Questioning the identity of Boaz’s nearest relative?
Personal Questions | VBVM Staff | Jan-12-2018
Q: In the book of Ruth, you teach the characters picture important Biblical actors like Christ and the Church. Regarding Boaz's nearest kinsman, could he represent God the Father since he's related to Boaz (i.e., Christ)?
A: The nearest relative in the story of Ruth cannot represent a member of the Godhead, given his failure to redeem the widow. We're told in Ruth 4 that nearest relative could not meet the terms of the Law and he was shamed as a result.
Ruth 4:6 The closest relative 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 4:7 Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning the redemption and the exchange of land to confirm any matter: a man removed his sandal and gave it to another; and this was the manner of attestation in Israel.
Ruth 4:8 So the closest relative said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself.” And he removed his sandal.
These facts preclude us from drawing a connection between Boaz's closest relative and the Father, for the Father is not shamed by Christ's (i.e., Boaz's) redemption of the Church (i.e., Ruth). Instead, we teach indicated that the nearest relative pictures unsaved humanity descended from Adam, which is unable to meet the demands of the Law for its own sake. The relative is unnamed in the story to indicate he stands for something more than a single individual.
You will find the support for this argument provided in our Ruth study.