Friday, April 8, 2011

April 8 - Ruth 3:4

Naomi said to Ruth
Be sure to notice where [Boaz] lies down;
then go and uncover his feet and lie down there.
He will tell you what to do.
Ruth 3:4
It's all too easy to misread a foreign custom. For example, how many of us read about the bathed and perfumed Ruth, lying down with Boaz, and assumed something seductive?!
However, servants lying at the feet of a master was actually rather common. They shared scarce resources (blankets) and kept the masters feet warm at the same time.
When Ruth -- a poor, widowed, family member (by marriage), rather than a true servant --laid at Boaz's feet, she was saying, "I'm placing myself in your care." The perfume signaled that she was open to a marriage proposal -- though not necessarily from Boaz himself. 
The prescribed custom in Israel was for family to marry their brother's widow to keep the property and the offspring in the family. Therefore, a perfumed Ruth lying at her kinsman's feet was signaling to Boaz that 1) she was ready to be remarried, 2) was placing herself in his care for finding her a family husband.
It wasn't seductice. It was communicative. 
But it turned romantic!
But not until Boaz was first noble and honorable. He appreciated Ruth's loyalty to her in-law family. But he also appreciated the law. Therefore he first offered her, as was the custom, to another in-law who was first in line to inherit the land of Ruth's deceased husband (a big bonus) but also a wife (something he didn't want). Thus, when the other guy turned down the "proposal," an opportunity unfolded for Boaz and Ruth to be together.
They did things the right way -- each honoring God, family, law, and custom. And all were blessed -- including you and me -- because their eventual romance produced the line that brought us King David and Jesus Christ!
In Christ's Love,
a guy who likes
romantic comedies

No comments:

Post a Comment