Boaz meets Naomi's redeemer in the gate of the city. The gate was used for both protection and for the business of the city. Boaz begins telling the Goel (redeemer) about the land that he has the opportunity to redeem, and the Goel initially says, "yes". Boaz goes on to say that he must also redeem Ruth (see Deut 25:5-6), to which the redeemer declines due to potential inheritance issues. For example, if Ruth bore him a son, that son would eventually inherit not only the redeemed property, but probably part of his own estate too. This would "endanger" his estate.
In verse 7 we see that "to confirm a transaction, the one drew off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was the manner of attesting in Israel." (Deut. 25:7-10). The passing of the sandal symbolized Boaz's right to walk on the land as his property. So Boaz took off his sandal and made the transaction in front of the 10 witnesses. Boaz's giving money to Naomi to "acquire" Ruth was not the purchase of a slave but the payment of a bride price. This payment was a protection for the bride. The bride's family held the money, which would be given to her in the event of her being divorced or widowed. The witnesses blessed Boaz. "So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went into her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son."
Boaz is a beautiful illustration of Jesus, who became mankind's Kinsman-Redeemer and who makes things right before God the Father for those who trust in Him!
The book of Ruth is read every year at Shavuot, or the Feast of Weeks. It comes 50 days after the second night of Passover, and it marks the beginning of the wheat harvest, or first-fruits. It is connected to God giving the commandments to Moses, which is viewed as a marriage covenant between God and His people. Pentecost is observed 50 days after Jesus' resurrection, and is marked by God giving His Spirit to all who have given their lives to Jesus. It's no coincidence that the Spirit came at a harvest festival; and it's fitting that the book Jews still read today at that festival is Ruth-a story of an impoverished Gentile who became one of God's people by marriage to a man with an inheritance in the land. It's as if God was creating a picture over the centuries to represent His ultimate plan for the nations. He would bring a multi-ethnic harvest into His inheritance through a romantic redemption. It represents everything a marriage is meant to be: holy, heaven-sent, and heartwarming.
Every love story points to The Love Story.
Ruth and Boaz's son was Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, the father of Jacob, "the Father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ." (Matthew 1:16)
God uses all sorts of people to tell His love story. Ask the Holy Spirit to keep your heart soft to His leading this week. Let that overflow into your marriage, your home, and your work this week. Your life and your relationships are designed to tell a story of His love and grace.