(1) A resident of Bethlehem and kinsman of Elimelech, Naomi's husband. In Ruth 2:1 he is described as a gibbor chayil, a phrase which can mean either "a mighty man of valor" or else "a man of position and wealth." The latter is probably the sense in which the phrase is applied to Boaz (compare 1 Samuel 9:1). He had fields outside the town, and to them Ru went to glean. Boaz noticed her and extended special kindness and protection to her, bidding her remain with his female workers, and charging the men not to illtreat her, and also giving her of the reapers' food at mealtime. Boaz awoke one night and found Ru lying at his feet. He praised her virtue, and promised to take charge of her if her dead husband's next-of-kin failed to do so. He laid her case before the next-of-kin, and finally redeemed the family property himself and bought as well the right to take Ru in marriage. The son of Boaz and Ru was Obed, father of Jesse, and grandfather of David. 1 Chronicles 2:11,12 makes Boaz a descendant of Hezron, and so probably a chief of the Hezronite clan in Bethlehem. Jewish tradition identifies Boaz with Ibzan (Judges 12:8-10).
Boaz "is set before us as a model of piety, generosity and chastity" (H. P. Smith, Old Testament History, 398). He found virtue and rewarded it. HPM, sections 501-8, gives a picture of the life of "a well-to-do landed proprietor of central Palestine," much of which could aptly be taken as a description of Boaz.
David Francis Roberts
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