ESV - 6 Then the redeemer said, "I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I impair my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.
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KINSMAN (3:9) Hebrew Go-el designates one of the social institutions among the Hebrews and operates on the principle of law of degree closeness of relationship. Two of Boaz many family responsibilities seen in the Book of Ruth are (1) He was charged with redeeming family property that had been lost or was about to be lost by sale (4:3; Lev. 25:25-34). (2) He was obligated to marry the widow of the deceased near relative so as to raise up children to the name of the dead (4:5; Deut. 25:5-10). Boaz brings both duties to bear as one issue in the case of Ruth (4:3-5). Naomi instructions to Ruth to seek out Boaz are apparently in accordance with social propriety in that the widow could initiate proceedings relative to the securing of the go-el. Ruth’s request that Boaz “spread his skirt over thine handmaid” is a symbolic pledge of marriage (Ezek. 16: 8-14). The Lord had so moved in the lives of Boaz and Ruth that the duties of family institutions were reinforced by a genuine love for one another. Accordingly, Boaz took special measures to see that no impropriety would mark the occasion (vv. 11-14). Although there was a nearer kinsman who wanted to redeem the field that Naomi had, the probability of losing the property if a son should be born to the widow caused him to relinquish his right to Boaz (4:6). Since Boaz had arranged all the business details relative to acting as the kinsman, no disgrace would attach to the near kinsman (Deut. 25:19). The transfer of the shoe symbolized the relinquishing of his right to act as the nearest kinsman and the exchange of his authority in the matter to another (4:7) Boaz was able and willing to serve fully as the go-el both in the redemption of the field and in marriage to Ruth (4:9, 10).
The closer relative was worried about "ruining" (not losing) his own inheritance because if he redeemed the land he would have to marry Ruth. Then any potential offspring between him and Ruth would have to be divided with his existing family and he didn't want that to happen. Hence, he passed on redeeming Ruth and acquiring her land, allowing Boaz to step in and redeem her instead. It all worked out according to God's plan. They had a son named Obed who became the father of Jesse, the father of David. So Boaz and Ruth are in the line of Jesus.
This chapter in Ruth, the theme is really redemption. I think that it is really about Law, verses Grace. I'mThe closer relative represents the Law and trying to keep it. Boaz represents Grace. The kinsman-redeemer. The freedom that we have from the Law when we accept Jesus Christ by faith, as our salvation. The reward of the acceptance of the redeemed is pure love, Grace, and a good full life. The closer relative was too caught up in the worries of this world, and not willing to let go and let God. How about us?
If the nearer kinsman agreed to pay the cost of buying the land of Elimelech, it would entail the job of marrying and supporting the widow, Ruth. This would, as he said, "mar" his own inheritance, being a double financial burden by: a. buying the land for Ruth's heir, rather than for his own, and b. providing for Ruth and her family.
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