Things were going well for Ruth and for Naomi. They had come back to Israel without anything. Naomi’s husband had died, her two sons had died, and they had nothing in the way of earthly possessions. We can surely see the hand of the Lord in leading them. When Ruth went out to find work to provide food for them, she went to the fields that belonged to Boaz, who showed her so much kindness and arranged for her to reap even more than normal.
It was a custom in Israel that if a man died, the nearest kinsman could redeem his land and marry the widow and raise children as unto his kinsman who died without children. The near kinsman had to be willing and able to do this. Naomi knew about this and talked with Ruth. Since Boaz had shown such kindness to them, and had helped in so many ways, Naomi suggested to Ruth that she offer herself to him as his wife.
In verse 5 of chapter 3, Ruth tells Naomi that she would do all that she had said to her. Ruth was very obedient and respectful to Naomi, and followed through on her advise. When Ruth approached Boaz, he was very touched and complimented Ruth for her kindness, and how that she had not followed after young men or rich men. He could see how godly Ruth was. He also recognized that everyone knew she was a virtuous woman and he protected her against any cause of criticism.
Boaz desired to redeem the property for Naomi and Ruth and to marry Ruth. However, he told her that there was another who was a nearer kinsman than he. When Ruth told Naomi all that had happened, Naomi told her to just wait and leave things to Boaz. Naomi knew that Boaz would look into the situation. I am sure that Naomi and Ruth both just rested in the Lord and waited for Him to work things out.
Boaz didn’t waste any time in looking into the matter. It was the custom in those days to meet at the gate of the city to work out any problems or business deals. As a just man, Boaz called ten of the elders of the city and asked them to sit with him. The man who was the nearer kinsman to Ruth came by and he asked him to sit with them. Boaz was doing everything right and just according to their law. He then told this kinsman,
“Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech’s:” (Ruth 4:3)
Boaz went on to say to the kinsman that since he was the nearer kinsman he had first place to redeem Naomi’s possessions. The nearer kinsman said he would do it. However, in verse 5, Boaz reminded him that when he did he would have to also marry Ruth and raise up children in the name of her dead husband who had no children.
The man refused to do this, and was ready to give away his first right to be the redeemer. If you read through verse 9 of this fourth chapter of Ruth, you can see the rituals they went through to seal a deal and make it known among all the witnesses. Boaz had handled all things in the proper way with much wisdom, and in verse 9, we read,
“And Boaz said unto the elders and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi.”
Everything was done properly and in order. Now Boaz was free to have Ruth as his wife.
“Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place.” (Ruth 4:10)
Boaz had purchased the privilege to marry Ruth because of his work as a redeemer. The remainder of the chapter tells us that Boaz and Ruth were married, with the blessing of all the people. God blessed them with a son who was named Obed. Naomi became the nurse for the baby. At last Naomi’s life was full and happy again. When she first returned to her country, she told her friends not to call her Naomi anymore. Naomi meant “pleasant.” She told them to call her Mara, which meant “bitter.” She had experienced so many problems and times of sadness in her life. Now the Lord had given Naomi so much, she was happy once again.
We can see how the Lord worked in the lives of these two women. We can also know how the Lord can use each of us as women in this life. When left to make her own decisions, Naomi had gone back to the land the Lord had given to the Jewish people. She had returned to her own God. Ruth also had chosen to leave her idol-worshipping country and worship the one true God of Israel. When they made this choice, God could work out things for them and give them the joy and peace that only He can give.
In studying this book of Ruth, we have tried to stay with our subject of studying the women of the Bible. However, we must see how Boaz is a picture of our Great Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord paid the price to redeem us from our burden of sin. He alone could do this. He came to earth as a kinsman, in that He took on Himself the form of man and came in a human body, but He was without sin. Therefore, He could redeem us from the penalty of sin. This is the only thing that can save any of us. We should be very thankful to our Redeemer, and for the life we have in him.
Before leaving this book of Ruth, we should notice the last few verses. These tell us that Obed (this one born to Boaz and Ruth) was the father of Jesse who was the father of David. Also in the first chapter of Matthew where the generation of Jesus Christ is listed, we find Obed, Boaz and Ruth listed in the genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ. God knowing all things of the future had much in mind for Ruth when He was taking care of these two lonely women.
We can get so many lessons for ourselves as women, when we study these women in the Book of Ruth. Also, if we feel alone and sometimes feel there isn’t much in life we can do, look up and know that our Lord is there. He knows all things. If He leaves us here on this earth, there is a divine reason. To find real peace and happiness, we must find the will of God and live in it.