Was It Leap Year?

Michael Wilcock

READ : Ruth 3:8-9

“Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” (v. 9)

It would seem to us that between them the two women have put Boaz in a highly
embarrassing position, not to say a thoroughly compromising one. He, meanwhile, sleeps the
sleep of the just after a day’s work well done and a satisfying supper—until he wakes
up (literally) to what has been going on.

A woman lying at his feet! Who? And why? Ruth, of course, asking him to “spread the
corner of his garment over her.” The Good News Bible translates this euphemism bluntly as
“Please marry me.”

I wonder in how many countries around the world such a thing would happen today. In
mine, the “tradition” used to be that only on February 29 might the woman propose to the

This chapter has nothing to do with Leap Year. Ruth is simply appealing to a custom
that everyone in Israel knew. Boaz is a “kinsman-redeemer,” and she is asking him to take
up the same responsibility for her that her husband Mahlon had before he died.

The whole blueprint which God has laid down for the life of his people Israel is designed to make that sort of relationship possible. On God’s loving laws Ruth bases her hopes.


Lord, teach us to value your blueprint for our lives, for your sake—and for ours. Amen.