The Story Of Ruth Part 8:  The City Gate

Ruth 4:1-4

1 Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there; and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz had spoken came by. So Boaz said, “Come aside, friend, sit down here.” So he came aside and sat down. And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down. Then he said to the close relative, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. And I thought to inform you, saying, ‘Buy it back in the presence of the inhabitants and the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it,and I am next after you.’”
And he said, “I will redeem it.

That morning, after Ruth had departed for home after making her request at the threshing floor, Boaz kept his word and went to the city gate to make his case.  City gates in those days were kinda like the town hall where business was transacted and judgments took place.

Biblical Personification.

In attendance at the gate, notice there were TEN ELDERS present to witness the business transaction of the two men.  “Ten” is a typology of the Law in Biblical numerics.  This unnamed man, the nearer Kinsman, is a personification of the Ten Commandments whom we shall call, “Mr. Law.”  Where do we get permission to personify the Law?  From the Apostle Paul himself in Romans 7, verse 4:

“Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.”


You see?  All of us were, in effect, married to Mr. Law before we came to Christ.  How does one legally become unmarried to another according to the Law of Moses?  By dying.  Our wedding vows to this day echo that fact by saying, “Till death do us part.”

Here’s the problem:  If you die, how can you be married to another?  You can’t.  But Jesus, by dying at the cross, died our death for us and is credited to us.  This effectively breaks that which bound us to our former husband, “Mr. Law.”  He no longer has any claims on us.  He can make no demands of us either because we no longer belong to him:  WE BELONG TO JESUS. HALLELUJAH!!!

Exchange At The City Gates.
Boaz spoke to this this nearer kinsman and offered him the opportunity to purchase the property that had formerly belonged to Elimelek.  At first the man said, “Yes,” he would redeem the land.  Then, he found out that he would have to marry Ruth, the Moabitess, and produce and heir for her dead husband.
I can just picture the color draining out of his face.  Marry a foreigner from Moab and ruin his inheritance?  No way!!! In light of this startling information, he immediately relinquished his claim.  This gave Boaz permission to redeem it for himself and obtain Ruth as his wife, which no doubt pleased him greatly.  Though he may have appeared cool on the outside, inside I’m sure his heart jumped for joy!
You see, he had fallen head over heels in love with Ruth from the moment he saw her. He was genuinely thrilled that he would now be able to legally have her for his wife.  How like our dear Jesus who loved us long before we knew Him!  While we were still dead in our trespasses and sins, though we were strangers and far from Him, He died on the cross for us.  What a Savior!!!
God SO LOVED the world!   It would have been enough if God had said that He “LOVED” the world, meaning those outside of Christ.  But it’s that little word, “SO,” that reveals an intensity that we may never fully come to understand, even in eternity.
Sealing The Deal.
The two men legally sealed the deal by doing something that might seem very strange.  “Mr. Law” took off his sandal and handed it over to Boaz.  A man’s sandal in those days, you see, was a sign of ownership.  It indicated that he had the right to “Walk” on any property he owned.  This act accorded Boaz full and rightful claim to all the property that had formerly belonged to Elimelek and marry Ruth.

In the same way, Jesus redeemed us from certain death and we became His bride!  Now, as in the story of the Prodigal son where the unnamed servant (there he is again!) was instructed to put shoes on his feet, He puts shoes on our feet, a sign that we are sons/daughters, heirs to all the property belonging to our Father.  Because we are made holy by Jesus, we have the right to walk on holy ground WITH OUR SHOES ON!
Reminiscent Of Samson.
Just like the story of Samson who ripped up the gates of Hebron by the might of the Spirit of God, so Jesus championed us at the gates.  For additional information on the meaning of the city gates, you may follow the link below:
The City Gate is a picture of what happened at the cross.  Jesus went to that place of judgment.  And because He is now in possession of the “Shoe,” the devil can no longer walk all over us!  We belong to Him now.  We have been rescued from the camp of the devil into the camp of our Lord and Savior, Jesus!

You may follow the link below to Part 10 and see that Boaz at last gets Ruth as his wife!

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