Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 69
KINSMAN REDEEMER – PART 3
Revelation 5; Ruth; I Corinthians 15:1-4
Okay, once again we’re ready for program number three. We always appreciate the fact that you all stay to the end. We would like to welcome you to an informal Bible study. We just sort of take most of these things verse-by-verse and precept-upon-precept. I have no agenda. I don’t try to grind any axes. I hopefully never name names. Maybe some people think I should, but no, I don’t want to do that. I feel if I keep teaching what the Book says, and I stay on the Truth, the Word will do everything that needs to be done. Maybe that’s a pacifist approach, but that’s what I feel the most comfortable with, is to let the Word itself speak.
Okay, here we’re in a beautiful love story between Ruth the Moabitess out of idolatry, who finally comes into a marriage relationship with a man of Israel who was a next of kin. He was in a position to redeem the land that had been mortgaged. And that was all according to Israeli law. You couldn’t just go in and buy a piece of property and pay the mortgage and go on. It was always according to the inheritances and that it stayed within the family.
Now in the Book of Ruth, we’re going to continue on. Forgive me if I take it pretty much reading it verse-by-verse. I’ll never forget, quite a few years ago, a lady wrote and she said, “I’m a Jehovah’s Witness, but I love your reading program.” So, sometimes it doesn’t hurt to read, because after all a lot of people don’t. They just don’t read. Even if they look at it, they don’t read.
I’ll never forget years back, I was teaching one of my classes here in Oklahoma. We were just a small group. I was reading a verse of Scripture and one of the ladies looked at me almost in utter shock and said, “Les, I read this, this afternoon, and it didn’t mean a thing like when you read it!”
Well, maybe I do have a unique way of reading, so bear with me because I see no other way to teach a book like Ruth, because there aren’t a lot of things that I can go and chase other references. It’s just simply a verse-by-verse love story. Yet we do want to get the impact of how God was in control of everything to bring about a redemption that would then fit with the redemption of Revelation chapter 5. That’s the whole purpose that I’m trying to bring out.
All right, come back with me now to Ruth chapter 2 and verse 19. Ruth has now come home to the house of Naomi at the end of the day, up there in Bethlehem. And naturally, I mean these people are just as normal and human as we are. What’s the first question she asks Ruth? Well, how’d it go today? That about right? Sure! How did it go today, Ruth? Did you have a good day?
“And her mother-in-law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned today? And where wroughtest (workest) thou? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee. And she showed her mother-in-law with whom she had wrought (worked), and said, The man’s name with whom I wrought is Boaz.” Well, that didn’t mean anything to Ruth. She didn’t know of any particular connection. But oh, the lights came on and the bells rang for Naomi!
“And Naomi said unto her daughter-in-law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. (What’s she making reference to? The family tree. Her dead husband. Her dead sons, who were all part and parcel of that inheritance – that piece of ground that’s lying there mortgaged.) And Naomi said unto her, The man is (What?) near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.” Hallelujah, Ruth! This means something! This is just the guy that we need. He’s wealthy. He’s next of kin. He’s one of our kinsmen. He’s going to be a kinsman redeemer.
“And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said unto me also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest.” In other words, pick up the conversation. Now, you’ve got to read between the lines. Here these two women, the mother-in-law and her young daughter-in-law, are rehearsing the events of the day. She’s come home with an unusual amount of grain for just being a gleaner. Why? How come? Well, the man told me I didn’t even have to wait for the harvesters. I could take part of theirs. And Naomi is just ecstatic. I’m sure she is.
“And Naomi said unto Rut, her daughter-in-law, It is good, my daughter, that thou shalt go out with his maidens, that they meet thee not in any other field.” What’s she telling her? You stay on Boaz’s field. Don’t you wander anyplace else, because, hey, things are happening here! God is in control. Now Naomi becomes what we’d call Cupid. She’s going to make sure that Ruth does everything right, so that we can see this consummation of a kinsman redeemer marrying this girl. So, don’t put anything immoral in here. Everything is according to custom and everything is in righteousness, because these are two people that God is going to use for His purposes.
“Then Naomi the mother-in-law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee? 2. And now is not Boaz of our kindred, (He’s our next of kin.) with whose maidens thou wast?” In other words, whose maidens you’ve been working with. Now see, Naomi knows the whole process. Ruth is just a young, innocent girl, fresh out of a foreign country. She doesn’t know the process of harvest time, but Naomi does. Look what happens next.
“…Behold, he winnoweth barley tonight in the threshing floor.” Now again, you’ve got to know some of your ancient history. What was the threshing floor? Well, it was a flat, probably level piece, of property. It probably was on a rather high elevation. When you winnow grain as they did in antiquity, they’d probably beat it and beat it to get all the chaff loosened. In order to winnow it, then what did they do? They pick up the container and they pour it out and let the wind blow the chaff aside and the grain falls straight down. That’s what you call winnowing.
Now, I’ve made comment of this before. If you go through wheat country at harvest time, that old combine is just spewing all the trash out the back. But where’s the grain? Up in the tank. Well, what’s happened? They’ve separated all the straw and the chaff and the dust, and the pure wheat is up in the tank. Well, all right, now they’re doing it in antiquity by just holding it up high and pouring the grain and letting the wind blow the chaff.
All right, Naomi knows all about this, so she says, they usually do this at night. I did some research on this. The reason they did it at night was not only to escape the heat, but there was usually a little more breeze. It wouldn’t be that stifling stillness. So, nighttime was when they could pick up some breeze. So she said, now you get back to the threshing floor, because that’s where Boaz will be tonight. All right, verse 3, now don’t tell me she’s not playing Cupid!
“Wash thyself…” My goodness, you’ve been sweating all day. Now you get yourself all cleaned up and you get perfumed and you get to where you’re attractive to Boaz.
“Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, (in other words, the best clothes that you’ve got) and get thee down to the threshing floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, (Don’t let Boaz know. Don’t come in with a big bluster. Just sort of slip in quietly. Don’t make yourself known. Don’t let him even be aware that you are there.) until he shall have done eating and drinking (finished his evening meal).” Now verse 4.
“And it shall be, when he lieth down,…” Now there again, what do you suppose was the custom? After they had been winnowing grain and they’ve had a long day, even overseeing the servants and stuff, everybody needs some rest. So, they would just simply lie down and sleep up there on the threshing floor. Again, Naomi knows all of this. Now, she says, Boaz will probably just lie down and sleep up there at the threshing floor without taking time to go home.
“…that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do. 5. And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do. 6. And she went down unto the threshing floor, and did according to all that her mother-in-law had instructed her. 7. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain:…” In other words, after he had finished that much of a day’s work.
“…and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, (just exactly like Naomi told her to do) and she laid down. 8. And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, (Evidently the Lord had probably done something to shake him awake.) and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet. 9. And he said, Who art thou?…” Now you’ve got to remember in antiquity they had more darkness than we have. It was probably almost pitch dark. He doesn’t know who is at his feet.
“…Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou ate a near kinsman.” Now there again, you go back into antiquity and some of the customs of Israel were just exactly this. The maid would have her suitor just more or less cover her with a piece of what we would today probably call a quilt or something. So she says, “Spread your skirt over thine handmaid for thou art a near kinsman.”
“And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast showed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, in as much as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.” So, what is Boaz realizing? That this girl isn’t just looking at that which was the most attractive or that which would satisfy the desires of a young girl, but even though Boaz was somewhat older, she was simply following the instructions of her mother-in-law. Her mother-in-law’s only got one thing in mind. What is it? Get that mortgage paid off! We want that mortgage paid off, and he’s the only one that can do it.
So all of this, yes, it was some conniving. But listen, have other characters in God’s program connived? Well, I reckon they did! What about Isaac and Esau? My, if anybody ever connived to get something done, Rebecca did. Remember how she helped Jacob get covered up with animal skins so that poor old Isaac would be deceived? So evidently it was all in God’s divine purposes, even though we may not consider it apropos. But always remember, this is God at work. After the fact, we can see why everything played out the way it did.
“And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest, (In other words, with regard to that mortgage. Now, don’t get the immoral aspect. Keep that out of your mind. We’re dealing with a piece of property that has to be paid off with money. Okay and he said,) I will do to thee all that thou requirest; for all the city of my people doth know thou art a virtuous woman.” And Boaz, in so many words is saying, and I’m not going to do anything to change that. So, you’ve got nothing to fear.
“And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit (Now, there’s always got to be a monkey wrench.) there is a kinsman that is (What?) nearer than I.” Ah, I bet the poor girl’s heart almost stopped. There was another gentleman who was actually a closer relative even than Boaz. According to Israeli law of the inheritance and everything, what did they have to do? They had to give this guy first chance on the property. Well, that’s enough to scare anybody isn’t it? Boaz knows this and he tells her that there is someone else who has to have first chance at this buying off of your mortgage. All right, verse 13, but he doesn’t send her home. We’re going to continue on the premise that we’re going to get this done.
“Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman,…” Now, in straight English, what’s Boaz said? Well, let’s just rest, sleep, and in the morning we’ll approach this fellow who is a closer next of kin than I am and see if he wants to pay off the mortgage. That’s literally what he’s saying. Let’s just wait until morning. We will approach him and see if he will do the part of a kinsman.
“And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she arose up before one could know another. (In other words, what? Still dark.) And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the threshing floor. 15. Also he said, Bring the veil that thou hast upon thee, and hold it.…” In other words, it was like a piece of cloth. I suppose today I’d liken it to an apron. My, how many of you have seen women take that apron, put a knot in the end of it, and fill it up with apples and whatever. Those of you that are older, you remember that.
All right, this is basically what he’s saying. He said, now, Ruth, you take that piece of cloth that you’ve got. We’re going to make a basket and fill it with what? Grain. Because that was the staff of life in that day.
“And when she held it, he measured in six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city.” That was a pretty good chunk of grain that she had to carry home, in what then became a knapsack. So when she held it, he measured six measures of barley and laid it on her and she went into the city (or into Bethlehem) to the home of Naomi. All right, now you’ve got to read between the lines. I’m always stressing that. She gets home to Naomi and Ruth says to Naomi:
“And when she came to her mother-in-law (Naomi), she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her. 17. And she said, These six measures of barley he gave me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother-in-law. 18. Then she said, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall:…”
Well, in plain English what’s she saying? Let’s just play it cool. Let’s not do anything rash. Let’s just see how all this works out. Now see, what I try to bring in here is it’s about 1500 BC. It’s about 500 years before King David. Were these people any different than we are today? Not one bit! These two women are just as concerned of what’s going to happen to their future with regard to that piece of ground, because they could end up with a fairly decent life, or they could end up continuing on poor as church mice. So, they are concerned. But Naomi is telling Ruth in so many words, let’s play it cool now Ruth. Let’s not do anything rash or foolish that we lose it.
“Then she said, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest until he has finished the thing this day.” Now again, this is the human element. What do you suppose is churning in the heart of Boaz? Oh, I hope that guy doesn’t take up the opportunity. I hope that other fellow won’t buy the mortgage. He wants to have the opportunity of not only buying the mortgage, but he’s got Ruth on his mind. Don’t think he hasn’t.
“Then went Boaz up to the gate,…” Now, what does that mean? Well, in Old Testament language it means that that’s where the city fathers would gather at the city gate. Now, if you go to the ancient city of Corinth, it was at the Bema Seat. It was an elevated place where the city fathers would hold counsel. All right, in Israel’s antiquity, then, to have the men at the gate meant, more or less, the city fathers. These were the guys that were more or less in control of the community’s welfare.
“Then went Boaz goes up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by;…” Now again, what is that? Hey, that’s the God thing! It’s that moment of Divine appointment. Here comes just exactly the guy they are waiting for.
“…the kinsman of whom Boaz spake (that is to Ruth) came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down.” Today we’d say what? Hey! Come here! I’ve got something I want to talk to you about. Boaz immediately fills what was required to make this kind of an agreement for witnesses and so forth.
“And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and he said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down.” They sat down. They knew that there was something that was going to be conducted that was of importance.
“And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech’s: 4. And I thought to advertise thee, (or to let you know) saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it:…” Boaz says to the kinsman, you’ve got dibs on this thing. You have got first rite by virtue of your relationship with Naomi. Now, if you want this piece of property – buy it. If you don’t, tell me so.
“…if thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it. 5. Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance.”
Now, all of a sudden everything changes, verse 6. According to the laws of redemption, this guy couldn’t do it. So, he loses out. All right, read it.
“And the (first) kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it.” Now according to the laws of Israel, and I haven’t go time to go into all that, but they recognized that this first next of kin, for whatever relationship he had other than Naomi, he could not redeem it. So that opens the door for Boaz.
“Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, (This is the way they consummated these things legally.) a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbor: and this was a testimony in Israel. 8. Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe.
“ And Boaz said unto the elders, and to all the people, Ye are witnesses to this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi. 10. Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, (Everything is falling in place.) to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.” Now verse 11.
“And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that has come into thine house like Rachael and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem: 12. And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah,…”
Oh, now wait a minute. Here is what gets interesting in the genealogy of Christ. Is it just a genealogy of the elite? Is it just a genealogy of the noble? No. Because what was Tamar? Come on, you don’t want to say it, do you? She was a prostitute. She had a child by Judah, who went in when he certainly shouldn’t have, but she ends up in the genealogy. These people are aware of that. They said well let Ruth be in the same vein. Sure, she’s a Moabitess, but here by Divine appointment she has come in, and she’s going to be a part of this lineage of Israel. Now, they didn’t know ahead. They were just looking at what had gone in the past. That’s why they said:
“And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give thee of this young woman. 13. So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son. 14. And 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.”
“And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, (Now this is still where Naomi is coming in.) and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter-in-law, who loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.” Now, what does this do for Naomi? Why, this put her in a place of ease for the rest of her days. Instead of being poverty stricken, she can now live with a certain amount of wealth. But the important thing is what does this do with Ruth? It puts her right into the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
All right, I’ve got a minute of time. Come up with me to Matthew chapter 1. This is the beauty of Scripture. This is our Sovereign God. This is why I make no apology for proclaiming who He is and what He is. He’s in control of everything. Even the little details like making the first next of kin unable to redeem. The one that was meant to have it is going to get it.
You got Matthew chapter 1? For sake of time I’m going to bring you all the way down to verse 5 in the genealogy that began back there with Abraham.
“And Salmon begat Boaz of Rahab (Who was Rahab? The woman on the wall at Jericho.) and Boaz begat Obed (And who was the mother of Obed?) of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; 6. And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon…”
So there Ruth sits in the genealogy of our Lord Jesus Christ. All right, but what was the picture that we tied in? Christ is going to redeem planet earth as a next of kin. He has the power and the wherewithal and the wealth of heaven to pay off the mortgage held by Satan.