Ruth 3:12, 13
And now it is true that I am your near kinsman: however, there is a kinsman nearer than I.
The situation in which Boaz found himself was very singular. All that he had heard and all that he had observed of this young Moabitess had impressed him favorably. His language and his conduct show that Ruth had made an impression upon his heart. And it was honorable to him that it was so. Her youth, her beauty, her misfortunes, her industry, her cheerfulness, her filial devotedness, her virtue, her piety, all commended her to the judgment and the affections of the upright and conscientious Boaz. And now, with the most perfect modesty, and in the presentation of an undoubted claim upon him, Ruth offered herself to him as his lawful, rightful wife. What hindered him from immediately complying with her request, and taking her to his heart and his home? There was one impediment. Another had, if he chose to exercise it, a prior claim. Another had the first right to redeem the field of Elimelech, and to espouse the heiress, and raise up seed to the departed. And until this person - the nameless one - had exercised his option, Boaz did not feel at liberty to act upon the suggestion of his heart.
I. PERSONAL FEELINGS ALWAYS INCREASE THE URGENCY OF THE CLAIMS OF SELFISHNESS. "By nature and by practice" men seek their own interest. But experience shows us that strong emotion increases the danger of our yielding to such impulses.
II. WHERE PERSONAL FEELINGS ARE CONCERNED THERE IS NEED OF WATCHFULNESS AND PRAYER. It is so easy to wrong others for the sake of our own gratification, that it is well to question the arguments and pleas by which our interests are commended. Boaz must have been tempted, in the circumstances, to say nothing about the nearer kinsman, but quietly to accept the proposal of Ruth.
III. TRUE PRINCIPLE, AIDED BY THE POWER OF RELIGION, WILL ENABLE A MAN TO DO THE RIGHT, EVEN THOUGH HIS OWN INTERESTS AND HIS OWN FEELINGS ARE OPPOSED TO SUCH A COURSE. Boaz gained the victory over himself, and consented to abide the issue of an appeal to the nearer kinsman, although he risked thereby the loss of Ruth. Many of the highest illustrations of the nobility possible to man turn upon some such situation, and the course which honor and virtue prescribe is the course in which true and lasting happiness will be found. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.