A Real Man (Ruth 3-4)
Here is Boaz, he has eaten and drunk and his heart is merry (likely a euphemism for having had at least a little alcohol). He gets into bed and a woman crawls in with him.
Now Ruth is young, beautiful, loyal, hard-working, and a Moabite (a people group the Jewish people at this time have little respect for). She is everything a man could ask for, and she is of a class of people no one cares about. Further she has only an elderly mother-in-law to look out for her. She is incredibly vulnerable, and she is lying at his feet, in his bed, at night.
Boaz could very easily take advantage of her, and then claim he mistook her for one of the prostitutes who often hung out around the fields at harvest time when they knew the men did not go home, even though he knew she did this with the hope of marriage.
But he doesn’t.
He protects her.
Instead of immediately kicking her out of his bed, he allows her to stay with him until morning, because he knows she is safe in bed with him. (This is true purity.)
He then protects her reputation. He wakes up early, or perhaps does not sleep, to make sure she is on her way home before too many people realize what she has done. He also warns his men not to let anyone know that there was a woman there.
Before she leaves, he provides her with grain. He knows she has not had a good night sleep and will likely not be in the best condition to glean, so he takes care of her needs.
He praises her. He assumes the best. He does not berate her for doing this, but instead looks at the situation through a positive lens. She could have gone after younger men, and there is the unspoken assumption she could have become a prostitute, or loose woman. Instead she turns to a man she believes is the one who is right for her, who will be her kinsman-redeemer. He does not assume she is a gold-digger or someone trying to trap him into marriage. He assumes the best.
He takes care of her problem immediately. It is the middle of the harvest, a time that is so busy that the men sleep on the threshing room floor instead of going home, but he puts his needs aside to make sure that she is cared for.
He obviously wants her, but he goes about things the right way. There is another relative who has a claim on her. He approaches this man and makes sure that he has permission to pursue her.
He knows that marrying her comes with obligations, and he is willing to accept those responsibilities. He will have to buy back her father-in-law’s fields and care for them for a son who will bear another man’s name. His first son will not be known as his, even though he will be the father who raises him, and he must hope for a second son to inherit and care for the lands he has loved and worked hard to make prosperous. He will have to train two sons as heirs, splitting the time between the needs of each estate. He will be a busy man until these boys reach manhood, and he is already an older man, but he takes on these responsibilities with pleasure and allows his first son to be laid on Naomi’s lap when the child is born, indicating that legally he is hers, to inherit all that her husband had.
Boaz is a real man. He does not give into his lusts, and takes care of his responsibilities without complaint. Let us train our children to know that this is what a real man looks like, and to eschew any teaching that implies the contrary.