Scripture reading – Ruth 3-4
We continue our brief study of the “Boaz and Ruth Love Story” and are reminded of the circumstances that providentially brought Ruth, a Moabite widow, to Bethlehem of Judah.
Naomi, Ruth’s widowed mother-in-law, had left Bethlehem during a time of famine (Ruth 1:1). Ten years later, she returned from Moab as a widow and childless. Her sojourn to Moab had proved bitter. She said, “I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty” (Ruth 1:21). Only the Moabitess named Ruth was with her, and she was a widow.
From an earthly perspective, life had dealt some significant, harsh blows against Naomi and Ruth. While there are many details I could cite to justify that observation, suffice it to say that both women faced a sense of destitution and a loss that left them without a provider. When Ruth entered Bethlehem, she was a young widow, a stranger in Israel, far from her family and country. She was also the daughter-in-law of a widow embittered by her sorrows (Ruth 1:20-21). (According to Jewish historical records, Ruth was the granddaughter of Eglon, king of Moab. She could have returned to her royal life but chose the Lord instead.)
Ruth was an outsider and dependent upon the charity of those who were not her countrymen. Yet, though she was far from home, she was never far from the providence of the LORD, whom she confessed as her God (Ruth 1:16-17). In a testimony of the LORD’s sovereignty, Ruth found herself gleaning grain in the fields of Boaz, a mighty and wealthy man, who was the kinsman of Naomi, her mother-in-law (Ruth 2:21-23).
Naomi, the Matchmaker (Ruth 3:1-5)
Sensing the providence of God at work in her and Ruth’s life, Naomi declared she would not rest until she knew it would be well with her widowed daughter-in-law (Ruth 3:1). Naomi then revealed to Ruth that Boaz was their kindred. She knew he would not go home while the grain was being winnowed (culled out of its outer shell) and would sleep on the threshing floor to secure his harvest (Ruth 3:2). So, Naomi instructed Ruth to bathe, put on a fresh robe, and make her way to the threshing-floor where she was to lie down at the feet of Boaz unnoticed (Ruth 3:3-4).
Ruth’s Adherence to Naomi’s Instructions and Boaz’s Honorable Response (Ruth 3:6-18)
Ruth agreed to Naomi’s instructions and did as she was told (Ruth 3:5-7). When Boaz aroused from his sleep at midnight, he discovered that Ruth was sleeping at his feet (Ruth 3:8). When she declared he was her “near kinsman,” she had, in essence, made a plea to be his wife (Ruth 3:9). Boaz praised Ruth’s godly character (Ruth 3:10), and pledged he would honor his role as her kinsman, but only after one closer than himself disavowed his right to be her husband\\redeemer (Ruth 3:11-12).
Ruth 4 – From Bitterness to Joy Boaz’s
Discharge of His Obligations (Ruth 4:1-8)
Boaz set out early the following day and sat in the gate of the city, where he met the man who was the “nearer kinsman” of Ruth (Ruth 4:1). With ten elders of the city as witnesses, Boaz offered to the “nearer kinsman” the right to purchase the land, but with a reminder that the responsibility would mean taking Ruth as his wife (Ruth 4:1-5). Confessing it would complicate his “own inheritance” (meaning his will), the “nearer kinsman” deferred his right to redeem the land, saying, “Redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it” (Ruth 4:6).
The Witnesses to His Proposal (Ruth 4:9-12)
With ten witnesses observing, the “nearer kinsman” surrendered his right of ownership by taking off his sandal (as was the custom to transfer ownership of land) and gave it to Boaz as a sign of transfer. Boaz then acknowledged his obligation to redeem the land from Naomi, thereby redeeming Ruth as his wife (Ruth 4:10). All who witnessed Boaz’s pledge blessed his union with Ruth and prayed that she would bear sons to him, as had Rachel and Leah, the wives and mothers of Jacob’s sons (Ruth 4:11).
God’s Blessings on Boaz and Ruth’s Union (Ruth 4:13-17)
Boaz then took Ruth, “and she [became] his wife: and when he went in unto her…she bare a son” (Ruth 4:13). Naomi’s shroud of bitterness was lifted, and the people rejoiced with her (Ruth 4:14). They praised Ruth, the Moabitess, and outsider, and said she had been better to Naomi than had she given birth to seven sons (Ruth 4:15).
The son born to Ruth and Boaz was named Obed, and he would be Jesse’s father and, therefore, King David’s grandfather (Ruth 4:17-22). David would become the king of Israel, from whose lineage Jesus Christ would come. Also, Ruth, the Mobaitess, became the great-grandmother of David, Israel’s beloved king (Ruth 4:22). As a testimony of God’s grace, the romance of Ruth and Boaz would culminate in the birth of Jesus Christ!
What an amazing story of romance, grace, and redemption!
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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