Boaz saw a virtuous woman in Ruth when he discovered her gleaning grain:
Ruth 2:11-12 … I also know about everything you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband. I have heard how you left your father and mother and your own land to live here among complete strangers. May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.
Ruth’s husband was dead, Naomi had no other sons, leaving Boaz and one other man in town as Ruth’s (Naomi’s) ‘family redeemer’. Neither Boaz nor the other man had thought about it, although it must have been something they would have known if they had given it five minutes’ thought.
Boaz wasn’t surprised by the news, and again praised Ruth for her loyalty:
Ruth 3:10 The Lord bless you, my daughter! … You are showing even more family loyalty now than you did before, for you have not gone after a younger man, whether rich or poor.
John Henry Newman, an English minister, identified the benefits of virtue in the 1800s:
Virtue is its own reward, and brings with it the truest and highest pleasure; but if we cultivate it only for pleasure’s sake, we are selfish, not religious, and will never gain the pleasure, because we can never have the virtue.