Not only did Ruth eat at Boaz’s table and had food left over, Boaz also made sure that his servants put out bundles of sheaves for her to glean. She was not consigned merely to the leftovers, she was given the best of the harvest. Back in the city with Naomi, Naomi asked about her gleaning and, hearing about Boaz, Naomi explained that he was a close relative, a redeemer. This Old Testament term has special significance in that the redeemer, actually the goel redeemer, was the close relative who would marry a childless widow and raise their first son as the heir of the deceased husband. Thus, the inheritance could be handed down and the first husband’s name could be passed down through the generations. Recognizing a good and blessed thing, Ruth “kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests” (2:23). There is another redeemer, Jesus, who has showered us with gifts and who keeps us. And knowing a good thing, we stay close to him. On that one occasion, “Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life’” (John 6:67-68). Indeed!
Under His wings I am safely abiding;
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him--I know He will keep me,
He has redeemed me and I am His child.
Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever. -- William Cushing (1897)