My near Kinsman


Ruth 3: 1-18

In the ancient culture in which Ruth and Boaz lived, kinship is a very strong word. When the husband of a woman dies, the widow becomes the responsibility of the man’s family. She could marry the next brother who continues to take care of her or a very close kinsman.

Today, Naomi told Ruth that Boaz was a kinsman, and she gave her a plan to bring this to his awareness. Ruth was to go to Boaz field in the evening, and once he had slept, remove his covering and lay at his feet. The using of the blanket to cover the woman means protection, care and ownership, this was the symbolism this passage implied. It is quite different from seduction as some people would think this passage implies, it is protection.

So after Boaz had eaten and drunk, he went to sleep, and Ruth did as was planned. When Boaz woke up in the mid of the night, he was afraid to see a woman at his feet. Ruth told him why she was there, and Boaz did a very impressive thing. First, he did not take advantage of Ruth because of the situation, secondly despite his liking for Ruth, he noted that there was another closer kinsman, and until the man was aware of this responsibility, he could not take over. Boaz is clearly a man of very strong principles, a man of order, a man of integrity.

Finally, he sent Ruth off very early in the morning, giving her more wheat for her and Naomi. As Boaz noted Ruth was a very virtous woman, she did not go awhoring after young men, she also respected her mother in law so much and was willing to walk by the rules she gave her, the customs of the land. She indeed stayed through with her vow – ‘your people shall be my peole, your God my God’. Naomi’s people and their customs today practically became Ruth’s.

We will soon see the conclusion of the book tomorrow, but the story has been so insightful, could be related to, as it mostly involved common people and their everyday living, not priests, heroes, leaders but people just like us, trying to live everyday under God’s rule.

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