Assurance of Marriage
Author: F. Duane Lindsey
Week of August 17, 2014
Ruth 3:10-15; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Boaz was overjoyed at Ruth’s request for marriage. He compared her earlier expression of loyal love toward Naomi with her present desire that he would fulfill the role of kinsman-redeemer. He viewed her loyal love toward him as excelling that expressed toward Naomi, since Ruth could have legitimately sought the attention of younger men.
Boaz assured Ruth that he would carry out the responsibility of kinsman-redeemer, understood in the Book of Ruth to include levirate marriage, because the elders of the city “know that you are a woman of noble character” (Ruth 3:11).
Boaz had apparently anticipated fulfilling the role Ruth requested, because he was aware of a potential roadblock—the existence of “a kinsman-redeemer nearer than I” (v. 12). Not wanting to circumvent another man’s opportunity to act responsibly, Boaz informed Ruth he would interact with the nearer kinsman as soon as the town gate opened in the morning. If the latter would be unwilling to serve as a kinsman-redeemer, Boaz gave his oath that he would do so.
Boaz instructed Ruth to remain at his feet until morning. Many thoughts must have filled their minds during the sleepless hours as they waited for the dawn.
Boaz arose before sunrise and sent Ruth back to Naomi with “six measures of barley” poured into her shawl (v. 15). Boaz headed for the town gate as Ruth returned to Naomi.
If you were in Boaz’s sandals: Would you have exercised moral restraint toward Ruth on the dark Judean hillside? Would you have been willing to sacrifice marriage to Ruth (whom Boaz obviously loved) for the legal rights of the nearer kinsman? The countryside near Bethlehem was the scene of many lessons we need to learn in our modern world.