Ruth 4:2
And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit you down here. And they sat down.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Ruth 4:2. He took ten men — To be witnesses; for though two or three witnesses were sufficient, yet in weightier matters they used more. 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.4:1-8 This matter depended on the laws given by Moses about inheritances, and doubtless the whole was settled in the regular and legal manner. This kinsman, when he heard the conditions of the bargain, refused it. In like manner many are shy of the great redemption; they are not willing to espouse religion; they have heard well of it, and have nothing to say against it; they will give it their good word, but they are willing to part with it, and cannot be bound to it, for fear of marring their own inheritance in this world. The right was resigned to Boaz. Fair and open dealing in all matters of contract and trade, is what all must make conscience of, who would approve themselves true Israelites, without guile. Honesty will be found the best policy.Every city was governed by elders (see Deuteronomy 19:12; Judges 8:14). For the number "ten," compare Exodus 18:25. Probably the presence of, at least, ten elders was necessary to make a lawful public assembly, as among modern Jews ten (a minyon) are necessary to constitute a synagogue. 2. he took ten men of the elders of the city—as witnesses. In ordinary circumstances, two or three were sufficient to attest a bargain; but in cases of importance, such as matrimony, divorce, conveyancing of property, it was the Jewish practice to have ten (1Ki 21:8). He took two men, to be umpires or witnesses between them; for though two or three witnesses were sufficient, yet in weightier matters they used more. 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. See 1 Kings 21:8. And he took ten men of the elders of the city,.... Who were such, not merely in age but in office, who were the heads of thousands, fifties, and tens; ten of whom were a quorum to do business in judiciary affairs, to determine such matters as Boaz had propose, as to whom the right of redemption of a brother and kinsman's widow, and her estate, belonged, and who were the proper witnesses of the refusal of the one to do it, and of the other's doing it and from hence the Jews (e) gather, that the blessing of the bride and bridegroom at their marriage is not to be done by less than ten persons:

and said, sit down here, and they sat down; and so made a full court.

(e) Misnah Megillah, c. 4. sect. 3. T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 7. 1. Midrash Ruth, fol. 35. 1.

And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. the elders] possessed magisterial authority, and could be summoned to deal not only with criminal charges (Deuteronomy 19:12; Deuteronomy 21:2-4, 1 Kings 21:8 ff.), but with cases affecting the rights of a family (Deuteronomy 25:7-9).Verse 2. - And he took ten men of the elderly inhabitants of the city, and he said, Sit ye here; and they sat down. Boaz wished to have a full complement of witnesses to the important transaction which he contemplated. Boaz praised her conduct: "Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter (see Ruth 2:20); thou hast made thy later love better than the earlier, that thou hast not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. " Ruth's earlier or first love was the love she had shown to her deceased husband and her mother-in-law (comp. Ruth 2:11, where Boaz praises this love); the later love she had shown in the fact, that as a young widow she had not sought to win the affections of young men, as young women generally do, that she might have a youthful husband, but had turned trustfully to the older man, that he might find a successor to her deceased husband, through a marriage with him, in accordance with family custom (vid., Ruth 4:10). "And now," added Boaz (Ruth 3:11), "my daughter, fear not; for all that thou sayest I will do to thee: for the whole gate of my people (i.e., all my city, the whole population of Bethlehem, who go in and out at the gate: see Genesis 34:24; Deuteronomy 17:2) knoweth that thou art a virtuous woman." Consequently Boaz saw nothing wrong in the fact that Ruth had come to him, but regarded her request that he would marry her as redeemer as perfectly natural and right, and was ready to carry out her wish as soon as the circumstances would legally allow it. He promised her this (vv. 12, 13), saying, "And now truly I am a redeemer; but there is a nearer redeemer than I. Stay here this night (or as it reads at the end of v. 13, 'lie till the morning'), and in the morning, if he will redeem thee, well, let him redeem; but if it does not please him to redeem thee, I will redeem thee, as truly as Jehovah liveth." אם כּי (Kethibh, v. 12), after a strong assurance, as after the formula used in an oath, "God do so to me," etc., 2 Samuel 3:35; 2 Samuel 15:21 (Kethibh), and 2 Kings 5:20, is to be explained from the use of this particle in the sense of nisi, except that, equals only: "only I am redeemer," equivalent to, assuredly I am redeemer (cf. Ewald, 356, b.). Consequently there is no reason whatever for removing the אם from the text, as the Masorites have done (in the Keri).

(Note: What the ל maju sc., in ליני signifies, is uncertain. According to the smaller Masora, it was only found among the eastern (i.e., Palestinian) Jews. Consequently Hiller (in his Arcanum Keri et Ctibh, p. 163) conjectures that they used it to point out a various reading, viz., that לנּי should be the reading here. But this is hardly correct.)

Ruth was to lie till morning, because she could not easily return to the city in the dark at midnight; but, as is shown in Ruth 3:14, she did not stay till actual daybreak, but "before one could know another, she rose up, and he said (i.e., as Boaz had said), It must not be known that the woman came to the threshing-floor." For this would have injured the reputation not only of Ruth, but also of Boaz himself.

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