Malala, Ruth and Shoes

The biblical story of Ruth crossed my mind twice this week. The first time was when Malala Yousafzai was explaining how she thought she might defend herself when she initially learned that the Taliban had issued a death threat against her. Her first thought was that she would throw a shoe at an attacker.

The reason that this reminded me of Ruth’s story is that Boaz sealed a deal – which allowed him to marry Ruth – by accepting the sandal of another man who relinquished the right to redeem property that he had a higher claim to. There is more to the story than that, but the point is it involved a shoe in a way that we don’t comprehend in our society. Malala’s story may have been no more than a funny mental image to a westerner, but to a Muslim it would be an extreme insult. Malala herself soon discarded the idea because it would make her no better than her adversary. Her final decision was that she would explain to her attacker why she believes that education is important for all children and that she also wished it for the children of her attacker. Then she would let him do as he will. This extraordinary young woman did not have the opportunity to say what she had planned on the day she was shot, but now the entire world has heard.

The second reminder was more direct. Yesterday’s sermon was based on Ruth, specifically about her relationships with Naomi and with God. Ruth is one of the few women specifically named in Jesus’ genealogy, noteworthy because she was a foreigner and for the foreshadowing of redemption.

My very first attempt to write an Arch-style story was the story of Ruth told from the perspective of Boaz. I enjoy telling stories from the viewpoint of what may seem to be a background character. Since CPH has waived rights to the story, I would like to share it here. I hope that you enjoy it.

Kind Farmer Boaz

Boaz was a farmer;
He owned many fields.
He thought about barley,
Weather and yields.

He employed many workers
To harvest his crop.
Their job was to clear
The grain from each stalk.

They worked through each row
With hardly a sound.
As grain filled their bags,
Some spilled on the ground.

So that grain was not wasted,
The poor came to glean
The grain that had fallen.
They picked the fields clean.

Boaz knew all the gleaners
Except one woman there.
She appeared to be foreign;
He wondered from where.

He learned from a worker
From Moab she came
With Naomi, his relative.
Ruth was her name.

Ruth’s love for Naomi
Touched Boaz’s heart.
He wanted to help her,
But where should he start?

He called Ruth to see him,
His heart filled with pity.
He couldn’t help noticing
Ruth was quite pretty.

“Work with my servants.
Drink when you thirst,”
Said Boaz the farmer,
“No need to ask first.”

“You are too kind, sir,”
Ruth said in reply.
“Before I go back there
“I’d like to ask why.”

“Naomi is family.
You came a long way
To help her,” said Boaz,
“God bless you, I pray.”

Later Ruth told Naomi
What Boaz had said.
“He’s a kind and good man.
He’ll see that we’re fed.”

Naomi rejoiced!
“Yes, he is a good man.
Now stay in his fields,
For I have a plan.”

Naomi asked Boaz
For a change in his life,
And kind farmer Boaz
Took Ruth for his wife.

They had a son, Obed,
Who had a son, Jesse.
From his son, King David,
Came Joseph and Mary.

So through kind farmer Boaz
and Moabite Ruth,
Came Jesus, our Savior,
The Way and the Truth.

Kind Farmer Boaz by Sara Hartman, all rights reserved.

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