Boaz burst into the house this morning in such a state! I’ve rarely seen him like this.
He had been working late threshing the grain and decided to sleep in the barn. He frequently does this at harvest-time, it’s such a busy period on a farm. This year has been no different.
‘Boaz, be calm. What has happened?’ I asked him, sitting him down to bread and olives. Whatever had excited him, he needed to eat.
‘Oh ima, you’ll never believe it. I worked late last night as usual. When it got too dark to see, I ate supper and went to sleep. Around midnight I woke up. There was a presence in the barn with me, a woman lying at my feet.’
At this point he stopped, almost overcome with emotion.
‘Go on,’ I said, refilling his cup.
Boaz took a breath.
‘I asked who was there. And her reply…. Oh ima, it was Ruth.’
‘Ruth?’ I smiled to myself. This sounded like one of Naomi’s ideas.
‘She’s so wonderful ima. When I spoke to her in the fields weeks ago, I praised her for coming under the wings of the God of Israel for protection. Her eyes lit up at the time, it must have meant something to her. Last night she asked me to spread my wings over her.’
I gave a little gasp and reached for a linen to wipe my eyes. Ruth must really love and respect my son for her to ask him to marry her. This marriage will be a demonstration of God’s covenant love with His people. She’s taken hold of God’s kind heart not only toward His people but to strangers and outsiders.
‘What did you answer?’ I said.
‘I couldn’t get over how amazing she is, that she would ask me. Ima, I’m so much older. Yet she hasn’t run after a young man. I’ve loved her since I first saw her gleaning in my fields but kept it hidden because I didn’t think for one second I could ever hope for a relationship with her.’
‘This is a levirate marriage. Whoever marries Ruth must give her children to carry on her dead husband’s name, and must be someone within the family. Jethro is closer kin to Naomi than I.’
‘Oh.’ Even after all these years, I still come across customs in this culture that are new to me.
Boaz got up. ‘I’ll go and wash and change, and then I’m off to meet with Jethro and the town elders. I promised Ruth I’d get it sorted today.’
I pressed my hands together. Oh what will happen? Please Lord, work this out for Boaz and Ruth.