Bible Stories for the Young


Family Redeemer and Brother’s Keeper


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Boaz : Family Redeemer and Brother’s Keeper

Once Ruth and Naomi got back to Bethlehem, they had no way to make money and no way to buy food. Ruth decided to do something about that.

So Ruth went into the fields and gathered extra stalks of grain that had dropped on the ground behind the workers (other poor women were doing this too). While she was doing this, the owner of the field came out to see how the work was going. His name was Boaz.

Did you know?

But, let’s back up for a second. Do you remember Rahab? Well, after Rahab became part of God’s Family, she married an Israelite man, and their baby was Boaz. But now Boaz was all grown up, and this field where Ruth was gathering grain belonged to him.

“Hi everyone! God be with you!” Boaz said to all the harvesters.

“And God Bless YOU!” they all said back to him.

Then Boaz noticed Ruth. He had never seen her working in his field before. Boaz was a Godly man, so when he saw Ruth working in his fields, he wanted to find out who she was and make sure she was well cared for. He asked his manager, “Under whose care is that young lady?”

The manager explained all about Ruth and how she was kind, and polite, and what a hard worker she was. Boaz told the manager to drop extra stalks of grain on the ground for her so that she would have plenty. Boaz also told the manager to make sure she stayed very safe, and to let her drink from their water jars.

Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Please, come back to my field every day to gather food! Don’t go to other people’s fields because that might be dangerous. I’ve told the manager to make sure you are taken care of, so stay here where it is safe and work with the other ladies.”

Ruth bowed down and asked, “Why are you being so good to me, Sir? I’m a foreigner — from Moab.”

Did you know?

In the past, the people from Moab had not been very kind to God’s Children. When God’s Family came out of Egypt, the Moabites would not give God’s Children food and water. Also, they were the ones who had tried to get Balaam to curse God’s Children. So God had said that no Moabite people could become part of God’s Family for 10 generations. But, as we know, God can both make the rules and break the rules. So let’s see what happens.

Boaz could see that there was something special about Ruth. She was coming to God, to Truth. Boaz answered her, “Oh, dear young lady, I’ve heard all about what you’ve done for Naomi since the death of your husband — how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you didn’t know before — God’s People! I can see that you have come to God for protection, so may God bless you… May you be rewarded by God Himself, under whose mighty wings you have come to take shelter.”

Ruth thanked Boaz for being so kind and for speaking such encouraging words to her.

She went home that night and brought Naomi all the barley she had gathered that day. She told Naomi, “Today I gathered in the field of a man named Boaz. He was very kind to me!”

Naomi clapped for joy! “Boaz! He is a close relative of mine! He’s a kind man. And even more than that, he is our family’s redeemer. Keep working in his fields because you’ll be safe there.”

Did you know?

Have you ever heard of a family or kinsman-redeemer? In God’s Law, the kinsman-redeemer was a close relative of the husband in a family. If someone in a family got in terrible troubles because of some disaster, the kinsman-redeemer was like a protector for them. He was supposed to redeem or buy back that family out of their disaster. Maybe the person in trouble owed someone a lot of money. Or if a man had died and left his wife with no money and no children, then the family redeemer would buy all the land of that household and take responsibility to protect the lady as his wife and help her have children since her husband was gone. Pretty special plan, huh? Just one more way God was showing that His Family is supposed to take care of each other. You are your brother’s keeper.

But even though Boaz was Naomi and Ruth’s family redeemer, as far as we can tell, he was just being kind to Ruth because he was a Godly man. He’d never mentioned being their family redeemer, and neither had Naomi or Ruth.

But when the harvest time was almost over, Naomi had an idea of a way to remind Boaz that he was their family redeemer.

Naomi’s idea was for Ruth to go find Boaz and lay down at his feet while he was sleeping. (Does that sound kind of funny? Yeah. I know it does.) But that night, when Boaz was in his field, Ruth watched to see where he lay down to sleep. Once he did, she tip-tip-tiptoed over, uncovered his feet, and lay down on the ground right there next to his cold toes!

The funny thing was that he was so tired that he didn’t even notice… at first. Then, all of a sudden, when he rolled over, “What? Who? Woah! Woah! Woah! Who is laying on my toes?!”

Then Ruth answered, “It’s Ruth. Your young servant girl. Will you please spread a part of your covering over me? According to God’s rules and ways, you are my family redeemer and protector.”

Boaz was very surprised to find Ruth sleeping on his toes! But what she was asking was really surprising. Boaz was much older than Ruth, and some people might think she shouldn’t get to be part of the family at all since she was a Moabite. But Boaz knew Ruth didn’t even have to be here. She could have gone back to Moab and found another husband to take care of her, someone who was young or rich. But, Ruth had chosen to stay with Naomi because she wanted to be near God! Ruth had chosen God’s Family and ways as her own! So she wanted Boaz, her kinsman redeemer, to take care of her, to cover her like a warm blanket covers cold toes, just like God’s laws and ways said. It was like she was saying, “Without my husband’s covering, I’m cold like your toes. Will you please cover me with just a small piece of your covering since you are our family redeemer and protector?”

Boaz saw Ruth’s heart of love and devotion to God, and he wanted to take care of her. He said, “The Lord bless you, my daughter. This act of kindness is even bigger than all you have done for Naomi: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. Don’t be afraid, my daughter. I will do for you everything you’ve asked. All the people of the town know that you are a woman of noble character. It’s true that I am a protector-redeemer of the family, but there is another man who is more closely related than I am. In the morning, I will talk to him. If he wants to do his duty as your family protector, good, we’ll let him redeem you. But if the other man is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives (and He does!) — I will do it.”

That next morning Boaz went to the other man who was the first in line to be a protector for Ruth. When Boaz told him the situation, at first the other man wanted to buy and redeem the land. But once he found out he would have to take care of Ruth as his wife too, he told Boaz, “Uh, no, I can’t take care of the land and Ruth, too. You do it.”

Then the man took off his sandal. (Back then, that was the way people made a deal. Sort of like a handshake.) Boaz happily took the sandal and said loudly for all to hear, “It’s a deal. I will buy it all and take care of it all as my own — the land and the lady, Ruth!”

So, Boaz took Ruth as his wife, and they had a little baby boy named Obed. Obed became the father of Jesse. And Jesse became the father of King David. (You’ll learn much more about him soon!)

Do you think Ruth ended up in Boaz’s field just by accident? No. God was involved all along, wasn’t He?

Because Ruth had made a choice to never leave God, God made a way for Ruth to become part of His Family. And not only that, Ruth was picked for a special job. Israel’s future kings would come from her… from King David, all the way to Jesus.