Pastor Debra Isenbletter
Ruth 4:9 – “And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, of the hand of Naomi.”
In this verse and the next we see Boaz’s words of confirmation and acceptance of his responsibility as kinsman-redeemer for Ruth. He begins by addressing his words to two groups. He speaks “unto the elders” and “unto all the people.” We have two groups of witnesses, a double witness!
The first group is the 10 elders. If we look at this in type, as Sister Mary Bodie teaches, we see in these 10 elders a type of the 10 commandments of the Law. These commandments show the standard of the law (righteousness) and are a summary of the law. They witness to the legal transaction that has taken place; they witness that Ruth has been redeemed. They witness that only one man is willing and able to do this, Boaz and he will do it by obedience and by grace. What a contrast, what a picture of Christ and His obedience to the Law and His grace transferring that obedience to us and redeeming us; making us righteous!
The second groups are “all the people.” Notice the word “all.” I thought about how that this word “all” in looking at our redemption by Christ. First, the fact that ALL the Law was a witness to this redemption, all the ceremonial law, all the civil law, every aspect of the law. And then ALL the prophets were witness were witness to this redemption, to include Moses, all the major and minor prophets, and that includes ALL the scriptures, to include those known as the writings (Psalms, Proverbs, Job, etc.). There are glorious, wonderful, precious scriptures all through the Word of God that point to our redemption. God’s promise to Adam (Gen 3:15); His promise to Abraham (Gen 12:2-3). His promise to David (2 Sam 7:13). Those are just a few. And Jesus when He spoke to the two men traveling to Emmaus, spoke about His death and resurrection, and he began “at Moses and all the prophets” and “he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).
I think that “the people” can also picture several types of witnesses. They could picture the disciples who were witnesses and were told to bear witness of what they had seen and heard (John 15:17; Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8; 2:32;4:33;5:32). They can picture the Apostle Paul, who was called to be “his witness unto all men” (Acts 22:15) and all those that “preach the word” (2 Tim 4:2)
Ultimately all the scriptures, all the promises that prophesy of the Redeemer and Redemption are for “all the people.” They were there, they saw it, they heard it. There are witnesses everywhere that cannot be denied concerning our redemption. Witnesses through His Word and witnesses through His people. We all are witnesses of the work of our Kinsman-Redeemer!
What does Boaz call upon them to do? Boaz says to these two groups present: “Ye are witnesses (testify, record) this day.” In other words, they were “to testify” – this is what was spoken. They were “to record” – this is what is written. A verbal and a written testimony – a double testimony – a legal testimony – an unshakeable and unbreakable record!
What is it that Boaz says he has redeemed? He has redeemed EVERYTHING! He says, “I have bought all.” He has bought Naomi’s husband’s property: “all that was Elimelech’s” and Naomi’s sons: “all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s,” to include Ruth, the widow of Mahlon. Boaz has redeemed much more than just a “parcel of land” (Ruth 4:3), he has redeemed it all; he has redeemed everything that needed redemption. This is a FULL redemption. I can see in this is a picture of everything that Adam lost because of his sin and the fall, all has been redeemed. Jesus says, “I have bought it all:” All the earth that Satan had dominion over; all of creation that groans and waits for that redemption; it is all the people that lay hold of that redemption. It is everything!
We are not told how much it cost Boaz; we only know that it was costly. And like the unknown price Boaz paid, we cannot fully comprehend the cost of our redemption, the price that Jesus paid, the suffering He went through, we can only thank Him and come and receive freely what He has bought for us through His shed blood.
Finally we see from whose hand Boaz redeemed this, he says “of the hand of Naomi.” Naomi is the widow of Elimelech and the mother of Chilion and Mahlon and the mother-in-law of Ruth. She is acting on behalf of Ruth. She had taught Ruth, prepared Ruth and sent Ruth to Boaz. Naomi in this reminds me of Paul, who espouses us and prepares us for our Bridegroom (2 Cor 11:2).
Ruth 4:10 – “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, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.”
Boaz concludes his words with this declaration concerning Ruth. In verse 9 he spoke about the property, now in this verse he speaks about the person. He declares that he has redeemed Ruth. He says, “Ruth … have I purchased to be my wife.” She will no longer be known as “the wife of Mahlon,” for his death has freed her to marry another (Ro 7:2) and from this point on she will have a new husband and be known as the wife of Boaz. This is the promise and place we have and as Paul says, the only way that we can bring forth fruit (like Ruth) unto God. “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Ro 7:4).
Boaz says that he has “purchased” her, or another rendering is “redeemed,” which means “to buy” or “to set free by paying a price.” Both the land and Ruth needed to be redeemed, to be set free. Both the land and Ruth had to be purchased, a price had to be paid and it was a great price. I thought about Jacob who labored for Rachel, he had agreed to 7 years though it seems like a long time, Jacob says “they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.” After that he was given her sister and had to labor another 7 years but I believe that first statement holds true for the second 7 years he labored. He labored for love and love made the cost worth it all. (Gen 29:18-30). That is the love of Boaz and the love of our Kinsman-Redeemer, of Jesus!
Boaz doesn’t say, “I am going to purchase,” instead he says, “have I purchased” or “I have purchased.” He sees it as already done! This is his purpose of heart! The moment he said, “I will do to thee all that thou requirest” (3:11) it was done. The moment he said he would “do the part of a kinsman” (3:13) it was done. The moment he said accepted “the right to redeem it” (4:5-6) it was done. He saw her redemption was a finished work in his heart, nothing would move him from it. We were “chosen before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:4). Jesus was willing to pay that price and we were redeemed with His precious blood “before the foundation of the word” (1 Pet 1:20) Redemption was planned, He knew the cost!
Boaz then declares publicly and officially before all the witnesses the purpose of redeeming Ruth, it is to marry her, for he says she will “be my wife.” This is a fulfillment of Ruth’s request, “spread thy skirt over thy handmaid” (3:9), this is a fulfillment of his promise to her (3:11) and he willingly, joyfully declares this before all present. After this declaration, Boaz goes on to declare his second purpose in redeeming Ruth. It is go give her a son, for he says: “to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance.” The word “raise up” means to “continue” or “establish.” The “name of the dead” speaks of Naomi’s eldest son, Mahlon. He had died, but his name, his line would not die but “continue” on. For Boaz to do this concerning Mahlon’s name, he must first marry Ruth. It will be through her marriage to Boaz that a son will be born. This son will carry on his father’s name and line. This son will receive his father’s inheritance. Boaz sees it as done, he sees the fruitfulness of this union with Ruth.
There are two places that Boaz says Mahlon’s name will not be cut off from. First: from his brethren: “from among his brethren. Another translation of this is: “so his name will not disappear from among his family” (NIV). Next: from his city: “from the gate of his place” and this can be translated: “from the town records” (NIV) or “from the court (gate) of his birth place.” The words “cut off” mean “to be lost” or “to perish” or to “cease to exist.” His line, his name will continue and be recorded in the official records and down through the years, through his children, that name will continue. His line, will inherit the land and pass it on to future generations. Without a son, that line would disappear, but with Ruth and Boaz’s union, that line will continue. This was practical, it is about the purpose of the law of the kinsman redeemer (Lev 25:23-34; Deut 25:5-10). The purpose was to preserve the name and protect the property of families in Israel. There would always be someone to inherit the land and carry on the family name.
Today, as children of God, the redeemed of the Lord, we bear a new name, it is the name of the New Creation and there was an old name that was cut off at Calvary, it was the Old Creation. Paul teaches that something was cut off, and something to be put off. (Eph 4:22; Col 3:9-10). And by our obedient lives and union with Christ we can declare Boaz’s final words to those listening. Boaz says, “ye are witnesses this day” and it is the second time he states this. There will be no doubts, no misunderstanding about this redemption. Today, each of us has a great privilege and responsibility set before us concerning our redemption and our kinsman-redeemer, Jesus. We are “witnesses this day” to what has happened in our lives. It has been witnessed by God, by the Spirit, by Christ, by the Word, now let it be witnessed by the World!