“I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” And he said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask,…
Remember when Boaz told Ruth she had sought refuge under the wings of the Lord, the God of Israel? Now here is Ruth asking Boaz to spread his wings over her.
Boaz had already taken on this role toward her. The legal requirements for a “kinsman redeemer” in Ruth’s situation are not actually spelled out in the Scriptures. And it is quite up for debate to scholars if what was being asked and what Boaz did even ties to the laws that are mentioned in Deut. (….surprise, to all of us who have heard the term and thought it was rock solidly spelled out somewhere.)
But here’s the deal. Boaz was a man who lived beyond the requirements of the Law – he lived out the intentions of the Law. He was a guy Jesus would have given an A+. In following God, Boaz was already a faithful, kind, generous protector of Ruth from the day he met her. He didn’t need some formal agreement. He just did it.
I think that Naomi knew about the system but took particular note of his kindness. Certainly she could have known that there was someone closer than Boaz (he knew right away) but she did not act on any “legal” basis to ferret that person out. Instead I think she saw a Godly man who lived out his kindness. Only then did she institute a meeting and gave Ruth her instructions. (Besides, Naomi knew her God. He was the gaal of Israel – over and over.)
Ruth, no doubt was nervous. Maybe she didn’t fully understand the customs but she had thrown in her lot with Naomi from the beginning. She trusted her and actually relied on her guidance before this. But Ruth too probably felt she knew Boaz by his actions – in the same way he knew her.
What I love about this encounter is that Boaz is overjoyed to be asked! It makes me realize how God must feel when I come to him – to be cared for, protected or redeemed. He has been my Boaz all along but in that moment – when I choose Him – He is overjoyed! WOW!