Bible Readings for August 9th
In Ruth 2, we meet the third major figure in this story, a man named Boaz. Ruth, eager to keep the covenant vows she had made to Naomi, sought to provide for her anguished mother-in-law by gleaning in fields, and as she set out, “she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech” (Ruth 2:3). In Ruth 2, we learn two important details about Boaz that shape the story of Ruth, and ultimately, the story of the rest of the Bible.
First, we learn in Ruth 2 that Boaz is a righteous man who delights in leaving parts of his fields unharvested for the poor to glean. This had been a requirement in the law of Moses (Lev. 19:9–10, 23:22; Deut. 24:19–22), but that didn’t mean that wealthy, land-owning Israelites necessarily wanted to keep the law. Certainly, many greedy landowners would have found ways around keeping this law fully—and some of them would not have kept this law at all.
Boaz, on the other hand, does not reject this foreign, Moabite woman who has come to glean in his fields. Instead, he goes out of his way to care for her, insisting that she not leave his field and providing for her protection (Ruth 2:8–9). Ruth should feel free, Boaz assures her, to drink the water that his workers have drawn from his wells and to eat the meals he provides to his reapers (Ruth 2:14). Additionally, Boaz instructs his reapers to leave behind bundles of grain that they had already harvested for Ruth to gather, and even to allow Ruth to harvest directly from his crop (Ruth 2:16).
Second, when Ruth comes home with an incredible amount of grain, Naomi reveals to Ruth that Boaz is one of their family’s redeemers (Ruth 2:20). In other words, Boaz could marry Ruth in a Levirate marriage, an arrangement where their children would provide posthumous offspring to Ruth’s dead husband (Deut. 25:5–10). In this way, Boaz could redeem Elimelech’s family by marrying the widow of Mahlon, Elimelech’s son. To do this, however, could significantly endanger his own wealth and his own inheritance, as we will read about tomorrow.
But already, we are seeing a picture of Jesus Christ unfold in the book of Ruth. Like Boaz, our Lord Jesus Christ was rich, and yet he made himself poor so that through his poverty we might become rich (2 Cor. 8:9). And additionally, Jesus Christ came into this world not merely to enrich us but to redeem us—and to do that, he would have to put himself in harm’s way to take his people as his bride.
Tomorrow, we learn not only how Boaz redeems Ruth but also how Boaz’s redemption of Ruth led to Christ’s redemption of us.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.