A True Hero
Yael Eckstein | June 7, 2023
“Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I . . . if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the LORD lives I will do it.” — Ruth 3:12-13
As we celebrate the men in our lives this month, enjoy these devotions looking at the defining characteristics of godliness that we can glean from the biblical men of faith — and how we can pass on those values to our children.
Even if you are not a movie-goer, it’s hard not to miss one of the most popular genres — the superhero! This collection of heroes all possess great physical strengths or “superpowers” to go along with incredible courage and character.
But what is a “hero” really? The Bible, of course, is filled with great heroes. Men and women such as Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, and Esther are certainly on the list. Each of them achieved great things for God’s children and are known for their heroic actions.
But not all heroism involves great public acts. The Jewish sages over two thousand years ago taught: “Who is a hero? One who overcomes his inclinations” (Ethics of the Fathers).
Certainly, the biblical men and women above put the needs of the nation over their own private needs in a public way. But there is another kind of heroism that the sages were referring to. In the story of Ruth, Boaz was a different type of hero.
A True Hero
When Ruth suggested they marry, Boaz responded, “Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I . . . if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the LORD lives I will do it.”
Because Ruth was a childless widow, according to biblical law, the closest male relative had the first option of marrying Ruth and acquiring Naomi’s property as well. Only if this person, known as the guardian-redeemer, chose not to marry Ruth could Boaz step in and take his place.
From earlier in the story, we know that Boaz was attracted to Ruth and wished to marry her. But he was not the guardian-redeemer. Even so, Boaz did not pressure the guardian-redeemer. He didn’t try to convince him to forgo marrying Ruth. Boaz overcame his personal inclination and obediently followed the biblical law, even though it meant risking losing the opportunity to marry Ruth himself.
Boaz put aside his personal feelings for his desire to do the right thing, and ultimately, bring honor to God. Boaz’ quiet obedience made him a true hero!
All of us face choices between doing what is right in God’s eyes and our own inclinations. Making the right choice is the sign of a true hero.