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The next kinsman refuses to marry Ruth, ver. 1 - 8.
Boaz marries her, ver. 9 - 12.
Their issue, ver. 13 - 22.
2: Ten men - To be witnesses: for though two or three witnesses were
sufficient, yet in weightier matters they used more. And ten was the
usual number among the Jews, in causes of matrimony and divorce, and
translation of inheritances; who were both judges of the causes, and
witnesses of the fact.
3: Naomi - Both Naomi and Ruth had an interest in this land
during their lives, but he mentions only Naomi, because all was done by
her direction; lest the mention of Ruth should raise a suspicion of the
necessity of his marrying Ruth, before he had given his answer to the
5: Buy it - According to the law, (De 25:5).
To raise, &c - To revive his name, which was buried with his body,
by raising up a seed to him, to be called by his name.
6: Mar - Either because having no children of his own, he might have
one, and but one son by Ruth, who, though he should carry away his
inheritance, yet would not bear his name, but the name of Ruth's
husband; and so by preserving another man's name, he should lose his own.
Or, because as his inheritance would be but very little increased by this
marriage, so it might be much diminished by being divided amongst his many
children, which he possibly had already, and might probably have more by
Ruth. My right - Which I freely resign to thee.
7: All things - That is, in all alienation of lands. So that it is
no wonder if this ceremony differ a little from that, (De 25:9),
because that concerned only one case, but this is more general. Besides, he
pleads not the command of God, but only ancient custom, for this practice.
Gave it - He who relinquished his right to another, plucked off his own
shoe and gave it to him. This was symbolical, and a significant and
convenient ceremony, as if he said, take this shoe wherewith I used to go
and tread upon my land, and in that shoe do thou enter upon it, and take
possession of it. This was a testimony - This was admitted for sufficient
evidence in all such cases.
10: From the gate - That is, from among the inhabitants dwelling
within the gate of this city, which was Bethlehem - judah.
11: Rachel and Leah - Amiable and fruitful. These two are singled
out, because they were of a foreign original, and yet ingrafted into God's
people, as Ruth was; and because of that fertility which God vouchsafed
unto them above their predecessors, Sarah and Rebecca.
Rachel is placed before Leah, because she was his most lawful, and
best - beloved wife. Did build - That is, increase the posterity.
Ephratah and Bethlehem - Two names of one and the same place.
12: Pharez - As honourable and numerous as his family was; whom,
though be also was born of a stranger, God so blessed, that his family was
one of the five families to which all the tribe of Judah belonged, and
the progenitor of the inhabitants of this city.
13: Took Ruth - Which he might do, though she was a Moabite,
because the prohibition against marrying such, is to be restrained to those
who continue Heathens; whereas Ruth was a sincere proselyte and convert
to the God of Israel. Thus he that forsakes all for Christ, shall find
more than all with him.
14: Which hath not, &c. - The words may be rendered, Which hath
not made, or suffered thy kinsman to fail thee; that is, to refuse
the performances of his duty to thee and thine, as the other kinsman did.
Famous - Heb. and his name shall be famous in Israel, for this noble
and worthy action.
15: Thy life - That is, of the comfort of thy life. Born him - Or,
hath born to him; that is, to thy kinsman a son. Better than seven
sons - See how God sometimes makes up the want of those relations from
whom we expected most comfort, in those from whom we expected least!
The bonds of love prove stronger than those of nature.
17: A name - That is, they gave her advice about his name; for
otherwise they had no power or right to do so. Obed - A servant, to
thee, to nourish, and comfort, and assist thee; which duty children owe to