“Then Boaz said, ‘The day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the widow of the dead, in order to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance’” (Ruth 4:5).
“Then Boaz said, ‘The day you buy [קָנָה] the field from the hand of Naomi, you also acquire [קָנָה] Ruth the Moabite, the widow of the dead, in order to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance’” (Ruth 4:5, ESV). The use of the verb קָנָה in the Book of Ruth is unique to the rest of the OT. Whereas the OT use of קָנָה generally indicates a master-slave acquisitional relationship when used in a human to human interaction, the context of marriage appears only in Ruth. Because the Book of Ruth exemplifies a theology of justification through faith in that a Gentile is grafted into the family of God and ordained to play a role within the fulfillment of the messianic promise, the use of קָנָה in the context of marriage bodes further study.
Strong’s Concordance notes the occurrence of קָנָה once in Ruth 4:4 and twice in Ruth 4:5 to indicate an acquisition, though the text reveals that redemption is actually what is in view.
“So I thought I would tell you of it and say, ‘Buy [קָנָה] it in the presence of those sitting here and in the presence of the elders of my people.’ If you will redeem it, redeem it. But if you will not, tell me, that I may know, for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I come after you.” And he said, “I will redeem it.” Then Boaz said, “The day you buy [קָנָה] the field from the hand of Naomi, you also acquire [קָנָה] Ruth the Moabite, the widow of the dead, in order to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance” (Ruth 4:4,5).
Though the terms “redeem” and “acquire” are common in the OT, apart from Ruth their use together is found in only Exodus 15:13-16 and Psalms 74:2, which suggests that these occurrences are used exclusively to convey a redemptive action undertaken by Yahweh on behalf of the children of Israel. The unnamed redeemer’s response in Ruth that he might endanger his own inheritance should he act as the kinsman redeemer, indicates that the use of קָנָה here does not signify Ruth as property to be bought but regarded within the perspective of redemption. What is more, Ruth’s transformation from foreigner to resident is further solidified by virtue of her access to the social regulation of the kinsman redeemer, which would have been unavailable otherwise. Concerning Ruth’s securing marriage with Boaz in chapter 3, “even as Naomi acted in an assertive manner by ordering her daughter-in-law to the threshing floor and pressing for a controversially exogamous but nonetheless lawful marriage.” Therefore, despite the Deuteronomic prohibition against marriage with a Moabite “not even in the tenth generation,” Ruth’s vow to Naomi, and ultimately to God, shows that she is no longer seen as a Moabite, and Boaz’s pledge to Ruth establishes the redemptive context of קָנָה.
 Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced are in the English Standard Version.
 Tamara Eskenazi and Tikva Frymer-Kensky, Ruth, JPS Bible Commentary (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2011), 77.
 Benjamin Mangrum, “Bringing ‘fullness’ to Naomi: centripetal nationalism in the book of Ruth,” Horizons in Biblical Theology 33, no 1 (2011): 80.
 Brad Embry, “’Redemption-acquistion’: the marriage of Ruth as a theological commentary on Yahweh and Yahweh’s people,” Journal of Theological Interpretation 7, no 2 (Fall 2013): 258-59.
 Ibid., 260.
 Mangrum, “Bringing ‘fullness’ to Naomi,” 74.
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