At the Gate

Michael Wilcock

READ : Ruth 4:1-2

He took ten men . . . and said, “Sit down here.” (v. 2)

One of the pleasures of foreign travel is to see “far-away places with strange-sounding
names,” and with other strange things about them too. The book of Ruth has already
introduced us to a far-away world very unlike ours. Bethlehem itself would be
interestingly different from the towns most of us know. It would have a wall around it.
Inside, narrow streets would wind between close-packed houses. An open space for a market
would probably be not in the middle, but at the town gate.

Because people went in and out there, that was where everybody met, where the important business was done, and where the local council and the local court were held. It was a very public place.

That explains what Boaz did the next morning. He was determined that everything about his marriage to Ruth should be open and above board.

The principle is a good one. A modern way of putting it is that “justice must not only be done; it must be seen to be done.” The Bible speaks of “taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men” (2 Cor. 8:21 NIV). That is exactly what Boaz will do as he arranges his marriage to Ruth “at the gate.”


Lord, keep us today from doing things we should be ashamed to have publicly known. Amen.