Boaz Marries Ruth
Verse 1- Boaz knew he would find his relative at the town gate because this was the center of the town’s activity. Everyone that entered or left the town had to pass through the gate. Here city officials gathered to transact business.
Verse 3 – Boaz brought some information that was not known before. Elimelech, Naomi’s former husband, still had some property in the area that was now for sale. As the nearest relative, this man had the first right to buy the land, which he agreed to do. But then Boaz said that according to the law, if the relative bought the property he also had to marry the widow. At this stipulation, the relative backed down. He may have feared that if he had a son through Ruth, some of his estate would transfer away from his family to the family of Elimelech. Whatever his reason, the way was now clear for Boaz to marry Ruth.
Verse 15 – Ruth’s love for her mother-in-law was known and recognized throughout the town. From the beginning of the book of Ruth to the end, her kindness toward others remains unchanged. God brought great blessings out of Naomi’s tragedy, even greater than “seven sons,” or abundance of heirs. Even in our sorrow and calamity, God can bring great blessings.
Verses 16, 17 – To some, the book of Ruth is just a nice story. However, in reality, it is recorded to show God’s preparations for the birth of David and Jesus, the promised Messiah. Once we go through the troubles or trials, we can look back and see the bigger purpose that God truly intended. We have to make our choices with God’s eternal value in mind. Because of Ruth’s faithful obedience, her life and legacy were significant even though she couldn’t see all the results. Live in faithfulness to God knowing that the significance of your life will extend beyond your lifetime. The rewards will outweigh any sacrifice you may have made.
Verse 1, 2 – The threshing floor was the place where the grain was separated from the harvested wheat. The wheat stalks were crushed, either by hand or by oxen. The grain (inner kernels) was separated from the chaff (outside shell). The floor was either rock or dirt and located outside the village, usually on an elevated site where the winds blow away the lighter chaff when the crushed wheat was thrown in the air. Boaz spent the night on the threshing floor for two reasons: (1) to prevent theft and (2) to wait for his turn to thresh grain.
Verse 4 – Naomi’s advice seems strange to us today but she was telling Ruth to act in accordance with Israel’s custom and law. It was common for a servant to lie at the feet of his master. By Ruth observing this custom, she would inform Boaz that he could be her kinsman-redeemer or marry her himself. This act was family business, nothing romantic.
Verse 5 – As a foreigner, Ruth may have thought that Naomi’s advice was odd. But, Ruth followed the advice because Ruth knew Naomi was kind, trustworthy, and filled with moral integrity. Imagine what Ruth’s life would have been like had she ignored her mother-in-law.
Verse 12 – Ruth and Naomi must have assumed that Boaz was their closest relative. Boaz must have already considered marring Ruth because his answer to her shows he had been thinking about it. He didn’t consider marrying Naomi because she was too old to bear children. There was one man in the city though that was a closer relative than Boaz was. He had to go talk to this man and see if he was willing to marry Ruth. Yet Boaz reassured Ruth, one way or another she would be redeemed.
Verses 14, 15 – Getting Ruth home before daylight kept wrong impressions from being formed.
Verses 16-18 – Naomi implied that Boaz was a man of great reputation and would keep his promise. Do others regard you as one who will do what you say?
Boaz Meets Ruth
Verses 2, 3 – When the wheat and barley were ready to be harvested, reapers were hired to cut down the stalks. Israelite law demanded that the corners of the fields not be harvested. In addition, any grain that was dropped was to be left for the poor. This was called gleaning). This law served as a type of welfare program and a means for a widow to be provided for. When Ruth went out to the fields, God provided for her.
Verse 7 – Ruth’s task, though menial, tiring, and slightly degrading, was done faithfully. Sometimes, as in Ruth’s case, it may be a test of character that can open up new doors of opportunity.
Verses 10-12 – Ruth’s life exhibited admirable qualities: hard-working, loving, kind, faithful, and brave. These qualities gained her a good reputation, but only because she displayed them consistently in all areas of her life. The people who watch us at work, at home and in church, form our reputation. A good reputation comes by consistently living out the qualities you believe in – no matter who we are around.
Verses 15, 16 – Boaz did more than the minimum. He went far beyond the gleaners’ law. Out of his abundance, he provided for the needy.
Verses 19, 20 – We may feel bitter about a situation, but don’t despair. Today is always a new opportunity for experiencing God’s care. Everywhere Ruth was guided to go, was not a coincidence. Events do not occur by luck or coincidence in our lives. God is directing our lives for His divine purpose.
This is a story of a Moabite woman who forsakes her pagan heritage in order to cling to the people of Israel and to the God of Israel. God places Ruth in a position to become the great-grandmother of David through a husband named Boaz and a son named Obed.
The setting of the first eighteen verses is Moab, a region northeast of the Dead Sea. The Moabites, descendants of Lot, worshiped Chemosh and other pagan gods. This is a time of apostasy, warfare, decline, violence moral decay, and anarchy. Ruth provides a cameo of the other side of the story-the godly remnant that remains true to the laws of God.
Christ in Ruth
The word goel, (close relative, kinsman-redeemer) used thirteen times in this story, presents a clear picture of the mediating work of Christ. This word goel is the Hebrew word for kinsman. By buying back the land of Naomi, as well as marrying Ruth and fathering a son to keep the family line alive, Boaz acts as a redeemer.
Although the book of Ruth was probably written during the time of David, the events take place during the time of the Judges. Ruth is “a virtuous woman” (3:11) who shows loyal love to her mother-in-law Naomi and her near –kinsman Boaz. In both relationships, goodness and love are clearly manifested. Her love is demonstrated in chapters 1 and 2 and rewarded in chapters 3 and 4.
Ruth Chapter 1
Verses 1, 2 – Moab was one of the nations that oppressed Israel during the period of Judges. This famine must have been severe in Israel for Elimelech to move his entire family there.
Verses 3-5 – Marrying a Canaanite was against God’s law (Deuteronomy 7:1-4). Moabites were not allowed to worship at the tabernacle because they had not let the Israelites pass through their land during the exodus from Egypt. Israel, as God’s chosen nation, should have set the standards for the other nations. Ironically, it was Ruth, a Moabite, whom God used as an example of genuine spiritual character.
Verses 6-9 – In the ancient world, being a widow was just about the worst thing that could happen. They were often taken advantage of or ignored. They were almost always stricken with poverty. God’s law provided that the nearest relative of the dead husband should care for the widow. However, Naomi had no relatives in Moab, and she didn’t know if any of her relatives were alive in Israel. Although Naomi had decided to return to Israel, she encouraged her two daughter-in –laws to stay in Moab and start their lives over. Naomi had a selfless attitude.
Verse 11 – Naomi’s only two sons had died so she encouraged Orpah and Ruth to remain in Moab to remarry. Orpah agreed, but Ruth was willing to give up the possibility of security and children in order to care for Naomi.
Verse 16 – The Jews were not the only people God loved. God chose the Jews to be the people through whom the rest of the world would come to know him. This was fulfilled when Jesus Christ was born as a Jew. Through Him, the entire world can come to know God. The book of Ruth is a perfect example of God’s impartiality. No one should feel disqualified to serve God because of where you came from. God can use every circumstance to build his kingdom or whomever He chooses.
Verses 20, 21 – Naomi was not rejecting God by changing her name. However, because she felt such loss, she may have lost sight of the relationship she had with Ruth. We need to be very careful in severe hardships not to allow bitterness and disappointment to blind us in other opportunities.
Verse 22 – Ruth and Naomi’s return to Bethlehem was part of God’s plan because in this town David would be born (1 Samuel 16:1), and, as predicted by the prophet Micah (Micah 5:2), Jesus Christ would also be born there. Just as in this story, our God’s purpose for allowing certain things in our lives, is accomplishing a much bigger purpose. Bethlehem was a farming community, and because it was the time of harvest, there was plenty of leftover grain in the fields left along the edges.
Verses 8-12 – The Israelites moved from one mess to another. We don’t know the circumstances behind the brutal massacre of Jabesh Gilead, but it seems that the rest of Israel followed Benjamin’s pattern. They put tribal loyalties above God’s commands, and they justified wrong actions to correct past mistakes.
Verse 25 – During the time of Judges, the people of Israel experienced trouble because everyone became his own authority and acted on his own opinions of right and wrong. Our world is similar. Individuals, groups, and societies have made themselves the final authorities without reference to God. Men like Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson are known for their heroism in battle, but their personal lives were far from heroic.
War Between Israel and Benjamin
Verse 1 – Dan was the northernmost city in Israel, and Beersheba, the southernmost. The two were often mentioned together as a reference to the entire nation.
Verse 13 – By covering for their Kinsmen, the entire tribe of Benjamin sank to a level of immorality as low as the criminals. The time of Judges ends in a bloody civil war that sets the stage for the spiritual renewal to come under Samuel.
Verses 27, 28 – This is the only place in Judges where the Ark of the Covenant is mentioned.
Verses 46-48 – This crime of rape and murder should have been dealt with inside this community and brought the criminals to justice. Instead, first the town and then the entire tribe defended this wickedness, even going to war over it.
Verse 48 – The tribe of Benjamin eventually recovered from this slaughter. Saul, Israel’s first king was from this tribe (1 Samuel 9:21); so was Queen Esther (Esther 2:5-7) and the apostle Paul (Romans 11:1). This tribe though, was always known for being smaller than the other tribes (as in Psalm 68:27).
Verse 1 – Having a concubine was accepted in Israel’s society although this was not what God intended (Genesis 2:24). A concubine had the duties and privileges of a wife but her children had no inheritance rights. Her primary purpose was bearing additional children and contributing to the household or estate.
Verse 24 – The rape and abuse of a daughter and companion were preferable to the possibility of a conflict between a guest and a neighbor. These two men were selfish. They didn’t want to get hurt themselves; they lacked courage; they didn’t want to face a conflict even when lives were at stake; and they disobeyed God’s law because they allowed deliberate abuse and murder.
Verses 29, 30 – Saul used a similar method in 1 Samuel 11:7. Ironically, the man who alerted Israel to the murder of his concubine was just as guilty for her death as the men who actually killed her.
Verse 30 – Sexual perversion and lawlessness were by-products of Israel’s disobedience to God. The Israelites weren’t willing to speak up until events had gone too far. Whenever we get away from God and His Word, all sorts of evil can follow. Drifting in the opposite direction often starts out slowly with little neglects. When people drift too far from God, they will forget their purpose, and soon “do as they see fit.” When you leave God out of your life, you may be shocked at what you are capable of doing. However, God is waiting for all to come to Him, with open arms for the forgiveness of sin.