Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Mathew 10:16
King Solomon was known for his wisdom, yet as we look at the beginning of Ruth 4, I believe Boaz too showed great wisdom from God. Boaz was on a mission. A mission to redeem Ruth as his bride. However, there is one who stands in his way, for there is another who is a closer kin.
So Boaz goes up to the gate and sat down. Now this is important, city gates were the main place of business and activity in biblical times. It was at the gates that business transactions were made, court was held and announcements were given. Knowing this, Boaz goes to the city gates and waits for the close relative to come. When this close relative arrives, Boaz greets him and ask him to sit and talk. Now, here we see the wisdom of Boaz, for he does not talk with this close relative alone, he takes ten elders and ask them to sit as well. Then Boaz begins his speech. Using the wisdom from God, Boaz begins by telling the close relative their relative Naomi has to sell the land she and Elmimelech had. He says, I wanted to inform you of this, in front of the elders. For if you want to redeem it, redeem it. But, if not I will. Well, this man is no fool, the chance to redeem land was a great thing and the close relative agrees swiftly to do this. Then, Boaz, knowing just when to tell him of Ruth, says, “On the same day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth the Moabites, the widow of the deceased in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance.” As was custom according to Jewish law (Deut. 25:5-10).
Can’t you just picture the scene. Here sits Boaz, he knows this close relative will want the land, so he lures him in and then as if an after thought, throws him the punch. That in order to get this land, he must also marry Ruth and have an heir for the deceased.
Immediately its as if you can see this man begin to sweat, and instead of being ready to redeem the land and Ruth, suddenly he says, “I cannot redeem it for myself, because I would jeopardize my own inheritance (v 6).” This man after realizing it was a package deal, no longer is interested in the land. Knowing the land would not be his, but would be the heir of the deceased. Easy come, easy go you might say. For the close relative is no longer ready to redeem the land.
I’m sure Boaz knew this would be the case. I find his tactics very wise, an idea I’m sure given to him by God. It wasn’t as if he did anything wrong, yet, he knew exactly what to say and how. So there in view of the ten elders, so it might be legal, Boaz says, ” You are witnesses today that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon. Moreover, I have acquired Ruth the Moabites, the widow of Mahlon, to be my wife in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance, so that the name of the deceased will not be cut off from his brothers or from the court of his birth place; you are my witnesses today.”
The close relative was only interested in the land, yet, Boaz cared not for the land, nor that the land would be the inheritance of Ruth’s child. He cared for Ruth and Ruth alone.
As children of God, we too are told to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. Jesus spoke often using parables, and was wise in how he would reply to the Pharisees. We too because of the Holy Spirit who indwells us as believers, have the wisdom that comes from God, when we are filled with the Spirit. Wisdom and discernment to know what to do, and how to do it. Wisdom to know what to say and how to say it. May we be wise in all that we do and in all that we say.