Boaz – Word Nerd Wednesday

Melissa rejoins us for this week’s Word Nerd Wednesday post on the final name we’re studying in the Book of Ruth–Boaz. Don’t miss the other two posts… Ruth and Naomi.


Today we get to the final name of this little series of posts from the Book of Ruth. 

Boaz means “swiftness” or “strength is within him.” He was the son of Rahab and Salmon, a relative of Elimelech, Naomi’s deceased husband. He lived in Bethlehem, which means “house of bread.” The fifth generation after Boaz was King Solomon. And when he was building the temple, the left of the bronze pillars on the porch was named Boaz. This could have been an honor to his great great grandfather, but also means pillar of strength.  He was referred to in Ruth 2:1 as gibbor hayil. This phrase can mean “a mighty man of valor”, or “a man of position and wealth.” The word hayil was also the same word Boaz used when he called Ruth a worthy woman on in their conversation on the threshing floor. 

In Boaz’s first conversation with Ruth he goes above and beyond the requirements of the Jewish Law to show her “hesed.” This is a Hebrew word we discussed last week on Ruth, meaning kindness, goodness and faithfulness. He had heard about her from the townspeople and knew of her devotion to Naomi. The field hand explained her hard work and Boaz responds by promoting her to gather alongside his workers and keep that which she collects. He offers her protection and water for whenever she is thirsty. At mealtime, he gave her a place at the table with the harvesters and she ate until she was satisfied. 

Naomi’s Plan

After this encounter Naomi instructs Ruth to go to the threshing floor and how to approach Boaz to ask for him to do the work of the kinsman redeemer and marry her. His reply is humble and full of integrity. He is humble because he blesses her for coming to him, an older man, instead of seeking a younger man to marry. He is humbled by her humility. He has great integrity because he admits immediately that there is another kinsman closer than he. He asks her to stay and says if the man will agree to marry her, fine, but if not he surely will do so. In the morning when she woke he protected her and sent her away with her shawl heavy with 60lbs of barley. 

As Ruth returned to her mother-in-law, Boaz heads straight into town to resolve the matter. 

He goes to the village gate and sat there. The kinsman came along and Boaz bid him to sit with him, then another 10 men were gathered to witness the exchange. Boaz was wise and began with a piece of land Naomi wanted to sell. But soon after he adds that Ruth the Moabite is also part of the deal and this is a deal breaker for the other man. He does not want to lose his own inheritance, so Boaz will aquire from Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech, Kilion and Mahlon and marry Ruth. 

Here the villagers and people at the gate agree they are witnesses to the transaction. And they bless him.

Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the LORD will give you by this young woman.” 

Ruth 4:11–12

Boaz and Ruth Marry

So, Boaz married Ruth and they had a son together. And this was not for his own benefit. It was to give Mahlon a lasting name and show hesed to him. Boaz was a wise, respected, worthy man. We know that the benedictions of the Book of Ruth were said as prayers with the expectation that God would accomplish them. 

In Ruth 1:9 Naomi to Orpah and Ruth;

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. 

In Ruth 2:2 Boaz to Ruth;

 “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!” 

And in Ruth 4:12, the people and elders to Boaz; 

“ and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the LORD will give you by this young woman.” 

We see, in Ruth 4 :18, that God heard these prayers and answered them. 

“Now these are the generations of Perez: Perez fathered Hezron.” 

Ruth found rest and security in the house of a new husband. The Lord repaid her for what she had done, and Boaz’s family became like the family of Perez through the descendants the Lord gave him. 

God is in control and his purposes are always good.

He keeps his promises and cares for the needy including the poor, the widow, and the resident foreigner. He is able to bless beyond what we will ever know in ways we cannot even fathom. Have you taken refuge under the wings of the Lord? Have you trusted the Redeemer? Do you worship and glorify the Sovereign One? If so, express it through prayer like those in the book of Ruth. Lord, help us to trust your perfect timing and your perfect ways because you are able and you are good. Amen.


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