Ruth Must Wait for Boaz

Notice in 3:10 Boaz makes it clear that he thinks Ruth is out of his league. He’s old and not very good looking. He’s not the best looking dude, he’s probably doesn’t have a six pack, he probably has nice round belly, similar to a cooler, instead. She could go after anyone else she wanted in that town, she was pretty and any man would have been glad to be her husband.

Ladies, Boaz teaches us something about men here. Sometimes a man won’t pursue you because he thinks you’re out of his league, and that a girl as pretty as you would never go with a guy like him. He’s humble, and he’s aware of his own lack in view of other younger men in town.

This is point in the story where the “oh no” moment comes in. Boaz says so in 3:12. Isn’t this a bummer? We were rooting for Boaz all this time and now another guy comes into the picture? That stinks! Boaz says, “It is not my job to redeem you, there’s another who’s legally obligated before me, I’m not supposed to be your guy.” Under the Old Testament law, if a man dies, it’s his direct brother who is supposed to redeem his widowed wife. Boaz is not Mahlon’s brother!

Legally, Boaz has no tie to Ruth at all! But Boaz loves Ruth and even though this is true he’ll try to fix things. Boaz tells Ruth, “I want to marry you, but we’re not going to break the law, you belong to someone else before me, stay here for the night at my feet so no one else snatches you up in the middle of the night, leave in the morning when it’s safe, and I’ll work on this tomorrow.” He told Ruth to stay there for the night because he knew what kind of men wandered the street at night. He then tells her to leave in the morning when everyone is sleeping to protect her reputation, so that no one would see her leaving and wonder, “What did they do last night?” Again, Boaz takes care of Ruth, he’s a dude.

The story ends with Boaz sending Ruth home with six measures of barley, which is a lot of grain, and says that it is specifically for her mother-in-law. Boaz takes care of not only Ruth, but her mother-in-law. Boaz had said, “Do not return to your mother in law empty.” He is still being the answer to his own prayer from 2:12. Ruth returns to find Naomi awake at this early hour of the morning.

Naomi was probably up all night wondering about what happened because she was well aware that her counsel to Ruth was risky. She sees the grain and hears all that happened, and then gave more advice, (read 3:18). Naomi encourages Ruth to let Boaz figure it out. Ruth does not make a plan and send it to Boaz, she lets him figure it out. Besides, Ruth wouldn’t want to marry a guy who couldn’t figure things out anyway. Girls, this shows us that you may have to wait on a guy one day to figure things out, and that it’s not a bad thing to have to do so!

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