“You have made this last kindness greater than the first.” (v. 10)
Something startled Boaz into wakefulness, but once he realized who the unexpected
visitor was, he was not startled by what she said. “Please marry me”? How bold, how
impertinent, we might have thought. But instead of being scandalized, or even embarrassed,
it seems he was (of all things) impressed.
What was it that impressed him? Her “kindness,” say the NIV and ESV, rather
misleadingly, as though she had taken pity on a poor old man who wanted to get married but
whom all the women avoided. True, Boaz was no doubt older than Ruth. True, she might have
looked for a husband who, rich or poor, would at any rate be younger than Boaz.
But she was not being “kind” to Boaz in that sense. She was showing “loving loyalty” (a
better translation of the Hebrew term) to the family. Unless Ruth could find someone from
within Naomi and Elimelech’s clan to marry her, their family would die out. Her personal
feelings took second place to that.
We have already seen it in this story. Naomi’s prayer for her daughters-in-law in
chapter 1 was that the Lord would show that faithfulness to them. He did; and Ruth at any
rate had learned to show the same kind of faithfulness to others.
Lord, teach us to be as lovingly loyal to others as you are to us. Amen.