The Glossary of Terms



Dictionary of the Bible, Second Edition

Edited by James Hastings, revised by Frederick C. Grant & H.H. Rowley (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1963)

Boaz. A wealthy Bethlehemite, who became the second husband of Ruth, when the nearer kinsman refused to marry her (Rut 4:1-10). This marriage was clearly not strickly a levirate marriage, but indicates that in the absence of a brother-in-law a more distant kinsman might undertake the duty. By this marriage Boaz became the ancestor of David and thus of our Lord (Rut 4:21f, 1Ch 2:12, Mat 1:5f, Luk 3:32).

Harperís Bible Dictionary

edited by Paul J. Achtemier (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1985)

You are strongly recommended to add to your library the excellent revised edition of Harper's Bible Dictionary titled, The Harper Collins Bible Dictionary, Revised Edition [book review], edited by Paul J. Achtemeier, with the Society of Biblical Literature (NY: Harper Collins, 1996). It is currently the best one-volume Bible dictionary in English, and it is available at Border's Books, Christian Science Reading Rooms,, or


1. A land owner in Bethlehem in Judah who lived Ďwhen the judges ruledí (twelfth century b.c.) Israel and whose story is told in the book named after his wife, Ruth. He was kind to Ruth, a Moabite widow of his kinsman Mahlon, whose mother, Naomi, was the sole survivor of an Ephrathite family. Boaz extended protection to Ruth, a foreigner, allowing her privileges normally extended only to female clan members. When Boaz celebrated the conclusion of the harvest by consuming a nightly meal on the threshing floor, Ruth asked him to accept her into his immediate family and to redeem Naomiís land. Boaz, however, agreed to take her as his primary wife. After a brilliant legal maneuver at the city gate, Boaz also succeeded in obtaining the right to redeem Naomiís land. Boazís first son by Ruth, Obed, was pledged as Mahlonís, thus perpetuating the memory of the deceased upon his estate. Obed was also deemed Boazís first son and thus served to link Boazís ancestry in the tribe of Judah to Obedís grandson, David the king. The book of Ruth took pains to give Boaz favorite status by placing his name in the seventh slot of Davidís genealogy (4:18-20; 1 Chron. 2:9-15; cf. Matt. 1:3-6; Luke 3:31-33).

2. One of two bronze pillars placed at the entrance to Solomonís Temple.

The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible

edited by George Arthur Buttrick (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1976, Volume 1, pages 450-451)

Boaz. A wealthy and virtuous Bethlehemite, related to the family of Elimelech, whose inheritance he redeemed and whose daughter-in-law, Ruth the Moabitess, he married. It was in one of the fields of Boaz that the widowed Ruth chanced to glean when she had returned with Naomi, her mother-in-law, to Bethlehem. When Boaz met Ruth, he insisted that she glean exclusively in his fields and gave evidence of his deep appreciation for her noble character by showing her every consideration (Ruth 2).

These studied kindnesses, no doubt, prompted Naomi to suggest to her daughter-in-law that she ask Boaz to perform the duty of the next of kin. Accordingly, as Boaz guarded the grain at his threshing floor during the night, Ruth arrived there in festal garb and lay down at his feet while he slept. When Boaz awakened, he solemnly declared that if the one who was nearer of kin to Elimelech than he should refuse, he would gladly assume the right of redeeming the inheritance of the deceased (Ruth 3).

The next day Boaz had publicly transferred to him the right of redemption, which had been refused by the nearer kinsman because it involved a levirate marriage with Ruth. This marriage Boaz joyfully contracted, and in due time a son named Obed was born of the union (Ruth 4).

The genealogy of Boaz represents him to be of the family of Hezron of the tribe of Judah, and the great-grandfather of King David (Ruth 4:18-22; 1 Chr. 2:9-15; Matt. 1:3-6; Luke 3:31-33).

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