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The Father of David


Ruth 4:13-17
13
So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son. 14Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! 15He shall be to you a restorer of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” 16Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse. 17And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

The Story: These events might seem anti-climactic in our story; however, they point us toward the real meaning and purpose of the book of Ruth, both within its immediate and contemporary setting, and in the larger scope of the redemptive plan of God. Naomi’s bitterness was completely forgotten by the birth of the child, whom the women of the community named, Obed. It is appropriate, when the blessings of the Lord descend, first to give Him praise and thanks, then to enjoy the wonder, goodness, and bounty which He has bestowed. God grants blessing to His redeemed people so that they might give honor, glory, and renown to His Name. Naomi’s act of taking the child into her lap creates a most effective bridge from the events of chapter 1, and the entire period of the judges, to the next generation and beyond. God has been faithful to His covenant to bless His people and provide redemption for them through their rebellion, suffering, and return to faith.

The Structure: We may note some elements of inclusio here as the story of Ruth comes to its end. In chapter 1 the hope of nourishment and flourishing had been dampened by famine; here it was returned to the people with great joy. The “pleasantness” Naomi hoped for was already slipping away as the story of Ruth opened; now it was completely restored and more (seven sons, not just two). A husband and sons died in chapter 1; here they were restored, and the promise of more to come. In chapter 1 Naomi’s love and concern for Ruth led her to seek the wellbeing of the Moabitess; here the women extolled Ruth’s love for Naomi. In chapter 1 Naomi blessed her women; here the women of her neighborhood blessed her. The Lord seemed ominous and distant in chapter 1; here He was a presence for joy and celebration. The writer has brought Ruth’s story to a joyous, forward-looking conclusion. It only remains for us to ask, “Why?”

How have you seen God “turn things around” in your life? In what ways would you expect God’s people to give His Name renown in their everyday lives?

Beginning July 6, 2015 Worldview Bible moves to a new online platform. Visit The Fellowship of Ailbe website to discover more of T. M.’s worldview ministry and to get acquainted with Worldview Bible’s new home, which you will find under the Scriptorium column each day

For a more detailed study of the book of Ruth, order the book Surely There is a Future: A Commentary on the Book of Ruth, by John E. Hamlin, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth—the Framework of Christian Worldview—using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
We Are Witnesses


Ruth 4:11, 12
11
Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, 12and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the LORD will give you by this young woman.”

The Story: The words of the people and the elders are at once confirmation, blessing, exhortation, and prophecy. We can imagine that there must have been some deliberation on the part of the elders concerning Boaz’s situation and his interpretation and use of the Law of God. But not much. The solidity of his thinking appears to have been almost immediately apparent. The entire community united its voice to affirm Boaz’s actions; further, they invoked the blessing of God on him and Ruth, thus formally indicating their acceptance of the Moabitess as a full-fledged member of the community. Now they exhorted Boaz to build on the good work he had done to this point and live worthily and for renown among his people. There is no place for “resting on our laurels” when it comes to the pursuit of good works. We have a sense that the story had reached a climactic moment, and the people of Bethlehem were already looking ahead to the next stage of the unfolding of God’s redemptive work among them. We will look at the prophetic portion of this text at the end of our study.

The Structure: How unlike the rest of Israel was this little enclave of grace and truth! Everywhere else in the land people were doing what was right in their own eyes; having forsaken the Law of God, they engaged in all manner of corrupt practices and fought their neighbors violently. But here in Bethlehem, where the Lord had visited His people, grace and truth prevailed because of the central place of the Law of God in the lives of the people. All the characters and the entire community would share in the blessings of God upon Boaz and Ruth. Although the story has reached its climax at this point, the mention of “building up the house of Israel” and the reference to Perez and Tamar are of enormous significance in helping us to understand the purpose of this book. We will take these considerations up in our final study.

Do you suppose that a few individuals, committed to living by the teaching of God’s holy and righteous and good Law (Rom. 7:12), might be a source of blessing and rejoicing to their churches? Why or why noty?

Beginning July 6, 2015 Worldview Bible moves to a new online platform. Visit The Fellowship of Ailbe website to discover more of T. M.’s worldview ministry and to get acquainted with Worldview Bible’s new home, which you will find under the Scriptorium column each day

For a more detailed study of the book of Ruth, order the book Surely There is a Future: A Commentary on the Book of Ruth, by John E. Hamlin, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth—the Framework of Christian Worldview—using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
Summation


Ruth 4:7-10
7
Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging: to confirm a transaction, the one drew off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was the manner of attesting in Israel.  8So when the redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself,” he drew off his sandal. 9Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and to Mahlon. 10Aslo Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day.”

The Story: This curious manner of sealing the deal is reminiscent of Deuteronomy 25:5-10, which may or may not have been a practice still current in Boaz’s day. Here, however, it has lost all hint of scandal or stigma and seems merely to have become a way of one man showing publicly his intention to transfer a trust or privilege to another, according to the Law of God. The Law of God is agreeable to further development, as long as those developments are not inconsistent with the moral law and the general principles and guidelines developed from the moral law in the statutes and precepts of the civil law (cf. Paul’s several uses of the Law in 1 Cor. 9). In his summation, Boaz tied the story back to its beginnings and recapped what had just transpired. He put all the facts out in the open so that the judges of the city and the people could be certain that everything had been done decently and in order, and there would be no gossip or second-guessing on anyone’s part. Boaz clearly declared his intention of raising up children to the deceased Mahlon’s name and making sure that his rightful inheritance passed to them. Just how important this commitment is will become clear shortly.

The Structure: We see yet another aspect of Boaz’s nobility. He got the property and the girl, but he did not forget his duty to the community or the deceased. As Asaph noted in Psalm 73, we never sin alone (v. 15); likewise, we do not live out our faith in Christ apart from a local community and a long heritage. Believers must always consider the implications of their actions for the community of which they are a part, as well as for the continuity of God’s covenantal love and blessings. They who act in any matter of faith and obedience out of mere self-interest depart from the kind of character God uses to advance His economy among men. What an instructive and community-building event this must have been! Obviously many people had gathered to watch the transaction and hear the decision of the judges. This honest act of mutual respect and justice between two men provided an occasion for the all the community of Bethlehem to be reminded of the value of God’s Law and the reality of His promises.

Why is it important to bear in mind at all times that we are part of a community of God’s people—both locally and throughout the corridors of history?

Beginning July 6, 2015 Worldview Bible moves to a new online platform. Visit The Fellowship of Ailbe website to discover more of T. M.’s worldview ministry and to get acquainted with Worldview Bible’s new home, which you will find under the Scriptorium column each day

For a more detailed study of the book of Ruth, order the book Surely There is a Future: A Commentary on the Book of Ruth, by John E. Hamlin, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth—the Framework of Christian Worldview—using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
The Kicker


Ruth 4:5, 6
5
Then Boaz said, “The day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you also acquire Ruth, the Moabite, the widow of the dead, in order to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance.” 6Then the redeemer said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I impair my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.”

The Story: We do not know with certainty what the hindrance was for the redeemer, although we may draw a conclusion based on the action. Perhaps he was already married or betrothed; he may have been in line for a more lucrative inheritance; or he may have been reluctant because of the Moabitess. The last seems most likely, because the redeemer was ready to assert his privilege before he understood all that was involved in it. His reluctance to become involved with a Moabitess is understandable to some extent, as we have seen thus far. However, had his understanding of or obedience to the Law been more perfect, he would have acquiesced in its requirement that strangers and sojourners, once incorporated into the people of God, were to be treated with the love due to any other member of the community (Ex. 22:21; Ex. 23:9; Deut. 24:17, 18). At the same time, we hasten to add that the redeemer was under no obligation of the Law to fulfill this duty, since he was obviously only a near relative and not a brother to the deceased. At any rate, he did not seem to be too troubled by the forfeiture of his right of redemption, and there was nothing duplicitous or underhanded in Boaz’s approach. It only remained for some symbolic gesture to seal the agreement, and for the elders to render their judgment as to its propriety.

The Structure: Here is a snapshot of how communities are meant to flourish under the gracious Law of God. It is difficult to understand the modern Church’s indifference to, even suspicion of, the Law of God. Even though the Law is holy and righteous and good, and Jesus commended it unequivocally (Rom. 7:12; Matt. 5:17-19), we do not teach it with any consistency; it hardly factors into our work of disciple-making; it does not guide us in matters of church discipline; and I rather suspect we would not know how to use it in settling disputes between members that might otherwise end up in a secular court (1 Cor. 6:1-8). The modern Church’s neglect of the Law of God means that we have turned away from the primary means of grace and Truth by which Jesus intends to build His Church and the primary instrument by which the Spirit of God works to sanctify and bless us (Ezek. 36:26, 27). Is it any wonder that, in so many of our churches, our love has grown cold (Matt. 24:12)? We are, like Elimelech, seeking the Lord’s provision in a foreign land. Episodes like this transaction between Boaz and the redeemer should encourage us to see that we have nothing to fear, and much to gain, from a proper understanding and use of the Law of God.

Read the passages cited in the preceding paragraph. In the light of these, why do you suppose the Law of God is held in such little regard by churches today?

Beginning July 6, 2015 Worldview Bible moves to a new online platform. Visit The Fellowship of Ailbe website to discover more of T. M.’s worldview ministry and to get acquainted with Worldview Bible’s new home, which you will find under the Scriptorium column each day

For a more detailed study of the book of Ruth, order the book Surely There is a Future: A Commentary on the Book of Ruth, by John E. Hamlin, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth—the Framework of Christian Worldview—using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
Here's the Deal


Ruth 4:3, 4
3
Then he said to the redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belonged to our relative Elimelech. 4So I thought I would tell you of it and say, ‘Buy it in the presence of those sitting here and in the presence of my people.’ If you will redeem it, redeem it. But if you will not, tell me, that I may know, for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I come after you.”

The Story: Boaz reasoned from Numbers 27:8-11. We don’t know the exact relation between Elimelech and the redeemer. The statute of Numbers 27, an elaboration of the eighth commandment, guided Boaz in thinking through the proper prosecution of his interest. Boaz omitted nothing from the situation; he presented the facts and the interpretation as best he understood them. It would remain for the elders to deliberate and approve whatever course of action might ensue. It is instructive to think that Boaz, a businessman with considerable responsibilities, would have been so well-versed in the teaching of God’s Law. We can also see in his argument that he is a man of grace. A lesser man might have been tempted to lead with the stumbling-stone—the Moabitess. But Boaz wanted the redeemer to be able to think clearly about what he might gain or relinquish, without cluttering the case with details he would only unfold at the proper time.

The Structure: The Apostle Paul tells us that, while we are not saved by the Law of God, we do not throw it out simply because it cannot redeem (Rom. 3:23-31). Rather, the Law is holy and righteous and good, useful in helping sinful people determine the best ways of engaging in gracious relations (Rom. 7:12; 1 Tim. 1:8-11). An act of redemption is unfolding before us, but not of eternal merit or consequence. The Law is powerful to guide those who believe in God in the proper way of administering their affairs and pursuing their relationships. But it cannot save; nevertheless, only obedience to the Law and the complete achievement of its righteousness and the satisfaction of its judgments against sin can bring salvation to the people of God. This is what Jesus Christ accomplished on behalf of all who believe. Our story invites us to consider the redemptive power of God’s Law at this point; however, it will do so in an even more breathtaking way in just a bit.

What role does the Law of God play in your own Christian life? Would you say that you are as familiar with the Law, and its ways of grace, as Boaz was? Why or why not?

Beginning July 6, 2015 Worldview Bible moves to a new online platform. Visit The Fellowship of Ailbe website to discover more of T. M.’s worldview ministry and to get acquainted with Worldview Bible’s new home, which you will find under the Scriptorium column each day

For a more detailed study of the book of Ruth, order the book Surely There is a Future: A Commentary on the Book of Ruth, by John E. Hamlin, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth—the Framework of Christian Worldview—using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
In the Gates


Ruth 4:1, 2
1
Now Boaz had gone up to the gate and sat down there. And behold, the redeemer, of whom Boaz had spoken, came by. So Boaz said, “Turn aside, friend; sit down here.” And he turned aside and sat down. 2And he took ten men of the elders of the city and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down.

The Story: Boaz is a man of his word, as Naomi knew (3:18). Here he set the stage for the climactic events of the story. He had an interest that he wanted to pursue, but only by means of proper channels. The not-so-subtle message we will gather from this chapter is that blessing and redemption are through the Law of God. Boaz would present his case before the elders of the city—those whose experience and example fitted them to render judgments about what was right and good for their community—as they gathered in their customary place at the gates of the city. Gathering in the gates was both practical and symbolic. In the gates “sunshine” provisions would ensure that all things were open to public scrutiny; such deliberations also provided an opportunity for teaching the community in the Law of God. Further, in the gates the elders symbolized their roles as protectors of the flock of God, guarding the goings in and out of the community. The outcome of Boaz’s interest was by no means a foregone conclusion, and he would only be content when the matter was resolved in a just manner. The near-relative, who was next in line to redeem Naomi and her property, was asked to be present so that his interests in the case would be properly represented.

The Structure: We are about to observe a drama of glory as we watch God working through His Law and His chosen officials to ensure the blessings of His grace to His people. We continue to admire Boaz. He is a great man, and not just in material prosperity, and one of the reasons he is great is because he is a man under the Law of God and the proper authorities of his community. His is a greatness that comes from faith and obedience. When we remember that these events are unfolding during the time of the judges, when all around anarchy and pragmatism prevailed, it should encourage us that enclaves of grace and truth can flourish even in the worst of times. As an aside here, it is instructive to note that the elders of the community were willing to assemble for one man’s concern. The shepherds of God’s flock minister on the timetable of people’s needs, not at their own convenience (Jn. 10:14-18).

What would it take for your church to become more of an enclave of grace and truth in your community? How might you help encourage this kind of vision for your church?

Beginning July 6, 2015 Worldview Bible moves to a new online platform. Visit The Fellowship of Ailbe website to discover more of T. M.’s worldview ministry and to get acquainted with Worldview Bible’s new home, which you will find under the Scriptorium column each day

For a more detailed study of the book of Ruth, order the book Surely There is a Future: A Commentary on the Book of Ruth, by John E. Hamlin, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth—the Framework of Christian Worldview—using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
Waiting


Ruth 3:16-18
16
And when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “How did you fare, my daughter?” Then she told her all that the man had done for her, 17saying, “These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said to me, ‘You must not go back empty-handed to your mother-in-law.’” 18She replied, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today.”

The Story: Naomi knew that Boaz was a man of his word. She did not hold out empty promises to Ruth, but only what she could: Boaz would settle this matter, one way or another, right away. When obedience to the Law is required, we must not hesitate, for this is the way of blessing. We also see in Ruth’s explanation just how great was the magnanimity of Boaz; in giving her the six measures of grain, he had Naomi’s welfare in mind as well as Ruth’s. We cannot rush the justice of God; we must learn to wait on Him until all that His Word requires has been fulfilled. Then the blessings of the Lord will be ours to enjoy. Ruth would have to wait and see how matters would work out. All she knew was that whatever God intended for her through the fulfillment of His Law, it would be for her blessing. Did she harbor hopes of being able to marry Boaz? Undoubtedly. Would she have been content with the other redeemer? We can only believe it to have been so.

The Structure: Let’s not miss the faith of Naomi in this passage. She has been the one urging the action forward in the previous two chapters, and for much of this one. Now, however, she knew she must wait for the grace and justice of God to work according to His protocols and plans. Like Boaz, Naomi would not take the will of the Lord into her own hands; she’d learned the hard way not to travel that path. She and Ruth would have to wait and see the way that God would work through the elders of the city to accomplish the blessing of God for her.

What does it mean for you to “wait” upon the Lord (Ps. 27:11-14)? For what are you waiting? How? When will you know that your waiting is at an end?

Beginning July 6, 2015 Worldview Bible moves to a new online platform. Visit The Fellowship of Ailbe website to discover more of T. M.’s worldview ministry and to get acquainted with Worldview Bible’s new home, which you will find under the Scriptorium column each day

For a more detailed study of the book of Ruth, order the book Surely There is a Future: A Commentary on the Book of Ruth, by John E. Hamlin, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth—the Framework of Christian Worldview—using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
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