There are so many lessons packed into the four chapters of the Book of Ruth, and not a verse is wasted. When we talk about Ruth, we often focus on her friendship and sacrificial love for her mother-in-law Naomi. But, there is another character in this jam-packed book that is often overlooked.
We know Boaz as a central figure of the Book of Ruth because he represents the kinsman redeemer, showing what Christ is to each of us through salvation. But, what about Boaz, the man? What lessons can we learn from the kind of man that Boaz was portrayed to be in Scripture?
At the end of the Book of Ruth, we see a bit of genealogy that tells us Boaz’s father was Salmon, who was a prince in the line of Judah. If that sounds a little fishy, you can read about his lineage in 1 Chronicles 2:10-11. Boaz’s mother was the former harlot Rahab. Her story is in the book of Joshua, chapters two and six. So now that we know Boaz was the son of a prince and a prostitute let’s look at what kind of man he became.
The first mention of Boaz in Ruth was as the owner of the field where Ruth was gleaning to get enough food to support herself and her mother-in-law. As he arrives at his field, He greets his labors by saying “The Lord be with you” and they return the greeting by saying “The Lord bless you.” What a way for the boss to start the day with his employees and they must have respected him to return the greeting. Boaz was also aware of his workers. He immediately noticed that Ruth was not one of his workers and he wanted to know who she was and what she was doing there.
Boaz was kind and compassionate. He made provisions for Ruth to glean more by getting his workers to leave a little extra for her. He also made sure she had food and water while she worked. Boaz protected her. Often women were taken advantage of in these kinds of situations, so Boaz commanded his workers not to touch Ruth. She would be safe as long as she stayed in his field. When Ruth went to the threshing floor to present herself to Boaz for marriage, He told her not to let it be known that she was there. He knew what people would think. He knew what they would say. I can’t help wondering if he knew what his mother Rahab’s reputation was like and he didn’t want that for Ruth.
He wanted to marry her as she had requested but because he was honest and fair, he knew there was a closer blood relative that had the legal right to redeem her. Boaz put what was right above his own personal desires and went to that man to give him the chance to marry Ruth. If the man had said he wanted to marry Ruth, Boaz would have accepted it and went home empty handed. But, the man chose not to marry Ruth, so the fair and honest Boaz was free to marry Ruth and through their son Obed he became the great grandfather of King David and an ancestor of Jesus. Boaz was a good man with a good name.
“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” (Proverbs 22:1) (NIV)