Pastor Debra Isenbletter
In chapter 4 we see the Authority and Ability of Boaz. We see what Boaz said to the elders and to the other kinsman: “he said” (4:1); “and said” (4:2); “and he said” (4:3); “Then said Boaz” (4:5); “And Boaz said” (4:9). When Boaz speaks, everyone listens and all obey. His words will show both his willingness and his ability to redeem Ruth (the Kinsman Redeeming). We see the fullness of redemption in the actions of Boaz.
“The key theme is redemption. The words "redeem (4:4,6 – 8 times)," "buy (4:4,5,8 – 4 times); “bought” (4:9 – 1 time)," and “purchased”(4:10- 1 time) are used at least 14 times. There can be no redemption without the paying of a price. From our point of view, salvation is free to "whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord" (Acts 2:21); but from God's point of view, redemption is a very costly thing.”
Here are some wonderful titles and divisions for Ruth 4 and each individual as they meditate on this chapter can come up with a wonderful way to summarize the message there. The possibilities are endless as the Spirit of God stirs our hearts and opens up our eyes!
A Satisfied Heart
Satisfaction: Ruth’s Wedding
The Bridegroom (4:1-10)
The Bride (4:11-12)
The Baby (4:13-22)
A Husband (4:1-12)
A Son (4:13-17)
A Lineage (4:18-122)
Security (My title)
Ruth 4:1 – “Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down.”
The first thing we see is what Boaz did and where he went: “Then went Boaz up to the gate.” He “went up” to the gate. This means “to ascend,” to “rise up:” “to spring up:” “to stir up.” It can also mean “at the break of day.” What a wonderful picture of the eagerness of Boaz, the activity of Boaz and the elevation of Boaz! What a wonderful picture of Christ.
The “gate” was the door to the city, a public place, a place where people went in and out as they entered or left the city. It was a place to debate issues or meet for discussion. Lot met and greeted the angels at the gate of Sodom (Gen. 19:1), he was probably there in a political capacity, that of a ruler or judge. David’s son Absalom met people at the gate early in the day to flatter and influence them and tell them how much better he would be as a ruler than his father. (2 Sam 15:2-3). The gate was a place where legal matters were settled, where you could bring your grievances.
The gate was the place that the “elders” sat (Prov. 31:23; Deut. 21:19) and the place they took as “judges” and “officials” (Deut. 16:18). The gate was the place that the “princes” came to, and sat down and demanded the prophet Jeremiah’s death (Jer. 26:10-11). The gate was the place the “king” would sit to listen to the grievances of the people (2 Sam 19:8), it was there that the Ethiopian came before the king to plead publicly for the life of the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 38:7-8). The gate was the place the prophets came to speak and prophesy (1 Kings 22:10; Jer. 17:19), there all the people would hear their message. When describing the 12 gates of Jerusalem and those that need repair, one of the gates, the tenth gate, has a name; “Miphkad” which aptly describes what was done there. There are several meanings for “Miphkad”: it means “apportionment (division and distribution)” (JB Jackson); it means “assignment” (Strong’s); it means “to review” or “mandate” (Strong’s Encyclopedia); and it means “inspection” (Unger Dictionary). All good descriptions. Below is what Sister Bodie says about the gate, a wonderful description!
Mary Bodie: “It is the gate devoted to righteous judgment. It was called Miphkad – “the place of review.” Satan may do his work in the dark, but not Boaz; for whether type, or all-glorious antitype, he calls all to witness to His power to redeem: “For this thing was not done in a corner” Acts 26:26. The word gate seems to give character to all that was accomplished. It was done openly that all might know the happy consequences regarding Ruth’s inheritance.”
The gate was an important place, an essential place, a necessary place; it was the first place Boaz came to, Boaz will make it a place of Examination, a place of Decision and a place of Judgment. Here at the gate, Ruth’s need and Boaz’s desire are made public, and her future is decided!
So what did Boaz do? He sat down there. The word “sat” is the same word as “sit still” (3:18). What Ruth does is “sit still” (in quiet and abiding)” and what Boaz does is “sit down (as a judge).” They are both sitting but both are doing two different things, there are two different activities going on: Rest (Ruth) and Action (Boaz). At the gate Boaz will wait for someone, the other kinsman to walk by: Boaz knows this man, knows who he is, recognizes him as he walks by and somehow he knows he will be coming to the gate that day. It could be that this man was also in a position of authority, that he may have gone to the gate to sit as an “elder” or “judge” to hear the complaints of the people.
How did Boaz greet this man? He greeted him with the word “Ho,” which is an exclamation with a variety of meanings, it was used to catch your attention, so you would listen to what follows (Isa. 55:1). It can be translated “Oh!” (Isa. 47:6); “Alas” (1 Kings 13:30); “Ah!” (Isa. 1:4) or “Woe” (Isa. 31:1). Then after this word that may have stopped this man and caught his attention, Boaz greets him, but not by name, he just says: “such a one!” Boaz knew his name, but we are not told, it is concealed. We know he was afraid to lose his inheritance and his fear and failure to redeem will wipe out his name from our memory. Sister Bodie brings out a wonderful type in this man of no name, this “near kinsman” called “such a one,” he is a type of the Law unable to redeem and we will see that type fulfilled later on in this chapter.
Finally, we see the compelling power of Boaz, the authority of Boaz that this man cannot resist. Boaz tells him to “turn aside” and to “sit down here,” and what does he do? He obeys: “And he turned aside and sat down.” He knows that something important is about to happen, some decision is about to be made.
Continued next issue