And Boaz said to the family redeemer, “You know Naomi, who came back from Moab. She is selling the land that belonged to our relative Elimelech. I thought I should speak to you about it so that you can redeem it if you wish. If you want the land, then buy it here in the presence of these witnesses. But if you don’t want it, let me know right away, because I am next in line to redeem it after you.” The man replied, “All right, I’ll redeem it.”
Then Boaz told him, “Of course, your purchase of the land from Naomi also requires that you marry Ruth, the Moabite widow. That way she can have children who will carry on her husband’s name and keep the land in the family.”
“Then I can’t redeem it,” the family redeemer replied, “because this might endanger my own estate. You redeem the land; I cannot do it.”
Now in those days it was the custom in Israel for anyone transferring a right of purchase to remove his sandal and hand it to the other party. This publicly validated the transaction. So the other family redeemer drew off his sandal as he said to Boaz, “You buy the land.”
As the nearest relative, this man (unnamed), the “family redeemer,” had the first right to buy the land, which he agreed to do (Leviticus 25:25). But then Boaz said that according to the law, if the relative bought the property he also had to marry the widow (probably because Mahlon, Ruth’s former husband and Elimelech’s son, had inherited the property). At this stipulation, the relative backed down, not wanting to complicate his inheritance. He may have feared that some of his estate would transfer away from his family to the family of Elimelech. Whatever his reason, the way was now clear for Boaz to marry Ruth, a significant event that paved the way for the eventual birth of Jesus.
To some, the book of Ruth may be just a nice story about an unfortunate girl being rescued by Boaz, as her redeemer. But in reality, the events recorded in Ruth were part of God’s preparations for the births of David (see Ruth 4:22) and eventually of Jesus, the promised Messiah (see Matthew 1:1). Because of Ruth’s faithful obedience, her life and legacy were significant even though she couldn’t see all the results. Live in faithfulness to God, knowing that the significance of your life will extend beyond your lifetime.
Thank God for directing the life of Boaz who became an ancestor of Jesus, the Messiah (see Matthew 1:5). And thank God for caring for you and orchestrating the events of your life.