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Ruth 4:15

ESV He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.”
NIV He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.'
NASB May he also be to you one who restores life and sustains your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.'
CSB He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. Indeed, your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him."
NLT May he restore your youth and care for you in your old age. For he is the son of your daughter-in-law who loves you and has been better to you than seven sons!'
KJV And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.

What does Ruth 4:15 mean?

In Ruth 1, Naomi faced famine, the loss of all the men who would have provided for and protected her, and debilitating depression. With Obed, all her losses are refilled. Bible scholars compare Naomi's story to that of Job. At the beginning, they have lost everything. Job is left with a traumatized wife and three less-than-useful friends. Naomi has a foreign daughter-in-law.

By their story's end, both have been restored. God doubled Job's possessions and gave him seven sons and three honored daughters (Job 42:10–15). Naomi's restoration is more modest—a home, a family, and an heir for her husband, who will care for her needs—but it is more than she ever thought she would receive. She lost two sons, but her daughter-in-law is worth far more.

As misogynistic as the culture of Israel and the Ancient Near East was, those who reflect God's heart show a different view of women. Boaz calls Ruth "worthy" (Ruth 3:11), placing her on the same level as himself (Ruth 2:1). Job's daughters are named and given an inheritance along with their brothers (Job 42:14–15). When Hannah struggles with infertility, her loving husband asks her, "Am I not more to you than ten sons?" (1 Samuel 1:8). Even in the Old Testament, those who more closely followed God's law more equally treated all people.

If Naomi's son, Ruth's husband, had lived, he would have moved back to his hometown, inherited his father's estate, had children with his wife, and taken care of his mother. Ruth did far more. She abandoned her home, rejected her gods, and moved permanently to a foreign land where the God she claimed as her own had set a law that the Israelites were not to seek her people's welfare (Ruth 1:16–17; Deuteronomy 23:3–6). She humbly asked an older landowner if she could pick up the scraps of grain left by his harvesters, exposing herself to abuse (Ruth 2:6–7). She then crept to this landowner in the dark of night, risking assault and charges of prostitution, to boldly challenge him to marry her and give her mother-in-law an heir, sacrificing her chance to grow old with her husband (Ruth 3:6–13). The women are right to compare her to seven sons: the perfection of blessing.

Like Tamar before her (Genesis 38) and Esther after (Esther 7:1–6), Ruth is a beautiful example of a woman working within her dangerous culture to fulfill God's plan for herself and others who are unaware that God is even working.
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