The Book of Ruth . . . And They Lived Happily Ever After
In earlier chapters, Naomi represents a sort of prodigal whose family left their homeland to search for sustenance elsewhere during a difficult time. She illustrates for us what happens when there is no King Jesus in our hearts and, in turn, we live by the dictates of our own feelings, wills, and intellect, especially when times get tough.
. . . they said, “That is hopeless! So we will walk according to our own plans, and we will every one obey the dictates of his evil heart.”
— Jeremiah 18:12
Naomi's daughter-in-law, Ruth, a Moabitess, portrays faithfulness, loyalty, and humility by clinging to her mother-in-law and her mother-in-law's God by returning to the house of bread in Israel in-spite of the fact that there appears to be nothing in it for her.
. . . wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.
— Ruth 1:15
She not only expresses this in word but also exhibits this loyalty in action by returning with Naomi to Naomi's homeland, where she was most likely despised considering the animosity between Israel and Moab at that time. She loyally cared for and provided for her mother-in-law without much prospect nor provision for her future.
Ruth, who came from paganism, depicts for us the loyalty we ought to have towards our Lord Himself. She contrasts Naomi's family, who came from a people who knew God yet sought provision elsewhere.
Boaz, a "Kinsman-Redeemer," is the hero of this story and depicts our strong, willing, and able Kinsman-Redeemer, Jesus, who had rescued and redeemed us when it appeared that all was lost and we were without hope in this world. So it was with both Ruth and Naomi.
. . . our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
— Titus 2:13-14
Ruth's role, responsibility, and response give some practicality to the whole story in our role and responsibility. The response will be in terms of our relationship with the Lord Jesus.
This lesson rides back into the story where the knight and shining armor sets off into the dawning of a new day to claim his bride with the promise of his return.
This part of the Ruth narrative looks forward to the day that The Lord Jesus, our Kinsman-Redeemer, will make His claim on us.
He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.
— Ephesians 1:4-5
He also makes the promise to return and make us His bride and live in an eternal abode with Him.
. . . if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
— John 14:3
The Economy of Spiritual Things
Chapter four begins without hesitation, with Boaz taking the necessary steps in making a transaction that will make a public claim for Ruth and make her his own.
There is an economy in spiritual matters. Our forgiveness and redemption were not just overlooked or without cost. A transaction had to take place, and payment had to be made. A sacrifice was required to pay that debt.
"Man never sins cheaply."
— Steve Lawson
Redemption was not a cheap thing. The Psalmist reports that no other was qualified or worthy to do so.
Those who trust in their wealth
And boast in the multitude of their riches,
None of them can by any means redeem his brother,
Nor give to God a ransom for him—
For the redemption of their souls is costly,
And it shall cease forever—
That he should continue to live eternally,
And not see the Pit.
— Psalm 49:6-10
This expense explains the concern of the author of Hebrews when he writes.
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
— Hebrews 10:26-29
Our sin was a legal matter that had to be transacted in the heavenly courts. Boaz here pictures the unfathomable love of God that did not hesitate to do what was necessary for the possibility of obtaining us. Boaz, in a sense, gave up his first-born son as well as his inheritance, foreshadowing for us what God the Father would do for us.
“If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family; her husband’s brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. And it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel.
— Deuteronomy 25:5-6
Gates and the Number Ten
Boaz went to the city gate, where legal matters, decisions, judgments, and transactions took place. There was no king in Israel at this time.
This event was a public transaction. The transaction that Christ made on the cross was for all the world and the heavenly realm to witness. The deal was done first, to establish the legal fulfillment of all required to claim us, and second to sport victory over the taskmaster of sin and evil resident within, ruled from the kingdom of darkness without, that staked its prior legal claim to us.
. . . you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
— Colossians 2:13-15
Jesus was not ashamed to make us His own. He submitted Himself to ultimate public humiliation to do that. This reality makes Christ's demand not to be ashamed of Him so rightfully legitimate.
. . . whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
— Matthew 10:32-33
It is tempting in a culture that is hostile towards Jesus to make it a covert operation as it applies to us.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy.
— Psalm 107:2
Gates also symbolize the idea of entering into. The first gate to be rebuilt in Nehemiah chapter 3:1, upon the children of Israel's return from Babylonian captivity, was the sheep gate. The sheep gate symbolized that the first order of business, relating to entering into a relationship with God, is the understanding and reception by faith the transaction made by the sacrificial lamb of God on behalf of our redemption.
. . . Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.
— I Corinthians 5:7
Boaz then took ten men of the city to legitimize this transaction, which follows the theme of this section of the story concerning responsibilities and legalities.
The number ten represents human responsibility to God, and the testing of that is included, as is understood with the ten commandments. This connection is confirmed and tied together in Revelation.
Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
— Revelation 2:10
Jesus, represented by Boaz, presented himself before the ten as a fulfillment of all that was required.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
— Matthew 5:17-18
Recall Naomi's instruction to Ruth.
“Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.”
— Ruth 3:18
We may take great confidence that Jesus Christ, our Kinsman-Redeemer, has done all to make His claim upon us.
Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled . . .
— John 19:28
"Yod" is the tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet and is pictographically represented by a hand indicating control.
Boaz takes control of the situation by submitting to the community's legal authority represented by the ten men, just as our Kinsman-Redeemer, the Lord Jesus submitted Himself to both the heavenly and human courts to prove Himself to be the eligible, the willing, and the able.
He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.
— Ephesians 4:10
It was in this submission that He gained the upper "hand."
. . . Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand (position of power and authority) of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.
— 1 Peter 3:21-22
Ten Gerahs—The Redemption Price
Ten gerahs of silver in the Bible was the redemption price after they had entered the land of promise. The children of Israel were redeemed, and their firstborns spared from the plague of death by the shed blood of the lamb. When they came into the land, God had them acknowledge this monetarily by payment of ten gerahs of silver, symbolizing that redemption is not without cost to us in terms of a relationship. The ten indicates a responsibility on our part that is responsive to and reflective of what He has done. Arthur Pink explains it as such:
God ransomed Israel to Himself in Egypt, but after they had been brought on to redemption-ground, they were required to acknowledge the responsibility this entailed, by bringing their ten gerahs of silver. So often we dwell upon what Christ’s ransom has freed us from; so little are we occupied with what His ransom has freed us for. By ransoming us Christ has acquired rights over us, and He is entitled to our recognition of this in a practical way. Our lives should ever evidence the fact that we are not our own
You were bought at a price therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s
— I Corinthians 7:23
Although salvation is a work that only God can do, this does not leave us unaccountable to reciprocate with our obedience and loyalty to Him.
The Other Kinsman—Redeemer
Continuing with the narrative
Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there; and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz had spoken came by.
— Ruth 4:1
We see God's hand of providence at work once again, just as we saw it when Ruth "just so happened" to glean in the field of Boaz.
Life is not random in Christ.
. . . all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
— Romans 8:28
We recall from chapter three that when Ruth presented herself to Boaz, he explained that there was a redeemer that was a closer relative than himself. This opportunity entitled the other Redeemer's first opportunity to Naomi's land, which she was selling by necessity. He seemed interested until he discovered that Ruth was an inseparable part of the package. He became no longer eligible because of his unwillingness to disinherit himself and his own family to do it.
I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance.
— Ruth 4:6
This unnamed relative is a picture of the law that was unable to redeem us. The law could not be altered to accommodate us. Someone had to fulfill it.
. . . what the law (other kinsman) could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son (Boaz) in the likeness of sinful flesh . . .
— Romans 8:3
The story of Ruth and Naomi's redemption is a picture of salvation through grace. A case of being swept off of our feet, you might say. There was nothing we could do to save ourselves. We were wholly dependent on God's grace and mercy to redeem us.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works . . .
— Ephesians 2:8-9
Alfred Edersheim also notes on the consideration that had Christ not redeemed us, we would have been doomed to eternal death.
"To the kinsman who refused to act as kinsman, Instead of preserving a name in Israel, it would in reality have extinguished it for ever."
Preserving the name gives an illustration to the concept of the eternal life granted to us through our Kinsman-Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. Herbert Lockyer confirms this application to us personally.
. . . man, the heir of all things bartered his magnificent birthright for vanity. Christ, by assuming our manhood, became our Goel, and saved us from being disinherited forever.
Christ fulfilled the first covenant of the law by paying the penalty of death on our behalf so that we might be heirs of eternal life through Him. Death was the stipulation of that original covenant for our breaking of it.
He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
— Hebrews 9:15
As with the donkey, the unclean beast giving illustration to stubborn and rebellious man was redeemed with the lamb in Exodus 13:13. If the redemption was not valued and paid, its neck was broken, symbolizing the only possible outcome of not being redeemed. No redemption was an eternal loss.
"Nothing really happens by chance in the life of the believer, for even what appears to be circumstantial quirks of history are really under the sovereign control of the Lord of history - Jesus Christ!"
— Liberty Bible Commentary
The Transaction is Completed
The transaction is confirmed by the "other" kinsman taking off his shoe (Ruth 4:7-8). The shoe represented the title and deed, and giving it to Boaz signified that the "other" kinsman was giving his right or possession to Boaz and waiving his right to redeem. This symbolic gesture is rooted in the promise given to Joshua concerning the land of Israel.
Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you . . .
— Joshua 1:3
I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, from the hand of Naomi.
— Ruth 4:9
Jew and Gentile Raised From the Dead
Jesus ransomed all. He made it possible for both Jew (Naomi) and gentile (Ruth) to belong to Him eternally.
. . . there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all.
— I Timothy 2:5-6
Ruth is also a picture of the Bride of Christ.
Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren.
— Ruth 4:10
She also depicts the resurrected believers.
He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus.
— II Corinthians 4:14
"Boaz becomes a perfect type of illustration of Christ, Who would also come forth from Bethlehem and go out into the fields of harvest and call unto Himself a gentile bride, to whom He would extend all the love that grace could give to redeem and endue her with all the rights and privileges of heirship that she might bring forth His "seed." One day we shall rejoice, "...for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready" (Rev 19:7). On that glorious day her redemption shall be complete."
— Liberty Bible Commentary
The Barley Harvest—Overcoming
The setting of this story fittingly takes place during the barley harvest. Barley was the first crop to ripen in the Spring of the year, about the time of the Passover. Barley has fourteen chromosomes. Fourteen is the number of Passover observed on the fourteenth day of the month.
The Feast of Firstfruits, shortly after Passover, began with a wave offering from the barley harvest symbolizing new beginnings and resurrection life. The Hebrew word "gate' shares the same letters as barley and can demonstrate for us Jesus opening the gate through His being our Passover sacrifice.
His ascension would have occurred on the first day of the Feast. This event was a new beginning and a second chance for both Naomi and Ruth. This story symbolizes the new beginning of life in Christ that God has opened the gate to and paved the way for us through His one and only Son.
. . . if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
— II Corinthians 5:17
This symbol of new life and resurrection from the dead leads to the association of the Barley Harvest with overcomers.
In the book of Numbers, God told Moses to send twelve men to spy out the "new" land they were about to enter. Ten of them concluded that it is too difficult and lead the people to fear the conquest ahead. However, Joshua and Caleb are confident that since God has given them this land, He will also be with them to provide them with the victory.
Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.
— Numbers 13:30
God has saved us that we might be overcomers not in our strength but His. The meaning of Boaz's name is "In him is strength." God has provided a new life for us in Christ, but its territory will not be obtained through spiritual passivity.
“Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
— Revelation 12:10-11
There are eternal benefits to those who overcome are recorded in the book of Revelation.
- eat from the tree of life — 2:7
- not be hurt by the second death — 2:11
- Eat of the hidden manna, receive a white stone with a new name. — 2:17
- have power over the nations — 2:26
- be clothed in white garments, will not have their name blotted out from the Book of Life; name will be confessed before the Father and angels — 3:5
- be a pillar in the temple of God..will be written on him the name of My God...— 3:12
- granted to sit with Christ on the throne —3:21
- inherit all things, will belong to God and be His child — 21:17
These eight verses with eight "I will's" express some of the benefits in Revelation for overcomers in Christ. The number eight in scripture symbolizes new beginnings. This story rightfully concludes its happy ending on this theme. May we remember this as we live out this revelation of life in Christ depicted in Ruth's story, the eighth book of the Bible.
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
— I John 4:4
Overcoming is a direct result of the resurrection life that works in those who place their faith, hope, and loyal love in Him and His life eternal.
. . . may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ.
— Hebrews 13:20-21
The story's conclusion with a happy ending expresses itself with a marriage and a birth depicting the fruit produced by the union of loyalty (Ruth's name meaning) to the one in whom we find our strength (Boaz's name meaning).
Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son.
— Ruth 4:13
This illustrates the eternal result of entering into a relationship and following Christ.
For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”
— Revelation 19:6-7
Ruth, a Moabitess from a despised people, and Naomi, a gone wayward Israelite, go from being destitute with no hope of a future to Ruth becoming the great-grandmother of King David and an ancestor in the lineage of Christ Himself.
This turn of events speaks so profoundly to the hope we all have in Christ and the cry of my own heart for the legacy of faith to carry on into the generations of my own family.
. . . the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel! And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.
— Ruth 4:14-15
Ruth and Boaz's son was named Obed, which means "servant worshiper." Might we like Ruth recognize our Kinsman-Redeemer, enter into a covenant relationship with Him by submitting our lives to Him, and conceive the Revelation of what He has done for us
Let it be to me according to your word.
— Luke 1:38
and give birth to an eternal life of servitude and worship.
Generations by Sarah Groves
© 2013 Tamarajo