Ruth 4

How did Boaz proceed accordingly in the fulfillment of his promise? N. B. in early times, before writing was much in vogue, and the memory of witnesses had to supply the place of written documents, it was Important that all contracts of consequence should be publicly entered into and ratified, and as the constant passing and re-passing through the gates of a town or city, besides its being a place of general resort for amusement or relaxation, would always furnish ready witnesses, matters of this nature and also legal transactions appear to have been usually conducted at the gate-ways of cities, which thence became "places of judgment."

How did he proceed to lay the business before the meeting? N. B. The expression—"Naomi selleth a parcel of land"—probably means, that she was now about to dispose of, or make over, the present right of redemption to the estate in question, and formal notice is accordingly given by Boaz to the Goel, or next of kin, that he might avail himself of his privilege, if he saw fit, according to the law of Moses.

Did the man at first seem willing to undertake it, and what deterred him?

Did he hereupon resign all his right of redemption, and by what ceremony was it confirmed? N. B. This was equivalent to the modern custom of a man's delivering up the key of a house which he has sold.

How did Boaz publish his purchase of the estate and his marriage-contract with Ruth? N.B. It is supposed that this or something very similar, was the customary mode of solemnizing marriage among the people of Israel.

Does the essence of marriage lie in the voluntary compact of the parties ?

Is it peculiarly proper that the entering into such a relation should be attended with religious ceremonies?

How did the people and elders reply, and what blessings did they invoke severally upon the woman and upon the man?

Why did they pray that "his house might be like the house of Pharez?" N. B. In the distribution of the tribes, Pharez, the grandson of Jacob, had the honor of having his house divided into two distinct branches, as Joseph's was into those of Ephraim and Manasseh, which became very numerous, and from one of which the Bethlemites themselves were descended, who of course knew very well the import of the blessing they invoked.

How, and why, was Naomi specially congratulated on the birth of Ruth's first-born? N.B. There was good reason for giving joy to Naomi on this occasion, as the house of her husband was now in a fair way to be rebuilt, and the extinction of his name in Israel prevented.

What kind offices did she perform towards the child, and what name was given it? N. B. Obed signifies servant, and was probably conferred with some allusion to the services with which he would by and by repay the care and attentions of his aged relative.

Who was the third descendant from Boaz and Ruth? V. 22.

What still higher honor at length accrued to this converted daughter of Moab? Mat. 1.16. N. B. Her becoming a true proselyte and being engrafted into the stock of Israel, is undoubtedly typical of the subsequent calling of the Gentiles into the Christian church.

What striking lesson are we taught by the tenor of this history? N. B. That those who from unfeigned humility and a conscientious submission to the will of God, are content with obscurity—cheerfully foregoing the notice and praise of men—and patiently performing the duties of their stations—are the fairest candidates for the honor which they have not sought, and are often made signally eminent in the providence of God.

What striking passage do we find in Solomon's Proverbs applicable to this narrative? Prov.15. 25.

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