The Book of Ruth Series - Disturbing News - Lesson 20
Ruth 3:12-18: Silvery moonlight illumined the threshing floor as Boaz gazed at Ruth. Barely able to make out her facial features, still he knew her eyes were full of hope. In his heart, he felt they were to wed, but there was another, a nearer kinsman who might stand in their way. Boaz was well acquainted with this man, and although he hated even the thought of his grubby hands on Ruth, Boaz knew the law favored the closer relative.
Trying not to alarm Ruth, Boaz spoke softly, gently whispering his dilemma in fulfilling her request. “Yes, I am a close relative; however, there is a kinsman closer than I. We will speak in the morning and if he chooses to redeem you, then the matter is out of my hands. But, if he cannot, then I will. Stay here until dawn. It is not safe for you to travel back to your home at this hour of the night.”
As Boaz instructed, Ruth lay at his feet until daybreak, but slept very little. The shock of this news greatly concerned her. All night long, Ruth fretted and rehearsed different scenarios, but they all ended with the same questions. Would she have to marry someone else? Like Elimelech’s field, did these men consider her a piece of property to be sold to the highest bidder? Why didn’t Naomi tell her there was someone closer related? Did the law allow her to take back her proposal and refuse marriage?
Furthermore, the thought of Ruth in the arms of another gave Boaz anxiety and he couldn’t sleep. Silently, he prayed, “Oh Lord, You know all things. Your eyes run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Yourself strong on behalf of Your weak children. Give me the wisdom I need to approach this nearer kinsman. Go before me, my God, and prepare the way. Amen.”
With this release of his troubles, Boaz relaxed and surrendered to sleep.
As the first sliver of light crested the horizon, Ruth was up and her movement stirred Boaz. Then, one by one, internal clocks awakened the others. There was only enough light to see silhouettes, but not faces. Boaz ordered his men to keep quiet about a woman coming to the threshing floor, and then bid Ruth to bring her shawl. He filled it with an immense load of barley, so she would not go to her mother-in-law empty-handed.
Arriving home, the fifty pounds of barley Ruth balanced on her shoulders, posed a problem for opening the door noiselessly. “Is that you, my daughter?” Naomi asked.
“Yes” Ruth replied, and then anxiously explained about the closer relative.
Naomi listened intently, considered the abundance of grain, and then responded in her calming voice. “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.”