He then passes on to Boaz the right to redeem the land. This was done in order to raise up seed unto the name of his prematurely deceased sibling (see Deuteronomy 25:5–6). For no one has the right to do it except you, and I … We made a trade, as it were. The purpose of the ceremony was to give legal status to a transfer of responsibility involving ‘redeeming and exchanging’ (4:7).” Hamlin, Theological Commentary, 57–58. [34] See, for example, Thompson and Thompson, Vetus, 90. This was a testimony — This was admitted for sufficient evidence in all such cases. 4. READ RUTH CHAPTER 4 all. It is through the restored rites of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ that those who believe become Christ’s “bride” and lay hold upon an inheritance in the land which belongs to him. However, those who successfully traverse the mortal experience will certainly return to the Father, then inhabiting this earth as a celestialized orb. Therefore, the distinctions between the ceremony of the shoe in Ruth 4 and that which takes place in the holy endowment are more perceived than real. [25] One text notes, “When someone sells his property . [14] See Mace, Hebrew Marriage, 101, 103. Rather, these were individuals who had incurred debt through the dishonesty and trickery of corrupt merchants. Daniel L. Belnap (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2013), 133–150. [20] For example, they can represent one’s preparation for a task (see Exodus 12:11; Ephesians 6:15; Matthew 10:10; Mark 6:9). his sandal. [53] One might argue that the temple rite during which one removes one’s shoes is different from the rite of removal of shoes depicted in Ruth 4—particularly since during the endowment all ceremonial temple clothing is removed, not just the shoes. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. . Third, in the book of Ruth the unnamed kinsman-redeemer (gō’ēl) is not Ruth’s husband’s brother—as is required by Jewish law. 4 I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. . We studied the first two chapters already. [11] Thus, again, this cannot be an effort to fulfill the custom of levirate marriage. Now this was the manner in Israel, &c. — We do not know that there was any law of God enjoining any such ceremony as is here mentioned; but only it was a long-established custom to act thus in transferring one man’s right in any land to another. . (1-2) Boaz meets the nearer kinsman at the city gates. [27] Farbridge, Symbolism, 274; Leland Ryken, James C. Wilhoit, and Tremper Longman III, eds., Dictionary of Biblical Imagery (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998), s.v. . See also Andersen and Freedman, Amos, 312. Ruth 4:1 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! [41] See James Strahan, “Ruth,” in A Commentary on the Bible, ed. , ed. . First of all, unlike the widowed woman in Exodus chapter 25, Ruth does not spit in the face of the man who refuses to marry her, which many sources indicate is a requisite part of the ceremony of levirate marriage. Born him — Or, hath born to him; that is, to thy kinsman a son. Ruth 1:1 "Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the … And ten was the usual number among the Jews, in causes of matrimony and divorce, and translation of inheritances; who were both judges of the causes, and witnesses of the fact. The salient portion of Ruth reads: “(Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. He wrote: “It appears to have been a custom among the Chinese for an official, on relinquishing his duties, to suspend his shoes in a conspicuous place.” W. C. Hazlitt, Dictionary of Faiths and Folklore: Beliefs, Superstitions and Popular Customs (London: Bracken Books, 1995), s.v. [14] And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. See, for example, C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, “The Twelve Minor Prophets,” in Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1954), 1:315; Robert Martin-Achard and S. Paul Re’emi, International Theological Commentary: Amos and Lamentations—God’s People in Crisis (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1984), 58–59; Andersen and Freedman, Amos, 801–2; Buttrick, Interpreter’s Bible, 840; Clarke, Clarke’s Commentary, 675. . Rachel is placed before Leah, because she was his most lawful, and best-beloved wife. So spoke the premortal Jehovah to the prophet Moses—and so practiced ancient and modern Hindus, Muslims, Hare Krishnas, and various other faith traditions. [28] As one commentator put it, “The meaning of this custom was that the adopter would never go again and put his foot in his former property.” Lacheman, Biblical Literature, 53. In the temple, when entering into that covenant with God, we physically remove our shoes as a symbolic statement that such was done of our own free will and choice, and with the knowledge and belief that God will fulfill his portion of that covenant by preparing for us a “promised land,” even the celestial kingdom. It suggests to the participant that inheritance (or land) is the focus—and in a temple context those lands are the premortal existence, Eden, and the yet-future celestial kingdom. Ruth 4 Ruth 4:4 Then he said to the closest relative, "Naomi, who has come back from the land of Moab, has to sell the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. Thomas Thompson and Dorothy Thompson, “Some Legal Problems in the Book of Ruth,” Vetus Testamentum 18 (1968): 92, make a similar claim. This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel.” Leslie F. Church, ed., The NIV Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992), O.T. A “kinsman-redeemer” purchases a relative from slavery (actual or potential); a “kinsman-avenger” provides justice on behalf of a relative. , a gesture that everyone understood and considered binding if witnessed by the elders.” “Great People of the Bible and How they Lived,” Readers Digest (Pleasantville, NY: Readers Digest, 1974), 133, cited in Old Testament: Genesis–2 Samuel (Religion 301) Student Manual, 2nd ed. as the lord of the harvest, the near kinsman, the supplier of wants, the redeemer of the inheritance, the man who gives rest, the wealthy kinsman, and the bridegroom.” Ada R. Habershon, Study of the Types (Grand Rapids, MI: Dregel, 1974), 134. [2] And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. Thus, like Adam and Eve—or Ruth’s unnamed kinsman-redeemer—we once willingly covenanted to relinquish our right to remain in the premortal existence because we knew something better awaited us, namely, the celestial kingdom. Second, in the story of Ruth and Boaz it is not the woman who removes the man’s shoe. There, Naomi returned to Bethlehem accompanied by Ruth, refusing to be called “Naomi” (Pleasant), but insisting on being called “Mara” (Bitter) instead. . Ruth goes to Boaz on the threshing floor and says in effect, "I want you to spread your wing over me as my husband." . Brigham Young University Thus, the rites depicted in Deuteronomy 25 and Ruth 4 appear to be different—one having to do with the loss of a family member and the other to do with something that is potentially different altogether. Commentary on Ruth 1:1—4:22 View Bible Text A story of human love reflecting and enacting divine love, the book of Ruth is a rich text for a sermon series, particularly in August days when farm fields flourish with the promise of an abundant harvest. In this chapter we have the wedding between Boaz and Ruth, in the circumstances of which there was something uncommon, which is kept upon record for the illustration, not only of the law concerning the marrying of a brother’s widow ( Deu. My right — Which I freely resign to thee. [15] See Mace, Hebrew Marriage, 99; Campbell, Ruth, 160–61. This could then be regarded as a public declaration that he was withdrawing from the property and handing it over to another person. This is, in part, no doubt due to the social function of clothing, meaning that we often use clothing as a form of communication in which we inform others as to how we define ourselves and our relationship to the greater community. In this paper we will examine the “ceremony of the shoe” as it appears in Ruth 4, with its common interpretations, likely implications, and significant relations to Latter-day Saint temple practices. The ceremony of the shoe highlights that desire and our commitment to connect ourselves to the Bridegroom, that redemption might take place and an inheritance might be received. It was necessary for men who were not in thesame family to witness the arrangements. 1. We read: “Then shall his brother’s wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother’s house. [46] Cyril of Jerusalem, “Catechetical Lectures,” in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers—Second Series, ed. Transfer of right or ownership of property was solemnized not by a handshake nor by a written contract as it is today but by each party’s removing his sandal and giving it to the other. . ), but as shoes, on account of the material from which they were made, could not be washed, they were removed as an act of consecration.” [49] Thus, when you and I participate in the ordinances of the temple, we technically divest ourselves of the world via approaching the temple physically clean and also via removal of not only our street clothing but also our shoes. . However, when employed in Biblical ritual, shoes have an almost exclusively symbolic purpose. Better than seven sons — See how God sometimes makes up the want of those relations from whom we expected most comfort, in those from whom we expected least! Boaz, however, counters that the Moabite Ruth is part of Elimelech’s property. The book of Ruth tells how Naomi moves from emptiness at the beginning of the story to fullness at the end of the story, from poverty and sorrow to security and joy. [10] See Deuteronomy 25:7–10; Roth, Encyclopaedia, 122, 126, 130; David Bridger, ed., The New Jewish Encyclopedia (New York: Behrman House, 1962), s.v. To raise, … — To revive his name, which was buried with his body, by raising up a seed to him, to be called by his name. . However, the connotation or implications in temple worship is that we are surrendering more than just property (that is, the premortal abode), but also our personal wills. Elsewhere we read of a connection between the ceremony of the shoe and the removal of one’s footwear when entering sacred ground; anciently, “washing was a symbol of consecration, and it was necessary for the worshiper to wash his garments previous to his taking part in any special sacred function (Lev. W. C. Hazlitt noted that the Semites were not the only ones to use the “ritual of the shoe” as a symbol for divestment rites. Thus one commentator states that the book of “Ruth has preserved the older meaning of the shoe ceremony—a renunciation of a right.” [43]. Ruth chapter 1 KJV (King James Version) 1 Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. Or, because as his inheritance would be but very little increased by this marriage, so it might be much diminished by being divided amongst his many children, which he possibly had already, and might probably have more by Ruth. . And they sat down. " Grant Building . He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. ed. [41] Anciently, the foot symbolized power or possession (see Psalm 8:6; Psalm 36:11; Joshua 10:24) as well as territorial claims (see Deuteronomy 1:36; 11:24; Joshua 1:3; 14:9). These two are singled out, because they were of a foreign original, and yet ingrafted into God's people, as Ruth was; and because of that fertility which God vouchsafed unto them above their predecessors, Sarah and Rebecca. [5] See, for example, Arthur E. Cundall and Leon Morris, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries: Judges and Ruth (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1968), 306–7; Edward F. Campbell Jr., Ruth: A New Translation with Introduction, Notes, and Commentary, Anchor Bible 7 (New York: Doubleday, 1975), 161; Clarke, Clarke’s Commentary, 2:201; Kalmin, “Levirate Law,” 4:296. And ten was the usual number among the Jews, in causes of matrimony and divorce, and translation of inheritances; who were both judges of the causes, and witnesses of the fact. (Gen. Did build — That is, increase the posterity. [28] The removal of the sandal, slipper, or shoe at the end of the rite signified that the transaction was completed and that the ritual was legally binding. . So he drew off his shoe” (Ruth 4:7–8). Ten men— To be witnesses: for though two or three witnesses were sufficient, yet in weightier matters they used more. Yābām can mean either “husband’s brother,” or to perform the duty of such to “a brother’s widow.” [12] However, the book of Ruth does not use yābām but rather the term gā’ēl, which indicates a redeemer (particularly of consecrated things or people) or an avenger and signifies that these roles are performed based on the authority of kinship. Although the common assumption that the rite depicted in Ruth 4 is traditionally seen as an example of levirate marriage, it appears likely that it is instead a prime example of the ceremony of the shoe. For example, in Amos 8:6 we read: “That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes.” See also Amos 2:6. [11] And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. [29] One commentary described the meaning of the rite as follows: “A person’s garments are, so to speak, part of himself, and . In the end, however, there are a number of reasons why Ruth chapter 4 is likely not intended to be a representation of a traditional levirate marriage ritual. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1963), 80; A. R. S. Kennedy and A. G. MacLeod, “Kin (Next of), Kinsman, Avenger of Blood, Go’el,” in Dictionary of the Bible, 550–51. . The man was glad to buy the land, so that it would still belongto Elimelech’s relatives. Since Obed is described as being Boaz’s son, the rite performed in Ruth 4 cannot be an example of levirate marriage. . xxiii.) The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. . Indeed, as one commentator noted, “they are in open conflict” with each other. [47] J. C. Cooper, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols (London: Thames and Hudson, 1995), 152. So Boaz said, “Come aside, friend, sit down here.” So he came aside and sat down. See also Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1987), 6:193n65; Josephus, “Antiquities of the Jews,” 121; Mace, Hebrew Marriage, 97, 110; Baker, Women’s Rights, 147; E. John Hamlin, Surely There Is a Future: A Commentary on the Book of Ruth, International Theological Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1996), 59. But if you will not, tell me, so I will know. See also Hamlin, Theological Commentary, 57; Buttrick, Interpreter’s Bible, 849. [1] As with many Hebrew laws, levirate marriage had accompanying rituals requisite for its formal and legal enactment. (9-12) Birth of Obed. Of course, Christ received his inheritance of the land just as each of us does—through obedience to the Father. [56] Walter L. Wilson, A Dictionary of Bible Types (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1999), 48. Daniel L. Belnap (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2013), 133–150. [52] The quote continues: “The medial consonants are both pharyngeal fricatives, one voiced and the other unvoiced.” John Tvedtnes, cited in Baker, Women’s Rights, 157n26. [20] E. A. Speiser, “Of Shoes and Shekels,” in Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 77 (1940), 15; Frank E. Eakin Jr., The Religion and Culture of Israel: An Introduction to Old Testament Thought (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1971), 238. [50] For example, when Adam and Eve willingly partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they divested themselves of Eden (with its ease and luxury) in hopes of gaining the celestial kingdom. . Elsewhere we read: “A man renouncing property rites removed a sandal . So if Ruth 4:7–8 is not an example of levirate marriage, what is it? Similarly, in the holy temple, patrons symbolically divest themselves of their inheritance in the premortal existence (i.e., the “first estate”) so that they can live in the “lone and dreary world” (the “second estate”)—all in the hopes of gaining the celestial kingdom. See also Baker, Women’s Rights, 148, who sees this problem in the text but seems dismissive of it (as he is a proponent of the theory that the book of Ruth is a case of levirate marriage). [36] According to Jewish legend, the unnamed kinsman-redeemer was Boaz’s older brother, Tob. And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed” (Deuteronomy 25:9–10). Matthew Henry Bible Commentary (complete), Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary (concise), California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. All things — That is, in all alienation of lands. [58] Their covenant depicted by the removal of the shoe appears primarily focused on the surrender of temporal things, or property. [55] We each seek a place in the celestial kingdom of our God. See also Hamlin, Theological Commentary, 58, 59. [57] Harold Bayley, The Lost Language of Symbolism: An Inquiry into the Origin of Certain Letters, Words, Names, Fairy-Tales, Folklore, and Mythologies (New York: Carol Publishing, 1990–93), 1:227. I express gratitude to Dr. RoseAnn Benson for bringing this source to my attention. [19] Whereas exegesis is the practice of drawing out of a text the original author’s intended meaning, eisegesis is reading into a text with preconceived notions held by the reader. Which hath not, … — The words may be rendered, Which hath not made, or suffered thy kinsman to fail thee; that is, to refuse the performances of his duty to thee and thine, as the other kinsman did. he loses permanently or temporarily his legal right to it . [48] John A. Tvedtnes, “Priestly Clothing in Bible Times,” in Temple of the Ancient World, ed. As an aid to the memory, therefore, there arose the custom of drawing off the shoes in transferring a possession or domain. [12] And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give thee of this young woman. We took a calculated risk. Photos illustrating the Book of Ruth, chapter 4. . And she said to her, 'All that you say I will do.' Ruth 4:7. [23] Speiser, “Shoes,” 18. Chapter 4. [3] Adam Clarke, Clarke’s Commentary on the Holy Bible (New York: Methodist Book Concern, 1930), 2:201. rev. 801-422-6975, Alonzo L. Gaskill, “The 'Ceremony of the Shoe': A Ritual of God's Ancient Covenant People,” in. [26] Ernest R. Lacheman, Journal of Biblical Literature 56 (1937), 53, 56. Ruth 3 Commentary: When we open to the 3 rd chapter of the book of Ruth we’re coming into the middle of several story lines in the Bible. Simply put, lay Latter-day Saints more often than not gravitate toward this meaning when they contemplate the removal of shoes. They met at the city’s gate. xvi, etc. Thus, the rite of clothing and that of the removal of shoes are separate, even though they are once placed side by side in the temple. This too is contrary to the law surrounding levirate marriage and contrary to what happens in the Deuteronomic passage in question. First of all, removing shoes as part of the covenant-making process in ancient Semitic societies signaled the participants’ willingness to divest themselves of some possession—often property which they formerly had a right to. [15]. Ruth 4:2 "And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. However, the removal of one’s shoes as a ritual act or gesture is not always about sacred soil. It is a legally binding acknowledgment that what was once yours is no longer such, of your own free will and choice. David Noel Freedman (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 4:296. You’ve seen her through the catastrophic loss of both husband and sons, and you’ve walked with her back to Bethlehem in the company of Ruth, her Moabite daughter-in-law, who clung to her and would not leave her. [24] Records from Nuzi, an ancient Mesopotamian city, attest to a ceremony of property transfer or land ownership wherein the person selling (or transferring property) must remove his shoes as evidence that the transfer had indeed taken place. The Hebrews referred to this ritual by the name of halitzah (“to draw off”). 4 Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate(A)and sat down there just as the guardian-redeemer[a](B)he had mentioned(C)came along. In chapter 3 Naomi and Ruth make a risky move in the middle of the night. Since our Ruth study is only 8 lessons long (counting today’s) I think if you want to go over it again it’s not too long of a task. [17] And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David. [22] Thus, we see footwear as more than a convenience and more than an accessory. However, in Ruth 4 it is only the shoes which are taken off. A name — That is, they gave her advice about his name; for otherwise they had no power or right to do so. Therewere 10 witnesses. Finally, one text notes: “In biblical law the levir [or brother-in-law] does not require a formal marriage (kiddushin) to the yevamah [or sister-in-law] since the personal status tie, the zikkah between them, arises automatically upon the death of the husband of the yevamah.” [16] Elsewhere we read: “If a man died childless, his widow was not free to remarry but was considered to be already betrothed to his brother.” [17] Thus, whereas levirate marriage did not require—nor allow—a marriage contract to be initiated (as the couple were considered already married), in the book of Ruth a formal marriage is expected and, in the end, performed. Rather, the unnamed male kinsman-redeemer (gō’ēl) is depicted as removing his own shoe. [1] See David R. Mace, Hebrew Marriage: A Sociological Study (New York: Philosophical Library, 1953), 95, 113. Cancel {{#items}} {{/items}} Ruth 4. Ruth: May the Redeemer's Name Be Renowned. [13] Of course both concepts are in the image of God as Redeemer—but the implications and linguistic connotations are entirely different. Uncover his feet, and lie down: At the appropriate time, Naomi instructs Ruth to go in, uncover his feet, and lie down. Andthey decided what was fair there. As noted above, a prime message in the removal of shoes during ritual is that one is divesting oneself of ownership or property. In what sense are they divesting themselves of something when they perform such an act? Ruth 3:4-5 'And it shall be when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies, and you shall go and uncover his feet and lie down; then he will tell you what you shall do.' Ephratah and Bethlehem — Two names of one and the same place. . Another common act made extraordinary by the ritual experience is the act of clothing, or investiture. Ruth. In modern as well as ancient cultures, shoes have served not only a practical function but also an aesthetic one. Her neighbours gave it a name — That is, gave her advice about his name; for it did not belong to them, but to the father or mother, to name the child. [2] Flavius Josephus, “Antiquities of the Jews,” in The Complete Works of Josephus, trans. Just as the land and the bride are connected in the story, so also do the promised land (or celestial kingdom) and membership in the Church (which is the “bride of Christ”—see, for example, Ephesians 5:22–33) go together. Gave birth to a son May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be famous Israel... Relative to the son whom one will raise up seed unto the name of halitzah ( “ to draw ”. ( Ruth 4:7–8 is not the woman who removes the man was glad to land—and... Dr. RoseAnn Benson for bringing this source to my attention kinsman at the gate! No preliminaries were necessary in summoning one before the public assemblage ; no … 4... 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