WAIT FOR YOUR BOAZ
(Ruth Chapter 1-4)
One of the funniest and most popular status messages on Facebook is actually a Biblical advice geared towards single young ladies. It goes something like this:
To all the girls who are in a hurry to have a boyfriend or get married, a piece of Biblical advice:
“Ruth patiently waited for her mate Boaz.” While you are waiting on YOUR Boaz, don’t settle for any of his relatives: Broke-az, Po-az, Lyin-az, Cheatin-az, Dumb-az, Drunk-az, Cheap-az, Lockedup-az, Goodfornothing-az, Lazy-az and especially his third cousin Beatinyou-az. Wait on your Boaz and make sure he respects Yoaz!
How I wish I knew who wrote this! It’s the best advice ever!
But at the same time, it is also serious, and not just to the ladies, but also to us men.
1[1-2] When the judges ruled in Israel, there was a famine in the land. A certain man of Bethlehem-judah went to stay in the country of Moab with his wife and two sons. The man’s name wasElimelech, his wife’s name was Naomi, and his two sons were Mahlon, and Chilion, Ephrathites from Bethlehem-judah. And they came to the country of Moab and stayed there.
[3-5] Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband died, and she and her sons were left. They took wives of the women of Moab, whose names were Orpah and Ruth. They lived there about ten years. Then both Mahlon and Chilion died; and only the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.
[6-9] Then she left with her daughters-in-laws to go back from the country of Moab because she had heard in the country of Moab how Yahweh had given God’s people food. So she left from that place where she was with her two daughters-in-laws. They were on their way back to the land of Judah, when Naomi said to her daughters-in-laws,“Each of you go back to your mothers’ houses. May Yahweh be kind to you as you have been to the dead and to me. May Yahweh let you find rest, each of you in the house of your husband.” Then she kissed them and they all cried.
[10-14] And they told her, “No, we’ll go back with you to your people.” But Naomi said,“Go back, my daughters; why do you want to go with me? Are there yet any more sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Go back, my daughters, go back home; I am too old to have another husband. If I were to say I had hope, even if I had a husband tonight and had sons, would you wait for them until they were grown? Would you wait for them, not having husbands? No, my daughters, I’m very sorry for your sakes that Yahweh has turned against me.” And they all cried again. So Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth hung on to her.
[15-18] She said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.” But Ruth told her, “Don’t ask me to leave you, or to go back from following you. Where you go, I’ll go; where you live, I’ll live. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God. Where you die, I’ll die, and be buried there. Yahweh may do so to me and more also if anything but death separates you and me.” So when she saw that she had made her mind up to go with her, she stopped asking her to go.
[19-22] So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they got to Bethlehem, the whole city was talking about them, and the people were asking, “Is this Naomi?” And she answered “Don’t call me Naomi any more, but call me Mara because the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full and Yahweh has brought me home again empty. So why do you call me Naomi, seeing that Yahweh has spoken against me and the Almighty has troubled me?” So Naomi came back with Ruth, the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, who came from the country of Moab and came with her to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.
2[1-3] And Naomi had a kin person of her husband’s, a very rich man, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and glean the grain in whoever’s field I find grace.” So she told her, “Go, my daughter.” So she went to glean in the field following the reapers. She happened to come up on the part of the field that belonged to Boaz, who was kin to Elimelech.
[4-7] And Boaz came from Bethlehem and said to the reapers, “Yahweh be with you.”And they answered him, “Yahweh bless you.” Then Boaz asked the worker who was over the reapers, “Whose girl is this?” And the worker who was over the reapers answered, “It’s the Moabitess girl that came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. And she asked me, ‘Please, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves; so she came and stayed from morning till now, so she has come to rest a little in the house.”
[8-14] Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Listen, my daughter, don’t go to any other field, nor go away from here, but stay close by my girls. Stay in the field where they’re reaping and follow them. I’ve told the young men not to touch you. When you’re thirsty, go to the water jars and drink some of what the young men have poured.” Then she bowed down to the ground on her face, and said to him, “Why have I found grace in your eyes, that you should notice me, a stranger?” And Boaz answered, “I’ve been told everything that you’ve done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband and how you’ve left your parents and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you didn’t even know before now. So Yahweh, the God of Israel, under whose protection you’ve come to trust, will pay you back for your work and give you a full reward.” Then she said, “Let me find favor in your sight, sir, because you’ve comforted me and spoken friendly to me, even though I’m not like one of your own girls.” Then Boaz said to her,“At dinner time come here and eat some bread and dip your piece in the vinegar.” And she sat beside the reapers and he gave her some parched grain. She ate until she was full and then left.
[15-17] When she got up to go back to work, Boaz told his young men, “Let her work even among the sheaves and don’t get on to her. And let some of the handfuls fall on purpose for her and leave them so she may glean them and don’t get on to her.” So she worked in the field until evening and beat out what she had gleaned and it was about 3 quarts of barley.
[18-23] So she took it up and went back to the city. When her mother-in-law saw how much she had gleaned, she took out and gave her what she had saved after she was full. So her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you glean today? Where did you go work? Blessed be the one who noticed you.” And she told her mother-in-law who she had worked with and said, “The man’s name who I worked with today is Boaz.” And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “Blessed be the one of Yahweh, who hasn’t forgotten to be kind to the living and the dead.” Then Naomi said to her, “The man is near kin to us, one of our next kin.” And Ruth, the Moabitess, said, “He also said to me, ‘Stay close by my young men until they’ve finished my harvest.’” And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, “This is good, my daughter, that you go with his girls, and that they don’t find you in any other field.” So she stayed close by the girls of Boaz to glean until the end of the barley harvest and of the wheat harvest and stayed with her mother-in law.
3[1-6] Then Naomi, her mother-in-law told her, “My daughter, shouldn’t I try to find rest for you so that you’ll be well? Isn’t Boaz, with whose girls you were, our kin? See, he’s winnowing barley tonight in the threshing floor. So wash yourself, put on some fragrant oil, put on your best clothes and go down to the barn; but don’t let yourself be seen by the man, until he’s finished eating and drinking. When he lies down, see where he sleeps, and go uncover his feet and lay down. He’ll tell you what you should do.” So she answered, “I’ll do everything you’ve told me to do.” Then she went down to the barn and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.
[7-13] When Boaz had eaten and drunk and was happy, he went to sleep at the end of the heap of grain, so she quietly went and uncovered his feet and laid down there. At midnight he was startled awake and turned around and there was a woman at his feet. He asked her, “Who are you?” So she answered, “I am Ruth, your worker. Spread your cover over me because you’re a near kin.” And he said, “May Yahweh bless you, my daughter. You’ve shown more kindness in the end than at the first, because you haven’t chased after young men, whether rich or poor. And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid; I’ll do to you what you ask, because the whole city of my people knows you’re a good woman. It’s true that I’m your near kin, but there’s someone who is nearer kin than I. Stay tonight, and in the morning we’ll see if he’ll do what a kin person should do, but if not, then I’ll do it, as Yahweh lives. Lie down until morning.”
[14-18] So she lay at his feet until morning and got up before anyone could see each other. He said, “Don’t let anyone know that a woman came to the barn.” Then he said,“Bring the veil that you have and hold it.” And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley and gave it to her, and then she went back to the city. When she got to her mother-in-law, she said, “Who are you, my daughter?” And she told her everything that the man had said to her. And she said, “He gave me these six measures of barley and said to me, ‘Don’t go empty handed to your mother-in-law.’” Then she said, “Wait, my daughter, until you know how it will turn out. He won’t rest until he’s done this today.”
4[1-6] So Boaz went to the city gate and sat down there. Then the kin person Boaz had spoken of came by, so he said, “Come here and sit down.” Then he gathered ten men of the leaders of the city and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down. Then he said to the kin person, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling a piece of land which belonged to our kin Elimelech. And I thought I should tell you that you should buy it before the people and the leaders of our people. If you’ll buy it, then buy it, but if you won’t buy it, then tell me so that I may know, because there’s no one else to buy it besides you and I am next after you.” So he said, “I’ll buy it.” Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field from Naomi, you must also buy it from Ruth, the Moabitess the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead for his people on his land.” But the kin person said, “Then I can’t buy it for myself, or I’ll hurt my own inheritance. Buy my right for yourself, because I can’t.”
[7-10] Now this was the way things were bought and sold in the old days in Israel to confirm the sale: Someone took off their shoe and handed it to the other and this was a witness in Israel. So the kin person said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself,” and took off his shoe. Then Boaz said to the leaders and the people, “Today, you’re witnesses that I’ve bought everything that belonged to Elimelech, Chilion, and Mahon from Naomi. So Ruth, the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, I’ll take to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead on the land of his people, so that the name of the dead won’t be lost from among his people and from the city where he lived. You’re witness of this today.”
[11-12] And the leaders and all the people that were at the gate said, “We’re witnesses. May Yahweh make the woman that is coming into your house like Rachel and Leah, who built up the house of Israel; and be worthy for you in Ephratah and be famous in Bethlehem. And let your house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar had for Judah, of the children which Yahweh shall give you by this young woman.”
[13-17] So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When they had sex, Yahweh let her get pregnant, and she had a son. And all the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be Yahweh, who hasn’t left you without a kin person, today, whose name will be famous in Israel. And he shall restore your life and take care of you in your old age because your daughter-in-law, who loves you, which is better to you than seven sons, has born him.”So Naomi took the child and laid it on her breast, and became its nurse. And her neighbor’s gave it a name saying, “A son is born to Naomi;” and they called him, “Obed.” He’s the father of Jesse, who is the father of David.
[18-22] These are the descendants of Pharez. Pharez had Hezron; Hezron had Rom. Rom had Aminadab; Aminadab had Nashon. Nashon had Salmon; Salmon had Boaz. Boaz had Obed; Obed had Jesse. Jesse had David.