READ : Ruth 4:7-8
He drew off his sandal. (v. 8)
There is a curious thing in these verses besides the obvious one, the custom of handing
over a sandal to complete a transaction.
That was what happened “in earlier times.” Which times? In the times of the Judges,
when Ruth lived— say, 1200 years before Christ. Naturally customs were different then
from what they are today.
But that is not quite what the writer of our story is saying. He himself lived a very
long while ago, hundreds of years before Christ. When he writes “Things were different in
the time of Ruth,” it isn’t we modern readers, but those who read his book when it first
came out, who are being told about a strange way of life. We may think their world is
pretty ancient, but Ruth’s is more ancient still. They are having explained to them a
custom which has quite gone out of use between her time and theirs.
So the writer has slipped into his book a reminder of a very important truth. “Times
change,” he says to his readers, “and things like this giving of a sandal go out of
fashion.” Likewise, between the writer’s day and our own, much more has changed. But the
story is still worth telling because of what it tells us about God. That never changes.
Lord, bring to life for us the changeless truths of Scripture. Amen.