Determined to Do Right
The question we must ask ourselves every day when faced with various circumstances is “What is the right thing to do?”
This is what Boaz considered when he determined to go to the city gate. He wanted to marry Ruth and provide for and protect her as her kinsman-redeemer. But he knew there was a relative closer to Ruth than him, who could choose to take on that role. Boaz was a man of integrity, unable to simply allow himself to rush off in a great swell of emotion when Ruth proposed to him on the threshing floor. His vision was set clearly on winning Ruth legitimately.
Boaz prioritized doing the right thing over his reputation. He went to the most public place—the city gate—in order to pursue a marriage with a foreigner, which potentially could have harmed his reputation and legacy. The closer relative was not willing to take this risk (Ruth 4:6). This man isn’t even given a name in Scripture. This is a lesson to us: we shouldn’t strive to make and safeguard a name for ourselves. Let someone else make a name for us and praise us. We should simply strive to do right.
Boaz’s words reveal that one of his motivations was to “perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance” (Ruth 4:10)—to preserve the name of Elimelech, Naomi’s deceased husband, by continuing his family. That’s selfless. That’s impressive. If Boaz had only been concerned for himself and his desires, he could have whisked Ruth away as his wife. Instead, he carried out his responsibility and publicly owned the situation. At the time, the passing of the kinsman-redeemer title was customarily sealed with the public exchange of a sandal (v 7). This exchange symbolized something greater—namely, Boaz’s commitment, love, and personal sacrifice for Ruth. Similarly, the cross stands in public view, and there we see Christ’s commitment, love, and sacrifice on our behalf. It cost Boaz financially to marry Ruth. It cost Christ His very life to redeem us and make us His beloved bride.
Both of these sacrifices—Boaz’s and Christ’s—won great rewards and legacies, providing a future and a hope: one for a young Moabitess and her mother-in-law, the other for all of humanity. Boaz’s pursuit of rightness resulted in a marriage that played an integral part in all of history by continuing a lineage that eventually led to the birth of our Savior (Matthew 1:5). And because of Christ’s sacrifice, we now look forward to the day when we will stand in glory, see His face, and praise His name forever. Our Bridegroom came and rightfully won us at great cost to Himself. Imagine Ruth’s joy when she heard that Boaz had given his sandal and confirmed that he would marry her. A similar joy should be ours as we look at the cross and know we are Christ’s. And the example of Boaz should be ours as we look at our day’s decisions and difficulties and learn simply to ask, “What is the right thing to do?”
Boaz Redeems Ruth
1Now Boaz had gone up to the gate and sat down there. And behold, the redeemer, of whom Boaz had spoken, came by. So Boaz said, “Turn aside, friend; sit down here.” And he turned aside and sat down. 2And he took ten men of the elders of the city and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down. 3Then he said to the redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belonged to our relative Elimelech. 4So I thought I would tell you of it and say, ‘Buy it in the presence of those sitting here and in the presence of the elders of my people.’ If you will redeem it, redeem it. But if you1 will not, tell me, that I may know, for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I come after you.” And he said, “I will redeem it.” 5Then Boaz said, “The day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you also acquire Ruth2 the Moabite, the widow of the dead, in order to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance.” 6Then the redeemer said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I impair my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.”
7Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging: to confirm a transaction, the one drew off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was the manner of attesting in Israel. 8So when the redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself,” he drew off his sandal. 9Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and to Mahlon. 10Also Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day.” 11Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, 12and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the Lord will give you by this young woman.”
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