Boaz has obtained the right to redeem Naomi’s property and to take Ruth as a wife, formally sealing the deal with an interesting sign and in front of the elders of the city.
Ruth 4:7 (NET) (Now this used to be the customary way to finalize a transaction involving redemption in Israel: A man would remove his sandal and give it to the other party. This was a legally binding act in Israel.) 8 So the guardian said to Boaz, “You may acquire it,” and he removed his sandal. 9 Then Boaz said to the leaders and all the people, “You are witnesses today that I have acquired from Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech, Kilion, and Mahlon. 10 I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, the wife of Mahlon, as my wife to raise up a descendant who will inherit his property so the name of the deceased might not disappear from among his relatives and from his village. You are witnesses today.”
Deuteronomy 25:8 (NET) I donʼt want to marry her,” 9 then his sister-in-law must approach him in view of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, and spit in his face. She will then respond, “Thus may it be done to any man who does not maintain his brotherʼs family line!” 10 His family name will be referred to in Israel as “the family of the one whose sandal was removed.”
Boaz approached a closer relative about being a redeemer and he accepted, but he didn’t know what all that entailed! Today we see Boaz tactfully handle this as he solidifies his future with Ruth.
Ruth 4:5 (NET) Then Boaz said, “When you acquire the field from Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the wife of our deceased relative, in order to preserve his family name by raising up a descendant who will inherit his property.” 6 The guardian said, “Then I am unable to redeem it, for I would ruin my own inheritance in that case. You may exercise my redemption option, for I am unable to redeem it.”
Ruth’s proposal to Boaz in last week’s episode seemed promising, but in today’s episode we find her back at Naomi’s place with a heavy haul of barley, another gift from Boaz, as the waiting begins.
Ruth 3:14 (NET) So she slept beside him until morning. She woke up while it was still dark. Boaz thought, “No one must know that a woman visited the threshing floor.” 15 Then he said, “Hold out the shawl you are wearing and grip it tightly.” As she held it tightly, he measured out about sixty pounds of barley into the shawl and put it on her shoulders. Then he went into town, 16 and she returned to her mother-in-law.
When Ruth returned to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “How did things turn out for you, my daughter?” Ruth told her about all the man had done for her. 17 She said, “He gave me these sixty pounds of barley, for he said to me, ‘Do not go to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’” 18 Then Naomi said, “Stay put, my daughter, until you know how the matter turns out. For the man will not rest until he has taken care of the matter today.”