Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Monologue for Ruth Chapter 4: The Man With No Name

We all want to be remembered, don’t we? Is there anything you hate more than having someone forget your name? And the person calls you “Buddy” or “Pal” or “Guy”
because you know he can’t remember your name.

So is it so wrong that I tried to do what I could to preserve my name. I suppose I should tell you my story so you can decide for yourself.

I believe you already heard about Naomi. She went to Moab with her husband and sons. Her sons married Moabite women. Her husband and sons died, and one of her daughters-in-law returned with her to Israel. And that daughter-in-law, Ruth began gleaning in the field of a relative of mine, Boaz.

Boaz brought me into the story. I was walking through our hometown, Bethlehem, by the city gate and Boaz called out to me. He was sitting with the town elders.

The elders are the old men who sit around all day long telling each other how much better things were when the Israelites were out in the wilderness.

Boaz told me he had good news. That the land of Naomi’s son’s land was for sale and I had the first option for redeeming it. I had been looking for ways to build my estate. I’ve always said you can’t lose with real estate. So before the elders, as witnesses to the transaction, I said, “I will redeem it.”

But then Boaz went into the fine print. I figured there would be more to the deal. Perhaps some kind of finders fee to Boaz for alerting me to the deal. But it was more than just a finders fee.

Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi and from Ruth the Moabitess, you acquire the dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.”

Now this was more than I bargained for. To take a foreigner, an alien as my wife. And not only that, the property would still be under someone else’s name. Legally, the land and my first son would take this other man’s name. I thought this deal would help me make a name for myself, but it would do nothing of the sort.

So I said, “I can’t redeem the land if it will endanger my own estate. Why don’t you redeem it yourself, Boaz?”

And then I saw a big smile on Boaz’ face, like this is what he had been hoping for all along. Which confused me. He was a man of property as well, wasn’t he concerned with his good name.. Marrying some Moab stranger. Maybe he knew something I didn’t, maybe there was an angle I hadn’t considered. But it was too late. I had yielded the opportunity to Boaz and the elders witnessed it.

So we made the transaction, as we did in our time. I took off my sandal and gave it to Boaz, the equivalent of signing a contract in your time. You have the stock exchange, we have the shoe exchange, it’s a whole deal.

Boaz said before the elders, “You are witnesses that I have bought the property of Elimelech, Kilion, and Mahlon, and I will take Mahlon’s widow as my bride to
preserve the name of the dead with his property so it will not disappear from the town records.”

And the elders blessed Boaz and prayed for prosperity for him and his new bride.

So Boaz married Ruth, and it wasn’t long before she conceived and than had a son, name Obed.

And everyone in town made a big fuss over Naomi saying, “Praise be to the Lord who this day has not left you without a kinsman redeemer. May he be famous in Israel. He has renewed your life. For your daughter-in-law (who is better than seven sons) has given birth.”

Now you would think this was the end of the story. But that son of Ruth and Boaz, Obed.. He had a son by the name of Jesse. And Jesse had a son by the name of David. Maybe you’ve heard of him? King David?

It just isn’t fair. I was the one concerned about my good name, I don’t think Boaz could have cared less. But when the account of this was written, Boaz’ name was spelled right, even Naomi, even Ruth the alien, but my name wasn’t even mentioned.

And when the account of King David’s descendant, Jesus of Nazareth, was written by Luke, he lists Boaz in the family line, and Matthew mentions Ruth as well
as Boaz.

But no one remembers my name.

We all want to be remembered. Don’t you?

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