Themes of Ruth, Part 4: Boaz’s Wisdom
In a recent group Bible study, we have been working through the book of Ruth. As we go, I’ve been using Judges, Ruth: Revised Edition (The NIV Application Commentary) | K. Lawson Younger 📚 for extra personal study. I’d like to share some thoughts and reflections with you as I’ve been traveling through Ruth. If you have not read the book recently, these reflections will make more sense if you spend 10 minutes and read the book first.
The book of Ruth speaks of Boaz as a “worthy man” (Ruth 2:1, ESV). This word in Hebrew is gibbor and is usually used to speak of a mighty warrior. In this context though, it certainly refers to Boaz’s strength of character rather than his physical strength. He is well-known as a man of character.
There are probably many men of character, though, right? In Ruth 1:1, we learn that this tale takes place during the time of the judges when everyone did what was right in his or her own eyes (Judges 17:6). There was a famine in the land, and it probably happened because of Israel’s unfaithfulness. But we can go even further: in Ruth 1:19-21, the women of Bethlehem talk to Naomi about her return, yet no one seems to lift a finger to help two widows without food. No one, that is, except for Boaz. When Ruth was gleaning the field, it seems likely as Boaz arrived, she was leaving, perhaps because she was being sexually harassed while trying to draw water for herself (this seems to make the most sense of Boaz’s words in Ruth 2:8-9).