On to Ruth 4:1-6
v1: Friend: When a name is withheld in Scripture it is often to show shame (Eg Lazarus and the rich man- whose name is blotted out. Luke 16:19-31)
v2: Ten men: By gathering these men Boaz formed a court. He had things decided in a proper way. Ten men is known as a minyon (a quorum) – it is the minimal number of men needed in order to render a decision. There is also a minyon in regard to praying. In Judaism, for prayers to be pleasing or acceptable, you need this minyon of 10 men. (an example of this is also seen in the account of Sodom and Gomorrah – they did not have a minyon therefore they were not spared – Gen 18:32)
v3: Selling an inheritance was normally not done. It was only done in one circumstance – unless it was out of disobedience – and that was desperate necessity. (Naboth, in 1 Kings 21:3, said, ‘G-d forbid that I sell my inheritance,’ when Ahab wanted to buy it from him)
v4: Boaz wanted everyone to know that this was being done according to the law of G-d. Naomi’s family were in desperate times, and Boaz wanted the land to be kept within the clan (not bought by another tribe or foreigners). This did have implications to it though. Only Mr Anonymous and Boaz were able to keep this land within the family.
It was a very rare occurrence for land to be sold. Normally, if it was sold, it only remained so until the year of Jubilee, and then it went back to the family.
This land of Naomi’s had an added benefit though – there was no heir. Because of this Boaz or Mr Anonymous could have added it to their own inheritance and not have to worry about losing it in the Jubilee year.
v5–6: This man wanted the land, but when he heard that part of the deal was to marry Ruth, with the specific purpose and obligation to raise up an heir, he was unwilling to go through with it. Normally the price of the land would be calculated based upon how many years were left until the year of Jubilee. The full price wouldn’t be paid, because the purchaser could not keep the land. For this transaction, though, full price would have to be paid, an heir would be raised up and in the year of Jubilee the entire estate would go to this heir. For Boaz, or this man, it is a horrible business venture. Dollars and cents vs obedience.
For this man obedience cost too much. This deal did not make sense in the flesh. But Boaz didn’t make decisions based on the flesh. Boaz made decisions based on the fact that G-d had commanded him to do so. If G-d has commanded you to do something He will provide everything you need to get it done. Obedience to G-d never has an adverse long-term effect on a person. On the contrary it has a blessed effect for eternity.