The Compassion of Boaz

KEY VERSE: “Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing lam a stranger?” —Ruth 2:10

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Ruth 2:5-12, 19, 20

“SALMON begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, and Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.” It was David whom the Lord chose as the line through which the Messiah would come.

Instead of just informing us that Boaz married a Moabitish woman, the Lord caused this fact to be embellished in one of the most beautiful stories of all time. The opening verse of the book locates the time of the story during the period of the judges, which began a short time after the death of Joshua, and continued until Samuel.

Because they were poor, Ruth went out to glean wheat in the fields. The Law of God guaranteed her this privilege—it was merely a question of what field she would select. Ruth 2:3 explains that she ‘just happened’ to select a field owned by a kinsman of Naomi’s husband. His name was Boaz, and is described as a “mighty man of wealth.” (vs. 1) It might have seemed to Ruth that she ‘just happened’ to select the field of this wealthy kinsman of her mother-in-law, but unknown to her the Lord’s providences were at work, for his promises concerning the lineage of the tribe of Judah and the house of David were at stake.

Soon Boaz came to the field where she was gleaning, evidently to see how the work was progressing. He noticed Ruth and realized that she was a stranger. He asked his foreman, “Whose damsel is this?” (Ruth 2:5) He answered, “It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab,” explaining that Ruth had asked permission to “gather after the reapers among the sheaves.” He emphasized that she had been working very faithfully “from the morning until now.”—vs. 7

Boaz was at once interested and sympathetic. He had heard about the Moabitish girl who had returned to Israel with his kinsman’s widow, but this was the first time he had seen her. He appreciated her industrious effort to secure a living for Naomi and herself, but especially for Naomi, who was no longer a young woman.—Ruth 1:12

Boaz spoke to Ruth, saying, “Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens.” (Ruth 2:8) He continued, “Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them.” To further reassure her, Boaz said, “Have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? And when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.”—vs. 9

Ruth was deeply moved by this gesture of interest and friendship by Boaz, for after all she was not an Israelite, but a Moabitess, at least by birth. She had, however, by profession, cast her lot in with the Israelites. Now Israel’s God was blessing her through Boaz, and she was deeply grateful, saying to him, “Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?”—vs. 10

Boaz’ answer was direct and to the point. It reveals that while this was the first time he had seen Ruth, he had heard much about her that was favorable. He said, “It hath fully been showed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother-in-law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come among a people which thou knewest not heretofore. The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.”—vss. 11,12

Here the true character of Boaz is revealed. He realized that Ruth had made a great sacrifice in leaving her own people and her own country in order to remain with Naomi and minister to her needs.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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