Courageous obedience, tender restraint, honourable affection, and a risk-traking joy in the Lord of Love, whatever the circumstances. A model for life?
Ruth and Boaz, may already be attracted to each other.He is pleased that she has ‘proposed’ to him. But there’s another closer kinsman and Boaz may not, until now, have thought it was his call.Naomi’s impatience with the status quo has sent Ruth out on a risky night-time excursion into a harvest party on a dark night. Commentators argue as to exactly what Boaz’s duties were in the light of Old Testament law. Two practices seem to be relevant . The first one involves the kinsman redeemer (or family guardian) buying back land.’If anyonce among you becomes poor and sells some of their property, their nearest relative is to come and redeem what they have sold. In tomorrow’s reading we shall see that redeeming land that belonged to Elimelek and his son is a crucial part of the plot.
The second practice involved levirate marriage.’If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son,his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her….The first sone she bears shallcarry on the name of the dead brother so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel. We don’t really know how this worked out in practice, but marriage for Ruth and raising sons through a close relative seems to be in Naomi’s mind here.
Ruth knows no kin except Naomi and Boaz. A foreigner from a despised people and a barren widow, she is vulnerable –but she responds, ‘I will do whatever you say’ (v 5). There is a measure of pent-up emotion in this night-time encounter.Boaz’s response is overwhelming in its tributes to her. Now she must wait for the legal processdings to take their course.
‘By faith Abraham, when called to go..obeyed and went , even though he did not know where he was going. Lord,help us not to shrink from risk when you call.