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What the Bible says about Boaz and Ruth
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Numbers 35:9-34

The cities of refuge were sanctuaries to which those who accidentally killed another could flee. There were six of them located throughout Israel, three on each side of the Jordan River. Even if the killer made it to a city of refuge, he still had to undergo a trial. If he was found guilty of committing an accidental death, he had to remain in the city until the death of the current high priest. Thus, the city served as his jail. However, he was otherwise free to move about, find employment, and live with and support his family.

If he left the city for any reason, the avenger of blood could lawfully take the killer's life. The avenger of blood (verses 12, 19) was usually a blood-relative of the manslaughter victim. His assignment from the family was to protect the family's rights and to avenge the family's loss of the killed person. The vengeance taken was not always to take the killer's life. If the avenger actually took the killer's life before he managed to reach a city of refuge, then he truly was an "avenger of blood." However, the Hebrew term translated "avenger" is go'el, which has fascinating ramifications when appearing in other contexts, as it can also be translated "redeem" or "redeemer."

In the book of Ruth, it is translated as "redeem" seven times. Boaz was Ruth's redeemer. The redeemer was the one who stood for his family in order to protect its rights. Boaz protected the rights of his family in behalf of Ruth and Naomi due to Naomi's husband's death. He was the family's "avenger."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sixth Commandment

Ruth 4:1-11

This scene is typical of how most cultures, not only the Hebrews, have understood the idea of witnessing. These ten elders of the city—and, if we read between the lines in verse 11, all the people who were drawn to this event that Boaz set up—observed the negotiations and the transaction of the sandal between Boaz and the unnamed near kinsman. If there were ever a need for proof that Boaz had indeed jumped through all the legal hoops through which he needed to jump to procure the land of Elimelech and the hand of Ruth, he had ten expert, irreproachable witnesses from among the elders of the people. In fact, he had probably dozens more who had seen all this take place because it most likely took place at the gate of the city.

So, many people were able to see what had transpired and could testify that everything had been done above-board. In a way, these people functioned like today's notaries who witness a legal transaction, put their seal on a document, and sign it, verifying that, "Yes, I indeed saw this transaction take place, legally and above-board, etc." This is how witnessing is done, and this is what many, if not most, of the occurrences of the Old Testament Hebrew words for "witness," 'ed and 'ud (the noun and the verb, respectively), connote.

What happened here in Ruth 4 is very interesting in the fact that Boaz is a type of Christ. Boaz here chooses ten elders—Jews—respected men of the town to witness what he did. Remember, since this took place in Bethlehem, these Jews were probably kin of David. In fact, Boaz himself was David's great-grandfather, but these people were all one big extended family, the family of Judah. Boaz took ten of them, ten men whose eyewitness testimony could not be gainsaid in any way, and these men then witnessed his redemption of the land and Ruth.

What is interesting is that Jesus did exactly the same thing, except that He chose twelve men of Judah from Galilee. They would do the same for Him, telling all who would hear that He had indeed redeemed His people. Luke 24:44-49 shows that this is exactly what He did. While the normal, legal idea of witnessing appears in the New Testament, Jesus makes use of it to confirm the facts of His life and death to the whole world through His witnesses, the apostles.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Principled Living (Part Five): Witnessing of God

Nehemiah 9:2

Their children faced the same tests ours face today: a shortage of converted potential mates. Many of them had started dating and marrying "outside the church." Most of those they married never converted to God's truths but remained pagans. This led to whole families forsaking God's way of life. They forsook Israelite culture to the point that Nehemiah later writes that "half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod [a Philistine city], and could not speak the language of Judah" (Nehemiah 13:24). Boaz' marriage to Ruth, a foreigner of Moab, proves to be the exception, not the rule.

The Feast Is Over . . . Now What?

Related Topics: Assimilation | Boaz and Ruth | Marriage


Ezekiel 16:8

The young woman is involved in a marriage. Within the context, she begins as a type of Jerusalem and gradually expands into a type of all Israel. Within the fullness of the Bible, the symbolism can apply all the way to include the church and the New Covenant. Verse 8 clearly states, "You became Mine."

The statement, "I spread My wing over you," is a symbol of caring protection. It can also imply what Boaz did in accepting Ruth when, at Naomi's bold suggestion, she came to him at night and slept at his feet. Ruth was willing to pay the price of possibly losing her reputation by being perceived as a prostitute because the community could have interpreted what she did as brazenly throwing herself at Boaz. But Boaz, being a just man (also a type of Christ), took the hint properly and redeemed Ruth to be his wife. "I spread My wing over you" suggests both as a companion in marriage and as a possession.

The Old Covenant was a marriage covenant, and it prefigures the New Covenant, which is also a marriage covenant. Several verses confirm that the church as Christ's Bride is a purchased possession. The apostle Paul writes in I Corinthians 6:19-20: "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" (see also I Corinthians 7:22-23; II Peter 2:1). These verses are especially clear regarding the legal realities involved in this relationship. The price of our redemption from slavery to Satan and this world has been paid by Christ when He shed His blood. We legally belong to Him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Fully Accepting God's Sovereignty (Part Two)

Micah 5:1-5

This prophecy does not necessarily state where the Messiah would be born but that the home base, town, or city of the family of the Promised Seed would be Bethlehem Ephrathah. He was indeed born there. David's particular family line (see Ruth 4:18-22) begins with a son, Perez, that Tamar bore to Jacob's son, Judah. Five generations later, Salmon was born into that family line, and his son was Boaz, who married Ruth the Moabitess. These two, who made their home in Bethlehem (Ruth 1:1, 19; 2:4), produced Obed, who fathered Jesse, David's father. Jesse and David were also from Bethlehem (I Samuel 16:1, 4, 18).

John W. Ritenbaugh
Leadership and Covenants (Part Eleven): Signs

Ephesians 1:13-14

Jesus and His Father give us a guarantee of His promise to marry us. On the Feast of Pentecost (Acts 2), fifty days after Jesus' resurrection, God sent a "deposit," the "earnest" of the Holy Spirit—the guarantee of the full payment to come later, when we are changed from flesh to spirit. There may be more here than some realize.

The Greek word for "earnest" is arrabon. When taken in the context of our understanding of a glorious wedding coming, it is a word packed with meaning. Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words comments:

Originally, "earnest-money" deposited by the purchaser and forfeited if the purchase was not completed, [arrabon] was probably a Phoenician word, introduced into Greece. In general usage it came to denote "a pledge" or "earnest" of any sort; in the NT it is used only of that which is assured by God to believers; it is said of the Holy Spirit as the divine "pledge" of all their future blessedness, . . . particularly of their eternal inheritance.

Then comes this final sentence: "In modern Greek arrabona is an 'engagement ring.'" Of course! It makes so much sense. When Jesus asks us to drink of His cup—and we do—He follows by giving us a sign of His pledge: a kind of engagement ring, an earnest of His Holy Spirit! All this happened on the likely anniversary of God's proposal to Israel, the Day of Pentecost, about the time Boaz and Ruth pledged their troth.

Will You Marry Me? (Part Two)


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