So the great transaction was made, and Boaz bought everything that belonged to Elimelech, Chilion, and Mahlon from Naomi. Ruth had to sit still and wait. But exactly what part did Ruth play in the transaction? Ruth was the recipient of grace and so is the believer in Yeshua. We are willing but it is God who redeems. Boaz acted as a substitute and took the place of Ruth in the entire transaction and through His substitutionary atonement, the Lord Jesus purchased our souls.
The affirmation of the elders, “We are witnesses” indicated strong approval from the city and their blessing. The blessing was for Ruth to be like Rachel and Leah which was foundational to Israel’s heritage. They were to be prosperous and famous in Ephrathah and Bethlehem. The blessing also has a prophetic element since Boaz and Ruth where the great grandparents of David. They were in the family lineage of the coming Messiah mentioned in Matthew 1 and Luke 3.
The blessing relates to the ‘house of Israel’ and the ‘house of Perez’ . ‘Bethlehem’ means ‘house of bread and ‘Ephrathah’ means fruitful. The house is like a temple and in the Bible those terms are sometimes used interchangeably. The house or temple is not merely an impressive physical location but more essentially where God dwells. A building designed to accommodate worshippers is not a fellowship or congregation in itself if there are no believers in it. The believers themselves are the congregation. Believers in Jesus the Messiah have the blessing of their body being the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19) and should treat it in that way accordingly.
There are some unlikely characters in the family line, and this further illustrates the grace of God. Ruth 4:12 reads, “May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring will save you from this young woman.” It would have seemed unlikely to a casual observer that Ruth the Moabitess would be famous in Bethlehem and build the house of Israel. Consider that Perez was the offspring of Tamar by Judah which appears to overlook the sordid details of Genesis 38. More importantly that provides another example of a Levite marriage involving an Israelite and a Gentile and the outworking of God’s grace.
God has a plan for Israel and the nations. God saves Gentiles who have an undesirable past and even a questionable background. But since the book of Ruth is set in the territory of Judah the comparison is apt. The tribe of Judah is also a crucial aspect of Jacob’s last words in Genesis 49:9-10 and the Micah 5:2 prophecy (Micah 5:1 in the Tanakh) concerning Messiah.
Judah is a lion’s whelp;
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He [a]bows down, he lies down as a lion;
And as a lion, who shall rouse him?
10 The [b]scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor a lawgiver from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes;
And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,