And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar my own inheritance: redeem you my right to yourself; for I cannot redeem it.
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Aquinas Study Bible
He probably had children from another woman; since if he took Ruth as his wife he would have to look after the education of the children born from her and make provision for them, and consequently he would be less able to make provision for the children which he had from the other woman. (Nicholas of Lyra Com Ruth)
When Ruth entered the land of Israel with her mother-in-law, it was provided (on account of the merits of her prayers) that she be married to a man of the lineage of Abraham and whom, indeed, she at first believed to be her closest kinsman. He [the nearest kinsman] said that he could not marry her and, when he had withdrawn, Boaz was married to her, with the witness of ten elders. He [Boaz] who previously confessed himself unable to marry that same woman was united with her and was blessed by those ten elders.
It is thought that this passage prefigures John the Baptist who, when he himself was thought by the people of Israel to be Christ and was asked who he was, did not deny who he was but confessed it, saying that he was not Christ. And those who were sent persisted in these inquiries about who he was. He answered, “I am the voice crying in the desert.” He confessed the good news about the Lord, saying, “He who has the bride is the bridegroom.” He showed that he himself was the frien...