As little girls grow up, many long to be a princess living in a castle married to Prince Charming while being treated like royalty not just by the servants but also by her Prince Charming. Reality has struck for many young ladies as the “everydayness” of life happens and the young men are not Prince Charmings and there is no castle to move into once they are married.
The story of Ruth is captivating from the beginning. It starts with death and sadness, moves to kindness and romance, and ends with a beautiful love story. The Bible is full of exciting and romantic biographies and autobiographies. Boaz told Ruth in Ruth 3:13 “…if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then as the LORD lives, I will redeem you.” Early in the morning Boaz sent Ruth home with “six measures of barley” so she would “Not go back empty-handed to her mother-in-law.” Boaz continues to show care and concern not only for Ruth but also for Naomi, being sure to provide an ample supply of grain for their needs.
During Bible times, the gate was the center of all activities. The gate, in essence, was similar to the courthouse of today. The elders of the town (the men) sat at the gate and made decisions about the laws of Moses as they applied to the townspeople. In Ruth 4:1, Boaz went to the gate and sat down and waited. As the nearest kinsman redeemer to Ruth passed by, Boaz invited him to sit and then Boaz gathered “ten of the elders of the city” (Ruth 4:2). Before these ten elders and the nearest kinsman redeemer, Boaz presented the case of Ruth.
Naomi had complete trust in Boaz knowing he would care for her and Ruth as seen in Ruth 3:18. Boaz told the nearest kinsman redeemer that Naomi was selling the parcel of land that had belonged to Elimalech, and he had first rights to buy the property. The nearest redeemer was ready to buy the property until Boaz presented the second half of the deal, “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). However, the nearest redeemer no longer was interested in this deal since the addition of Ruth would “impair my own inheritance.” (Ruth 4:8). This man was concerned about his present children sharing their inheritance with Ruth’s child or the language of the original Hebrew also implies that he did not want to harm his current relationship with his wife and bring strife into his life by adding another wife.
Boaz was willing to care for Ruth, Naomi, and also the land that belonged to Elimalech. As the custom of the day, a signed contract was not what bound the terms of this agreement, but rather the giving of a sandal. The nearest redeemer, before ten witnesses, drew off his sandal and gave it to Boaz. Boaz agrees to the terms by declaring to the ten elders and the people that were gathered around “You are witnesses this day that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and to Mahlon. Also Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day.” (Ruth 4:9, 10).
Boaz is willing to provide all the care for Ruth that the Israelite culture demands, even though she was a Moabite. Boaz proves time and again his noble character and his willingness to do what is right.
- Who is Boaz’s mother? (Matthew 1:5)
- What is Rahab’s story? (Joshua 2 and 6:22-25)
- What similarities are there between Ruth and Boaz’s character? (Ruth 2:1 and 3:11).
- How does God bless Ruth and Naomi for their faithfulness? (Ruth 4:13-17).
- Compare the character of Ruth with the character of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31:10-31. What similarities are there?
- Ten generations are recorded in Ruth 4:18-22. What is significant in this list? How does this list show God’s blessing on Ruth’s life?
- According to the verses in Proverbs 31 and the genealogy recorded in Ruth 4:18-22, what does God consider to be of utmost importance? Consider also Ruth and Orpah.
- Now consider your life. What similarities do you see between Ruth, Proverbs 31, and your own life? What differences do you see? Are there changes you need to make? Prayerfully consider these things and seek God’s direction and assistance to become the woman He wants you to be.