Published on
October 2, 2023

Ruth 4

“And I thought to inform you, saying, 'Buy it back in the presence of the inhabitants and the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it...”

Author Photo
Author
Author Photo
Steve Wiggins
Author
Read Time
4 minutes
Ruth 4
“And I thought to inform you, saying, ‘Buy it back in the presence of the inhabitants and the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am next after you.’ And he said ‘I will redeem it.’ Then Boaz said, ‘On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also buy it from Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to perpetuate the name of the dead through the inheritance.’ And the close relative said, ‘I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem the right of redemption for yourself, for I cannot redeem it.’” Ruth 4:4-6 (NKJV)

There are right and wrong ways to do things. And the difficulty of successful decision-making is more a question of chemistry than decisiveness. Being successful often lies in the blend of “right and wrong ways,” with respect to “right and wrong places” and “right and wrong timing.” For instance, when you get a speeding ticket, it is an unhealthy combination of doing the wrong thing (breaking the speed law), at the wrong place (where a cop was waiting), and at the wrong time (When the donut shop was closed). A joke for my cop friends!

Boaz knew that the negotiation for Ruth would involve all three “right and wrongs” perfectly balanced. It is a beautiful picture and example for us of the balance of God’s graceful, merciful providence and our responsibility to act according to his Word and resist the temptation to be “Worldly” just long enough to get the job done. It is possible to be shrewd and faithful at the same time, to ethically negotiate with an expectation of succeeding against the most Worldly of opponents across the table.

I like how the writer chooses to refer to the other kinsman as “Mr. So-and-so.” He almost certainly knew the man’s name but deleted it to not further embarrass him and his descendants. If this were the old TV show, Dragnet, the announcer would “change the names to protect the innocent.” And though Boaz did not use a net, he most assuredly would have been an expert fly fisherman!

Notice how Boaz did not hide any detail concerning the land of Naomi and Elimelech, valuable land, indeed, and free for the taker. And the kinsman immediately took the hook. But what about the back taxes? Notice how Boaz refers to Ruth as a “Moabitess,” a despised people. And the reference to Mahlon and Chilion (whose names meant “sick” and “wasting away”) was equally disgusting. As impetuously as the kinsman said, “I will redeem,” he says, “I cannot redeem.”

The kinsman-redeemer failed to see that the land was not the prize of great value…it was RUTH! And this is how the Lord sees us! Formerly despised in our sin, Jesus, our Kinsman Redeemer, chooses to love and save us, including the Gentiles who esteem Him above anything this world could offer. Choose Him! He has chosen you!

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