The nobility and faithfulness of Boaz are clearly manifested in this story. It is hardly possible to read this Book without being convinced that Boaz had already found himself in love with Ruth, which accounts for the fact that he was ready and willing to take the responsibility of the next of kin. However, there was one who had a prior right and in loyalty to the law of his people Boaz gave him his opportunity.
The picture presented of the gathering of the elders in the gate and the legal statement of the case is interesting. The next of kin had a perfect right to abandon his claim if another were ready to assume it. This he did, and seeing that Boaz was ready to assume responsibility, he was justified in doing so on the ground that he did not desire to run the risk of impoverishing his own family, for it was evident that Boaz was well able to fulfil all the obligations of the case.
The whole story ends with poetic simplicity and beauty. "So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. . . .” Nothing need be added to indicate the joy and reward of two faithful souls. Moreover, Naomi was comforted at last. The women of her own people spoke words of cheer to her, which unquestionably must have been full of comfort as they sang the praise of the one who had chosen to share her affliction and had become the medium of her succor.
There is a stately simplicity in the closing sentences. Of the child born to Ruth and Boaz it is said, “They called his name Obed; he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.” In these final words is manifest the divine movement in the history of chosen people. And yet a larger issue followed as centuries passed. From this union sprang at last, as to the flesh, Jesus the Messiah.
the Second Week after Epiphany