husband of Naomi, to his name, which would have been continued through her two male children. Through those three, we had the continuation of the name of Elimelech, and the inheritance which belonged to Elimelech. In fact, there is an implication in this that Elimelech—or his father—received his inheritance under the administration of Joshua, as we have no one else to carry on the family name. In other words, we are close to the very beginning of the period of the judges.

The Qal active participle of to die refers to the husband of Ruth, the son of Naomi, who died in Moab. The inheritance rightfully belonged to him and to his name. Boaz then clearly states the purpose of the purchase of this land—he uses the Hiphil infinitive construct of qûwm (םק) [pronounced koom], which means, in the Hiphil to establish, to fulfill, to cause to stand, to perform [a testimony, a vow, a commandment, a promise]. Strong’s #6965 BDB #877.

What Boaz is saying is that this redeemer—Bob—will not just purchase the land in a distress sale, but that the land would be preserved in the name of Ruth’s late husband, who has no heirs. In other words, this redeemer would have to marry Ruth and carry on the name of her late husband. This will cause this nearer redeemer to reconsider. Boaz has just told him that he must marry a Moabite woman, who is not related to anyone, and that their first-born child will carry on the name and inheritance of Mahlon, her late husband. Now, even though all of this sounds a little odd, it is all within the Law. Furthermore, if Bob purchased the land, he is then saying, by this purchase, that he is Mahlon’s nearest relative, thus obligating himself, under the Levirate law, to marry Mahlon’s widow, as she has no children by Mahlon. If someone chooses to act as Mahlon’s brother (in the extended sense), then they must take on themselves the obligations as well as the privileges of this position.

I work with teens all of the time, and part of their growing up process is their normal demand for adult freedom. They see the privilege and the freedom, and their hands grab for it. What they often do not see are the obligations and the responsibilities inherent in this freedom. Those who recognize that there are attendant responsibilities often choose not to see them. They may desire to come and go at all hours and be afforded the privilege of driving around, honking at red lights—but they do not want to assume the full financial responsibility of an automobile or a home over which they are the master. Most often, they don’t have that ability. However, the two things—autonomy and responsibility—are opposite sides of the same coin. You don’t get one without the other. And parents, by the way, who give their child a new car when he or she turns 16, and then buys them another when they wreck the first six months later, deserve the child that they will get—a child who has no concept of the responsibilities that are a part of their freedom (and often that lucky parent will get to partially support their child well into their 30’s).

And so said the redeemer, “I am not able to redeem for myself lest I [cause to] corrupt my inheritance. Redeem for you—you—my redemption for I am not able to redeem.”



So the redeemer said, “I am unable to redeem [it] myself or I will corrupt my inheritance. You redeem [it] for yourself because I am unable to redeem [it].”

So the near relative said, “I am not able to purchase this myself or I will cause problems with my own inheritance. Therefore, you should purchase it yourself, as I am unable to purchase it.”


The first verb that Bob uses is the Qal imperfect of yâkôl (לֹכָי) [pronounced yaw-COAL], which means to be able, to have the ability, to have the power to. Strong's #3201 BDB #407. This is used with the negative. The redeemer is unable to purchase this property. Then this near relative uses the depreciating conjunction pen (ן∵) [pronounced pen], which means lest, peradventure, or else, in order to prevent, or, so that [plus a negative]. It could also be translated simply else, or for the aversion of, for the avoidance of, so that [you] avoid, in order to prevent. This can be simply rendered or with the negative result of a matter then stated. Strong's #6435 BDB #814.


The problem is the Hiphil imperfect of shâchath (ת ַח ָש) [pronounced shaw-KHAHTH], which means, in the Hiphil, to cause one to go to ruin, to spoil, to ruin, to corrupt, to destroy. The NASB renders this jeopardize. Strong's #7843 BDB #1007. Bob claims that this would cause a corruption of his own inheritance if he simultaneously tried to preserve the inheritance of Elimelech. Therefore, he encourages Boaz to continue with the redemptive process for himself. Now, would there really be a problem with Bob purchasing this extra land for himself with reference to his own inheritance? Probably not. Back in v. 4, he was ready and willing to redeem the property. However, Boaz included the fact that he would now be raising up a child in the name of the previous husband and that is where Bob was ready to draw the line. Now, he is not going to come out and say, “I am not even remotely interested in Ruth.” Or, “I really don’t want to marry Ruth and raise up one child with a different name.” Or, “I am not at all interested in marrying a Moabite woman.” What he does not do is indicate that there is any problem with Ruth, although that is his problem. This would be impolite. What Bob indicates is that the problem is with his inheritance; and he offers no details. Some speculate here, as I have. The NIV Study Bible suggests that if he only has one child, that the land would remain in the hands of that child as a part of the family of Mahlon. Others suggest that he already had a wife and family. Still others think that the financial obligation of purchasing the land, and also supporting Ruth and Naomi would overburden Bob. It is not unreasonable to suppose that, if he has a wife and other children, or if he planned to marry and have children, that the Levirate marriage might cause him some problems with regards to the passing down of his inheritance. This is the only explanation that he offers and he does not expound further. This is what Boaz wanted to hear—he does not ask for or need any details.

You will note the approach of Boaz. He wants to dissuade Bob from acting as the nearest relative to Elimelech. Therefore, when he presented this option to Bob, he first held up that which would entice Bob the most—the additional land, which would remain in his family forever, as a close relative of the late Elimelech. Bob, a business man, not as successful as Boaz, was immediately interested. Then Boaz adds, “However, Bob, there’s a catch. You would also, as the nearest relative, have to marry Ruth.” Suddenly, this no longer was as appealing. It was a small town—he knew who Ruth was—she was a beggar woman from Moab. Bob considered her to be beneath him. Now, as I pointed out, Bob declines with great tact, not realizing that Boaz presented these options with the hope that Bob would decline the offer.

Now, couldn’t Bob take the land but not marry Ruth? Bob would be purchasing the land at a good price and it would remain with his family forever based upon being the closest kin to Elimelech. Because he is the nearest relative to Elimelech, this, at the same time, makes him to nearest relative to Mahlon, making him responsible to marry Ruth and raise up their first child under Mahlon’s name. He cannot publically choose to take responsibility as the nearest relative in one case, but not in the other. It would just be bad form. Furthermore, there would always be the already-mentioned problem that Ruth would always have some claim to the title. If she remarried, then could her new husband purchase this land back? Therefore, from the standpoint of honor and from the standpoint of holding clear title, the redeemer would have to both purchase the land and marry Ruth.

Now, as I have been teaching, there is an undercurrent to this book. Although it deals with a set of real, historical events, it is also a story of Christ’s love for His Church and for His people. So, just who would this unnamed other redeemer be? McGee suggests that he is the Law, which, although It is holy, just and good, by the works of the Law, no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20). Bob is unwilling and unable to redeem the land because he does not love Ruth. The Law is unable to redeem us, because the Law itself has no love for us. At best, the Law condemns us; It points out to us where we come short of the glory of God. The other kinsman, who symbolizes the Law, said, “I cannot redeem.” The Law cannot redeem you. You have to have Somebody who will love your, friend, and Somebody to pay the penalty of your sins...You cannot measure up to God’s standard. You and I are way short of God’s standard. We need today a Kinsman Redeemer who loves us and who was not only willing to risk everything, but who actually gave His life. It is only through Christ’s love that we are redeemed, just as it is through the love of Boaz that Ruth will be redeemed. McGee, again: The Law...was unable to the anonymous kinsman, [the Law] cannot redeem without imperiling its own inheritance. Law cannot lower its standard to man’s level and still be law. But a greater than Boaz has come and he not only endangered his inheritance, but gave his own life a ransom for many. Now the vilest sinner can be saved by grace. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24).

Now this formerly in Israel for the redemption and for the exchange to establish all of a word: drawn off a man his sandal and he has given to his associate and this [is] the testimony in Israel.



Now this [is the way] in past times in Israel concerning a redemption or concerning an [act of] bartering to establish [or, confirm] all of a matter: one would remove his sandal and give it to his associate; this is the manner of official records in Israel.

Whenever an act of redemption or the act of bartering was concluded, each man would remove one sandal and give it to the other. This is the way official transactions were concluded in Israel.


At the beginning of this verse, we have the combination of lâmed prefixed preposition plus the masculine noun pânîym (םי ̣נ ָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM], which means faces (usually referring to one face, however). Strong’s #6440 BDB #815. With the lâmed preposition, these can also refer to time and be translated before or formerly. (Lâmed is BDB #510).


We have a preposition which is used twice: ׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ahl ], which means upon, on, against, above, over, by, beside. Its more metaphysical use is on the ground of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, concerning. Strong’s #5920, #5921 BDB #752. This concerns the redemption as well as the feminine singular of temûwrâh (הָרמ ) [pronounced temoo-RAW], which means exchange, barter, what is bartered, compensation, recompense. Strong’s #8545 BDB #558. This is followed by the lâmed prefixed preposition and the Piel infinitive construct of qûwm (םק), again, which means, to establish, to fulfill, to cause to stand, to perform a testimony, a vow, a commandment. Strong’s #6965 BDB #877. This is followed by all of a word (or, the entire matter).


Then we have the Qal perfect of shâlaph (ף-לָש) [pronounced shaw-LAHF], which means to draw out, to draw off. Strong’s #8025 BDB #1025. What the man would take off is a sandal and he would give it to rêa׳ ( ַע ֵר) [pronounced RAY-ahģ], which means associate, neighbor, colleague, fellow, acquaintance. It is a person with whom you come into contact. In context, this is a man you are transacting business with. Strong’s #7453 BDB #945.


Then, this reads: this [is] and we have feminine singular of te׳ûwdâh (הָדע ) [pronounced tegoo-DAW], which means testimony, attestation. We find this word only used thrice in Scripture; in Ruth 4:7 and Isa. 8:16, 20. We might render this here the manner of official records. Strong’s #8485 BDB #730.

What this says that in the occasion of redemption or an act of bartering, whereas we would conclude the matter by signing two inches of paperwork in front of a notary; they concluded such a transaction by relinquishing a sandal. This was a tradition or a custom not required by the Mosaic Law. The witnesses testified to the details of the matter, if needed; and the exchange of sandals testified to the conclusion of the transaction (it is not completely clear if both Boaz and Bob gave the other a sandal, or whether just one gave a sandal to the other). My educated guess would be that Bob, in relinquishing the sandal, is indicating that he is willing to relinquish his rights to the property and his obligation to marry Ruth. That seems to be in accordance with the context, including the next verse, as well as with the Mosaic Law—which is approximated here, but not followed completely.

The way that the author words this verse—that the giving of the sandal was a custom in former times—indicates that this custom was probably no longer practiced at the time of writing. This is yet another clue to indicate that the book of Ruth was written some time after the events of the book took place.

Now that you know who these principal players represent, do you understand what just occurred in this verse? Who is supposed to be there? Ruth. Ruth is supposed to be there and take the sandal and spit in Bob’s face. Ruth is not there. Boaz is there in her place. Boaz stands in for Ruth, just as Christ stands in for us when He took upon Himself the penalty for our sins. Boaz handles the redemption process—Ruth does nothing. She expressed positive volition toward Boaz in private. She didn’t walk an isle, she didn’t do anything but come to him. Boaz took care of everything else. I hope that you are beginning to realize what an incredible book this is and why it is in the canon of Scripture.

And so said the redeemer to Boaz, “Buy [it] for yourself.” And so he drew off his sandal.



Then the redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy [it] for yourself.” And he took off his sandal.

Then the kinsman-redeemer said to Boaz, “You may buy it yourself.” And he took off his sandal and gave it to Boaz.

The nearer relative determined that the package deal was not what he wanted; he stated this in front of witnesses and gave his sandal to Boaz to indicate that this was the conclusion of the matter. One ancient translation, according to TEV, ends this verse with the words and gave it to Boaz.

Now, you may wonder just how did they come up with this kind of a custom—to give someone a sandal when you chose not to buy the land. When you owned land, you walked up and down upon that land in your sandals. The taking off the sandal represented that this other-in-law would not be walking up and down on that land. Giving the sandal to another symbolized that this right to walk on your own land was transferred to another—in this case, Boaz. This custom was also found among the Indians and the ancient Germans, and is still found in various places in the east.

By Mosaic Law, it is at this juncture that Ruth would be afforded an opportunity to humiliate the man who rejected her. As per Deut. 25:9, she would be allowed to take his sandal and spit in his face. However, she does not. In fact, she is not even there. Various explanations are given—she is a Moabitess, she is not interested in this other man—but, the simplest explanation is that she simply is not there, nor does it appear as though she has any interest in being there. Furthermore, it is doubtful that Ruth even knew that she had the opportunity to shame this other in-law, much less the desire to.

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Boaz Testifies Before the Elders Concerning Ruth

And so said Boaz to the elders and to all the people, “Witnesses you [are] the day that I have bought all that to Elimelech and all that to Chilion and to Mahlon from a hand of Naomi.



Then Boaz said to the elders and to all the people, “You [are] witnesses today that I have purchased all that [belonged] to Elimelech and all that [belonged] to Chilion and to Mahlon from the hand of Naomi.

Then Boaz said to the elders as well as to all of the people, “You are all witnesses this day that I have purchased all that belonged to Elimelech, as well as to his two sons, Chilion and Mahlon, from Naomi.

This transaction early in the morning did attract a small crowd, eager to see what was going on. The elders which Boaz called over to witness this transaction, along with the people who came to observe the transaction—they are all witnesses that Bob has decided against purchasing this land as a distressed property and that he would not be marrying Ruth. Boaz would therefore be the next of kin who could do this.

Now, in case you are confused still as to when this property is being sold, re-read this verse. Boaz will buy the property from the land of Naomi—he is purchasing all that belonged to Elimelech, Chilion and Mahlon. It is difficult to reasonably interpret this in any other way.

“And also Ruth the Moabitess, a woman of Mahlon, I bought for me to wife to raise up a name of the dying upon his inheritance and not cut off a name of the dying from with his brothers and from a gate of his place. Witnesses you [are] the day.”



“And also Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, I bought for myself to wife raise up the name of the dead in accordance with his inheritance so that the name of the dead is not cut off beside his brothers or from the gate of his place. You [are] witnesses [of this] today.”

“And also Ruth the Moabitess, the former wife of Mahlon—I purchased for myself to marry in order to raise up the name of her late husband in accordance with his inheritance so that his name is not cut off from his brothers or from the gate of his place. You are all witnesses to this, this day.”


Wife and woman in this verse are the same word. What Boaz is going to do is raise up the name of the dead and then this if followed by the preposition ׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ahl ], which means upon, on, against, above, over, by, beside, on the ground of (or upon the basis) of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, concerning, besides, in addition to, together with, beyond, above, over, by on to, towards, to, against, in the matter of, concerning, as regards to. It is perhaps one of the most versatile prepositions in the Hebrew language. Strong’s #5920, #5921 BDB #752. Each Israelite family is associated eternally with an inheritance of land. This is not something which they can lose forever. Even when a piece of property was sold, it had to revert back to the original family within 50 years. It was important for the Israelite to understand that there was a portion of land which belonged eternally to that family. Boaz was keeping a family name—not his, but Mahlon’s—associated with this piece of property forever. This is a recognition that what God does is eternal. These were not some arbitrary laws which simply sounded nice; the Law of God insured that the inheritance which God gave to Israel was eternal.


Prior to his brothers, we have a pairing of the prepositions mîn (ן ̣מ) (from, off) and ׳îm, to give us mê׳îm (ם ̣ע̤מ) [pronounced may-ĢEEM], which means from with, beside, from being with, away from, far from, from the possession of, from the custody of. Mîn = Strong’s #4480 BDB #577. and ׳îm = Strong’s #5973 BDB #767. Together, they are BDB# 768.

Boaz has these witnesses testify to the fact that he is purchasing the land with the intention of marrying Ruth and raising up her first born under the name of Mahlon, so that his name retains an eternal inheritance that even death cannot remove. Recall what Peter wrote: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not decay, reserved in heaven for you who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1Peter 1:3–5). In other words, there was a lot more to this than simply preserving the name of some old dead guy with a plot of dirt. The Law is a shadow of the good things to come (Col. 2:17 Heb. 8:4–5 10:1). Their eternal, imperishable inheritance on earth is a shadow of our eternal, imperishable inheritance in heaven.

You will note that Boaz has done everything on behalf of Ruth. He has redeemed the land which belongs to her and to Naomi. Ruth was unable to redeem the land herself. She was without assets. In fact, she was a Moabitess. Boaz married her and brought her into the family of Israel. And for all this to occur, one had to die, her husband, Mahlon. And what was closest to Ruth, Bob, could not redeem her. Do you see the great parabolic nature of this story? This is our salvation. Christ had to die for our salvation; He had to pay the penalty for our sins. The Law could not redeem us. We have no assets. We cannot redeem ourselves. We stand completely outside the family of God, rejected by the Law, and without assets. We are completely dependent upon Christ to stand in our place and to redeem us from the penalty of the Law.

At this point, we should examine Boaz and the Doctrine of the Kinsman-Redeemer (HTML) (PDF).

And so said all of the people who [were] in the gate and the elders, “Witnesses! Will make Yehowah the woman, the one coming unto your house, like Rachel and like Leah who built up they two a house of Israel. And you make strength in Ephrathah and you proclaim a name in Bethlehem.



Then all the people who [were] at the gate and the elders said, “[We are] witnesses. [May] Yehowah make [this] woman—the one coming into your house—like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built up the house of Israel. Make [yourself] strong and proclaim [your son’s] name in Bethlehem.

Then all the witnesses at the gate said, “We stand as witnesses. May Jehovah make this woman—Ruth—like Rachel and Leah, who built up the house of Israel. And may Jehovah make you strong and proclaim your son’s name long in Bethlehem.

Apparently, several men said several things, and they are combined here into one long quote(vv. 11–12). Like many of the quotes in Scripture, this will require us to see what others have done:


CEV                                   The town leaders and the others standing there said: We are witnesses to this. And we pray that the Lord will give your wife many children, just as he did Leah and Rachel, the wives of Jacob. May you be a rich man in the tribe of Ephrathah and an important man in Bethlehem.

The Emphasized Bible      Then said all the people who were in the gate and the elders— Witnesses!,— Yahweh grant the woman who is coming into thy house To be as Rachel and as Leah, Which two of them did build the house of Israel. Do thou bravely, then, in Ephrathah, And proclaim thou a name in Bethlehem.

NASB                                “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built the house of Israel; and may you achieve wealth in Ephrathah and become famous in Bethlehem.

Owen's Translation           “Witnesses! May Yahweh make the woman who is coming into your house like Rachel and Leah, who built up together the house of Israel; and make strength in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem...”

Young's Lit. Translation     “Witnesses! Jehovah make the woman who is coming in unto thy house as Rachel and as Leah, both of whom built the house of Israel; and do thou virtuously in Ephrathah, and proclaim the Name in Beth-Lehehm;

Although it appears as though all translations place witnesses as a part of the quotation, only the NAB gives this in such a way as makes sense: Boaz finishes v. 10 with “...Do you witness this today?” All those at the gate, including the elders, said, “We do so...” (The NJB helps us as well with the sense of this). They all confirm that they are witnesses to this transaction. Then we have several statements which are made and some of which are included here. This is not unlike a toast.


We have the Qal imperfect of nâthan (ןַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN], which means to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set. Strong's #5414 BDB #678. The subject of the verb is Yehowah (or, Jehovah). When they say that Jehovah will make Rachel like Leah and Rachel—these two women, and their handmaids, were the mothers of all of Israel. They had twelve children between them, who made up the twelve tribes of Israel. What they did is given by the Qal perfect of bânâh (ה ָנ ָ) [pronounced baw-NAWH], which means to build, to rebuild, to restore. Strong’s #1129 BDB #124. They built up the nation of Israel. This verb is followed by the numeral shetayîm (ם  ̣י ַ  ׃ש) [pronounced sheTAH-yim], which simply means two. With this is the masculine plural suffix, which, despite the fact that it is masculine, refers to Rachel and Leah. It means they two; although most render this as both or both of them. Strong’s #8147 BDB #1040. Let me add to this Psalm 127:3: Behold, children are a gift of Jehovah; the fruit of the womb is a reward.


In the last phrase, we have the wâw conjunction and the 2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative of ׳âsâh (ה ָ ָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH] which means to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare. What we would have expected is for this verb to be in the reflexive (the Hithpael), but this verb is not found in the Hithpael. However, that he should make himself strong is implied (it is in the imperative and not in the Niphal—which is the passive stem). Strong's #6213 BDB #793. What they say that Boaz will do is he will make or construct the masculine singular noun chayil (ל̣יַח) [pronounced CHAH-yil ] and it means efficiency, army, strength, valour, power, might. Strong’s #2428 BDB #298. What we apparently have here is a blessing in the form of a command.


The second verb is also the 2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative; it is qârâ (א ָר ָק) [pronounced kaw-RAW] which simply means call, proclaim, read, to call to, to assemble. This word is found approximately 800 times in God's Word. It often means to name something (Gen. 21:31 25:30) or to call something into being, so to speak. To all the Jews, this will be a holy convocation. When followed by a lâmed, as it is here, it means to give a name to. Strong's #7121 BDB #894. This is followed by the masculine singular noun shêm (ם ֵש) [pronounced shame], which means name, reputation, character. Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027. Together, the sense is that they order Boaz to make his name proclaimed throughout Bethlehem. Hence we have the idea of being noteworthy, famous, renown, etc. So these men tell Boaz to make himself strong and to proclaim not his name, but a name throughout Bethlehem. The name which he is to proclaim is, in this context, the name of Mahlon, the late husband of Ruth. Recall v. 5: Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of the deceased, in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance.” Part of the reason for the Levirate marriage is so that the dead brother’s name not be lost to history. Little did they realize that his name and his son’s name by Ruth would both stand forever in the line of their Messiah.

“And may be your house like a house of Perez whom bore Tamar to Judah from the children that gives Yehowah to you from the young woman the this.”



“And may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah from the children that Yehowah gives to you from this young woman.”

“And may your house be like the house of Perez, who was born to Tamar and Judah—so may the children given you be Jehovah from this young woman.”

Recall that we generally have the verb and then the subject of the verb in the Hebrew; so it is Tamar who bore Perez to Judah. This indicates that the family of Perez is one of the larger and more prosperous families to come from Judah. Also, it was interesting that they mention Judah, Tamar and Perez. This goes back to Gen. 38 where we have a recorded instance of what is occurring in this book of Ruth. Originally, Tamar married Judah’s first son, Er, who was a ne’er-do-well whom God struck down soon after he was married. As was the custom, Judah to Er’s younger brother to impregnate Tamar and the son was to be brought up as Er’s son with Er’s name. Onan, the younger brother, didn’t mind having sex with Tamar, but ejaculated onto the ground at the end of the sex act. Because of this, God also took his life. Judah, thinking this was some kind of a curse on whoever came in contact with Tamar, promised her marriage to a younger son, Shelah, who was still too young to be married. He asked her to remain unmarried in her father’s house until then, which she did. Sometime later, she found out that Judah gave his son, Shelah, to another, while she was spying on their family (she had a veil over her face). Judah, thinking she was a prostitute, propositioned her. Now, realize that it was Judah’s word upon which she depended to eventually be married and raise up sons. He did not keep his word. If his son Shelah did not marry Tamar, then Judah should have informed her of this. It would even be reasonable for Judah to raise up a son in her to Er himself. Judah, mistaking Tamar for a prostitute, had sex with her and impregnated her. In exchange, she required that she give him some personal items. When it became known that she was pregnant, the self-righteous Judah called for her to be burned. It was a quick and easy way to get rid of this woman who Judah regarded as a problem and bad luck. When it was revealed that it was his child that she was pregnant with, he could not longer call for her execution. Tamar bore Judah twins, one of whom, Perez, was in the line of Christ.


The word for young woman is na׳ărâh (ה ָר ֱע ַנ) [pronounced nah-ar-AWH] means girl, damsel, miss, young woman, woman of marriageable age; it can refer to a prostitute (Amos 2:7), an engaged girl (Deut. 22:25, 27), a little girl (2Kings 5:2) or a mistress (Judges 19:3–6). It refers to female attendants or maids only when in the plural (Gen. 24:61 Ex. 2:5 Prov. 9:3). This is an unmarried woman. Strong’s #5291 BDB #655.

What we have here is an internal witness of Scripture. This passage refers back to Gen. 38, implying quite strongly the accuracy of that passage. Whereas, we have nothing as strong as we occasionally find in the New Testament (e.g., And God said...; or, And the Spirit, through David, said...), nevertheless, this reference indicates that the information found in Gen. 38 is to be taken at face value and that it means exactly what it appear to mean. Now, I should add that there are occasions where a passage from secular literature is found in the Bible. In those few cases, the context of the passage indicates that a quote is being given, and not that Scripture is being quoted authoritatively (e.g., see Acts 17:28).

The reference here by the elders to Perez is quite appropriate. Perez was born from a Levirate marriage. Judah was actually the only semi-willing husband to Tamar. However, when found to be in error for his promises which were not fulfilled, Judah both married and raised up a child by Tamar—actually twins—one of whom was among the ancestors of Boaz.

return to outline


Boaz Marries Ruth; They Have a Child

And so took Boaz Ruth and so she was to him to wife and so he went in unto her and so gave Yehowah to her conception and so she bore a son.



So Boaz took Ruth and she was a wife to him. He went into unto her and Yehowah gave her impregnation, and she bore a son.

So Boaz took Ruth as his wife and had relations with her. Jehovah gave them a son.

I should ask something at this juncture—why would Boaz be willing to marry a Moabite woman? The Bible did not encourage intermarriage between the Jews and heathen gentiles. Many interpreted that as racial purity, although they key was religious purity. Still, most Jews would not even consider marrying a gentile woman, just as there are some Caucasian males today who would not marry a woman of color, or a Jewess or an Hispanic woman. The explanation is quite easy the grasp—although the father of Boaz was a Jew (Salmon), his mother was Rahab, the gentile prostitute. Regardless of what occurred in Joshua 2, Boaz no doubt ran into some prejudices from his fellow Jews, and the fact that his mother was Rahab may have had a lot to do with the fact that Boaz was both enterprising and successful, yet without a wife. And, since his mother was a gentile and a believer in Jehovah-Elohim, Boaz would have no problem marrying a gentile woman who was also a believer.

What Jehovah gave to her is found only in Ruth 4:13 and Hosea 9:11, and it means conception, pregnancy, impregnation. Strong’s #2032 BDB #248. Now, here are a couple of things that might stick in your craw: (1) Boaz is significantly older than Ruth (which we found out in Ruth 3:10); and (2) they marry within about two or three months of meeting, and then have children. However, this is what they know about each other: Ruth knows from experience and Naomi knows from around town that Boaz is a successful believer of great integrity. Boaz knows that Ruth is also a believer with great personal integrity, who is willing to work hard, is not puffed up with self importance, and will endure self-sacrifice when necessary. Why do young people nowadays need to know their opposite number for several years prior to marriage? It takes them at least that long to determine whether the other person has any personal integrity or not. And if they have sexual relations prior to marriage—which Ruth and Boaz did not—then they will never know enough about the other person until after they have gotten married and the hormones have calmed down. At that point in time, they each find out that the other person is lazy, would not sacrifice a thing on behalf of the other person, and that each lacks any personal integrity. One of the reasons an arranged marriage works just as often as a marriage which is founded, supposedly, upon love, is that the parents are intelligent enough to recognize a looser. I’ve known many teenage and young ladies in their early 20’s who marry a looser and every person over 40 knows the guy is a looser and her parents just hope and pray that he will grow out of it. And by looser, I don’t mean someone who will not be financially successful. I mean someone who has no personal integrity and who would not sacrifice one thing on behalf of this woman he is about to marry. However, she has no clue until a year or two after they are married.

Allow me to go off on a tangent here: the most important thing for a young woman is to have or to have had a good, loving relationship with her father. Most men would do anything for their daughters—they would sacrifice anything for them, and give their lives for their daughters in an instant. Although a young girl does not fully realize the depth of love that her father has for her, she often recognizes in an instant a young man who is a predator, who has no integrity. A father shows his daughter in 20 or 30 years by example how a man should treat a woman. When a young woman has been so raised, it makes it much easier for her to weed out the loosers. Anytime a young woman wants to marry a man who is just like her dad, it means that he has taught her well by his example.

And so said the women unto Naomi, “Blessed [is] Yehowah Who has not [caused to] cease for you a redeemer the day; and will be called his name in Israel.



Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed [is] Yehowah, Who has not caused to cease a redeemer for you today. Furthermore, may his name be recited in Israel.

Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessings to Jehovah, Who has provided for you a redeemer this day. May your son’s name be known throughout all of Israel.


What the women first say is the Qal passive participle of bârake ( ַר ָ) [pronounced baw-RAHKe], which means to bless, to make happy, to prosper. This is a way of expressing thankfulness to God. Strong’s #1288 BDB #138.


The redeemer that God provided for Naomi was, of course, Boaz; however, the one whom these women call to be renown in Israel is their son. The word used is the 3rd person masculine singular, Niphal imperfect of qârâ, again (א ָר ָק) [pronounced kaw-RAW]. This word means to call, to proclaim, to read, to call to, to assemble. In the Niphal, which is the passive stem, it means to be called, to be named, to be read aloud, to be recited. The gist here is that he will be well-known. Strong's #7121 BDB #894.

“And he is to you to a restoring of soul and to support your old age for your daughter-in-law who has loved you has borne him who she [is] better to you from seven sons.”



“And he is to you a restorer of the soul and a sustainer of your old age because your daughter-in-law who loves you has borne him—she who [is] better to you than seven sons.”

“He will both restore your life and sustain you in your old age. Furthermore, your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is carrying his child, is better to you than seven sons.”


What Boaz is to Naomi is the Hiphil participle of shûwbv (בש) [pronounced shoobv]; which means to return, to turn, to turn back, to reminisce, to restore something, to bring back something, to revive, to recover something, to make restitution. In the Hiphil (the causative) stem, it can mean to be caused to return (2Sam. 19:11 2Chron. 6:25), to bring (Gen. 14:16 28:15), to be caused to turn back mentally, reminisce (Deut. 30:1) to return something, to restore, to bring back, to regain, to recover, to make restitution (Neh. 5:11 Prov. 24:12 Lam. 3:64), reconsider, think again (Job 6:29), or to be caused to return (Psalm 78:38). Strong's #7725 BDB #996. What he is a restorer of is the feminine singular of nephesh (ש פ נ) [pronounced NEH-fesh], which means soul, life, living being, desire. Strong’s #5315 BDB #659.


The next verb is the Pilpel infinitive construct of kûwl (ל) [pronounced kewl], which means to comprehend, to contain in the Qal. In the Pilpel, it means to sustain, to support, to nourish, to contain, to endure [sickness]. Strong’s #3557 BDB #465. What he is a sustainer of is the feminine singular noun sêybvâh (הָבי̤) [pronounced sayb-VAW], which means old age, gray hair. Strong’s #7872 BDB #966.


What her daughter-in-law has done is the Qal perfect of yâlad (ד ַל ָי) [pronounced yaw-LAHD], which means to bear, to be born, to bear, to bring forth, to beget. Strong’s #3205 BDB #408. With this is the masculine singular suffix, followed by who she [is], literally. Then we have the feminine singular adjective ţôwbv (בט) [pronounced toebv], which means pleasant, pleasing, agreeable, good, better. Strong’s #2896 BDB #373. This is followed by for you and the comparative use of mîn and seven sons. Bearing children was a blessing from God. Since seven was the number of perfection, bearing seven children was considered to be perfect (1Sam. 2:5 Job 1:2 42:13).

The Hebrew is a little messy, but the verse is fairly clear. The man Boaz will restore her soul (or her life) and he will see to her care in her old age. The love of Ruth, who has remained with Naomi, is greater than the dedication of seven sons.

And so took Naomi the child and so she laid him in her bosom and so she was to him for a nourisher-supporter.



So Naomi took the child and laid him against her bosom and was a nurse to him.

So Naomi took and the child and laid him against her bosom and she was his nurse.


What Naomi was to this child was the feminine singular, Qal active participle of âman (ן ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHN], which means, in the Hiphil, to stand firm, to believe, to trust. When used as a noun, this can mean nourisher, supporter, foster-father, foster-mother, nurse. Strong's #539 BDB #52. The Qal active participle along with the feminine singular means that this verb acts like a noun here, describing the action of the grandmother. Naomi acts to confirm, to support, to believe in this child.

The NIV Study Bible suggests that the laying of the child against her bosom symbolized adoption as a son. However reasonable that may sound, this is simply the natural reaction of any woman to her grandson.

And so gave [a name] to him the neighborhood women a name, to say, “Born a son to Naomi.” And they call his name Obed.



So the neighborhood women gave [a name] to him, saying, “To Naomi was born a son!” They called his name Obed.

The neighborhood women named him Obed, and said, “To Naomi was born a son!”


The first noun is the feminine plural of the adjective shâkên (ן̤כָש) [pronounced shaw-KAYN], which means inhabitants, neighbors, dwellers. As a feminine plural with a definite article, it means neighbor women, women from the neighborhood, female neighbors. Strong’s #7934 BDB #1015.


The verb used twice in this verse is the feminine plural, Qal imperfect of a verb used often in this chapter: qârâ (א ָר ָק) [pronounced kaw-RAW] which simply means call, proclaim, read, to call to, to assemble. When followed by a lâmed, as it is here, it means to give a name to. The second time it is used, it is not followed by a lâmed, and therefore can be rendered called. Strong's #7121 BDB #894. The name given to the child is ׳ôwbvêd (ד̤בע) [pronounced ohb-VAYD or gohb-VAYD], which means a slave of, a servant of. BDB says a worshiper of, but I don’t buy that. Strong’s #5744 BDB #714.

Naomi, without any men in her life, clings to this child as a son, and almost presents him as such to the town of Bethlehem.

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What we have here is several parallels between the son of Ruth and Boaz and the Christ child:

Obed, son of Ruth and Boaz

The Christ Child

A descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and Perez.

A descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and Perez.

His true mother and father were from separate, even warring, nations.

His true mother and Father were of separate, even warring, worlds.

His true mother was of another nation, not naturally an heir to the land. She became an heir to the land through her free will.

His true mother was of the earth, not naturally an heir to the kingdom. She became a believer in Christ Jesus of her own free will, thus becoming an heir to the kingdom.

His father was a natural heir to the land.

His Father is the divine sovereign of the Kingdom.

Whereas Ruth was his true mother, his father was represented as Mahlon.

Whereas Mary was His true mother, his father was represented as Joseph.

Although Boaz was the true father, he was raised as the son of Mahlon.

Although God was the True Father, our Lord was raised as the son of Joseph.

His name was to be famous throughout all Israel (Ruth 4:11, 14).

His name would be famous throughout Israel. And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6b).

The other woman in his periphery held him close and placed their trust in him.

The other women in His periphery held Him close and trusted in Him.

In their observations and wishes, the women around Obed showed themselves to be more perceptive than the men (Ruth 1:11, 14).

When our Lord was crucified, only one of the disciples was with Him while he was on the cross, but at least five of His female disciples (Matt. 26:56 27:55 Mark 14:50 15:40 Luke 23:55).

He was born and named a servant of. It is possible that Obed is short for Obadiah, which would make him a servant of Yah [God].

He was born a Servant of God.

He [is] father of Jesse, father of David.



He [is] the father of Jesse, the father of David.

He is the father of Jesse, who is the father of David.


Ruth, although a Moabite and an outcast, became the mother of Obed, who was the ancestor of Jesse, who was the father of David, who was to be King over Israel. Although David was definitely the son of Jesse, Jesse was probably simply a grandson or great grandson of Obed. The word used here is âbv (ב ָא,) [pronounced awbv], which means father, both as the head of a household or the head of a clan; therefore, it can refer to a grandfather or great grandfather. Strong’s #1 BDB #3.

Despite the great degeneracy of Israel during the time period of the judges, there were still those who were faithful men who clung to God. Boaz is to be one of them and so is his descendant, Jesse (1Sam. 16:18).

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The Generations of Perez

1Chron. 2:10–12 Matt. 1:3–6 Luke 3:32–33

With this, we examine the lineage of Perez, the son of Judah and Tamar. There are exactly ten names in this genealogy, just as we find in Gen. 5:3–32 11:10–26. It is unclear to me whether that is significant. Obviously, the initial chapters of the book of Chronicles are not so limited, nor do we find that few names in Matt. 1 or Luke 3. As we will see in Ruth 4:19, the genealogy is incomplete, which appears to be the case in all of the genealogies found in Scripture. Some generations not just not worth mentioning.

And these [are] descendants of Perez: Perez sired Hezron;



Now these [are] the descendants of Perez: Perez fathered Hezron;

Now, the descent of Perez is as follows: Perez was the father of Hezron;

To the average person who reads their Bible, the genealogy is the place at which they are to begin skimming. However, they accomplish a great deal, which the average reader overlooks. They first indicate from where one has traveled, as well as point out to where they will go. Secondly, they establish the royal line. There are a number of genealogies in Scripture, but most of them come to a sudden halt. However, one genealogy which is followed from cover to cover in Scripture (okay, actually from Gen. 5 through to Luke 3), is the line of our Lord and Savior. Judaism rejects Jesus as the Messiah (or, Christ, in the Greek). However, what we find consistent in the Old and New Testaments is this careful recording of the royal line which leads eventually to the Messiah. Any Jew of the Old Testament who knew Scripture realized that the line of David would lead to David’s Greater Son, the Messiah of Israel. What Judaism does not provide, after the Incarnation, is another genealogy to follow to their messiah. There are a number of reasons why, according to Old Testament, there could be no Messiah other than Jesus, and genealogy is one of them. In fact, Judaism is quite divided today on their interpretation of the coming of their messiah. Some expect that it will be miraculous and earth-shattering; others think that his coming will be more of a natural process; some do not expect deliverance by a messiah at all. Old Testament Jews who had an interest in Scripture were fairly unified as to what they expected in their coming Messiah, and passages in the Old Testament that we Christians point to as Messianic passages, were also so viewed by the Jews of the Old Testament. Because they rejected their True Messiah, all they are left with is a false substitute, and there are many views as to what form, if any, that false substitute will take.

Okay, why is Perez the first person mentioned? It would appear, at first, that the logical person to begin with is Judah, the father of Perez, the father of the tribe of Judah. This genealogy seems to be incomplete apart from the mention of Judah—however, this genealogy begins with Perez. The key is the Levirate marriage. Perez was a son through a Levirate marriage and this book is essentially about a Levirate marriage. Perez, as the son of a Levirate marriage, begins the genealogy line; just as Obed, as the son of a Levirate marriage, closes out the narrative of this book (Ruth 4:17).

Perez, as we had mentioned, was the son of Judah and Tamar, through a similar situation. Judah inadvertently raised up seed to his late first-born in Tamar, the wife of his first-born. Perez was actually a twin; his twin brother was Zerah. Both Perez and Zerah were heads of major families (Num. 26:20). Another reason that we possibly begin the line with him, is that his name means a bursting forth, a breach.

Following in the line of Perez was Herzron. We also find this in 1Chron. 2:5 4:1 Matt. 1:3a Luke 3:33c. In 1Chron. 4:1, it appears as though both Perez and Hezron are sons of Judah. In the Hebrew sense, that is accurate. However, what the Hebrew means is that Perez and Hezron are both descendants of Judah and that both of them headed large clans. Perez was really the son of Judah and Hezron was the son (or grandson) of Perez.

Hezron and his family, surprisingly, are found in quite a number of passages: Gen. 46:12 Num. 26:21 Ruth 4:18–19 1Chron. 2:5, 9, 18, 21, 24–25 4:1 Matt. 1:3 Luke 3:33. It is likely that Hezron was actually the son of Perez (Gen. 46:12 in context). I say surprisingly because, given all of these mentions in Scripture, we still know little or nothing about Hezron (in the latter portion of 1Chron. 2, it is not even clear whether we are speaking of the same Hezron). If this is the same man, than about all we know is that he was rather prolific, and it is no wonder an entire clan was named after him.

and Hezron sired Ram and Ram sired Amminadab;



and Hezron fathered Ram and Ram fathered Amminadab;

and Hezron was the father of Ram and Ram was the ancestor of Amminadab;

Hezron appears to be the father of Jerahmeel (his first-born) who was the father of Ram (Jerahmeel’s first-born), according to 1Chron. 2:25, 27. However, what appears to be the case is that Hezron was the father of Jerahmeel and of Ram, and that Jerahmeel named one of his sons Ram as well; therefore, the Ram in this passage is the uncle of the Ram who is a son of Jerahmeel (compare 1Chron. 2:9–10, 25, 27). This is pretty much the sum total that we know about Ram, apart from who his descendants were.

We also find this line in Matt. 1:3b–4a Luke 3:33b. Interestingly enough, we find in Luke 3:33, that between Ram and Amminadab was Admin, who is found nowhere else in Scripture. You will note that the language found in 1Chron. 2:9, where Ram is said to be born of Hezron and 2:10, where Ram is said to be the father of Amminadab. We might postulate from this the language of 1Chron. 2:9 refers to a father and son relationship as we think of it and that the language of 1Chron. 2:10 indicates simply line of descent. The Ram of this passage was likely a Jewish slave in Egypt during Israel’s 400 years of servitude to Egypt. Hezron or Ram would have probably been the last generation of free men in Egypt.

and Amminadab sired Nahshon and Nahshon sired Salmon;



and Amminadab fathered Nahshon and Nahshon fathered Salmon;

and Amminadab was the father of Nahshon and Nahshon was the ancestor of Salmon;

In the Massoretic text, this is Salmah rather than Salmon. The Vulgate and the Septuagint (most versions) both have Salmon, as do some Hebrew manuscripts. Comparing this to other Old and New Testament genealogies, it is one and the same person. Although there is an h in the Hebrew, there is no such letter in the Greek (words which sound as though they begin with an h are simply vowels with a rough breathing). Therefore, the Greeks could either just ignore this letter and leave it off altogether or they could throw in a substitute.

We know little about Amminadab, although we know a great deal about his immediate family. His name means my kinsman is generous, noble. His son or ancestor, Nashon, was a famous prince, numbered with the Israelites prior to their crossing over the Jordan into the Land of Promise (Num. 1:7 7:12, 17); Nashon was the leader, in fact, of the tribe of Judah (Num. 2:3 10:14). Since Israel moved with Judah as the point, this made Nashon the most important man under Moses and Joshua. Amminadab was a member of Gen X; the first generation of adult Jews to walk out of Egypt toward the Land of Promise. His daughter, Elisheba, married Aaron (Ex. 6:23). Between the time of Perez, the son of Judah, and Amminadab, there were about 400 years of Jewish servitude to Egypt. As is often the case, we have the generations of Hezron and Ram who fell in between there, but we do not have a full generational listing of those men between Perez and Amminadab. It would be reasonable to suppose that Ram was a first-generation slave to Egypt and that Amminadab and his son, Nashon, were a last-generation slaves to Egypt. Amminadab is in both the legal and the genetic line of Christ Jesus (Matt. 1:4 Luke 3:33). It appears as though his son, Nashon, was also the brother of Elisheba, who was the wife of Aaron (Ex. 6:23).

This passage is paralleled in Matt. 1:4b Luke 3:32b–33a. As we have seen in the introduction, this is exactly the same as what we find in the other two passages.

and Salmon sired Boaz and Boaz sired Obed;



and Salmon fathered Boaz and Boaz fathered Obed;

and Salmon was the ancestor of Boaz and Boaz fathered Obed;

We only know Salmon through his lineage here and in Chronicles, Matthew and Luke. He may or may not have been the actual father of Boaz, although it is not unreasonable to think of him as such. In any case, as we have seen, Boaz really was the father of Obed, as we think of it. Also, interestingly enough, Salmon married Rahab the gentile prostitute whom we met in Joshua 2, something that we don’t actually find out until we get to Matt. 1:5. In the lineage given by Matthew, four women are mentioned, although Bathsheba is not mentioned by name. Of those four, three are known to be the actual mothers of the next generation given. Therefore, it is most reasonable to assume that Salmon and Rahab are the parents of Boaz. Therefore, Salmon, Boaz and Obed would have been the first three generations of Israelites under the judges. We covered Obed in more detail in v. 17a.

I must admit that one of the thoughts that came to my mind is where is Mahlon’s name in this? One possibility that occurred to me was that Mahlon was the actual son of Salmon and Rahab, and that Boaz is placed into the line, as he was the actual father of Obed. However, there is nothing in the verbiage of any of the genealogy passages which would indicate that is the case. So, to those of Bethlehem, for a relatively short period of time, Obed was raised up as a son of Mahlon, and, for the purposes of land ownership, the land that his family owned came down through Elimelech and Mahlon. However, history knows him correctly as the son of Boaz.

and Obed sired Jesse and Jesse sired David.



and Obed fathered Jesse and Jesse fathered David.

and Obed was the ancestor of Jesse and Jesse fathered David.

I suspect that there were two or more generations between Obed and Jesse, as we lack continuity in genealogies during Israel’s slavery to Egypt as well as during the latter portion of the judges; however, Jesse really was the father of David.

One of the things that this book of Ruth does is form a connection between the time of Joshua and the time of David, giving a positive spin of at least one set of events which took place during that time.

You will note that the genealogy given here is typical of Jewish genealogies. Not every generation is mentioned and those whose names are mentioned are males. In fact, only in Matt. 1 do we find the names of women given in the genealogy, which is quite unusual (however, it is in keeping with the personality of Matthew, who, as a Jewish tax collector, was an outcast of Jewish society, despite his great knowledge of Old Testament Scripture). Therefore, he goes out of his way to mention the outcasts in the line of the Messiah. Judah, the parent of the royal line, rejected the woman Tamar from being the wife of his sons (two of his sons died prematurely in connection with her). By his immorality, he sired a son (actually, twins) through Tamar, and one of those sons, Perez, was in the royal line (Gen. 38).

Rahab was a successful prostitute in the city of Jericho who aligned herself with the Israelites when Joshua entered into the Land of Canaan. She was a Gentile woman who believed in Jehovah Elohim, the God of Israel (Joshua 2:11). She apparently married Salmon, and their son (or descendant) was Boaz (Matt. 1:5).

The next woman to be mentioned by Matthew was Ruth. Although her confession of faith is not quite as moving as was Rahab’s, she chose to cast her lot with her mother-in-law, Naomi, making Naomi’s God, her God. As a woman of Moab, despite her declaration of allegiance and her love for Boaz, she was clearly an outcast by the standards of Israel.

The final woman named by Matthew in the line of Christ was the wife of Uriah the Hittite, Bathsheba, with whom King David had committed adultery. She is mentioned in Matt. 1:6b, but not by name.

With this, we leave the book of Ruth, a book about love, although the word love is used but once. It is a book which, more than any other, illustrates in shadow form our Savior’s great love for us. Scofield: In this boo, may be seen the majestic fulfillment of God’s purpose. Even in the dark days of the judges, He was watching over the line through which Christ would come into the world.

The Book of Ruth begins in turbulent times. The time of the judges was a time of great degeneracy and unrest. The Book of Ruth finds its completion in King David, who will bring Israel into a time of peace, after a period of great conflict. Similarly, at the end of the Church Age, which will apparently end during a time of great degeneracy and unrest, the time of the Jews will resume for the Tribulation. Christ, David’s Greater Son, will return, and also, after great conflict, usher in a time of peace. So we find the end times mirrored in this little book, which focuses upon the love of Boaz for Ruth and his great care for her; just as our history focuses upon the love of Christ for us until the Church is removed.

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The Great Parabolic Nature of the Book of Ruth

When you first read through the book of Ruth in your one year program of reading through the Bible, you no doubt thought that this was sort of a sweet book, with nice people in it doing nice things during a time of great degeneracy (if you realized the historical context of the book). What you likely missed was the great, parabolic import of this story. Ruth is not included in Scripture because it is a nice little book about nice people, nor is it included in Scripture because the line of David is tacked onto the end of the book. It is in the canon of Scripture because it illustrates Christ love for the Church and how He gave Himself for us. Don’t misunderstand me here—this does not mean that this is simply a made-up story. The events of the Book of Ruth occurred just as they are herein represented. However, they also speak to our salvation, much like Gen. 22 or Num. 20.

For these events to be set into motion, the husband of Ruth had to die.

We cannot be redeemed apart from the spiritual death of our Savior (which means that He endured, on our behalf, the equivalent of eternity in hell during the time that he was judged for our sins on the cross).

When Naomi mentions a Levirate marriage in Ruth 1:11, she is foreshadowing the events to come in this book.

The events which occur in this book foreshadow the coming of our Lord.

Naomi suggests that she seek rest for Ruth in Boaz (Ruth 3:1).

Jesus called out to those who are weary and weighed down with work to come to Him for rest (Matt. 11:28 Heb. 4:7–11).

Bob, the redeemer, a closer relative of Elimelech, represents the Law, and, as such, could not redeem.

The Law of Moses cannot redeem us (Rom. 3:20).

Ruth was without assets and could not redeem herself.

We are without the assets to redeem ourselves (Rom. 7:17–18).

Ruth was an outsider, from Moab, and had questionable legal standing in Israel.

We Gentiles are outsiders to the family of God. We are born outside the family and can only be brought in through the justification of Christ Jesus.

The Mosaic Law prevented Ruth, a Moabitess, from entering into the assembly of God (Deut. 23:3).

The Law of Moses does not give us life and it prevents us from pleasing God, thus effectively keeping us out of the assembly of God (2Cor. 3:9 Gal. 3:10, 21–22).

Ruth could only go to Boaz in private and ask him to redeem her.

For our redemption, we can only approach Jesus in faith.

There was no legal requirement which demanded Boaz to step in as a substitute husband to Ruth. Although he was a near relative, he did now live with Ruth and Mahlon (Deut. 25:5), which was one of the requirements for the woman to demand a marriage to the relative. Boaz chose to marry Ruth and fulfil the Levirate custom out of love.

There was no legal requirement for Christ to go to the cross as our substitute. He chose to do so out of His love for us, which is probably one of the greatest mysteries in Scripture.

The fulfillment of the Levirate marriage law by Boaz was not exactly what was expected.

The fulfillment of the Law of Moses in Christ was not what the Israelites expected.

When claiming and redeeming the land, Boaz stands in the place of Ruth, as her advocate (Ruth 4:3–9).

Christ, in bearing our sins, took our place, and now acts as our advocate.

One of the key concepts in this book is the concept of substitution. Boaz, as the husband by a Levirate marriage, is substituted for Mahlon, the late husband of Ruth. Boaz is substituted for the nearer relative who had the first choice. Boaz stood as a substitute for Ruth when it came to approaching the nearer relative.

Our salvation and our righteousness are completely dependent upon substitution. Our Lord was our substitute on the cross, and, as our substitute, took the penalty for our sins. We do not stand in our own righteousness—when God sees us, He sees the righteousness of our substitute, Christ Jesus (Rom. 3:21–22 4:13 5:17–19 9:30 10:6).

Boaz did everything. Ruth could do nothing.

Christ does everything on our behalf, we can do nothing.

You know that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with the precious blood as of a lamb unblemished and spotless—the blood of Christ (1Peter 1:17–18)

“I know my redeemer lives!” (Job 19:25).

I hesitate to include this, but the gay movement at times attacks Christianity head-on, and, at other times, tries to coopt it, teaching lies about what the Bible says.

Perverting the Relationship Between Ruth and Naomi

From Religious Tolerance:

Ruth and Naomi's Relationship:

On the Surface:

This looks like a friendship of mutual convenience: two widowed gal pals move in together to share resources in a cold, hard world, until one of them gets married and has a bunch of kids.

The Whole Story:

Ruth and Naomi were once a part of a big happy family (in fact, Ruth marries Naomi's son), but disaster strikes and all the men of their family die. Ruth is a widow. Naomi and Ruth's other daughter-in-law, Orpah, are now widows, and the only logical thing for a woman (especially who did not have the societal benefits of being married and cared for by a man, in that time) to do would be to return to her own family. Naomi tells Orpah to return home, and she leaves her with tears in her eyes, but when she commands her widowed daughter-in-law Ruth to return home, Ruth makes a very special promise to Naomi, in Ruth 1: 16-17.

(A heartfelt plea and pledge of love and devotion, which is so lovely that it is repeated in many Christian heterosexual marriage ceremonies)

Soon after Ruth and Naomi work, live, and support each other as gleaners, Ruth meets Boaz, a 80-year-old distant relative of Naomi's dead husband, who sees the kindness and love between Ruth and Naomi, and marries Ruth (for the most part) to continue her family's legacy (an important tradition of that time).

Even after their marriage and blessing of children, her community celebrated that Naomi “has a child,” as seen in Ruth 4: 17, and they reminded Ruth that Naomi loves her very much, Ruth 4: 15.'s that gay?

It does not do much justice to the lovers of this story to say that this promise, which is so powerful that it's used in marriage ceremonies, is not spoken by a person who was not truly in love with who she originally spoke it to.

In Ruth 1: 14, the King James Version of this verse says "Ruth clave onto her," at a moment when she should have return to her own family. In Genesis, marriage is portrayed as "a man leaving his father and mother, and CLEAVING to his wife." Ruth and Naomi have become "one flesh."

Not to mention, the Bible pays very little attention to the Boaz and Ruth's relationship, and so much more to Ruth and Naomi's relationship, even after her marriage.1

The basis of the argument is the word cleave, which is dâbaq (דָּבַק) [pronounced dawb-VAHK], and that word means (in the Qal stem), to cling, to cleave, to hold close, to keep close, to adhere. Strong’s #1692 BDB #179. As mentioned above, it is related to a man cleaving (clinging to, holding, embracing) his wife; but there are many times when this is not indicative of sex (in fact, Gen. 2:24 is not necessarily an exclusive reference to sex). We are told in Deut. 10:20 (11:22 13:4) to hold fast, to cling to God. I don’t mean to be blasphemous here, but does that mean that we are supposed to have sex with God? How preposterous! In Deut. 28:21, 60, Moses warns the children of Israel that God will make sickness cling to them. Again, are we talking about sex? Absolutely not!

This word is used much more often for us being told to cling to God; but we have its use in a human relationship in Gen. 34:3. Shechem had raped Dinah (Gen. 34:2), but, after the fact, his soul clung to her (v. 3). The soul does not refer to some physical part of the body, but to our thinking, our emotions, our volition, etc. This big galoot, who had just raped Dinah, suddenly realized that he really, really liked her. That is what is means for his soul to cling to her (the ESV reads: his soul was drawn to Dinah).

The point being, this word is not used to necessarily indicate a sexual relationship. Even when speaking of a man and a woman in general (Gen. 2:24), note two things: (1) we are speaking of a man and a woman and (2) when a man and a woman, in marriage, cling to one another, there is more to this than just sex.

Secondly, the Bible is said to pay not nearly as much attention to the relationship between Boaz and Ruth as it does to the relationship between Ruth and Naomi. First of all, that does not matter; and, second of all, that is an incorrect observation. We find Naomi’s name used 22 times in the book of Ruth; and Boaz’s name used 21 times. So the Bible is not somehow setting up Ruth and Naomi’s relationship as something great and wonderful, but then Boaz comes along, and, well, it just is not as good.

Thirdly, the whole point of the book of Ruth, besides being a part of the line of David, is the relationship between Ruth and Boaz, as well as Ruth clinging to the God of Naomi and Naomi’s people.

Finally, Ruth was clearly and unequivocally married to Naomi’s son; and then she clearly and unequivocally is married to Boaz (Naomi’s son dies). There is no question about this. Yet somehow, this gay commentator reads into this narrative, an intervening relationship between Ruth and the mother-in-law of her late husband. (1) This is absurd and (2) this means that Ruth is straight, then she is gay, and then she is straight again.

The problem with these gay essays on the Bible is, they have a purpose, and that purpose is to justify gay relationships, homosexual activity, and gay marriage. They are not really interested in what the Bible says; only in justifying their own lusts. Therefore, they will take narratives and twist them dramatically in order to achieve this result. Peter speaks of such people in 2Peter 3:15–16 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. (ESV) If you have gone through all 4 chapters of Ruth in a careful study, then it is clear that this writer is simply an example of the people Peter is speaking of.

1 Religious Tolerance; accessed September 3, 2015.

Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

Chapter Outline


Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines





Exegetical Studies in Ruth