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⇩ Digging Deeper option
M Memory verse suggestion
__________________________________________________________________ Read Ruth Chapter 4. Write out any verses, phrases or anything that stands out to you here:
Read verses 1-2. Where did Boaz go first thing that morning?
The city gate was an entire plaza which was the center of all business and all legal proceedings. Merchants gathered to sell their products. King’s laws were declared and posted (and sometimes the leaders themselves came by to hear or discuss rulings). The elders and judges gathered there to handle legal procedures, including passing out judgments. Prophets spoke their warnings and blessings. This was the place where neighbors gathered to catch up, where the drama and politics of the city unfolded. It was the premiere gathering place, especially for those who had business to deal with. It was a combination all-in-one location for the tax collector’s office and police station and courthouse and grocery store and mall and repair shop. For this reason, it didn’t take long for the other family redeemer to come by, and there were town elders already present who could be witnesses and testify to the business Boaz was about to conduct. Deut. 17 commands people to conduct the legal business of judging and punishment at the gates, and that it be based on the testimony of one or two witnesses. How many did Boaz bring from the city’s elders?
Why might he have wanted so many more than the required three?
Read verses 3-6. What did Boaz basically tell the man?
Boaz also said that if the man did not want to redeem the land, who was next?
This would establish and explain his interest and why he brought it before all these men that day. How did the man initially respond?
In verse 5, Boaz explains a further condition if the man redeems the land. What is it?
In verse 6, after hearing this condition, the man reverses gears and says what?
Some scholars think this man was a widower with children who didn’t want a wife and another child to provide for, especially with such a small piece of land, and since any son he had with her would carry on the name of her first husband to continue his legacy. Other scholars think the man was already married, and didn’t want to provide for a second wife and child, because he couldn’t afford or didn’t desire a second wife. The phrase “endanger my own estate” or “ruin my own inheritance” suggests he couldn’t financially handle the land and a wife and whatever children they bore. Remember, Naomi was an old woman, so there was no obligation to have children with her if he redeemed her land, which might be why he initially agreed. But with a young woman like Ruth, he was obligated to marry her and have children and provide for all of them, in addition to whatever obligations he already had, as well as provide an heir for her lost husband before he could provide his own heir.
The conclusion is that this man who could have redeemed her, didn’t. HE chose not to. Ruth was rejected by her first kinsman redeemer. The man who could have taken her as a wife didn’t because she was most likely more than he desired to take on financially. Being "too much" for someone else is a type of rejection many people have faced. There is a Liar who prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. When someone rejects us, he whispers lies to us that it’s because we really are too much, or we’re a burden, or we’re undesirable or unlovable by anyone, ever. Those are lies! We are intentionally pursued and desired by the Creator of the universe who sent His only Son to die to redeem us, to win us back. Ephesians 1-2 tells us the many things we are in Christ and have as our inheritance because of Him. Boaz here is a picture of Jesus, the Redeemer who says to us that no matter who rejected us, no matter what insecurities they fed or created, no matter what lies were spoken to us, the TRUTH is and always will be that God the Father does love us and desires us SO MUCH that HE sent His only perfect Son to die for us in our place because of His overwhelming love for us. We are enough for Him, never too much. Jesus is our kinsman redeemer, and He chooses us, every time, no matter how badly or how many times we mess up. He’s still offering His hand, and another chance to choose to obey Him instead of everything else. We are always fully, perfectly loved in Christ, with the Father’s limitless love, in a way no human will ever be able to do for us. No one else can redeem us, no matter how much they love us or want to, and we cannot do it for ourselves. Only Almighty God can. And He did. (Ps. 107:2, Is. 52:3, 63:4, Ex. 6:6, 15:13).
If you’ve ever been rejected, what lies are you tempted to believe about yourself?
⇩ Digging Deeper option: Read Ephesians chapters 1 and 2. What does God say about that?
If God created you for Himself, to bring Him glory and praise and to obey Him in joyful surrender, and since the enemy fears that and wishes to destroy you, who and what are you going to choose to believe?
Read verses 7-10. What was the significance of the sandal?
Why a sandal? Some think it was to signify walking over land as its owner and master. A person puts on shoes to walk outdoors. Handing over the sandal with which a man walks symbolizes handing over his rights and desire to walk that land or to possess it. He’s handing over his rights of power to another, in a strong visual symbol that cannot be misconstrued as unintentional or mistaken for something else in front of witnesses. It is a deliberate, obvious action. In Deut. 25:9, there is a reverse where a woman pulls off the sandal of the man who chose not to marry and redeem her along with her dead husband’s land and rights. This is probably where the custom originated. Later, the custom switched to handing over a handkerchief or veil or linen cloth during a land transaction purchase or buying of rights. Some realtors now also practice giving a gift to a new homeowner; and though it is meant as congratulatory, in a way, it also resembles and points back to this custom, symbolizing rights of ownership.
What did Boaz choose to buy/redeem—was it only part of what was available?
What does this suggest about Boaz’s financial situation?
In verse 10, who else did he choose to “acquire” or “purchase”?
In ancient Israel, there was a customary “bride price” a man had to pay in order to marry a woman. There was also a legal contract signed that was more than just marriage vows and promises of ubiquitous things. The Ketubah contained stipulations of protection for the woman, including very specific details on how he was to treat her and provide for her monetarily and physically, with consequences if he violated any of it. The bride price was like an insurance policy for her if he broke any of his vows or harmed her in any way. It was a price he had to pay her back if that occurred, and they could divorce, or it was a means of provision for her if he died. Typically her family received the money to hold as part of the engagement, and kept it for her as their insurance policy and guarantee that he would marry her and fulfill all his vows to treat her with all respect and honor due to a wife.
One of my favorite movie quotes is said after a man goes to great lengths to right the wrongs he’s made to a woman he cares for. When Elizabeth Bennett asks Darcy why, he says, “You must know, surely you must know, it was all for you.” I believe Boaz would have responded the same way, if Ruth had asked why he would buy back everything that had belonged to Elimelech and Chilion and Mahlon, why go through this ordeal at the city gates, why so many elders as witnesses, and why even perpetuate her dead husband’s name on his property and have a child in that man’s name.
Why did the Father allow Jesus to suffer so much, tortured before His death, and why die so horrifically, why pay such a high bride price? I know that the Father replies, and Jesus agrees, with the same answer, about me, about each one of us: “You must know, surely you must know, it was all for you.” All of it was to redeem us and keep us as His own forever. Jesus is our kinsman redeemer who paid the highest bride price and vowed the most on His ketubah to His church, His bride, His chosen people:
“So I will betroth you to Me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in loving devotion and compassion. And I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will know the LORD.” -Hosea 2:19-20
Read verses 11-12. Whom did the elders say they hoped Boaz’s wife would be like?
What reason did they give for this?
How was this another way of blessing Boaz’s legacy?
What other blessings did they convey about him in Ephrathah and Bethlehem? (Note: the one in Ephrathah is characterized by the word "hayil" again)
Why is this significant about Bethlehem, and how did their blessing prove true? Read Matt. 1:5,16, 2:1.
⇩ Digging Deeper option: For more about the story of Judah, Tamar, and Perez, you can read Gen. 38. Keep in mind that this is not an example about how to go about things, nor were these men commending the actions of those people, but rather they were praising the God who brought about a good end (of many children and descendants—read Ruth 4:18-22) despite ugly actions and circumstances. One of the beauties and unique qualities of the Bible is that it shows the ugly side of people’s stories and how God can redeem even sinful actions and still manage to miraculously use them in His glorious plan for redemption and good. Nothing is wasted or unable to be redeemed by God’s grace, no matter how awful or wicked a thing happened to us. God turns it all around. Whatever others meant for evil or to harm us, “God planned it for good to bring about the present result—the survival of many people.” -Gen. 50:20
“…in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” -Rom. 8:28
Read verses 13-15. What did God enable Ruth to do that obviously had not happened with her first husband?
Whom did the women bless for bringing a kinsman/family/guardian redeemer?
What did they say about Him? May He ___________________________________
What else does it say the LORD will do in v 15:
What does it mean that God “renews” our lives and sustains us (how)?
How was Ruth better to Naomi than seven sons?
⇩ Digging Deeper option: For more about how Boaz was allowed to marry Ruth even though she was a Moabitess, another race from Israel, read Judges 3:5-7. Also remember that in Ruth 1:1-4, we see that her first husband was an Israelite and this creates an exception.
Read verses 16-22. Some versions of verse 16 say Naomi became a “nurse” to her grandchild. This Hebrew word means a comfort or a support. How is that an example of how a grandmother should be, and why?
How can you be a support and comfort to your family today, this week, in practical ways?
What was the name of Naomi’s grandson?
Though it says “son” of Naomi in some translations, it is meant to infer her heir or descendant, because her sons died. This is a way of referencing the beginning of chapter 1 here again at the end, and bringing the story full circle. This was a common storytelling element that some writers today still use, a form of foreshadowing in the beginning, leading to a final and full resolution at the end. Actually the literal, primitive meaning of this Hebrew word “son” is “root.”
⇩ Digging Deeper option: Read Isaiah 11:1, 11:10 and tell how the word "root" is actually perfectly appropriate (since it is the Messiah, Jesus, who is prophesied of in Isaiah):
What famous king was a direct descendant of Boaz and Ruth?
What does the Bible call this king in Acts 13:22, despite his shortcomings and sins, because he confessed, repented and came back to following the Lord every time he sinned?
A man ______________________________
Read Matt. 1:1-16. What famous men was David the ancestor of?
What other characters stand out to you in this genealogy and why?
In light of all you’ve learned, why should the story of Ruth and Boaz be significant to you?
How do you see elements and examples of God’s love for us in Boaz’s love for Ruth (though his was imperfect, as all humans are)?
Conclusion of the chapter:
What verse or passage stood out to you most?
What are each of the promises in this chapter?
What verse are you working on memorizing?
What’s your biggest takeaway idea or lesson from this chapter?