April 02, 2008

Breadcrumb: It's all in the details

When Boaz meets Naomi's other near-kinsman (Ruth 4), he's sneakier than we might expect. He starts by asking the kinsman if he wants to redeem Elimelech's (Naomi's husband's) land. Seeing a chance for an easy profit, the kinsman agrees. Then Boaz throws in the unexpected curveball: if you redeem the land, you'll also be marrying Ruth, Naomi's Moabite daughter-in-law. The kinsman realizes that his inheritance will no longer be his own, but Elimelech's, and balks. He tells Boaz to redeem the land -- and the girl -- instead, and seals the oath in front of the town elders. So, in the end, everyone is happy: Boaz gets to marry Ruth; Ruth gets to marry Boaz; and the kinsman keeps his inheritance and does not become the ancestor of Jesus.

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