There are so many lessons that we can learn from this couple. There isn't much that is said about their marriage; it is their journey and who they are that is so important. But first, let's learn about who they are. Ruth is Naomi's daughter-in-law. Ruth was married to Mahlon, but he died within 10 years of marriage. Naomi gave Ruth and her other daughter-in-law permission to leave and be remarried, but Ruth refused. She felt she should stay with Naomi. It was dark times for Israel with famine and Ruth and Naomi were loyal to each other and God. I read in the commentary that Ruth was a Moabitess, but I am not sure what their faith or religion was. I do know that Ruth was faithful to God and loved him and followed him.
Ruth was not wealthy, in fact from what I gathered, she and Naomi were poor. In order to get food for them, Ruth started working in a harvest field to pick up left behind grain. That is where we meet Boaz. He is older than Ruth, influential, and wealthy (he owned the field that Ruth was working in). He takes notice of Ruth and because of what she has done for Naomi, he generously takes care of her, providing plenty of food and making sure no one ridicules her. (2:8-9) One of the things that impressed me about Boaz was the way he spoke to Ruth:
"But I also know about everything you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband. I have heard how you left your father and mother and your own land to live here among complete strangers. May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done" (2:11-12)
When Naomi hears of what Ruth has been doing and where she was working, she instructs Ruth to follow custom and law and sleep by Boaz's feet in order for him to know that he had permission to marry her because he was the closest relative. After doing some research, I learned there was nothing sexual or seductive about this ritual and it was strictly a protocol for Ruth to follow for Boaz to take her as his wife. Ruth was a servant, and servants slept at their masters' feet. As the Life Application Bible put it; it was family business, nothing romantic.
Boaz's reaction is what struck me:
"The Lord bless you, my daughter!"...Now don't worry about a thing, my daughter. I will do what is necessary, for everyone in town knows you are a virtuous woman" (3:10-13)
As we read further, I can hear the affection and admiration that Boaz had for Ruth. He wanted to marry her, but he had learned she did have another relative he had to address first (3:13); he was not the closest relative. He wanted to do it the right way.
We learn that Ruth slept by his feet all night, and Boaz could have taken advantage of the situation, but he didn't. As the story concludes, we learn that Boaz handled the legal aspects of marrying Ruth, the relative gave permission to Boaz because of reputation and they were able to be married.
Ruth is said to be the picture of the Proverbs 31 wife and what we should strive to be.
There is so much more to this passage that speaks to being a Christian wife, but there are 5 things we can take away from Ruth's character:
- The way she speaks (2:10, 13)
- The way she takes joy in her work and works hard (2:2)
- She takes care of her family
- She is dependent on God and her faith in him (2:12)
- Her modesty and how she acts around men (3:3, 3:6-13)
I read some interesting articles about advice to young women and waiting for a modern day Boaz. I think they are on to something. I think if I could tell young women in the dating age anything, it would be to look for a man with these characteristics:
- He was devoted to God
- He was respectful in the way he talked to Ruth and his employees
- He provided for Ruth
- He protected Ruth
I will end with this very interesting fact about Ruth: she did not know that by following God's plan that she would lay foundation to the way of the Savior. Her son was Obed, who was the father of Jesse and the grandfather of David. We never realize how important our roles are in this life. God has a plan for everything. Until next time, have a great day!