The Romance of Boaz and Ruth

This will be my last post for a while. I hadn’t written on my blog in over a year. It turns out I’d had a lot to say! Starting in September 26th I wrote a post almost every day. For the past 35 days I’ve written 33 posts (including this one). Each post was on average 4 pages long, that’s about 132 pages. My last 4-page post was 1856 words long. I’m estimating that half of those words were from the bible. This means I’ve written an estimate of 33,000 words total. That’s about half a novel!

In the publishing industry, a novel is considered to be between 75,000 and 100,000 words. It is obvious that I have the will and desire to write, and write daily. I guess I should get back into writing fiction. I can conceivably write a novel every 2 and a half months! 

I already have so many unpublished works that I could finish.

This means taking a break from my blog for a while and writing in private. 

I’ll have to come back and edit my work here. Most of what you’ve read has been my first or second draft (not to mention a few rough drafts). So, it is littered with typos and issues of incorrect tense usage.

It has been very therapeutic to bare my soul out, as it were, and speak on part of the strange life I’ve led (I haven’t even told you half of it). I also have much more to say on the romances in the bible. There are for example: the wives of David. The wives and concubines of Solomon, oh and his Shulamite beloved from Song of Solomon (how does that even work and why did God choose Solomon to write the most romantic book ever, and yet he is a polygamist king!).

Okay, I should at least answer that one. 

The Laws and Histories of the Bible

Here’s the thing about the bible, it doesn’t shy away from sin and wrongdoing. Unlike most ancient writings of that time, any histories you read embellish their kings to godhood.

There are verses in the bible that speak out of God’s perfect plan which was presented with Adam and Eve. A man is to have one wife, the two shall become one. That’s very clear language there, but controversial figures like Solomon are also spoken of in a raw and honest way. 

In Deuteronomy Moses warns that the future kings of Israel should only have one wife!

The history of David and Solomon (found in 1 and 2 Samuel) and the later kings (found in 1 and 2 Kings) show that this warning was not followed.

And here’s another interesting thing about Solomon. God ordained that he was to live out many different types of lives and philosophies.

Throw all of your other books away philosophy majors. The book of Ecclesiastes is all you need! Here Solomon speaks about all the evil philosophies of the world! He tries working hard, he tries wisdom, he tries giving into all of his desires. He laments these things and finds them all to be meaningless and a chasing after the wind. Fear the Lord and worship Him! This is the only meaning to life that he can find.

And so Solomon himself preaches against polygamy. Towards the end of his life he laments giving into all of the desires of his flesh.

So, why did God choose such a flawed man to explain the intimate love between a husband and a wife found in Song of Solomon? God uses broken people. In this case, He used a broken family.

For we are all fallen short of His glory. In His wisdom he chose a man who would live through multiple lives in his day and age. One of those lives was to experience the true love of a single wife. And like the fool he was, he threw it all away for the lusts of his flesh! But God gave this fool enough wisdom so that he could not hide from his foolishness. Solomon was compelled to speak about it in the end with the book of Ecclesiastes.

But let’s move away from such foolishness and do a brief study on the book of Ruth.

So, without further ado, here is my commentary on one of the most fascinating and pure romances recorded in this fallen world.

Your People Are My People

The book of Ruth begins in grief but ends in redemption! First the grief.

The book is set in the days when judges ruled the Israelites. There was a famine in the land, and so a man of Bethlehem moved his wife Naomi and their two sons to the country of Moab. There, the sons took wives. Naomi’s husband died tragically. They lived there about 10 more years before both her sons also died.

Chapter 1

6 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food. 7 So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. 8 But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. 9 The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. 10 And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” 11 But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? 12 Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, 13 would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me.” 14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

15 And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” 18 And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.

They returned to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.

Love at First Sight

Chapter 2

Now Naomi had a relative of her husband’s, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. 2 And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” 

I don’t think Ruth meant favor as in marriage. Such a thing would be too much to hope for! But I believe she felt that since Boaz was a relative of Naomi he might let her gleam upon his fields in safety.

Of course, who is to say what is in her heart! No doubt she also had some fantasy of him finding more than just that type of favor with her.

3 So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech. 4 And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!” And they answered, “The Lord bless you.” 5 Then Boaz said to his young man who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?”

And so, when Boaz saw who it was he showed favor to Ruth. He told her to gleam from his fields alone and drink water along with his worker. He even forbade his young men from touching her. She must have been strikingly beautiful! Why else would he favor one such as her?

No doubt this might have been true, but let’s hear his response when she asks him.

10 Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” 11 But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” 13 Then she said, “I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.”

Ruth was a woman of great character. So, he asks her to eat with him. And she ate until she was satisfied.

15 When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16 And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”

So Ruth spoke all of this to Naomi. Naomi reveals that he is a kinsman redeemer. And so the little hope Ruth holds in her heart grows a little more. Could the favor of Boaz turn into marriage?

22 And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you be assaulted.” 23 So she kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests. And she lived with her mother-in-law.

A Post #metoo Dating World

What are the rules of dating after the scandal of Harvey Wienstien and others? People like him were predators, chasing after women and abusing their power to get what they wanted. They were and are narcissists that greatly abused the rules of dating (if you want to even call it that).

It’s no wonder that after Wienstien was outed, other women came forward telling similar tales of abuse! Of course there were also false accusations as well which is a very evil thing. But to the accusations that stuck, it proved that the rules of how men pursue women, well we need something new.

The book of Ruth is set in a lawless time. It was a time when Judges ruled and everyone did what they thought was right.

The biblical book of Judges chronicles similar situations where women are taken advantage of, especially towards the end. Just read about the civil war starting in chapter 20. It was a gruesome affair beginning and ending with women taken advantage of and many other sins besides. 

The book of Judges never condones such abuse. It speaks against these acts in the final verse stating in 21:25, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

And right after Judges, the book of Ruth begins, telling a redemptive love story in the midst of the lawless time of the Judges.

Our lawless culture needs to learn what we can. 

So I ask you, how should men honorably pursue women in a post #metoo world?

Don’t believe the lies. That there are still honorable men out there. There are plenty of Boaz-type men. And because of the #metoo movement, they are more than likely going to, out of honor, not pursue a woman they like. Their fear is a real one. First they don’t wish to pressure a woman into loving them. The old days of James Bond narcissistic chasing of women are (thankfully) over.

So, what is to be done when a man likes a woman and that woman likes the man? Would asking her out might be unseemly? He doesn’t know. In this I fear many confident narcissists can take advantage of a woman. “He didn’t make a move” is no longer an excuse the woman can take. 

And so the old model of women waiting for the man to make their move… well, I think this needs to be reevaluated in context with the book of Ruth.

I mean, how many books and songs must a man write to get her attention? How many times must Ruth gleam in Boaz’ field before a romantic love can take hold? At some point someone needs to make a move.

And I tell you again. A man of honor in this day and time, simply won’t.

Enter the Wisdom of Naomi

Chapter 3

Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you? 2 Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. 3 Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.” 5 And she replied, “All that you say I will do.”

Ladies! If you find an honorable man, and you like him a lot, and he likes you… follow after the wisdom of Naomi. He must be honorable now. This is seen through practical actions, not flowery words. 

In some cases, testing for his honor means ignoring how he treats you. Pay attention to how he treats others, especially strangers. How does he treat his mom and other women? What do other honorable men say of him? 

Beware the false suitor. If there is another suitor interested in you, what does he say of the man you have fallen for? Test the two suitors wisely now.

In a love triangle, oftentimes slander is used to sour your love for the other. It is the false suitor’s hope that you might go for him instead based upon this slander and lies. The character of George Wickham from Pride and Prejudice comes to mind here.

Also test how the one you have fallen for treats the false suitor. Does he treat him honorably? If he is a Christian then he will treat even his enemies for your affection with a Christlike love and kindness. 

Beware the flatterer. Love is a practical thing. It is not made of flowers, though it is soft and kind like flowers are. And so flowery words can be said. But what actions lie behind the flowery words? Is he patient? Is he willing to admit when he is wrong? Is he long-suffering? Is he long-suffering? Is he looooooooooong-suffering?

If you find yourself falling for an honorable man, don’t wait for him to make a move your way. The honorable man is saddened by the #metoo movement. He is crippled by it. And so it was with the honorable Boaz.

And I ask you, how long must you test a man before he is seen to be honorable? A year? Two years? Three? At some point you must realize, it is the honor you cherish which has kept him from making a move your way. 

Honor Him

Honor such a man by making a move yourself!

Now as for the warning, if he is not an honorable man, do not attempt to move in his direction in any way shape or form.

6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her. 7 And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. 8 At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! 9 He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” 10 And he said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. 11 And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman. 12 And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I. 13 Remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the Lord lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.”

An honorable man will go to great lengths as Boaz does, to move aside any walls that stand between him and her. In the case of Boaz there was a legal barrier, and he immediately took care of it!

Are you tired of waiting on your honorable man, on your Boaz to make a move? Make your own move. Let him know how much you long to be with him. I tell you this, once an honorable man knows he is loved, he will do anything it takes to make that love possible! Whatever the barrier will be, he will cross it! Be it, war, famine, parents, legal issues, slanders, or anything else. He will take care of it. And he will do so HONORABLY!

But none of this will happen until she makes a move. I’m speaking of a proactive obvious move his way. She must show that she will commit to loving him. Commitment is the key here. No games. Just good ol’ honest commitment. Such a thing takes courage. So take on the courage of Ruth and do it!

An honorable man can not say no to that!

It must be an obvious and practical response. It cannot be hidden in games. It must be real and true and steady and honorable itself.

In short, ladies, if you wish to have an honorable man, show him honor.

At some point the testings must stop. You must move his way. This is the only way forward. 

A thousand flowery poems would not be enough to move the heart of a woman who keeps hiding and testing and remaining passive. What would one more poem or song or love story do? At some point a practical response must be made!

If you love him… show him love. It’s as simple as that!

Chapter 4

13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. 14 Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! 15 He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” 16 Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse. 17 And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

This eventually led to the birth of Jesus. And so from the book of Ruth, it was God’s will to use a young woman’s gumption to make a move to an honorable man. The Lord greatly rewarded that gumption!

Ladies, I implore you. Find an honorable man and make your move!

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