The Royal Line – Ruth 4:13-22
13 Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he was intimate with her, the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14 Then the women said to Naomi, “Praise the Lord, who has not left you without a family redeemer today. May his name become well known in Israel. 15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. Indeed, your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” 16 Naomi took the child, placed him on her lap, and took care of him. 17 The neighbor women said, “A son has been born to Naomi,” and they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
David’s Genealogy from Judah’s Son
18 Now this is the genealogy of Perez:
Perez fathered Hezron.
19 Hezron fathered Ram,
who fathered Amminadab.
20 Amminadab fathered Nahshon,
who fathered Salmon.
21 Salmon fathered Boaz,
who fathered Obed.
22 And Obed fathered Jesse,
who fathered David. (HCSB)
The concluding section of chapter four is broken down into two parts: the narrative around the child born to Boaz and Ruth and a ten-generation genealogy.
Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he was intimate with her, the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.
Facts to note concerning this verse.
- Boaz fulfilled his promise to marry Ruth.
- Ruth’s social progression has reached its conclusion.
- A Moabite foreigner (2:10).
- Lowest on the servant scale (2:13)
- Maidservant (3:9).
- Boaz’s wife.
- Boaz fulfilled his promise to continue the family line of Mahlon.
- Ruth becomes pregnant through Yahweh.
- Ruth was married to Mahlon for ten years but was not able to get pregnant.
- Ruth quickly became pregnant after marrying Boaz, maybe on the wedding night.
- Yahweh closed Ruth’s womb during a marriage that was not based on obedience.
- Yahweh opened Ruth’s womb and honored the prayers presented in verses 11-12.
- At least nine months elapse between the beginning of the verse and the end.
- Ruth gives birth to a son, establishing Mahlon’s lineage.
- The royal line is preserved through the actions of these two humble and obedient people.
14 Then the women said to Naomi, “Praise the Lord, who has not left you without a family redeemer today. May his name become well known in Israel. 15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. Indeed, your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.”
The women are likely neighbors or at least townspeople who know the situation surrounding Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz. In the Old Testament, praise or blessings denoted positive relationships between the two parties. The women also acknowledge that a family redeemer has now arrived on the scene for Mahlon’s lineage.
The one question in verse 14 is who is “his name” referring to, Yahweh or Obed?
- The focus on the verse seems to be on Obed and not Yahweh, although Yahweh is to be praised.
- The last part of verse 14 indicates that the “name” is currently not well known in Israel.
- Obed’s name will become well known throughout Israel in the future, if for no other reason than he’s King David’s grandfather.
- The “name” is clearly referring to Obed.
In verse 15, the women discuss the implications of the birth of a son.
- When Naomi first returned from Moab, she was bitter and destitute.
- With the birth of Obed, her fortunes have completely reversed.
- Naomi no longer needs to be concerned about her future welfare.
- The idea that Ruth is better than seven sons is a remarkable statement.
- In Israel, the ideal family consisted of seven sons – the women are saying Ruth is better than an ideal Israelite family.
- This also could be a prophetic reference to David, as he had seven brothers and became Israel’s greatest king.
16 Naomi took the child, placed him on her lap, and took care of him. 17 The neighbor women said, “A son has been born to Naomi,” and they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Some clarification is needed on verse 16, depending on the translation you are using. Some translations use the terms “bosom” and “nurse” in this verse. Those terms can be misleading as Naomi doesn’t become a wetnurse to her grandson. The original Hebrew word that is misleadingly translated to “bosom” is actually referring to the front of a person’s body and is implying embracing a loved one. The original word that refers to “nurse” is better translated as a nanny, someone to care for the child. In essence, verse 16 is saying that Naomi will take care of Obed as any joyous and loving grandmother would care for their grandchild. In Naomi’s case, her fortunes have come full circle. Once stripped of all male support and protection, she now has an immediate redeemer/protector in Boaz and a future redeemer/protector in Obed.
Verse 17 concludes the story of Boaz, Ruth, and Naomi in the birth and naming of the baby boy. There are several things to note about this.
- This is the only reference in the Old Testament where women, other than the mother, were present at the naming of a baby.
- However, this doesn’t mean the women had a role in naming the baby.
- But it does mean they were there to witness the celebration and share in its significance.
- The child is a son.
- The form is in the normal form of an ancient Near East birth announcement, as found in Isaiah 9:6 and Jeremiah 20:15.
- Because the family needed a male child to act as the future kinsman-redeemer, the birth of a son was a significant event for the family.
- The name Obed is not explained in the text.
- It is a form of the Hebrew word meaning “to serve.”
- It is an abbreviated form of Obadiah, which means “servant of Yahweh.”
- Is the boy to be viewed as a servant of Yahweh or a servant of Naomi?
- If it is the first, then the child will take away the bitterness that Naomi mentions in 1:20-21 and to redeem the estate of her late husband.
- If it is the second, the child serves by restoring her prosperity and providing security in her old age.
- It could be a combination of both.
- The historical significance does not lie in Obed directly. His significance lives on and is achieved through his grandson David.
As the book of Ruth closes, the author presents the importance of the book in a concluding genealogy.
- The biggest need in the period of the judges was a king, since “everyone did whatever he wanted” (Judges 21:25).
- The faithful actions of Naomi, Boaz, and Ruth led not only to a restoration of the family but also the provision of a king.
- As the grand narrative of the Bible progresses, we see how Yahweh keeps His covenant faithfulness through His people.
- The genealogy, which points to David, has a greater significance for us. This exact same list is included in Jesus’ genealogy in the first chapter of Matthew.
- We see that the story of Ruth points not just to David, but ultimately to Jesus.
- Jesus is the Savior and Redeemer of all humanity if they place their trust in Him.
Summary and Conclusion on Ruth
- The book begins with a funeral and ends with a wedding.
- It opens with famine and closes with fullness.
- Ruth’s love and obedience brought joy and blessing.
- God shows His disfavor on Israel because of their disobedience (chapter 1).
- God uses a gentile (Ruth), just as later gentiles would be reached with the Gospel (Acts 15:14).
- Naomi’s blessing came after Ruth’s wedding. In the same way, Israel will be restored and blessed after Christ and His church are united.
- Boaz is a picture of Christ.
- Jesus is the ultimate kinsman-redeemer.
- He is the Lord of the harvest.
- He supplies our needs.
- He redeems us.
- He gives us rest.
- Backsliding has its consequences.
- Naomi lost her husband.
- She lost her sons.
- No matter how tough the circumstances we are experiencing, the best place to be is in the will of God.
- God is willing to forgive and restore backsliders.
- The time we spend in disobedience can never be regained.
- But we can regain our joy and testimony.
- Backsliding has its consequences.
- Do we rejoice in the blessings and celebrations of others? If we don’t, is it because of jealousy? Just as we share in the sorrows of those around us, we should also join in their celebrations, giving glory to God for each one of them.
- Do we keep all parts of our promise? Boaz fulfilled everything he vowed to do. Do we resemble him in our actions, or do we stop short of total fulfillment if it gets tough or we just feel like it?
- Have we been redeemed by Jesus? If you haven’t placed your eternity in His hands, why?
- If you’ve been redeemed but have backslidden, don’t wait to return to Him. He stands with open arms to welcome back each truly repentant heart who realizes the mistake they’ve made. Don’t let pride or guilt stand in the way of blessings.