Boaz ( ['bəʊæz] ; Heb. בועז) is a major figure in The Book of Ruth in the Bible.

Boaz in the Bible

He was a rich landowner who noticed Ruth the widowed Moabite daughter-in-law of Naomi, a relative of his, gleaning grain from his fields. He soon learns of the difficult circumstances her family is in and Ruth's loyalty to Naomi. In response, Boaz invites to her to eat with him and his workers regularly as well as deliberately leaving grain for her to claim while keeping a protective eye on her.

Eventually, Boaz and Ruth strike up a friendship which leads to Ruth asking him to marry her. Boaz accepts, but cautions that there is a family member who has a superior right to her hand in marriage. However, he arranges a meeting with the relative and in the presence of ten town leader convinces him to buy Naomi's husband's land. Once the relative agrees to redeem the land, Boaz informs him they in redeeming the land also requires him to take Ruth as his wife as was customary under the laws of Israel. This was so Ruth could have children who could carry on her late husband's family name and keep the land in the family. At hearing this stipulation the relative refused to buy the land for fear it would complicate his own inheritance (estate). At that point, he transferred his right to buy the land to Boaz. He did this by removing his sandal and handing it to Boaz. This was a customary symbol in Israel during this for anyone transferring the right to purchase. This was considered a public validation of the transaction. In this, the path was made clear for Boaz and Ruth to be joined in marriage. (Ruth 4:1-10)

Although Boaz is noted to be much older than Ruth in the Biblical account and he marries her for Naomi's sake, most dramatic adaptations have Boaz as a handsome young man so as to enhance the romantic nature of the story.Fact|date=June 2007

Their son was Obed, father of Jesse, and grandfather of David.

Boaz in the Rabbinic Jewish tradition

In the Talmud, some rabbis identify Boaz with the Judge Ibzan of Bethlehem ("Judges" xii.8). A legend is given that he lost all his sixty children during his lifetime because he did not invite Manoah, Samson's father, to any of the marriage festivities in his house. For, since Manoah was at that time without children, Boaz thought that he need not consider on such occasions a childless man who could not pay him back in kind (B. B. 91a).

According to the Talmud, Boaz was a just, pious, and learned judge. The custom of using God's name in greeting one's fellow-man ("Ruth" ii. 4) received the approval of even the heavenly court (Babylonian Talmud Mak. 23b; Yerushalmi Talmud Ber. ix. 14c; Midrash Ruth Rabbah to ii. 4).

The midrash "Ruth Rabbah" states that being a pious man, Boaz on his first meeting with Ruth perceived her conscientiousness in picking up the grain, as she strictly observed the rules prescribed by the Law. This, as well as her grace and her chaste conduct during work, induced Boaz to inquire about the stranger, although he was not in the habit of inquiring after women (Midrash Ruth Rabbah to ii. 5; Shab. 113b).

Boaz was especially friendly toward the poor stranger during the meal, when he indicated to her by various symbolic courtesies that she would become the ancestress of the Davidic royal house, including the Messiah (Ruth R. to ii. 14; Shab. 113b). As toward Ruth, Boaz had also been kind toward his kinsmen, Naomi's sons, on hearing of their death, taking care that they had an honorable burial (Ruth R. to ii. 20).

In the conversation that followed between Boaz and Ruth, the pious proselyte said that, being a Moabite, she was excluded from association with the community of God (Deut. xxiii. 4). Boaz, however, replied that the prohibition in Scripture applied only to the men of Moab, and not to the women. He furthermore told her that he had heard from the Prophets that she was destined to become the ancestress of kings and prophets; and he blessed her with the words: "May God, who rewards the pious, also reward you" (Targ. Ruth ii. 10, 11).

for more information see Boaz in Rabbinic Literature

Genealogy of Boaz

ee also

Boaz in Rabbinic Literature

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