27 December 2020 PM – Ruth 3:1-18 – Ru20 – Scott Childs
Introduction: In our culture, it is a young man’s privilege of proposing to the young woman that he desires to marry. I have fond memories of the cool spring day that I asked Melody to become my wife.
This evening, we are going to see that in certain circumstances in the Jewish culture, the woman did the proposing.
Transition: Here in the third chapter of Ruth, I want to examine five parts of this unique story and then draw some types and principles from it that ought to encourage our souls.
The Unusual Laws (3:1-2)
a. We have already looked at the laws
1) The first is the kinsman-redeemer law. The kinsman-redeemer had to be a close relative who was rich enough to buy back the land of his poor relative who had to sell it in desperation. He also had to be willing to buy back the land. It was not mandatory.
2) The second was the marry-the-widow law. In this law, a widow could ask one her husband’s brothers or close relative to marry her and give her a child in her husband’s name (cf., Deu 25.5-10). This law had at least two goals.
a) God wanted to protect womanhood. If her husband died and left her with a farm, she needed help to make a living on the farm.
b) God wanted to protect land ownership. Without this law, she might marry a man of another tribe and her land would become the possession of another tribe.
3) Naomi decided that it was time for Ruth to seek a kinsman-redeemer and a new husband. As far as she was concerned, Boaz was the man for the job. Being older, he may have been an old Batchelor or a widower. He was winnowing barley on the threshingfloor. The oxen pulled a sled over the grain to loosen the seeds, and then the farmer forked it into the air to separate the seeds and blow away the chaff.
b. Let me illustrate the second law
1) Suppose there was a man of the tribe of Benjamin named Gemeriah who had three brothers. He began showing an interest in a young woman down the road. When his brothers found out, they called for a family council. They asked, “Gemeriah are you thinking of marrying that young woman down the road?” He said, “Yes I am.” They responded, “We do not like the idea. We think that young woman is unusual.” He said, “Well, too bad, I like her unusual ways. I think she will make me a fine wife.” His brothers replied, “Do you remember the marry-the-widow law? If you marry that unusual young woman, and then you suddenly die in a farm accident or in a battle with our enemies, she will come and asked one of us to marry her. We do not want to marry her.” Gemeriah said, “You guys worry too much. That won’t happen.” “Maybe not” they said, “but if it does and she asks us to marry her to give you a child, what are we to do? If we refuse, she will take us to court, pull off our shoe and spit in our face. That is a shame that we do not want to endure.”
2) As you can see, this law had a good side and a bad side depending on who you were.
God cares about all of our needs.