Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God Ruth 1:16 Boaz, a wealthy man of valor, lived when Judges led Israel. Valor has to do with courage and invincible resolution. As landowner, he was master of the harvest darting from field to field, even among the poor women gleaning after the harvest. One poor lady, named Ruth, caught his eye. From inquiry he learned she lived with his near kinsman named Naomi, and had converted to Judaism. Immediately, he held compassion for her, telling his men to assist her in every way. They had her gleaning among the sheaves until the end of the harvest, and never reproached her, even pulled out bundles for her, and had her drinking water the men had drawn. They kept her safely close to the other maidens. Boaz followed the news of her loyalty, and found she was above reproach. Ruth always asked: “Why have I found favor in your eyes?”
As her mother-in-law, Naomi knew this young widow needed a husband, and knowing Boaz had his eye on her, began to make arrangements. The role of in-law is a difficult one, for she must be a kindly mother seeking welfare for this young Medianite widow of her son. Now, Naomi mistakenly thinks Boaz is next of kin, and so, rightfully, she should follow Jewish law of next kinsman (Deuteronomy 25:5,6).
Ruth accepts Naomi’s notion to be the wife of Boaz. Ruth anoints herself as a bride adorned for her husband and enters the threshing-floor, the common place for Boaz to sleep during harvest. Here he was asleep below the stars underneath a sheep-skin (rug like quilt) on level ground outside near the grain. Ruth uncovers his feet and lay there. About mid-night, he is alarmed with great fright to find a lady at his feet (a clear sign of her intentions to be his wife under the Near Kinsman Law). “Who are you?” he shrieked into the darkness.
“I am Ruth, next of kin. Spread your wings (covering) over me?”
For certain he understood her action: “You mean, you want a proposal of marriage?” It is like today’s placing of an engagement ring on the finger of one’s intended! No impropriety here! But Boaz jumps to explain, “I am not your next of kin, and under law I cannot be your husband!”
Afterward Boaz meditates and then decides to embark in getting this lady to be his bride. However under law, this required Boaz to redeem the estate of Mahlon, deceased husband of Ruth. The Law provided that if the nearest of kin would not make the redemption under Dt 25:5,6, the very next of kin could purchase the right, that is, redeem the right to be next of kin. Indeed, Boaz does purchase the lands of Mahlon and becomes the husband of Ruth. Their son was Obed whose son was Jesse whose son was David King of Israel, from whose pedigree came Mary whose son was Jesus, the Messiah!