I'd never met anyone like Ruth. She gave up her country, family, and culture to take care of Naomi, her mother-in-law after her husband died. Such dedication. Such kindness.
She must have felt awkward living in our Hebrew culture, yet I never heard her complain when she gleaned barley and wheat. She arrived early, worked hard all day, then took her grain home and gave it to Naomi.
Ever since that day when I first heard Ruth came to help her mother-in-law survive I'd wanted to help. If I married Ruth, I'd be able to help both her and Naomi. Unfortunately I wasn't the closest relative. The law states the closest relative has the first choice to take over the family. I could have been sneaky, made a bond with Naomi to pay her debt then marry Ruth, but that wouldn't be honest.
One morning I made a decision to present the issue before the town council at the gate.
I left my home early and journeyed to the meeting place at the city gate and waited for others to arrive. As the sun rose, other elders came and sat at the gate. We talked about city business until Naomi's closest relative happened to walk by.
"Come here, friend. Sit with us and talk." I pointed to a place next to me.
He smiled, thanked us for inviting him and sat near me. I asked ten of the elders to listen to our discussion. "I've called you all here regarding a certain matter." With everyone's attention I turned to the close relative and said, "Naomi, who came back from Moab, sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech to pay her debts. It would be a good idea to buy her land back for her."
He stroke his beard. "Go on, I'm listening."
Since you're the closest relative I wanted to give you first say in buying Naomi's property, but if you don't want to, let me know since I am the next closest relative.
He nodded. "Sure. I'd like to buy back her property. Her land would make a nice addition to mine."
Boaz smiled. "Good. Then you agree tomarry Ruth the Moabitess since she's the wife of the one who would have inherited the land."
He held up both hands and shook his head. "No! No! I can't do that! I'll ruin my own inheritance if I married her." He leaned closer to me. "Tell you what. You may redeem my rights. I simply can't."
I looked at the ten elders sitting with us. "Very well. You have heard what he said." They all nodded.
The closest relative pulled off one of his sandals and handed it to me. "Take this sandal as a witness to my word. You may buy Naomi's property and marry Ruth the Moabitess the wife of the son who would have inherited the land."
I held the sandal in the air before the ten elders. "You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech's and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's from the hand of Naomi. I also agree to marry Ruth, the Moabitess. You are witnesses this day."
All the people who listen to our discussion and the ten elders said, "Yes, we are witnesses. May the Lord make Ruth like Rachel and Leah, the two who built the house of Israel: and may you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the children God gives you and Ruth."
Not many days later, Ruth and I were married. We had a son and named him Obed. Obed grew to be a fine young man. He married and had a son named Jesse. Jesse later had a several sons, the youngest he named, David.
Ruth continued to work hard with my business, our son, and with Naomi. Thank you God for Ruth.
1. Why did Boaz think Ruth was special?
2. Why couldn't he marry Ruth at first?
3. Where did Boaz meet the closest relative?
4. Why didn't the closest relative want to help Naomi?
5. What did the closest relative have to do to show he agreed?
6. Who were the witnesses?
7. Who was Boaz's great grand son?
8. How was this great grand son important?
9. How does this story help you?