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The Redeemer

This week we are finishing off the book of Ruth. Spend a few minutes recapping what happened in chapters 1&2.

Read Ruth chapter 3

  • What is Naomi's strategy to convince Boaz to marry Ruth? What do you think or feel about this way of doing things? [1]

  • What do you think of Boaz's response to all this? What do you imagine motivated him to say yes to Ruth's proposal?

Boaz must now go and negotiate with the primary goel, or kinsman - Elimelek's nearest living male relative. This unnamed man has the first claim on Elimelek's land, which currently belongs to Naomi. He can buy for a price; but as goel he is also duty-bound to provide for Naomi's family and Elimelek's name, to marry Ruth and perpetuate the family line of Elimelek.

Read Ruth chapter 4

Legally, Ruth's future son would inherit the land from his father Mahlon and grandfather Elimelek when he came of age - meaning the goel would have to buy the land now only to lose it later, as well as financially support both Naomi and Ruth and any children Ruth has going forward. This is not something the other man is willing to do - but Boaz is.

  • What do you think of Boaz? To what extent is he simply doing what is his 'duty', and to what extent is he going above and beyond out of generosity and love?

  • The women of the town suggest the name 'Obed' for Ruth's son. The name means 'servant' - why do you think they chose this name? (Perhaps consider who the 'servant' is in the story...)

  • Reread the words of the elders in verses 11-12. What do these words of blessing mean? Why does Ruth remind them of Rachel and Leah and Tamar? How does this prayer get answered?

  • At the end of Ruth, we discover that 'Ruth the Moabite' was in fact King David's Great-Grandmother. What does it say about God that He would include this story, about these people, in the bible - and that the Messiah Jesus would one day be born to this same family as a descendant of David?

Spend some time in prayer and reflection - especially reflect on the ways that Boaz loved Ruth and Naomi, and that this story reminds us of Jesus, in his love, care and compassion for us.

[1] Commentators agree that Naomi's plan was an unusual way for a woman to ask a man to marry her! But in the context of these two widows, Naomi's plan must have been necessary. Leon Morris writes:

The context makes it clear that this describes a way whereby Ruth signified to Boaz her desire to marry him. Ordinary methods of approach were no doubt difficult and this provided a suitable medium. But why it should be done in this way we do not know. Nor do we know whether this was a widely practised custom or not. It is not attested other than here. Lattey thinks that "the action in itself is symbolic, suggesting that the mantle should cover Ruth as well, and thus preparing the way for her words in 3:9. To throw the mantle over a woman would be to claim her for wife." In view of the widespread use of garments in a symbolic fashion now known to have been common at the time, this may well be the explanation. The narrator uses the utmost delicacy, but it is clear that Naomi’s plan was not without its dangers. The fact that she was prepared to urge this course on Ruth is the measure of her trust in both the participants. All the more is this the case since in the Ancient Near East immoral practices at harvest-times were by no means uncommon, and, indeed, appear to have been encouraged by the fertility rites practised in some religions.


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