Ruth and Boaz: God’s Saving Hand

Posted on June 5, 2019

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By David Ettinger

This is a fictional telling of the Biblical account.

Ruth’s heart pounded as she lay on the ground at Boaz’s feet under a brilliant night sky in Bethlehem.

Fortunately, that thought alone brought much-need levity to her heart, helping to lighten the significance of the moment. Despite her apprehension, she could at least chuckle silently at the position she now found herself in: a beautiful woman in the prime of life, garbed in her finest clothes, the scent of her fragrant anointing oil wafting in the air. And here she was lying on the dirt at the feet of a man almost twice her age, the edge of his cloak covering her like a blanket.

It was mid-June, the end of wheat harvest, and Ruth had been living in Israel since early April, the start of barley harvest. Several years earlier, while in her native Moab, she met a fine Hebrew man named Mahlon. He was different from the men she was accustomed to, something she attributed to Mahlon’s belief in what he referred to as, “the One, True God of Israel.”

If Naomi was impressed by Mahlon, she was even more so by his widowed mother, a strong-willed yet loving soul named Naomi. From their first meeting, something sparked. As the weeks passed, the women grew closer, Ruth drawn to Naomi for the same reason she was drawn to her son: Naomi’s faith in the One, True God of Israel.

And then, shortly after marrying Mahlon, he and his brother Kilion tragically died at the same time, leaving Naomi crushed, devastated, and bitter. Naomi concluded it was time to return to Israel, and Ruth agreed. Naomi urged Ruth to go back to her family, but she would have none of it. Ruth was hopelessly devoted to Naomi, her people, and most importantly, the God of Israel.

Once settled in Bethlehem, Ruth headed to the nearest barley field to gather grain the harvesters neglected – a practice in Israel designed to feed the poor and needy, of which Ruth and Naomi certainly qualified.

She had come to the fields of a respected man named Boaz, whom she heard the harvesters speak well of. She had been working doggedly for hours when suddenly the tedium of the afternoon was shattered by the arrival of Boaz.

 “The Lord be with you!” he heartily greeted the harvesters.

Ruth was instantly struck by the man’s air of dignity, innate kindness, generosity, and graciousness. Yes, she could tell all that by just one glance, and the equally affectionate way in which his men returned his greeting.

Knowing the Lord had brought her to the right field, Ruth felt a wave of relief flush over her as she continued gleaning contently. She was, however, unprepared for a personal visit from Boaz, one that took her by stunning surprise.

 “My daughter,” he said, tenderness inhabiting every word, “glean only in my field and do not seek another. You will be protected here and provided with water whenever you are thirsty.”

Overwhelmed that such a man would even notice an insignificant foreigner, Ruth fell on her face.

“Why such goodness, my lord?”

 “I heard of the kindness you have shown the widow Naomi. It has touched me deeply.”

Ruth had never experienced such consideration. She was captivated by his manner and gentleness. She never knew such men existed.

At home that night, Naomi was euphoric.

“This man is a close relative of ours,” she advised Ruth. “Do as he says and work only in his fields.”

Ruth did so for the two months of barley and wheat harvest, but the season was ending, which prompted Naomi to speak solemnly to Ruth.

“I need to find a home for you, my daughter, and to see that you are well cared for,” she said. “Therefore tonight, wash and perfume yourself, and put on your best clothes. Boaz will be sleeping on the threshing floor, protecting his grain. As he sleeps, you will lie down at his feet, uncover them, and place the garment over you. He will know what to do.”

Ruth felt a surge of excitement – and fear – boil up within. She knew exactly what her mother-in-law was telling her: Make known to Boaz that you want him to marry you.

And now, here she was, trembling at his feet. No, she did not fear Boaz, but did fear his response. What right do I, a girl from a pagan land, have of asking a Hebrew man of such status to marry me? He’ll discard me in an instant!

Ruth was locked in restless uncertainly when suddenly a dog barked in the distance.

Boaz stirred and Ruth’s heart erupted.

Boaz rose and Ruth froze.

Boaz looked around and Ruth held her breath.

Boaz noticed her.

“Who are you?” he asked.

She had rehearsed this 50 times.

“I am your servant Ruth,” she replied softly. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer.”

Dead silence.

It was all up to him now.

Everything hinged on his response.

“The Lord bless you my daughter,” he said, his emotions stirred. “You have not run after the younger men. Don’t be afraid, my daughter; I will do for you as you asked.”

At once, Ruth’s soul was sent soaring – relief, peace, and comfort deluging every fiber of being. Yes, there was something about another possible redeemer, and her leaving by morning so no rumors of impropriety would circulate, but none of it mattered. She had put her trust in the God of Israel, and He rewarded her.

At home the next morning, the two women held each other and wept freely, joyfully, triumphantly.

They were rescued.

God had rescued them.

Boaz would marry Ruth and love her.

He would love Naomi, too.

And neither woman would ever have to fear again.

Ruth marveled. The One, True God of Israel had come to visit her – an inconsequential, heathen woman – and blessed her beyond comprehension.

Oh Lord, her heart sang, you are more than just Israel’s and Naomi’s God. You are my God. My God, oh Lord. My God.

May I be found worthy of your mercy.