March 23 - Nº 82 Ruth 3 – 4
When Naomi returned to Bethlehem, she moved back into her old home with Ruth. But now that her husband was dead, Naomi had no money. It looked like she would have to give up her land. However, according to the laws that God gave Moses, a close relative called a ‘kinsman-redeemer’ was supposed to buy back the property of a relative if it was about to be forfeited (see Leviticus 25:25). The kinsman-redeemer was also responsible to marry a relative’s widow if she and her former husband were childless. The goal was to produce an heir to carry on the deceased man’s family name (see Deuteronomy 25:5-10). The closest living relative was supposed to become the kinsman-redeemer, but if he chose not to fulfill this duty, it was passed on to the next qualified relative. Naomi discovered that Boaz was eligible for this role! He could buy her land and marry Ruth!! As the harvest season ended, Naomi developed a plan. She told Ruth to put on her best clothes and go to the threshing floor and hide nearby. Boaz and his men would be working there until late that evening. When they finished threshing the grain, they would celebrate with a big meal. Then they would stay overnight to protect the grain until they could store it the next day. Naomi told Ruth to watch carefully and notice where Boaz lay down. When everyone was asleep, she should sneak over, take off the robe that was covering his feet, and lie under it. Ruth did everything just as Naomi instructed. Boaz was startled when he realized there was someone lying at his feet. “Who are you?” he asked. “I’m Ruth,” she responded. “I want you to spread the corner of your robe over me since you are my closest relative.” (Spreading a man’s robe over a woman was a cultural way for him to announce his intention to marry her.) “The Lord bless you!” Boaz replied. “You have proved yourself to be a woman of integrity. However, there is a man who is a closer relative than I am. (Obviously Boaz had already investigated this.) In the morning I will talk to him and give him the right to redeem you. If he won’t, I will.” He gave Ruth some grain and sent her home while it was still dark. The next day Boaz arranged a meeting with the other man. He invited several elders of the city to come. “Naomi has returned from Moab,” he explained. “She needs to sell her property and you are Elimelek’s closest relative. You can buy it now in the presence of these elders, or I will be happy to.” The man immediately replied, “I will buy it!” But Boaz quickly explained, “When you buy the property you are also agreeing to be the kinsman-redeemer who will marry Ruth. When she has a son, the property will become his.” The man changed his mind. This would jeopardize the estate he had for his own sons. In front of the elders, he took off one of his sandals and handed it to Boaz. This symbolic gesture was an oath giving Boaz legal permission to buy the land and marry Ruth. So, Boaz took Ruth as his wife, and before long they had a son named Obed. Joy returned to Naomi and Ruth! (And FYI—Obed became the grandfather of King David!)
Do you realize that Jesus is our Kinsman-Redeemer?! Jesus paid a price for our redemption just as Boaz paid a price to redeem Naomi’s property. He also invites us to join him, just as Ruth was invited to marry Boaz and join his family. In the New Testament, believers are even referred to as the bride of Christ.