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Life-long love: Ruth and Boaz

June 1, 2022

Daily Scripture

Ruth 4:1-17, Matthew 1:5-6

Ruth 4

1 Meanwhile, Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there. Just then, the redeemer about whom Boaz had spoken was passing by. He said, “Sir, come over here and sit down.” So he turned aside and sat down. 2 Then he took ten men from the town’s elders and said, “Sit down here.” And they sat down.
3 Boaz said to the redeemer, “Naomi, who has returned from the field of Moab, is selling the portion of the field that belonged to our brother Elimelech. 4 I thought that I should let you know 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 you won’t redeem it, tell me so that I may know. There isn’t anyone to redeem it except you, and I’m next in line after you.”
He replied, “I will redeem it.”
5 Then Boaz said, “On the day when you buy the field from Naomi, you also buy Ruth the Moabite, the wife of the dead man, in order to preserve the dead man’s name for his inheritance.”
6 But the redeemer replied, “Then I can’t redeem it for myself, without risking damage to my own inheritance. Redeem it for yourself. You can have my right of redemption, because I’m unable to act as redeemer.”
7 In Israel, in former times, this was the practice regarding redemption and exchange to confirm any such matter: a man would take off his sandal and give it to the other person. This was the process of making a transaction binding in Israel. 8 Then the redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself,” and he took off his sandal.
9 Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I’ve bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon. 10 And also Ruth the Moabite, the wife of Mahlon, I’ve bought to be my wife, to preserve the dead man’s name for his inheritance so that the name of the dead man might not be cut off from his brothers or from the gate of his hometown—today you are witnesses.”
11 Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May the LORD grant that the woman who is coming into your household be like Rachel and like Leah, both of whom built up the house of Israel. May you be fertile in Ephrathah and may you preserve a name in Bethlehem. 12 And may your household be like the household of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah—through the children that the LORD will give you from this young woman.”
13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife.
He was intimate with her, the LORD let her become pregnant, and she gave birth to a son. 14 The women said to Naomi, “May the LORD be blessed, who today hasn’t left you without a redeemer. May his name be proclaimed in Israel. 15 He will restore your life and sustain you in your old age. Your daughter-in-law who loves you has given birth to him. She’s better for you than seven sons.” 16 Naomi took the child and held him to her breast, and she became his guardian. 17 The neighborhood women gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They called his name Obed [Obed means one who serves (God)]. He became Jesse’s father and David’s grandfather.

Matthew 1

5 Salmon was the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab.
Boaz was the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth.
Obed was the father of Jesse.
6 Jesse was the father of David the king.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Ruth and Boaz, once they found each other, loved for a lifetime. (If you can, take time today to read all four chapters of this short ancient love story.) Their story, and Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus, pointed to their lifelong connection by tracing their descendants back to both of them. Boaz’s legal and financial work to marry Ruth may seem confusing to us, and not very “romantic.” But taken on its own terms, the story’s tale of deep attraction and lifelong loyalty matched any we could tell today.

  • We may not fully understand all the customs of their time (giving someone else your sandal to seal a business deal? “buying” a woman to marry?), but we can see that Boaz took risks and did all it took to gain the right to marry Ruth. Her interest in him delighted him, yet he addressed potential issues before pursuing the marriage (cf. Ruth 3:10-13). When have you seen a carefully thought-through decision to marry create the conditions for a lifelong love?
  • The book of Ruth wasn’t just a simple love story, however. Deuteronomy 23:3-4 said no Moabite could belong to the Lord’s assembly. Yet this little book told its Israelite audience that David, Israel’s greatest king, descended from a Moabite woman in just a few generations. How did Boaz and Rachel’s marriage give Israel insight into their God’s far-reaching, barrier-breaking love?

Lord God, you worked through the life-long love of even unlikely couples like Ruth and Boaz to sustain and nurture the human family into which Jesus was born. Please work through me to break down barriers and nurture love in your world. Amen.

GPS Insights

 Jennifer Creagar

Jennifer Creagar

Jennifer Creagar is the Community Assistance Coordination Director in Resurrection's Congregational Care Ministry. She is married and loves spending time with her family, and she enjoys writing and photography.

I love the story of Ruth and Boaz, not only for its Hallmark movie qualities (seriously, how do you get a better “meet cute” than hard working, poor widow meets kind, handsome, rich, landowner who takes a shine to her while she is picking up the leftovers from his harvest and invites her to share his lunch?). I love this story because it shows the impact that a marriage can have on a community and generations to come. Truthfully, it shows the impact that all of our lives can have on the people who surround us, whether we operate as a family unit, or as an individual who is part of a larger community. All of our relationships have unforeseen impacts, and all our lives leave behind enormous effects we may not even be aware of.

When my husband’s great-grandmother died at 104, I was amazed at the tributes shared at her funeral, and in letters and phone calls for months after her death. I had only known her at the end of her life, but this tiny lady (4’10” tall) had an incredible impact and influence on her small rural community, which, over the generations, spread far beyond Crawford County, Kansas. Her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren talked about her marriage of 60+ years, raising nine children who all grew up to be leaders in their communities, churches, in places near and far from the tiny little farm town where she spent her life. She read a book a week for her entire adult life, even while raising nine children-–a feat I find amazing. She started the public library in her community and shared her love of reading as far and wide as she could. She taught Sunday School and could recite whole Bible chapters word for word. She was an outspoken supporter of the 19th amendment and proudly cast her first vote when she was 30 years old. Her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and more carry the foundation that she and her husband Jack began when they married at 19. Countless lives are better because of the lives they led.

We can do that. Our lives, our marriages, and our families, no matter how they are created, can make lives better and bless generations long after we are gone. Ruth is still held up as an example of dedication, commitment, love, and of bravely following God into an unknown place. Countless generations later, we read her story and learn about faithfulness and love.

Lord God, help us to think about the world we are leaving for the generations to come, the examples we leave for living our lives to please and serve you, and the impact our lives will have on others around us and throughout time. Amen.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.