Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the LORD will give you by this young woman.” (Ruth 4:11-12 ESV)
What Elimelech, Mahlon and Chilion could not do (because they were dead!), God did. The people invoked His blessing on Ruth and Boaz. “Make Ruth like Rachel and Leah!” they declared. Rachel and Leah were the matriarchs of the Israelite people. This was quite a blessing to pronounce over a foreigner named Moabite. The blessing was qualified by the designation that Rachel and Leah “together built up the house of Israel.”
Then the people turn their attention to Boaz. Remember this is Boaz who had practiced unrequited faithfulness. He did something knowing he would get nothing in return. The elders of the town speak: May you act worthily…and be renowned. Boaz, may you make a name for yourself. Here’s what is interesting: we never know the name of the other kinsman-redeemer, the one who was more closely related to Naomi. He goes through history unnamed–Boaz’s name went down in the annals of history and is known today in Christian circles all around the world. God reward unrequited faithfulness.
The elders made it clear that God was about to give Boaz a gift: his name would be Obed, a baby boy who would come screaming into the world of Boaz and Ruth. Obed would grow up and have a son named Jesse who would himself have a ruddy teenager called David whom God would choose to be king of Israel!
God rewards unrequited faithfulness.