In ancient Israel business deals often took place at the gates of the city. The elders and prominent men would gather there to advise, ensure fairness, and witness contracts. The morning after the midnight meeting with Ruth at the threshing floor, Boaz went to the city gates and found the closer relative who had the legal “right of first refusal” to marry (and redeem) Ruth. Once Boaz had explained the situation, his relative decided to pass on the opportunity, leaving the door open for Boaz to become Ruth’s husband and serve as her redeemer.
In an unusual contractual ceremony involving an exchange of footwear (v.7-8), Boaz officially redeemed the inheritance of Naomi’s deceased husband and sons. The deal involved not only a piece of real estate, but also responsibility for Naomi. And best of all, it involved marrying Ruth. It seems to me that while Boaz may have been “all business” earlier, he had developed romantic feelings for Ruth; he had fallen in love. The two married and had a son, Obed, who became the grandfather of David, the greatest king of Israel, and an ancestor of Jesus Christ! First came love, then came marriage, then came Boaz with a baby carriage (sorry…I couldn’t resist).
What an expression of the grace of God! In the first chapter of this book we find Ruth a broken woman, widowed and homeless. In the last chapter we find her as a part of God’s great family of faith and an ancestress of the Messiah (see Matthew 1:5). In the first chapter we find Naomi a bitter woman who had lost everything. In the last chapter we see that God had restored her joy and her future. And He will do the same for you — if you trust Him.