Meeting at the city gate, Boaz and the next of kin make an economic transaction. Ruth experiences rejection from her next of kin. She is seen as a bad investment. But it is in that very moment that Boaz publicly accepts, affirms, and announces Ruth as his wife. This is a story about inclusion and exclusion. This is a story about welcoming the foreigner in your midst.
As both Naomi and Ruth remain alone, they propose a survival strategy for their future. At the climax of the story, Ruth risk her life by attempting a dangerous plan. She sneaks into Boaz’s room, uncovers his “feet”, and asks him to spread his cloak over her. She throws all of herself into this without knowing the outcome. Love is always risky. Will it be reciprocated? Boaz responds with an outpouring of acceptance, praise, and assurance for Ruth and her future.
Naomi is stripped of everything that gives her comfort and security. This unworkable tragedy leads her to doubt, disorientation, and deconstruction. It’s through this liminal space that her faith is broken and exposed. In that place, she experiences Hesed (extraordinary faithfulness and devotion).