Pastor Debra Isenbletter
Ruth 3:12 – “And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.”
With these words Boaz assures Ruth and informs Ruth. That he was indeed her kinsman. Boaz doesn’t act surprised or shocked – he already knew this. He may have known exactly who Ruth was and his responsibilities the moment he first met her. He assures her, then he informs her and warns her. He makes two wonderful statements of assurance and acceptance. First he says: “it is true” and then he says: “I am thy near kinsman.” Remember the word for “kinsman” is “kinsman-redeemer” – there are two rights that Boaz must exercise in the work of redemption towards Ruth and Naomi. He must redeem the property that belonged to Naomi’s husband and he must redeem the person that belonged to Naomi’s son. In the redeeming of Ruth there was the responsibility of marrying her, supporting her and bringing forth children by her. Both of these responsibilities were costly!
Ruth approaches Boaz with the Word, with Truth, it is the “word of truth” (2 Cor 6:7; Eph 1:13; 2 Tim 2:15; James 1:18). Boaz agrees, he says “it is true,” Jesus said this repeatedly using the word “verily” and in the gospels (30 times in Matthew; 15 times in Mark; 8 times in Luke and 50 times in John and in John always repeating it twice. He knew what was true and comforted others by telling them the truth. Boaz will use this truth to prove and test another man, another “kinsman,” one who will not be able to redeem. Boaz goes on to say “I am thy near kinsman.” In the first part of that statement is seen the declaration of who he is, a wonderful picture of Christ. He says “I am,” this reminds me of all the times Jesus said “I am” in each statement He shows the ways He meets our needs as our “kinsman.” Look at the 7 wonderful “I am” statements in John (John 6:35; 8:12; 10:7,9; 10:11,14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1,5) and you see a perfect picture of the kinsman redeemer!
Boaz knew the full responsibilities of what a kinsman redeemer must do. Jesus knew the full responsibilities of being our Redeemer, He knew what it would cost Him and He took those seven steps down from Glory and Equality with God and became that Obedient Servant and died for us! (Phil 2:7-8). When God said – Who will I send? Isaiah said: “Here am I, send me” (Isa 6:8); that is a picture of what Jesus said and did, of His willing obedience. The Father had sent Him and He said, “Lo I come to do thy will, O God.” (Heb 10:9). Jesus repeatedly through the gospels says He was sent by the Father, by God. (1 times in Matthew; 1 times in Mark; 3 times in Luke; 33 times in John). There would be a cost for Boaz, a price he must pay to redeem both the land and the person of Ruth, but he was willing to pay it!
Before Boaz can do what Ruth asks of him, he informs her and warns her that there is another kinsman. He says: “howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.” Boaz knew what Ruth did not, that there was another. We do not know who this man was, we only know that Boaz says he is a “nearer” kinsman than he is. This shows Boaz had already been thinking about Ruth and his responsibility. Boaz doesn’t say to Ruth – Go to this man first. Instead, he will tell Ruth he will do this for her! This shows that Boaz wants to be her kinsman and her husband!
Ruth 3:13 – “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.”
Instead of immediately sending Ruth home, Boaz says to her, “Tarry this night,” Boaz asks Ruth to stay, to “abide,” to “continue” in his presence. Boaz tells her to “tarry” and later Naomi will tell her to “sit still.” Sometimes this is hard to do, but this is all that she has to do. This is simply waiting on the Lord to do what we cannot do. Waiting on the Lord is an important part of our experience, our growth and the exercising of our faith. We are to “wait on the Lord and “be of good courage” (Psa 27:14); we are to “wait on the Lord” and “keep his way” (Ps 37:34); we “wait on the Lord” in expectation, knowing “he will save” (Prov 20:22). When we do this we are actually doing something although it looks like we are doing nothing!
How long is Ruth to “tarry”? She is to tarry “this night,” or “all night.” Boaz doesn’t send her away at night but in the light. It is night but she is not alone, she had Boaz, she has hope. She is to “tarry” until the morning, it is then that Boaz will act on her behalf. So we have here a wonderful picture of a time of quiet communion and rest between Boaz and Ruth, it is a time of promise and expectation on her part. From this point on, this is all Ruth needs to do, “tarry.” Like Ruth, we learn to do this, we learn to “tarry” or “abide” (1 John 2:28), to “occupy” (Luke 19:13) until Jesus comes again. I don’t believe what Boaz asked Ruth to do she felt it was a burden, I believe it was a blessing. When we do this, wait or tarry on the Lord, He lifts the burden from off our shoulders, and bears it for us. What a weight was lifted off Ruth!
Boaz will not hurry and will not rush, but he also will not tarry; he will not put off what must be done. He doesn’t rush away immediately, he waits until “the morning” or until “dawn” or “the break of day” and then he acts. Jesus began His day early in the morning, that is when he prayed (Mark 1:35) and that is when He taught (Luke 21:38). The Lord has a perfect time for everything He does and it is always the right time. There is also a promise in the words “it shall be…morning.” The promise is that there will be morning, the night will end! The promise is Boaz will do this as soon as the sun rises. The promise is that Ruth’s circumstances will change. There is the same promise to us, during the “night” or dark times of our lives. There may be uncertainty or sorrow at night but the promise is that “joy cometh in the morning.” (Ps 30:5). For both evening and morning Ruth has been assured and comforted. She will see his “faithfulness every night” and his “loving kindness in the morning” (Ps 92:1-2).
Boaz gives her hope and a promise when he says the words; “and it shall be. He tells her what he will immediately do! Though Ruth must “tarry,” Boaz will not. There are two scriptures with the word “tarry” in them that show what happens will happen at the right time, in God’s time. Habakkuk says to wait for the vision, that “it will surely come, it will not tarry” (Hab 2:3). Paul wrote the Hebrews saying “he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” We are to wait patiently, though it may seem like nothing is happening, by faith we know the Lord is working behind the scenes.
What does Boaz promise? He promises to talk to this kinsman and let him choose what to do. He can choose to fulfill his obligation. He may be willing: “that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well.” If he is willing, he must do all of it, all that is required. Boaz says: “let him do the kinsman’s part.” Let him do it, do everything that is required, it must be all or nothing. Boaz goes on to say that he can choose not to fulfill his obligation: “but if he will not do (all) the part of a kinsman to thee,” notice the emphasis is on “thee,” on Ruth’s need. He could refuse because he could not do it, or because he would not do it. If this kinsman refuses because he cannot or will not, Boaz promise Ruth that he will do it: “then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee.” He says “I will do the part” or “act the part.” One translation reads: “only I am redeemer” or “assuredly I am redeemer” (Keil). Boaz knows, just as Jesus knows, that only he is able to redeem, there is no other! To further assure Ruth, Boaz swears an oath. He says: “as the Lord liveth.” He swore by the Living God! Gideon said this when he swore to kill those who killed his brethren (Judges 8:19); Saul said this when he swore to Jonathan he would not kill David (1 Sam 19:6) but he broke his vow. Jonathan said this to David when he swore to warn him of Saul’s intentions. (1 Sam 20:21) and Elisha said this when he swore he would not leave Elijah (2 Ki 2:2,4,6). To say “as the Lord liveth” and attach it to a promise to do something was a solemn vow. Boaz bound himself by an oath to take her as his wife if the other kinsman refused.
Finally, notice that the word “kinsman” is repeated four times in this verse and the word “thee” (referring to Ruth) is repeated three times. Ruth is in need of a kinsman, and the benefits and blessings that only this kinsman can bring are for Ruth and Boaz is this kinsman, he is the one who can redeem her fully and bless her fully. There is no other! Jesus is our kinsman-redeemer, only He can fully redeem us and there will be a group, a wonderful portion of the church that will lay claim to all that the kinsman redeemer will do for them, they will lay claim to Jesus as Ruth laid claim to Boaz and like Boaz, Jesus tells us to “tarry this night,” that there will be a “morning” and in the morning there will be a wedding! Praise the Lord!