time went on, Ruth began to realize that she did have feelings for Boaz. She
desperately tried to keep them in check and hide them from others, but it was
getting hard. Ruth often wondered if there were any feelings for herself in
Boaz’s heart. She highly doubted it, as he was a busy man and had so many
things to do; he would hardly have time for pursuing a wife.
Every afternoon, Ruth would head
home and she’d tell Naomi about her day. Naomi continually hinted about
something more happening between the two. Ruth was slowly coming around to the
idea, though it was still hard for her to think that this might be what God had
in mind. She often wondered that if she were to go ahead with Naomi’s plan,
would she be interfering with God’s plans? However, how can one interfere with
the master and creator of the universe? No one is interfering with anything;
they are just fulfilling what He has in mind. She would argue with herself
until she could hardly think. There was so much to consider when it came to her
God. How wonderful He was!
On one such day, she was gleaning in
Boaz’s field, and had been asking some of her questions to her new friends but
they were as stumped as she was. However, she was thankful for any information
she could gather.
Boaz walked by her and smiled. She
stood up and curtsied, bowing her head in submission. “How are you today, sir?”
“Quite well, thank you Ruth,” he
replied. “And how are you doing today? Has anyone bothered you?”
“Oh, no sir, not in your fields. I
want to thank you for your protection. I could never ask for anything more.”
Boaz looked at her and smiled tightly.
“Yes, well, I am glad you are so
happy. If there is every anything I can do to help you, do not hesitate
to let me know.” He quickly smiled at her and turned to leave. Ruth was puzzled
because he usually stayed longer and would invite her to lunch. “Thank you
sir!” she hurriedly threw in his direction, so he would not think her impolite.
Shaking her head, she went back to her gleaning, trying to forget the recent
As she walked home that afternoon,
she couldn’t stop thinking about the conversation with Boaz. There was nothing
strange, except that she had never lunched with him and therefore had no
leftovers to bring home to Naomi. She hadn’t quite come to the point where she
expected him to ask her to lunch, but it had happened so much that it was just
odd to not be asked. Had she done or said something wrong?
As she entered her house, she was
still puzzled, but decided not to bother her mother with her problems. Naomi
opened the door to greet her with a hug. “May God bless Boaz for his kindness
and praise Adonai for bringing you safely home to me once again!” Naomi’s
blessing, which never would have escaped her lips six months ago, brought a
smile to Ruth’s face.
“Thank you mother. Yes, Adonai is
good to us.” She pushed past her mother, went to the kitchen to put down her
grain, and began putting on her apron.
“Ruth,” Naomi came in and put a
loving hand on Ruth’s arm, “What’s wrong? You’re not your happy self. I can
tell when you’re down; you don’t hide it very well. Tell me what’s bothering
“Well, don’t laugh at me, Mother,
but I’ve been thinking about what you’ve been talking about, that nonsense
about Boaz and me.” Ruth tied her apron behind her back and took out a bowl to do
the mixing in. “Well, that’s what I used
to call it and what I always thought it was. Now, I think God’s been telling me
that it’s not foolishness and he’ll work through us if I obey him. Can this be
possible? Mother, am I going crazy to want such a thing?” Ruth, close to tears,
turned around and stared into her mother-in-law’s eyes. “When Boaz is near me,
my heart leaps like never before. I feel as if I am sinning because I’ve been
married already. I shouldn’t be having these feelings, but I am. What have I
done wrong that God would punish?” She sunk to the floor and began to cry. She
put her face in her hands and sobbed out all her frustration and anger. Naomi
sat down beside her, but she wisely let her cry. After a bit, she began to
“Ruth, daughter, love is not a
sin. It’s from God. He’s given you a second chance because your first love
died. Don’t punish yourself because you have feelings for a man once again. The
love of a man and a woman is beautiful; nothing can break it. Even death itself
cannot break it. However, it allows love to start over again. Our God has
opened up another door for you to enter in. Just think: if you were to marry
Boaz, you could carry Mahlon's name on to your children. God has shown you
wondrous things; do not let them drown in your doubt.” She put a comforting hand
on Ruth’s now steady body.
“Do you think God will punish me for
loving Boaz?” Ruth quietly asked Naomi, afraid of her answer.
“Daughter, no. God is a God of love.
He will bless it. You’ve done nothing wrong for him to be angry.”
“Well, what shall I do? Boaz could
never return my feelings for him. He’s so much more powerful, he could never
find it in him to love a foreigner.”
“Nonsense, daughter. You are kind,
beautiful, and full of God’s love. Any man not drawn to you is foolish. You
have the blue of the morning in your eyes and the kindness of a mother bear to
her cub.” Naomi lifted Ruth’s eyes to hers and vehemently whispered, “Don’t ever
let the Father of every lie tell you that you are worthless and that no one
cares about you. I lived in that lie for a long time; look where it brought me.
I had to get out of it and now,” her face lit up in a smile, “I’m happy. Don’t
make the same foolish mistakes I did Ruth.” Naomi was squeezing Ruth’s hands,
trying to get her point across. “If you don’t remember anything I’ve ever told
you, remember this. God can forgive a foolish heart, but if possible, don’t go
down the path of a fool. You will be happier. And do not repeat the same
mistakes I did. It would hurt me to see you follow in my footsteps.”
“Of course not mother. I’ll learn
from your mistakes. Adonai has brought us through our sadness and now he will
bring us through this. What do you think I should do if this is what God wants
of us?” Naomi stood up, very concentrated on the situation and began to pace.
“It is time you found a permanent
home, away from me. And Boaz will provide that home for you, no doubt. He is a
very close relative of ours, so the law implies that he must marry you and
continue on Mahlon’s name. He’s been very kind in letting you gather grain with
his workers. Perhaps there are some feelings within him for you.” Naomi
smiled at Ruth, who once again blushed.
“Please mother, stay on topic!” Even
though she scolded Naomi for saying such things, Ruth couldn’t help but be a
“All right, Ruth, calm down,” she
said with a teasing smile. “He’ll be at the threshing floor tonight, as the
wind is just perfect. He needs steady wind, not too gusty or too strong. I also
know that Boaz winnows the barley by himself. He enjoys having alone time and
the threshing floor allows him that pleasure. Here is what you must do, my
“Wait, Mother, how do you know Boaz’ll be at the
threshing floor tonight? What if you’re wrong?”
“Don’t worry dear Ruth. He will
be there. I know these things. Now, listen carefully. You must take a long
bath; get all the dirt and grime of the day off. Then put on some perfume. I
have some by my cot. You can use it.”
“Shhhh, let me finish Ruth. This is
important. No more interruptions!” scolded Naomi, quickly shushing Ruth’s
interjections. “You must dress in your nicest dress. Do not be modest in
choosing the right garment. Then, go down to the threshing floor, where Boaz
will be. But, you must not be seen by him, not until the right moment.”
“When is the ri_”
“Ruth! Enough, let me finish! You
are not to let Boaz see you. Let him finish his dinner so he is content. Then
you are to watch where he goes to lie down. Make sure you don’t choose
the wrong man if there are others there! Once he has lied down, go and uncover
his feet and lie down there. Now, what is it you want to say?” Ruth had begun
to pace and was looking a bit worried.
“Why should I lie at his feet? What
will that accomplish except that I wish to be with him, in, well, the wrong way?
It’s not my time to be with him yet, that needs to wait until after marriage.”
Ruth stopped pacing and looked straight into Naomi’s eyes. “I will do nothing
that will anger my God. Do not make me do anything that I will regret, Mother.”
“Of course not!” laughed Naomi.
“You’re doing nothing wrong. Let me explain. By lying at Boaz’s feet, you are
presenting yourself as a humble petitioner seeking your landlord’s protection.
Furthermore, and more importantly, you are proposing a marriage. You have
uncovered his feet, letting the draft make him a bit uncomfortable. He will
awake in the dead of night when all people that could be there are gone. It
will give you both the privacy you need to talk of what you want to do. This
will go well for both of you in the end, even though there is some secrecy.”
“But, what if he doesn’t return the
favor? I couldn’t bear Boaz's refusal. I could never work in his fields again!
I’d rather die than stop working in his fields!”
“Don’t be so dramatic Ruth. You’re
worse than the cow giving birth. God will work things out. Boaz has been very
kind to us, to you, and he is your relative. He knows that our laws state that
a close relative is to marry a widow so that the name of the deceased husband
will be continued. He will not refuse you.” Naomi went over to Ruth and put her
hands on her shoulders in a comforting gesture. “Let the Lord guide you. If you
feel as if this is wrong, then by all means, do not do it. But, if you
feel that God will bless this, then do it with no fear. The all powerful God of
Israel will be with you because you are now his child just like I am.” Ruth
smiled at her, suddenly feeling new confidence in the secretive plan.
“Yes mother, I was wrong to question
you for the Lord has spoken through you. Thank you for your insight and
honesty; I will do everything you have said and pray that God will look kindly
on us.” Ruth pulled her mother-in-law’s aging body close to hers and they stood
in each other’s arms, enjoying the presence of each other.
Ruth had washed, gotten dressed, and
adorned herself with the perfume and jewelry that Naomi very kindly loaned her.
The hopeful woman was ready to carry out the rest of the plan. Quickly eating a
small dinner, she kissed Naomi and then left for Boaz’s fields.
Because the floor was at the bottom
of the hill, there were many hiding places where Ruth could observe the actions
of those coming and going, but they could not see her. She found a spot to sit
where she was comfortable. She saw some workers finishing the gleaning and
getting ready to leave, but there was no Boaz. Doubts flashed through her mind.
What if Naomi was wrong when she said Boaz would be at the threshing floor? How
sure was she actually?
I can’t back down now, I’m here
all dressed up and ready for the night! If this is something that you want me
to do, give me courage and strength God!
She moved into a more relaxed
position and waited for her master to approach. She spent the time praying,
both thanking her father for all that had happened and praying for blessings on
what she was about to do. About half an hour later, as the sun was setting,
Ruth saw Boaz approaching the threshing floor. Her heart began to pound as she
realized the time was coming nearer for her to boldly pronounce her marriage
She gulped and attempted to swallow
her flutters. She remembered what Naomi said about making sure that she saw
where he lied down so she would not propose to the wrong man. As she watched
the man that she had come to love, her eyes melted. He was going around and
talking to the workers who were still finishing up. He was so bold, sure of
himself, and full of God. How could he ever come to love someone like her? She
began to doubt again, but she knew that if she entertained those thoughts she
would back out and Naomi would be very disappointed in her.
Ruth made herself think about other
things so that she would not lose her courage. She thought of the days with
Mahlon and how much they loved each other. She thought about the times when she
and Naomi cried together because they had no one else to go to. She thought
about all the times that Adonai had come and comforted her, giving her just
what she needed.
Ruth’s eye’s flickered up to check on
where Boaz was. She didn’t want to lose him among the other workers. He was
still talking to a man so Ruth decided to move around so she could watch him
without straining her neck. She wondered if all her moving around would dirty
her dress, but as she thought about it, no one would notice a few dirty marks
on the garment at midnight. The appointed time was racing nearer, but right
now, Ruth felt peaceful about what she was going to do. Adonai had answered her