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Ruth 4:9-22

Context
4:9 Then Boaz said to the leaders and all the people, “You are witnesses today that I have acquired from Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech, Kilion, and Mahlon. 4:10 I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, the wife of Mahlon, as my wife to raise up a descendant who will inherit his property 1  so the name of the deceased might not disappear 2  from among his relatives and from his village. 3  You are witnesses today.” 4:11 All the people who were at the gate and the elders replied, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is entering your home like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built up the house of Israel! May 4  you prosper 5  in Ephrathah and become famous 6  in Bethlehem. 7  4:12 May your family 8  become like the family of Perez 9  – whom Tamar bore to Judah – through the descendants 10  the Lord gives you by this young woman.”

A Grandson is Born to Naomi

4:13 So Boaz married Ruth and had sexual relations with her. 11  The Lord enabled her to conceive 12  and she gave birth to a son. 4:14 The village women said to Naomi, “May the Lord be praised because he has not left you without a guardian 13  today! May he 14  become famous in Israel! 15  4:15 He will encourage you and provide for you when you are old, 16  for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, has given him birth. She 17  is better to you than seven sons!” 4:16 Naomi took the child and placed him on her lap; 18  she became his caregiver. 19  4:17 The neighbor women named him, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. 20  Now he became the father of Jesse – David’s father!

Epilogue: Obed in the Genealogy of David

4:18 These are the descendants 21  of Perez: Perez was the father of Hezron, 4:19 Hezron was the father of Ram, Ram was the father of Amminadab, 4:20 Amminadab was the father of Nachshon, Nachshon was the father of Salmah, 4:21 Salmon 22  was the father of Boaz, Boaz was the father of Obed, 4:22 Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse was the father of David. 23 

1 tn Heb “in order to raise up the name of the deceased over his inheritance” (NASB similar).

2 tn Heb “be cut off” (so NASB, NRSV); NAB “may not perish.”

3 tn Heb “and from the gate of his place” (so KJV, ASV); NASB “from the court of his birth place”; NIV “from the town records.”

4 tn Following the jussive, the imperative with prefixed vav indicates purpose or result.

5 tn The phrase וַעֲשֵׂה־חַיִל (vaaseh-khayil, literally, “do strength”) has been variously translated: (1) financial prosperity: “may you become rich” (TEV), “may you be a rich man” (CEV), “may you achieve wealth” (NASB), “may you prosper” (NKJV, NJPS); (2) social prominence: “may you become powerful” (NCV), “may you have standing” (NIV), “may you be great” (NLT), “may you do well” (NAB); (3) reproductive fertility: “may you produce children” (NRSV); and (4) social activity: “may you do a worthy deed” (REB).

6 tc Heb “and call a name.” This statement appears to be elliptical. Usually the person named and the name itself follow this expression. Perhaps וּקְרָא־שֵׁם (uqÿra-shem) should be emended to וְיִקָּרֵא־שֵׁם (vÿyiqqare-shem), “and your name will be called out,” that is, “perpetuated” (see Gen 48:16, cf. also Ruth 4:14b). The omission of the suffix with “name” could be explained as virtual haplography (note the letter bet [ב], which is similar to kaf [כ], at the beginning of the next word). The same explanation could account for the omission of the prefixed yod (י) on the verb “call” (yod [י] and vav [ו] are similar in appearance). Whether one reads the imperative (the form in the MT) or the jussive (the emended form), the construction indicates purpose or result following the earlier jussive “may he make.”

7 map For location see Map5 B1; Map7 E2; Map8 E2; Map10 B4.

8 tn Heb “your house” (so NAB, NASB, NRSV).

9 tn Heb “and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, from the offspring whom the Lord gives to you from this young woman.”

sn Perez is an appropriate comparison here, because (1) he was an ancestor of Boaz, (2) he was born to Tamar by a surrogate father (Judah) after the death of her husband, and (3) he had an unbroken line of male descendants extending over several generations (see vv. 18-22).

10 tn Heb “from the seed” (KJV, ASV both similar); NASB, NIV “through the offspring”; NRSV “through the children.”

11 tn Heb “and Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife and he went in to her.” Here the phrase “went in to her” (so NASB) is a euphemism for having sexual relations (cf. NCV); NLT “When he slept with her.”

12 tn Heb “gave her conception” (so KJV); NRSV “made her conceive”; NLT “enabled her to become pregnant.”

13 tn Or “redeemer.” See the note on the phrase “guardian of the family interests” in 3:9. As the following context indicates, the child is referred to here.

14 tn The “guardian” is the subject of the verb, as the next verse makes clear.

15 tn Heb “may his name be called [i.e., “perpetuated”; see Gen 48:16] in Israel.”

16 tn Heb “and he will become for you a restorer of life and a sustainer of your old age” (NASB similar).

17 tn Heb “who, she”; KJV “which is better to thee.”

18 tn Or “breast”; KJV, NRSV “in her bosom.”

19 tn Heb “his nurse,” but this refers to a dry nurse, not a medical attendant. Cf. NIV “and cared for him”; TEV “and took (+ good CEV) care of him.”

20 tn The name “Obed” means “one who serves,” perhaps anticipating how he would help Naomi (see v. 15).

21 tn Or “generations” (so KJV, NASB); NIV, NLT “family line.”

sn The concluding genealogy demonstrates that the prayers of blessing made earlier were fulfilled. Boaz’s line did become like the line of Perez, and both Boaz and Obed became famous. God’s blessing upon Ruth and Boaz extended beyond their lifetime and immediate family, for their great descendant, David, became the greatest of Israel’s kings, and his descendant in turn, Jesus the Messiah, became greater still.

22 sn Salmon appears to be an alternate spelling of Salmah in the preceding line.

23 sn The theological message of the Book of Ruth may be summarized as follows: God cares for needy people like Naomi and Ruth; he is their ally in this chaotic world. He richly rewards people like Ruth and Boaz who demonstrate sacrificial love and in so doing become his instruments in helping the needy. God’s rewards for those who sacrificially love others sometimes exceed their wildest imagination and transcend their lifetime.



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