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Boaz--Kinsman or Not?

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Introduction

Last week we talked about the Kinsman Redeemer. We learned from our story that the man Boaz, whose field Ruth has been gleaning, and whom he showed kindness, is a near relative—Boaz could redeem Ruth.
But where does this idea come from? To understand this we need to look at two key passages.
The first passage is . If you have your Bibles I would encourage you to turn with me to this passage. .
Leviticus 25:25 NIV84
“ ‘If one of your countrymen becomes poor and sells some of his property, his nearest relative is to come and redeem what his countryman has sold.
This first passage refers to land. God understood that mankind can be greedy, and want to build an empire. So one way to keep the land in the family was for a “brother” to buy it.
The NIV translate the Hebrew as “countrymen.” This word is used 629 time. Of those it is translated “brethren” 332 times, and as “brother(s)” 269 times. It is referring to a close relative.
Now look at our second passage. Turn with me to .
Deuteronomy 25:5–10 NIV84
If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her. The first son she bears shall carry on the name of the dead brother so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel. However, if a man does not want to marry his brother’s wife, she shall go to the elders at the town gate and say, “My husband’s brother refuses to carry on his brother’s name in Israel. He will not fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to me.” Then the elders of his town shall summon him and talk to him. If he persists in saying, “I do not want to marry her,” his brother’s widow shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, take off one of his sandals, spit in his face and say, “This is what is done to the man who will not build up his brother’s family line.” That man’s line shall be known in Israel as The Family of the Unsandaled.
Deuteronomy 25:5-10
This passage actually refers to
The first passage, referred to a man’s land. This passage refers to a man’s family legacy.
This passage sounds very strange to us. So the idea is that a man gets married and then dies before he has someone to carry on his name. If this happens, his brother is to marry his brother’s widow in order to raise up a child in his brother’s name.
Verses 7-10 tell what happens if a brother is not willing to carry out his duty. It was a deep insult to the living brother.
Now let’s get back to our passage for today. So turn with me now to Ruth chapter 3.
Ruth 3:1–4 NIV84
One day Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not try to find a home for you, where you will be well provided for? Is not Boaz, with whose servant girls you have been, a kinsman of ours? Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. Wash and perfume yourself, and put on your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.”
Ruth 3:

Naomi’s Plan

Remember, it was Ruth’s knowledge of the traditions and laws of Israel that helped her come up with the original plan to go glean so that they could have food.
Now it is Naomi’s understanding of the traditions and laws of Israel that helps her come up with the second plan—a plan to take care of her daughter-in-law!

Naomi’s Responsibility

Naomi believes it is her responsibility to provide a sens of security for Ruth. Ruth was young enough to remarry and begin a family. So Naomi comes up with a plan!

The Plan

Ruth is going to approach Boaz. But first, Naomi tells her to do some things:
(1) Boaz is a near relative.
(2) He will be on the threshing floor winnowing barley.
(3) Ruth is to wash up.
(4) Put perfume on.
(5) Put on her best clothes.
(6) God down to the threshing floor.
(7) Don’t let Boaz know you are there, but wait until he is finished eating and drinking, and goes to lie down.
(8) Watch where he is lying.
(9) When everyone is settled, go and uncover his feet and lie down.
(10) Boaz will then tell her what to do.
Note: Now to us, this story gets more strange as we read it. What in the world is this going to the threshing floor, uncovering his feet, and lying down—what does it mean?
(1) Some commentators have suggested that Naomi was telling Ruth to do something immoral or seductive, but this simply cannot be. Verse 11 Boaz says, “All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character.”
Think about it for a minute. A woman of noble character would not be doing something immoral or seductive.
(2) The truth is, uncovering the feet was perfectly proper, and was a ceremonial way for Ruth to talk to Boaz.
So the question is, “Why was it done in the dark?” Most likely it was done in the dark so that if the proposal were to be rejected it would not humiliate her before the entire town.

Ruth follows Naomi’s instructions

Ruth 3:5–7 NIV84
“I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered. So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do. When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down.
Ruth 3:5-

Boaz’s response

Ruth 3:8–11 NIV84
In the middle of the night something startled the man, and he turned and discovered a woman lying at his feet. “Who are you?” he asked. “I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer.” “The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character.
Ruth 3:8-
(1) In the middle of the night, Boaz realizes there is someone lying at his feet.
(2) Remember it is dark, so Boaz asks, “Who are you?”
(3) Ruth answers, “I am your servant Ruth.” And then she asks Boaz to “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer.”
In English the beauty of the meaning of this passage is missed. The NIV translates the Hebrew word translated, “corner” also is translated “wing.” In fact of the 108 times it is used, 74 of them translate it as “wing” while it is “cover” only twice.
Nevertheless, it appears that Ruth is asking him to fulfil his role as a kinsman-redeemer.
Deuteronomy 25:5 NIV84
If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her.
(4) Boaz is blown away by Ruth’s kindness. Look at verse 10. “The Lord bless you, my daughter. This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after younger men, whether rich or poor. And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask.”
His response is how we know she was asking him to be her kinsman-redeemer.
(5) Don’t forget verse 11. Boaz recognizes her character, noble character.

There is a problem

Ruth 4:12–13 NIV84
Through the offspring the Lord gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.” So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Then he went to her, and the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.
The problem is there is a man who is in line before Boaz. That means that Boaz is going to have to see if the other man is willing to redeem Ruth.
If the man is not willing to redeem Ruth, the Boaz will marry her!
He then tells her to lay down at his feet until morning.

Ruth prepares to leave

Ruth 3:14–15 NIV84
So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “Don’t let it be known that a woman came to the threshing floor.” He also said, “Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out.” When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and put it on her. Then he went back to town.
Ruth 3:14-
(1) Ruth got up early before anyone could recognize her.
(2) Boaz warns her not to let it be known that a woman came to the threshing floor.
(3) Boaz fills Ruth’s shawl with six measures of barley.
Many scholars believe that a “measure” was about 10 pounds. If this it accurate Boaz loaded Ruth down with 60 pounds of barley. That means Ruth was a strong woman.
(4) Then she left and went back to town.

Ruth & Naomi back together

Naomi wants to know how how things went! Look at verse 16.
Ruth 3:16-
Ruth 3:16–18 NIV84
When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “How did it go, my daughter?” Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her and added, “He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, ‘Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’ ” Then Naomi said, “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.”

How did it go?

Naomi is excited when Ruth returns. She wants to know if her plan worked or not.

Ruth tells her everything

Ruth tells Naomi all about the night. And then shows her the 60 pounds of barley, because Boaz didn’t want to send Ruth back to Naomi empty handed.
Finally Ruth told her about the “problem.” There is someone in line before Boaz.
So Naomi tells Ruth to wait and see what happens. I love the last part of verse 18.
“For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.”

So What?

We talked last week about the fact that Jesus is our Redeemer. He paid the price for our sins so that we would not have to.
You know a woman who was redeemed went to live in the home of her new husband. We have a new husband—Jesus!
Like Ruth, we need to be people whose character is evident to all. We need to be people who are, “What you see is what you get” type of people.
I also see in this passage that sometimes you have to take risks. Ruth took a risk by going to the threshing floor. Boaz could have rejected her request (remember the cover of darkness?).
Following Jesus encourages us to take risks of sorts. Jesus really doesn’t want us to get too comfortable here. He is always reminding us that this world is NOT our home.
I think it is significant that Boaz takes care of Ruth. Jesus loves us and desires to take care of us.
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