Today’s reading begins with Ruth meeting Boaz and concludes with the genealogy of Ruth.
After returning to Bethlehem from Moab, Naomi and her daughter-in-law began to live their new life together. Ruth took advantage of one of the long standing traditions of the Hebrew people instituted in the time of Moses, collecting the fallen ears of grain left behind after the fields had been harvested. By Hebrew law, grain that had fallen was to be left in the field to allow the less fortunate among the Israelite people the opportunity to collect the grain. This form of welfare would be how Ruth would provide for her and her mother-in-law.
When Ruth came to the field of Boaz she began collecting the fallen heads of grain from the field. By the end of the day, she had been noticed by the owner of the field, Boaz. He took notice of her and he instructed his workers to intentionally let grain fall as they harvested in order that she might be able to collect even more. After telling her mother-in-law about the favor she had found with the owner of the field, Naomi inquired about the owner of the field. Upon learning that the owner of the field was Boaz she informed Ruth that Boaz was a kinsman who could act in the role as a redeemer.
When the people of Israel had come into the Promised Land, Moses gave instruction about how land dedicated to each of the tribes was to stay within the tribe so that each of the tribes of Israel would always have an inheritance among their people. In the case of Naomi and Ruth, neither Naomi nor Ruth could own the land because they were women and there were men available to redeem or claim the land for their tribe of Judah.
Naomi devised a plan whereby Ruth would ask Boaz to be the redeemer of their claim of land and thus take both of them into his care and marry Ruth. Ruth came to Boaz late in the evening and lay at his feet making it evident that she desired him. Boaz was startled awake and Ruth made her request to Boaz that he redeem her and her mother-in-law. Boaz agreed to do so and sent Ruth away while it was still dark.
There was another redeemer who was a closer relative to Naomi and Boaz needed to present the opportunity of redemption to him prior to being permitted to make redemption himself. When Boaz presented the opportunity to the closer relative and the relative accepted. Before finalizing the redemption, Boaz informed the redeemer that along with the land and care of Naomi, the redeemer of the land would also need to marry Ruth, a Moabite woman. Marrying a Moabite woman would be a mark of shame to a man of Israel because of the hostility the Israelites had for the Moabite people. Upon hearing that his redemption would come with the obligation to marry Ruth and raise up children with her, the redeemer refused and this cleared the way for Boaz to redeem the land and marry Ruth.
Once married, Boaz and Ruth had a child together by the name of Obed. Obed was the grandfather of the greatest king of Israel, David. In the line of David was the Savior of the world, Jesus the Christ of Nazareth. God does move in strange and mysterious ways, because along with a prostitute from Jericho, God also chose to include Moabite woman to be a part of the bloodline of Jesus.