Ruth 4:10 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ruth 4:10, NIV: I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, Mahlon's widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. Today you are witnesses!'

Ruth 4:10, ESV: Also Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day.”

Ruth 4:10, KJV: Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.

Ruth 4:10, NASB: Furthermore, I have acquired Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, to be my wife in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance, so that the name of the deceased will not be eliminated from his brothers or from the court of his birth place; you are witnesses today.'

Ruth 4:10, NLT: And with the land I have acquired Ruth, the Moabite widow of Mahlon, to be my wife. This way she can have a son to carry on the family name of her dead husband and to inherit the family property here in his hometown. You are all witnesses today.'

Ruth 4:10, CSB: I have also acquired Ruth the Moabitess, Mahlon's widow, as my wife, to perpetuate the deceased man's name on his property, so that his name will not disappear among his relatives or from the gate of his hometown. You are witnesses today."

What does Ruth 4:10 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

After legally purchasing Naomi's husband's land and taking responsibility for Naomi (Ruth 4:9), Boaz goes a step further. To buy the land was his responsibility as a kinsman-redeemer (Leviticus 25:25–28, 47–49). To marry Ruth as Naomi's surrogate to provide an heir who will re-inherit the land is not his responsibility. He is not Elimelech's brother (Deuteronomy 25:5–6).

Land and a continuous family line were two of the most important parts of Israelite culture. Much of the book of Joshua is a record of dividing the land of Canaan among the tribes, clans, and families of the Israelites. One of the most severe consequences for a family that rebelled against God was to have their name erased (Deuteronomy 29:20). For the nation, judgment included famine, pestilence, or defeat in war—curses on the land (Deuteronomy 28:20–44). God punished the Israelites when they sinned, but He also restored them when they repented (Leviticus 26:40–45). Elimelech and his sons didn't get to enjoy their land; they died in Moab. But because of the "repentance" of Ruth—that she "turned away" from her land and her gods and toward Israel and Yahweh (Ruth 1:16–17)—their land and their family name will be restored.

The story of Ruth is about lovingkindness and loyalty. Ruth showed both when she forsook her people and religion, accompanied Naomi to Bethlehem, and did everything in her power to win her a life, a home, and an heir. Ruth was responding to the lovingkindness and loyalty Naomi had shown her during their lives together in Moab. Boaz responded to the mutual display by using his power as male landowner of honor to fulfill Ruth's plan.

Behind it all, however, is God's lovingkindness and loyalty. When Naomi arrived in Bethlehem, she thought God had abandoned her and forsaken His promise to care for her as an Israelite (Ruth 1:19–21). She sees now that God was working all along to restore to her what she had lost.