The Fulfillment of Hope

KEY VERSE: “The women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name, may be famous in Israel.” —Ruth 4:14


BOAZ desired to have Ruth as a wife, but according to Jewish Law his right to do this must be procured as a next of kin. There was another in Israel who had a prior claim to this right. So Boaz gathered ten men of the elders of the city, and had them sit by him in the gate, or the place of judgment. (Gen. 19:1) When the nearer relative came by, Boaz met him and laid the matter before him. At first the other relative said he would redeem the land for Naomi, but when Boaz called his attention to the Law that he must marry Ruth, he said he could not, for fear of marring his own inheritance.

How could he mar his inheritance? Evidently he feared to marry Ruth, because she was a Moabitess. But Ruth had become an Israelite in faith and had left Moab and its people behind. Boaz knew this, and did not press the matter. So the other relative took off his shoe and gave it to Boaz.

The shoe, or sandal, is first a symbol of motion or wandering; but also of rest and possession. (Deut. 11:24) This expression in Deuteronomy evidently refers to possession—something one could tread on with his feet at pleasure. So when this relative handed over his shoe to Boaz, it symbolized that he surrendered to Boaz all claims to possession. Had he claimed the possession, he would have set his shoe on Naomi’s inheritance, and thus redeemed it. Ruth was an heiress, and must go with the possession. So Boaz redeemed the land, being a blood relative, and married Ruth. (Deuteronomy 25:5-10 gives a detailed explanation.)

This story and procedure of redemption illustrates well the work that Jesus performed in redeeming Adam’s race. As there was no other redeemer, Jehovah furnished one in the person of his only beloved Son. (Isa. 63:5) Jesus was blood-related to Adam, as well as being human. He was “the seed of the woman,” who would redeem mankind and “bruise the serpent’s head.” So, as Luke tells us, the life spark of our Lord Jesus was transferred by divine power into the womb of Mary, and, in due time, Jesus was born a perfect human baby. He did not inherit the death sentence, because God was his father, not Joseph. (Luke 1:35) When he was thirty years old (Luke 3:21-23), he offered himself as a ransom for all, and carried out the contract to the end on the cross. With this ransom price he bought back or redeemed Adam and all his children, as well as Adam’s inheritance—the earth.

Also, he will take as a bride one who was a daughter of Adam. And he planted his shoe upon the inheritance, as well. For, as the Redeemer he walked up and down over the possession for three and one-half years.

Ruth pictures the church who come into the family of God in a full consecration of their all, leaving behind their earthly hopes and lands and families, and as new creatures are taken into the family of God. They become the bride of the Prince, and are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus, who gave his life a ransom for all. And like Ruth, they will become the mother of kings.

Ruth gave up her home, and God gave her a far richer one. She gave up a husband, and God gave her a prince in Israel. She gave up children, and God made her the mother of kings, for she became the ancestor of David, Solomon and Jesus—the King of kings. She gave up her own people, and God gave her a place among the covenant people; she gave up the hope of lands or riches, and God gave her the inheritance of Naomi, and a share with her prince in his rich estate. So God deals with his church, and gives her a “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”—II Cor. 4:1

Dawn Bible Students Association
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