The Book of Ruth, A Love Story
The Price of a Bride
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. And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down. And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's: And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it.a Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance. And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it. Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel. Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe. 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. 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.
This wonderful story of love is a glorious reminder to us that God’s purposes cannot be foiled.
God’s plan for Ruth and Boaz is in full bloom picturing for us the challenging relationships marked by love and kindness. A public sale is being held in the market place at the gate of the city of Bethlehem. What is being sold at this public auction? Is the property that belonged to Naomi and Ruth going to the highest bidder?
There is one who is a nearer kinsman than Boaz and he is summonsed to the gate to meet the conditions and furnish the capital for this important business agreement . A poor woman, Naomi, had lost title to her husband’s estate which could only be redeemed by paying all the back debts, taxes and penalties. In addition to this piece of property, there is a servant girl, a widow who also had claim to this property because of her former marriage, but her husband had died and she is left penniless and of course, a widow. What is her name? Ruth, the Moabites.
According to the law, lost property could be redeemed by a near kinsman or relative, providing that he could meet the demands of the debt. The widow too, could be redeemed if the near relative were able and willing to take her as his wife. These two things were on the auction block––Naomi’s property and Ruth’s widowhood––were up for sale and in need of a redeemer. What a long night it must have been for poor Ruth waiting for the one who would redeem her. Imagine the fears, the questions that came to her mind and the overwhelming debt that was upon her. Boaz met Ruth’s nearer kinsman face to face and asked, “Can you redeem Ruth, and will you do so?” The nearer kinsman said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance.” He was not willing or able to redeem her––how Ruth’s heart must have sung out in joy to know that the one she loved, loved her and would redeem her. Boaz called a public meeting and counted out the money to pay the debt, receiving the title to the property and immediately wedding bells were ringing for the poor servant girl, Ruth. (The amount paid for Naomi’s estate is not stated in the Bible but be assured it must have been a great sum and most likely paid in silver.)
Thought: The love story of Ruth is a picture of the Christian life. As Christians, we have so many fears that grip our hearts and numerous questions about life and death and the future that we become overwhelmed at times. And what about the debt we owe to God for our great sin? Who is our “nearer kinsman?” Who will pay the debt we owe for the countless sins charged to our account? Only Jesus Christ can fulfill all the requirements as our kinsman-redeemer in His redemptive work on the Cross. The debt is paid, all our sin is forgiven. Oh, praise His glorious name!
Nor silver nor gold hath obtained my redemption,
No riches of earth could have saved my poor soul;
The blood of the Cross is my only foundation,
The death of my Saviour now maketh me whole.
I am redeemed, but not with silver;
I am bought, but not with gold;
Bought with a price––The blood of Jesus,
Precious price of love untold.