The city gate was like a combination of city council, courtroom and the place where the men gathered to talk politics or the events of the day (think barbershop or Hardees on a Saturday morning). Boaz had business to conduct there. By now I think we can believe Boaz and Ruth are in love but before he has to defer role as redeemer to the nearer relative. Boaz had sent Ruth home and she wasn't to tell anyone about her request (v. 14). This gave Boaz an advantage over this closer relative. Boaz sets the man down and calls the elders as witness to what was about to happen.
It was important to keep the allotted land in the family. This man was more than happy to buy the land back.
Boaz reveals the other part of this deal. Since Naomi was older, the man wouldn't be expected to marry her to perpetuate the family. Instead, he was expected to marry Ruth. This responsibility went hand in hand with the purchase of land.
The man probably already had adult children and his inheritance to them was established. To marry Ruth and have more children would cause problems in his family. The man steps away from this responsibility and yields to Boaz.
The custom was fulfilled but there was no shame brought to the family since Boaz would redeem the land and marry Ruth.
I wonder if Ruth and Naomi were hiding around the corner or lurking in the crowd undercover. There may have been a joyous scream from these two ladies. Their lives would never be the same.
The deal was sealed, the witnesses acknowledge it and they ask the Lord's blessing like that of Rachel and Leah. The entire house of Israel were offspring of Rachel and Leah. This was a call for many offspring, much influence, prosperity and fame. The family of Perez had settled in the town of Bethlehem (see this at 1 Chron. 2:5; 50-54). Boaz himself was a descendant of Perez. While Tamar wasn't a godly woman, she is nevertheless in this bloodline and the eventual bloodline of Christ.
Obed means 'a servant who worships'. He is quite special if you think about it. Elimelech, whether out of lack of faith or fear, left the land. He took his family to Moab for ten years. When the men, die this family, through its poor decisions and the circumstances of life, have left them without a future. Yet, we see God work through this goel to redeem this situation and family by the son of a prostitute and a Moabite woman. God is good!!
This is the descendents of the Perez and those that settled in and around Bethlehem. Deuteronomy 23:2 says that an illegitimate son forfeits his right to enter the assembly of the Lord for 10 generations. In the above, we see the ten generations ends with King David.
©2015 Doug Ford