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Boaz

From Academic Kids

Boaz (בועז) is a major figure in The Book of Ruth in the Old Testament of the Bible.

He was a rich landowner who noticed Ruth the widowed Moabite daughter in law of Naomi, a relative of his, gleaning grain from his fields. He soon learns of the difficult circumstances her family is in and Ruth's loyalty to Naomi. In response, Boaz invites to her to eat with himself and his workers regularly as well as deliberately leaving grain for her to claim while keeping a protective eye on her.

Eventually, Boaz and Ruth strike up a friendship which leads to Ruth asking him to marry her. Boaz accepts, but cautions that there is a family member who has a superior right to her hand in marriage. However, he arranges a meeting with the relative and convinces him to buy Naomi's husband's land while forfeiting his right to marry Ruth to avoid complicating his inheritance with his existing heirs.

Although Boaz is noted to be much older than Ruth in the Biblical account and she marries her for Naomi's sake, most dramatic adaptations have Boaz as a handsome young man so as to enhance the romantic nature of the story.

Boaz in the rabbinic Jewish tradition

In the Talmud, some rabbis identify Boaz with the judge Ibzan of Bethlehem (Judges xii. 8). A legend is given that he lost all his sixty children during his lifetime because he did not invite Manoah, Samson's father, to any of the marriage festivities in his house. For, since Manoah was at that time without children, Boaz thought that he need not consider on such occasions a childless man who could not pay him back in kind (B. B. 91a).

According to the Talmud, Boaz was a just, pious, and learned judge. The custom of using God's name in greeting one's fellow-man (Ruth ii. 4) received the approval of even the heavenly court (Babylonian talmud Mak. 23b; Yerushalmi Talmud Ber. ix. 14c; Midrash Ruth Rabbah to ii. 4).

The midrash Ruth Rabbah states that being a pious man, Boaz on his first meeting with Ruth perceived her conscientiousness in picking up the grain, as she strictly observed the rules prescribed by the Law. This, as well as her grace and her chaste conduct during work, induced Boaz to inquire about the stranger, although he was not in the habit of inquiring after women (Midrash Ruth Rabbah to ii. 5; Shab. 113b).

Boaz was especially friendly toward the poor stranger during the meal, when he indicated to her by various symbolic courtesies that she would become the ancestress of the Davidic royal house, including the Messiah (Ruth R. to ii. 14; Shab. 113b). As toward Ruth, Boaz had also been kind toward his kinsmen, Naomi's sons, on hearing of their death, taking care that they had an honorable burial (Ruth R. to ii. 20).

In the conversation that followed between Boaz and Ruth, the pious proselyte said that, being a Moabite, she was excluded from association with the community of God (Deut. xxiii. 4). Boaz, however, replied that the prohibition in Scripture applied only to the men of Moab, and not to the women. He furthermore told her that he had heard from the Prophets that she was destined to become the ancestress of kings and prophets; and he blessed her with the words: "May God, who rewards the pious, also reward you" (Targ. Ruth ii. 10, 11).


Boaz was also the name of the northern of the two pillars that stood on the eastern porch or entrance before Solomon's Temple, the first temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 7:21; 2 Kings 11:14; 23:3). The southern pillar was named Jachin. The capitals on top of the columns were in the shape of lilies.he:בועז sv:Boas

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