Pastor Debra Isenbletter
Ruth 4:11 – “And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The Lord make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem:”
They Certify the Transaction: “We are witnesses.” This verse begins with a wonderful declaration by all that are present, by “all the people” and by “the elders.” They answer the challenge of Boaz given in the previous verses. Boaz has said: “Ye are witnesses” (Vs 9-10), now they respond to him by saying: “We are witnesses.” This is the third time we see the word “witnesses” in this book. By their words they certify and finalize his transaction, they declare that his redemption as kinsman is complete. Boaz has done everything that the Law has required, and there were three witnesses that day. The Law declared that “at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.” (Deut 19:15). The first witness was the other kinsman (a type of the Law in its failure). The second witness was the 10 elders (a type of the 10 Commandments, that Jesus obeyed). The third witness was the people (a type of all the prophets, scriptures that spoke of Jesus). Boaz, as a type of Christ doesn’t need to do anything else – All testify that it is finished! The work of our redemption at Calvary is a finished and completed work! Jesus like Boaz can say, “Ye are witnesses!” and all must respond with “We are witnesses!” We see that witness concerning Christ in so many ways.
1. His Birth: “was made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal 4:4)
2. His Promise: “of whom Moses in the law and prophets did write” (Joh 1:45)
3. His Purpose: “to fulfill” the demands of Law (Mat 5:17)
4. His Cry: “It is finished!” (John 19:30)
5. His Assurance: “all things were fulfilled that were written in the law” (Luk 24:44)
6. His Obedience “by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Ro 5:19)
7. His Righteousness: He “is the end of the law for righteousness” (Ro 10:4)
They Bless the Union of Boaz and Ruth: First we see WHO will bless Ruth. It is “the Lord,” for only He can do this. They ask the Lord to bless Ruth; they ask that the Lord “make” something of Ruth. That word “make” means “to give” (Grace), “to bestow,” (Blessing), “to pour forth” (Abundance); “to lift up” (Exaltation). This is Grace in all its fullness! This blessing pictures all that the Lord gives and the abundance, the endless supply.
Next we see why, where and when Ruth will be blessed. It is because she “is come into thine house;” it is the moment she enters into the house of Boaz. This is the “household of faith” (Gal 6:10); this is the “household of God” (Phil 4:22). This is a place of provision, of protection, of satisfaction and of security. Ruth will enter that house, not as a servant, but as a wife. It is there that she will bear his name and his children.
Next we see the blessing continue in their desire that Ruth be fruitful. They pray that Ruth be “like Rachel and like Leah,” the wives of Jacob. Rachel gave Jacob two sons (Joseph and Benjamin) and her maid Bilah gave Jacob two sons (Dan and Naphtali). Leah gave Jacob six sons (Reuban, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun) and her maid gave Jacob two sons (Gad and Asher). Through these women Jacob was given twelve sons, we see their fruitfulness. Through their union with Jacob they “did build the house of Israel.” That promised blessing of fruitfulness was given to Abraham by God, for God said to Abraham, “I will make of thee a great nation” (Gen 12:2), yet at that time and for a long time, Abraham had no children and when the promise was fulfilled, he had one son, Isaac. So the promise was passed on to his son Isaac, Jacob’s father, who had 12 sons that became the 12 tribes. But that blessing of fruitfulness will come through the women they marry. As this happens we see them grow and multiply.
When we see Jacob’s mother, we see a great prophecy and promise given. It is made possible when Jacob’s father took a bride chosen by God. It is made possible when Jacob’s mother agreed to marry Isaac. There was a special blessing given to Jacob’s mother Rebecca. “…be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.” (Gen 24:60) It is this blessing that is passed on to Ruth through her union with Boaz!
First a Blessing is given to Ruth and then a Blessing is given to Boaz and his is a Double Blessing, it is a Personal Blessing. The same place is mentioned twice with two different names and two different blessings.
A blessing in Ephratha: “and do thou worthily in Ephratah.” Ephratah means “a place of fruitfulness,” it is another name for Bethlehem. This was the place where Rachel was buried (Gen 35:19; Gen 48:7) and had at one time been a place of sorrow. But now it a place of great blessing and great joy. The blessing is seen in meaning of its name “fruitfulness” and in the word “worthily,” which means “wealth, valor, or strength.” It is translated: “May thou do worthily and get wealth (power) in Ephratah” (Amplified/NAS) and “May you prosper in Ephratah” (RSV). I believe that this pictures a Place of Growth, a full growth, a fruitful growth. As great and wealthy as Boaz was before he married Ruth (he was “a mighty man of wealth”), he will be enriched by his union with Ruth!
A blessing in Bethlehem: “and be famous in Bethlehem.” Bethlehem means “house of bread.” Bread is the result of fruitfulness, the abundance the Lord supplies. Naomi came back to this place for this reason. She said “the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread” (Ruth 1:6). The blessing is seen in the meaning of the name and in the word “famous” is translated “renowned” (RSV). The word means “to address by name;” “to cry unto;” “to preach.” In those meanings you see how famous and renowned Boaz will become through his union with Ruth. Ultimately, this prophecy and its fulfillment points to the Messiah, to Christ. Micah prophesied the Messiah would come from Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) and Herod was reminded of this (Matt 2:6). It is His Name that is preached, that we cry unto, it is His Name that is remembered and exalted by us! Praise the Lord that we bear His Name!
Continued next issue