Boaz accepted Ruth and gave her the great promise of marriage, of being redeemed.
What happened between Ruth and Boaz is a descriptive picture of what it means to be received by Christ and given the great promise of redemption. As painted by the Scripture, this moment shared between Ruth and Boaz was an exciting, exhilarating experience. The longing of Ruth’s heart for a home, a resting place, a place of provision, love, peace, and security— all that is provided by a loving husband—was soon to be experienced.
Boaz praised Ruth’s sacrificial kindness. What did Boaz mean by this? Note that he addressed her as “my daughter,” indicating that she was much younger than he. Thus, he could be commending her for offering to marry a much older man when she could have a much younger husband. But Boaz could also be commending her for marrying out of a sense of duty to Naomi, marrying in order to save Naomi’s family name and estate.
Robert L. Hubbard points out that today people marry for different reasons: for love, for lust, for money, for status, but Ruth did none of these. She was not running after a younger man nor was she seeking to marry a rich man. Instead, she was choosing to marry because of duty. She sensed deeply the need for redemption, for her and Naomi to be rescued and delivered from the hopelessness of their lives. She wanted to marry Boaz and bear a son so that Naomi could have a child to carry on the family name and receive all the other benefits of the kinsman-redeemer.
Boaz gave assurances to Ruth. He could have rejected Ruth and had nothing to do with her, but he obviously cared for her deeply. Perhaps he even loved her. Thus, he accepted her and calmed her fears, encouraging her not to be afraid. He would do all she asked. He gave her the promise of marriage, of redemption. She and Naomi would be redeemed, rescued and saved from their hopeless, miserable life.
Boaz praised Ruth for being a woman of virtue, of noble character. She had the reputation of being a virtuous woman. She was faithful, trustworthy, hardworking, giving, and committed to the LORD. Boaz was telling Ruth that she possessed all the qualities that would make an ideal wife. Boaz vowed to see that Ruth was married (redeemed) despite a complicated barrier that faced them.
No doubt, what Boaz said next utterly shocked Ruth and took her by total surprise. There was a closer kinsman than Boaz. This meant that someone else had the first right to marry Ruth, someone other than Boaz. This was devastating news to Ruth, for she obviously had her heart set upon marrying Boaz, not someone else.
Nevertheless, Boaz promised to marry and redeem Ruth if the other relative refused. Boaz promised to approach the closer kinsman immediately, the very next morning, and present the proposition to him. If the closer relative wished to marry and redeem Ruth, then it would have to be accepted. But if he was not willing, then Boaz himself would redeem her.
Obviously longing for the right to marry Ruth himself and wanting to give her full assurance, Boaz even took an oath. He swore that he would fulfill his promise. Just as the LORD Himself lives, Boaz would redeem Ruth; rescue her by marrying her and bringing her into his home.
Having done all he could to give assurance to Ruth, Boaz instructed her to guard against the appearance of unrighteousness. They must guard against rumor and gossip. He suggested that she remain at the threshing floor until early morning, right before everyone would be arising from their night’s sleep. If she were spotted leaving the threshing floor during the night where he had been sleeping, gossip would begin to swirl throughout the city and rumors would spread. The consequence would be catastrophic: their reputations would be ruined and his position as a leader would be threatened. Right before daybreak, before anyone could be recognized, Boaz sent Ruth on her way. But he first gave her an abundance of provision, filling her shawl with six measures or scoops of barley. Just how much barley this was is not known, but it was no doubt a generous amount. Once he had filled her shawl with grain, Boaz set the grain either on her head or across her shoulders and sent Ruth back into town. If an early riser happened to see her, the person would think she had been in the fields gathering grain throughout the night. No suspicion would be aroused, and no gossip would be rumored.
Once she had left, Boaz himself returned to town to fulfill his promise made to Ruth. Boaz gave Ruth the great promise of marriage, of being redeemed, of being rescued and saved from a life of hopelessness. Thus it is with Christ when a person approaches Him. Christ gives the promise of redeeming, rescuing, and saving a person from the hopelessness of this life.
No matter how discouraged, depressed, guilt-ridden, distressed, grief-stricken, poor, helpless, diseased, handicapped, empty, or lonely—no matter how gripped we are by the hopelessness of this life—Christ will redeem us, rescue and save us.
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