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Article Info:
published: 3/31/13
updated: 2/27/14

Boaz



Who was Boaz?

In the Hebrew Bible or Christian Old Testament, Boaz was the Israelite husband of Ruth.

Boaz was a resident of Bethlehem and kinsman of Elimelech, Naomi's husband. In Rth 2:1 he is described as a gibbōr ḥayil , a phrase which can mean either "a mighty man of valor" or else "a man of position and wealth." The latter is probably the sense in which the phrase is applied to Boaz (compare 1 Samuel 9:1 ).

He had fields outside the town, and to them Ruth went to glean. Boaz noticed her and extended special kindness and protection to her, bidding her remain with his female workers, and charging the men not to illtreat her, and also giving her of the reapers' food at mealtime.

Boaz awoke one night and found Ruth lying at his feet. He praised her virtue, and promised to take charge of her if her dead husband's next-of-kin failed to do so. He laid her case before the next-of-kin, and finally redeemed the family property himself and bought as well the right to take Ruth in marriage.


The son of Boaz and Ruth was Obed, father of Jesse, and grandfather of David. 1 Chronicles 2:11 , 1 Chronicles 2:12 makes Boaz a descendant of Hezron, and so probably a chief of the Hezronite clan in Bethlehem. Jewish tradition identifies Boaz with Ibzan ( Judges 12:8-10 ). Boaz "is set before us as a model of piety, generosity and chastity" (H. P. Smith, Old Testament History , 398). He found virtue and rewarded it.

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