Lynn Maudlin's House of Bread

At the City Gate
by Lynn Maudlin, © Moonbird Music Co. 2004
All rights reserved

I go up to the city gate
And sit among the elders of my people
I wait for my kinsman to appear
I have a minyan to witness the outcome
So it cannot be challenged in some future year... (ah, here he is)

Kinsman, good day! I bid you good day
Please turn aside, I have something to say
Kinsman, you recall our kinsman, Elimelech
Elimelech, his wife, and both of their boys?

--Nearer Kinsman--
Elimelech! Why yes, of course!
Elimelech, who could forget?
Back in the famine of 07 he sold out for cash
Took the boys and his pretty wife - what was her name? That pretty wife-
All moved over Jordan - Moab, was it?
(Elimelech! Haven't thought of him for years! How is he?)

(spoken) Dead. Elimelech, Mahlon, Chilion - all dead.

--Nearer Kinsman--
(spoken) Oh. Don't think I knew that...

(spoken) Yet, kinsman, Naomi lives - and she is looking to redeem the land.

--Nearer Kinsman--
(spoken) Why, yes, of course! Naomi! And kinsman, WE are kinsman!
In fact, I believe I'm closer, on the legal line...

(spoken) Yes, kinsman, I believe you are (sighs)

--Nearer Kinsman--
I'd be delighted, don't you know, to do the job, redeem the land
Naomi in my household would be no problem, I am sure -

Please consider Ruth, gleaning in my fields, the wife of Mahlon.
The kinsman who redeems the land redeems her and raises children for the dead.

--Nearer Kinsman--
My wife would kill me
Her family disown me
I stand to lose much more than I stand to gain
I'd better not do it, no, best I eschew it
Here is my sandal, I'll walk away lame

He walks away lame! He walks away lame!
He's given up all future rights to the claim!
He walks away lame! He walks away lame!
He's given to Boaz all rights to the claim!

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