Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of the deceased, in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance.”
The kinsman said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, because I would jeopardize my own inheritance. Redeem it for yourself; you may have my right of redemption, for I cannot redeem it.”
— Ruth 4:5-6
Up until this time, the closest relative must have felt very fortunate that Boaz was bringing all this up. It seemed very much to his benefit. But when Boaz brings up the idea of marrying Ruth, this closer relative declines. If the closest kinsman were to have a son by Ruth, it would be required that such a son would belong to Mahlon, the son of Elimelech, and not to himself. That child would be raised up in Elimelech and Mahlon’s name and would return to the recovered portion of the land that had belonged to Elimelech. The closest kinsman felt that such a thing would ruin his own inheritance (Ruth 4:6). In other words, he only cared for what he could gain from his association with Ruth. He did not care for her, even though he was closely related to her.
Adapted from Ruth: Growth Unto Maturity, page 84.
Tomorrow: “Religion Only Uses Us”