"You are all witnesses today." Ruth 4:10d
Last week's blog revealed the anointed calling in the life of Boaz to be Ruth's redeemer. You see, due to the death of her husband, the culture of that day adopted the biblical conditions for a widow to be "redeemed" or rescued by the living closest relative of her deceased husband. The term Kinsmen-redeemer is used only seven times in the NIV Bible - and they are all found in the book of Ruth. The purpose for being her kinsmen-redeemer was to preserve the family's land inheritance established upon the land grants given once the Israelites conquered the promised land. (Leviticus 25:23)
Boaz, it seems, wanted to do right by Ruth. As we saw last week, he instructed his workers to set aside some of the harvest for her and her mother in law, Naomi. He also was upright in how he treated her when he could have taken advantage of her the evening he had finished the day eating and drinking, and - feeling no pain - he went to sleep at the end of the grain pile. (Ruth 3:7-11) He was knowledgeable enough on the practice of kinsmen-redeemer, that he explained to Ruth what he would do, because there was another man who was more closely related to her dead husband than he. He did not chase her away, but invited her to stay through the night in his grainery and he would seek to redeem her himself in the morning at the city gates - which is exactly what happened. (Ruth 3:12-4:10)
At the end of the interaction with the elders and family members, it was agreed that Boaz would be the kinsman-redeemer. Boaz sealed the deal with today's 5 Understandable Words: "You are all witnesses today." He made it a public proclamation. He was not ashamed of Ruth and his ability to redeem her. He secured her husband's inheritance. As a result those standing at the city gates blessed him with these words: "May you prosper in Ephratha and be famous in Bethlehem. And may the Lord give you descendants by this young woman who will be like those of our ancestor Perez, the son of Tamar and Judah." (Ruth 3:11-12) (I'll discuss the significance of Perez next week)
Well, Ruth did have children. In fact, her first son was named Obed. He became the father of Jesse who was the father of King David. Ruth was the great-grandmother of King David! A Moabite woman! (see last week's blog to understand the significance of that statement) King David was described as, "a man after God's own heart." (I Samuel 13:14) And, of course, the description of Jesus' lineage in Matthew includes Ruth. So, you see, the blessing by the people at the city gates was actually prophetic - pointing to the One true Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
Weddings are a beautiful event when focused on God's precepts of love and fidelty - just as exhibited through both Ruth and Boaz. Let their story encourage you today to trust God in providing His Redeemer for you... in your life situation.
As God is my witness... He will make a way...