Ruth 4:1 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ruth 4:1, NIV: Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat down there just as the guardian-redeemer he had mentioned came along. Boaz said, 'Come over here, my friend, and sit down.' So he went over and sat down.

Ruth 4:1, ESV: Now Boaz had gone up to the gate and sat down there. And behold, the redeemer, of whom Boaz had spoken, came by. So Boaz said, “Turn aside, friend; sit down here.” And he turned aside and sat down.

Ruth 4:1, KJV: Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down.

Ruth 4:1, NASB: Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there, and behold, the redeemer of whom Boaz spoke was passing by, so he said, 'Come over here, friend, sit down here.' And he came over and sat down.

Ruth 4:1, NLT: Boaz went to the town gate and took a seat there. Just then the family redeemer he had mentioned came by, so Boaz called out to him, 'Come over here and sit down, friend. I want to talk to you.' So they sat down together.

Ruth 4:1, CSB: Boaz went to the gate of the town and sat down there. Soon the family redeemer Boaz had spoken about came by. Boaz said, "Come over here and sit down." So he went over and sat down.

What does Ruth 4:1 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Naomi wants Ruth to find a good husband who can provide her "rest:" a secure life (Ruth 1:9). If Ruth had the same priority, she could have chosen any number of younger men and married either for wealth or for love. Ruth would rather use her marriage to bless Naomi. If she can marry a kinsman-redeemer of Naomi's husband, he will be more likely to buy Naomi's land and use the money to support her. Ruth goes even further; levirate marriages, in which a man marries his late brother's wife to give the deceased man an heir, apply only to brothers. Ruth hopes to combine a levirate marriage with a kinsman-redeemer.

For that goal, Ruth has proposed to Boaz (Ruth 3), a relative who has shown the women great kindness since they arrived in Bethlehem (Ruth 2). He has agreed but mentions that he is not Naomi's husband's closest relative. There is another. Naomi must have known this, as Bethlehem isn't that big. So, why didn't she send Ruth to that other man? Likely because she wasn't thinking about a levirate marriage. She was thinking how kind Boaz has been and what a good husband he would be for Ruth.

When Ruth returned home and told Naomi what had transpired at the threshing floor, Naomi told her Boaz would act quickly (Ruth 3:16–18). Naomi is right. It is only a few hours later when Boaz goes to the city gates. The gates are important for two reasons. First, it's where business and legal transactions take place. Second, Boaz probably assumes the next of kin will come through on his way to the community threshing floor.

When the unnamed man passes by, Boaz invites him to talk. Boaz respects Ruth and wants to marry her (Ruth 3:10–13). But even if the other man agrees to buy Naomi's land, marry Ruth, and provide Naomi with an heir, Boaz will have accomplished his own mission: to watch God reward Ruth for her sacrifice (Ruth 2:12).