Ruth 3:12
Yes, it is true that I am a kinsman-redeemer, but there is a redeemer nearer than I.
A Woman's InfluenceW.M. Statham Ruth 3:12
Respect for Others' RightsJ.R. Thomson Ruth 3:12, 13
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.

Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter .... I will do to thee all that thou requirest
The passage before us gives a copious illustration of the first-fruits of grace to the accepted soul. Jesus welcomes, blesses, and abundantly rewards all who thus come unto Him. First we have Divine approval. Boaz does not reject or repel the lowly suitor at his feet. The difference in their outward conditions was great. Yet he neither chides her boldness, nor reproaches her with sorrow, nor refuses her plea. He listens to her prayer in kindness. He invokes the Divine blessing upon her in her need. And how his whole address to her illustrates the Saviour's gracious approval of those who seek Him! When the wearied soul comes to the feet of Jesus this is ever the welcome of approbation which it receives. The Saviour takes immediate notice of the prayer which rises up before Him, and answers it with the kindest encouragement. Boaz next illustrates for us the Divine promises. He meets the full requisition of his suppliant. There is not a want which the Christian feels for which there is not a provision promised in the Word of God. And when we come to ask His mercy, and lay ourselves at His feet in humble dedication to Him, the Saviour takes all our concerns into His own hands, and Himself promises to provide for every need. Another of the first-fruits of grace which we find in this illustration is the bounty of Divine gifts. Boaz not only promises for the future, but he bestows in the present. He will not send Ruth away empty. He fills her vail with as much barley as she could carry to her mother. An abundant supply for the wants of both. He is as generous in the amount of his liberality as he is is delicate and free in the manner of its bestowal. Thus the Saviour richly and freely bestows His gifts of grace upon those who love Him. What sweet peace He pours into the conscience in the assurance of our forgiveness! What clear light He gives to the understanding of His whole method of salvation and scheme of truth! What solidity He bestows upon the judgment in its satisfaction with His plans revealed! What joy He awakens in the heart, in the hope and anticipation of His final glory! How He makes our whole path a path of increasing light and abounding peace! In Him we are never straitened. The more diligently and truly we wait upon Him, the more abundantly will our strength be renewed. He will freely say to us, like Boaz to Ruth, "Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it." Whatever we are ready to receive He is waiting to bestow. But the illustration from the vail of Ruth fails, in the important fact that its measure was fixed, but our capacity to hold increases with our receipts of the Divine bounty. And who shall tell where God's gracious willingness to bestow shall find its limit? As faith enlarges, and we learn to expect large things, and to attempt large things, so also becomes enlarged the measure of grace which faith receives. The history before us illustrates the Divine fidelity. With what confidence Naomi trusts in the truth and faithfulness of Boaz! The result proved that her confidence was not misplaced. He did complete with entire success the work of protection and mercy which he had undertaken. It is upon such entire fidelity in our gracious Kinsman that we are required to place our trust. "Great is His faithfulness." "His name is called faithful and true."(S. H. Tyng, D. D.)

Thou art a virtuous woman
1. Observe, to begin with one of her humblest virtues, Ruth's industry. She accompanies Naomi to the land of Israel; but not to live on public charity or become the humble pensioner of affluent relatives. Reared in the lap of luxury, she has never learned to work; yet in a noble spirit of independence she resolves to earn her bread with her own hands. We have called this a humble virtue, not because we hold it cheap, or do not regret that under the debasing influence of our poor-laws and the self-indulgent spirit of the age, it is dying out of the land. One of the saddest phases of the times is that, for themselves or their parents, thousands now accept and even clamour for public charity who, less than a century ago, would have scorned to touch it. We call it a humble virtue, because, notwithstanding the degeneracy of the age, it still dwells in many a lowly home, stamping those with a true nobility who feel the bread taste sweet their own hands have earned, and, looking forward with a Christian's hope to the rest of heaven, are content here to live to work and work to live.

2. Observe next her humility. On losing their fortune some retain in a silly pride what but aggravates the loss, rankling like a thorn in a bleeding wound. An empty sack cannot stand erect; yet they inflict misery on themselves, and not seldom wrong on others, by the mean and even dishonest things they de to keep up appearances. Deeming some honest but humble work beneath their dignity, they buy what they cannot pay for, or borrow what they cannot return. Ashamed to work, they are not ashamed to live on the fruits of others' industry rather than their own. There is something inexpressibly mean in this; and worse than mean. It argues a spirit of rebellion against Him and His providence who setteth up one and putteth down another. How different from this un-Christian and rebellious spirit the humility of Ruth! How beautiful it is! Willing to engage in any honest work, however humble, she bends like a reed to the blast, bows her gentle head meekly before the majesty of heaven, and, meeting her trials like a Christian heroine, drinks off the cup mingled and presented by her Father's hand.

3. Observe her affection to Naomi. It wrings Ruth's heart to part with sister, mother, and country; but it would break it to part with Naomi. She cannot do it. The ship may sink; but, mailing her colours to the mast, she will sink or swim with it. Death only shall apart them: nor death — the last favour her lips shall ask, that they lay her in Naomi's grave. Nobly did Ruth redeem the pledges of this affecting scene. She teaches us, by what she was to Naomi, what we are to be to Christ; how we should cleave to Him — how we should love Him — with what devotion of heart and body, of soul, strength, mind and spirit we should serve Him, and gladly spend and be spent for Him — saying, as we take up our cross to follow the lover and Redeemer of our souls, "Where Thou goest,"etc.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

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