The kinsman.—The Goel. (See Ruth 3:12).
Turn aside.—The form of the imperative is such as to give a hortatory turn, pray turn aside and sit down.
Such a one.—Heb.,p’loni almoni. This phrase is used like the English so-and-so, such-and-such, of names which it is thought either unnecessary or undesirable to give. The derivation is probably from palah, to mark out, to separate, to distinguish, and alam, to hide, giving the twofold notion of one who is indicated, though in a certain sense concealed. The phrase is used of places, 1 Samuel 21:2, 2 Kings 6:8; see also Daniel 8:13. Why the name is not recorded here does not appear; possibly it was not known to the writer, or it may have been thought unworthy of recording, since he neglected his plain duty in refusing to raise up seed to the dead. We know nothing of this unnamed person save the fact of the offering of the redemption set before him, and his refusal of it, an offer which involved the glory of being the ancestor of the Christ who was to be born in the far-off ages.
The inhabitants.—This should perhaps rather be, those who are sitting here [the Hebrew word yashabh has the two meanings of dwelling and sitting, see e.g., Genesis 23:10, where the latter meaning should certainly be taken]. So the LXX., Peshito and Vulg.
If thou wilt not.—The current Hebrew text has here, if he will not, which is clearly an error for the second person, which is read by a large number of Hebrew MSS., and by all the ancient versions.
I will redeem it.—He is willing enough to redeem the land as a good investment, forgetting, until reminded, the necessary previous condition. It involves marrying Ruth, and this he declines to do.
Plucked off his shoe.—The idea of this act apparently is that the man resigns the right of walking on the land as master, in favour of him to whom he gives the shoe. A similar but not identical custom is prescribed in Deuteronomy 25:9.
A testimony.—The testimony, the manner in which the solemn witness is born.
Is come.—Rather, is coming.
Rachel—though the younger sister and the junior wife—is put first, probably from her death and burial having associated her with Bethlehem (see Genesis 35:16; Genesis 35:19). In this way, too, we should explain the prophecy of Jeremiah as applied by St. Matthew (Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:18).
Build.—From the Hebrew word to build are derived the words for son and daughter, thus a twofold aspect in the word sometimes appears as here. (See also Genesis 16:2; Genesis 30:3).
Do thou worthily.—The Hebrew phrase (asah khayil) thus rendered, involves the notion of doing a thing with vigour and might. The khayil of a soldier is his valour—of a land, its material resources, and (Proverbs 31:10) the “virtuous woman” of the English Version is literally, woman of khayil. The good wish for Boaz here is that by his energy he may command continual prosperity.
Be famous.—Literally, proclaim a name.
A kinsman.—That is, the child (See next verse). The word kinsman here is Goel, a redeemer.
Daughter-in-law.—The position of the nominative is emphatic.
Loveth.—The verb is a perfect, which hath ever loved thee.
(18–22). This short genealogy, abruptly added, may be due to a later hand, it being thought necessary to connect David’s line fully with Judah.
Salmon—Heb., Salmah, though called Salmon in the next verse. In 1 Chronicles 2:11 he is called Salma. Salmon may very probably have been one of the two spies sent to Jericho, who having been sheltered by Rahab, had repaid her kindness by marrying her.
It has been observed above that the smallness of the number of the generations hardly suits the long period of years here implied, and on the whole we are disposed to believe that some links of the chain have been dropped, and if so, then doubtless in the period before Boaz. Thus we may suppose that we have here the distinguished names, others of less note being passed over. Unless this is done we are forced to increase largely the average length of a generation, and suppose that most of these generations were children of their fathers’ old age. We know from 1 Kings 6:1 that from the Exodus to the fourth year of Solomon was 480 years. If we deduct from this forty years for the wanderings in the desert, then, seeing that David died at the age of seventy, we have for the period from the entrance into Canaan to the birth of David, 480-40-70-4 = 366 years. But if Rahab bears Boaz to Salmon only a few years after the beginning of this period, we have to cover nearly 366 years with three generations, Boaz, Obed, Jesse, which entails upon us the conclusion that each of the above three begat the specified son at the age of over a hundred, and that Salmon was also well advanced in years at his marriage. This, however, seems hardly credible, and the theory that one or two generations have dropt from the list is, at any rate, reasonable.
Ruth 4:21And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed,
Ruth 4:22And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.