Monday, November 5, 2012

LXXXIV - Ruth 3-4 - Ruth Marries Boaz

In the first two chapters of the book of Ruth, we saw the hardships that fell on Naomi and her family.  We then saw their struggles together and the loyalty shown by the three widows to one another.  But God took care of these women.  Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth returned to Judah, broke and desparate.  Naomi sent Ruth to glean the fields to have food to eat, and it so happened that Ruth chose the field of the gentleman Boaz.  Boaz took extremely special care of Ruth.  We saw in 2:20 that Naomi referred to Boaz as one of their guardian-redeemers, which brings us to our study today.  {But before we get to chapter 3, we must take another quick Law review:  (Lev.25:25-55)  To briefly paraphrase, the guardian-redeemer is male next of kin who is obligated to marry the widow of the deceased male relative who died without children.  The guardian-redeemer would then raise up an heir in the name of the deceased man, and the child would inherit the family estate of the dead person and carry on the family name.  The closest relative to the deceased is not only obligated, but has the right to claim the responsibility of the deceased.  Carrying on a family name and bloodline was very important to these people.}

Chapter 3 - It says "one day", which could not be very much time from the events in chapter 2 because it was still harvest time, so it would have been within a few short weeks.  Naomi, being a responsible minded woman, wants Ruth to be provided for and she senses that the time is right.  In verses 2-4 she instructs Ruth on how to know for sure if Boaz is interested in being Ruth's guardian-redeemer.  She cautions Ruth to wait until Boaz has finished eating and drinking so as to make it at a time when he would be in the best of moods.  When Boaz fell asleep at the threshing floor, Ruth was to lie down at his feet, which was considered a forward overture.   Vss 9-->  When Boaz woke up he knew someone was at his feet and to his delight, it was Ruth.  Ruth revealed her intentions when she said in vs 9, "spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family".  The term "spread the corner of your garment over me" meant to take in as family. 
Boaz responded as one would expect.  He first told her not to worry.  Everything was going to be OK.  However, if they were going to do this, it must be done properly.  There was a male relative closer to Ruth's family.  Boaz must make sure this relative grants Boaz permission first.  Boaz told Ruth to stay there until morning and then return to Naomi.  When Ruth returned to her mother-in-law the next morning and told her everything that had happened, Naomi assured her that Boaz would not rest until this was taken care of, and she was right.

Chapter 4  -  Boaz started early to take care of this situation about the legalities of him becoming the guardian-redeemer.  He located the man who was Ruth's husband's closest relative (his name is not known).  Baoz wanted to leave no stone unturned so he called the man to meet him at the city gate, along with ten elders as witnesses.  (The city gate was the place where official business took place.)  As you read this chapter, Boaz actually persuades this man to relinquish his right to Elimelek's estate and bloodline.  They sealed their deal with the exchange of sandals which was the custom of the day.  Now Boaz was free to marry Ruth.  In verses 11-12, the city elders blessed Boaz and Ruth, praying tremendous honor upon them, which would come true through David and Jesus.

Vss 13-17  -  I don't know who was the happiest about this, Boaz, Ruth, or Naomi.  Boaz and Ruth got married, and the Lord blessed them with a son.  They named their son Obed.  This son was given to Naomi to help care for, which made her so happy, as she thought her chances for happiness were over when her husband and her two sons died in Moab.

So Naomi helped care for her grandson Obed, who would be the grandfather of Israel's greatest king.  David.

Next post  -  The First Book of Samual

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