kinsmanin verse 9 was evidence to Boaz that she respected her husband’s memory. Her concern in discharging the levirate law struck his heart; and all the more as, in his opinion, had she desired them, she might easily have found open doors in places where there was no connection of kinship with her deceased husband.
And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman. And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.—Ruth 3:9–10
Ruth did not go after any young man,
whether poor or rich. Above all, she preferred Boaz, her first husband’s
kinsman. Boaz was Elimilech’s contemporary. He was probably about the same age as Ruth’s deceased father-in-law. Verse 10 substantiates that Boaz may have been restrained from pursuing Ruth because of his age. He might have gotten hold of the idea that this beautiful young widow might reject him. However, instead of being the least bit offended by the steps she had taken, he was relieved, and felt full of gratification on the one hand, and of gratitude on the other. In fact, as he accepts her proposal, he goes on to let her know that he thinks of her as a virtuous woman.
And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.—Ruth 3:11
There’s a twist in this love story, however. The levirate law requires that the nearest kinsman redeem Ruth. There is a closer relative to Ruth’s first husband than Boaz. Boaz needs to make certain that the closer relative isn’t interested in fulfilling the requirements of the levirate law before he can seal the deal, so to speak, with Ruth and Naomi. He tells her to go to sleep and he’ll follow-up in the morning.
And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I. Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman’s part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning.—Ruth 3:12–13
Ever mindful to preserve the sterling reputation of this virtuous woman, Boaz sends her home early in the morning while it is still dark before people can know what happened and jump to conclusions about their relationship. He adds an extra blessing for Naomi and Ruth by giving them 6 measures of grain for their pantry.
And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor. Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city.—Ruth 3:14–15