Ruth 3 - Outline of Ruth (MENU page)
3:1 Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her,
My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee?
3:2 And now [is] not Boaz of our kindred
{HB=mowdaath, kinship}, with whose maidens thou wast?
Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.
3:3 Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee,
and get thee down to the floor:
[but] make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking.
3:4 And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie,
and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down;
and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.
3:5 And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do.
shall not I seek rest for thee...?- By 'rest', Naomi is referring to marriage. cp. 1:9
is not Boaz of our kinship...?- Not only was Boaz eligible as a Kinsman-Redeemer, but
by the Law of Levirate Marriage, he was also a potential husband for Ruth.
'Levirate' is derived from the Latin 'levir' meaning 'a husband's brother'.
(See Deu 25:5-10, 'brother' can be broadly interpreted: Lev 25:48,49)
Naomi took the initiative in this matter, since...
  • Naomi, having done her homework, was familiar with the legal possibilities.
    She observed the blossoming love between Ruth & Boaz. She knew that...
  • Ruth, being very discreet, would make no advances.
  • Boaz, had demonstrated his interest in Ruth by innumerable kindnesses,
    but, under the Law, he could not propose marriage to a Moabitess (eg., Deu 23:3).
    She, as his relative's widow, must first declare (1) her need of redemption (to an eligible 'goel'),
    and (2) her willingness that he perform the 'duty of a husband's brother'.
Naomi's instructions to Ruth addressed these things-
  1. wash yourself, anointing yourself (ie., with perfume), and put on {a change of} garment-
    Ruth, who had been in mourning for Mahlon, was to put off her mourning. Her heart is occupied with another. She is to turn from the dead to seek a living redeemer. She is to make herself pleasing to him. cp. Rom 6:11-23; 7:1-4
  2. go down to the threshing floor- ie., to claim him, to make a request for redemption.
    It was not enough for Ruth to believe that Boaz was able to redeem her. She must also request him to intervene for her, in order to claim the redemption that was available to her.
    Likewise, it is not enough that we believe the facts of God's Word regarding Christ's Person and Work. Each individual must also claim Christ as his/her savior, in order to receive His ''free gift'' of redemption (Rom 6:23; Joh 1:11,12).
the threshing floor- was usually a circular clay floor, surrounded by rocks, and
located on top of a hill, for better exposure to the wind.
- - In the winnowing process the sheaves were spread out on the floor, to be trampled under the feet of oxen or men. Then, men used flails to throw the grain up into the air, where the wind would carry the chaf away, and the heavier grain would fall to the floor for gathering. When the wind died down, late at night, the workers would have a good meal, and then retire for the remainder of the night on the floor. The men would sleep around the outside of the floor with their heads inward toward its center (like spokes on a wheel). This provided protection against thieves.
- - The Threshing Floor pictures the separation of that which is to be saved from that which is to perish, and speaks of the urgent need to claim redemption. cp. Psa 1:4-6; Mat 13:41-43
3:6 And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.
3:7 And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry,
he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn:
and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down.
Ruth did nothing questionable here. Naomi would not have asked her to do something improper.
She was simply to lay down at his feet, and pull a flap of his blanket over her feet also.
Ruth did these things in a public place with other workers very nearby.
This was not a bold or sensuous meeting. Rather it was a quiet and discreet means of giving Boaz opportunity to decline from the duty of a Kinsman-Redeemer. She could have prosecuted the issue publicly, but she did not wish to cause him embarrassment (Deu 25:7).
3:8 And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself:
and, behold, a woman lay at his feet.
3:9 And he said, Who [art] thou?
And she answered, I [am] Ruth thine handmaid:
spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou [art] a near kinsman.
{HB=goel}
3:10 And he said, Blessed [be] thou of the LORD, my daughter:
[for] thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning,
inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.
3:11 And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest:
for all the city of my people doth know that thou [art] a virtuous woman.
3:12 And now it is true that I [am thy] near kinsman
{HB=goel}:
howbeit there is a kinsman
{HB=goel} nearer than I.
3:13 Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning,
[that] if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well;
let him do the kinsman's part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee,
then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, [as] the LORD liveth:
{kinsman (3x) -HB=goel}
lie down until the morning.
3:14 And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another.
And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor.
3:15 Also he said, Bring the vail
{ie., cloak} that [thou hast] upon thee, and hold it.
And when she held it, he measured six [measures] of barley, and laid [it] on her:
and she went into the city.
Boaz, startled awake (perhaps by the cold, since Ruth had disturbed his blanket), then
frightened as he groped about to rearrange the blanket and discovered a woman at his feet,
blurted out, ''Who are you?''
''I am Ruth thine handmaid.''- She identifies herself in humility, and in relation to him.
cp. earlier answers as to 'who she is': 'a Moabitish damsel', 'a foreigner', 'not like unto your handmaidens' (2:6,10,13).
''Spread therefore your skirt over thine handmaid, for thou are a 'goel' ''.-
She makes her claim, by requesting the redeemer to redeem her.
- - Historically, the LORD sought to 'spread His skirt' over national Israel, through the Mosaic Covenant (the Law, Ex 19:5,6) which was meant to set them apart as His holy people. But they wandered from Him. Meanwhile, He has taken a Bride (composed largely of believing gentiles), by means of a New Covenant (of Grace) established by Christ, our Kinsman-Redeemer. In time, national Israel will be restored according to this Covenant (and in keeping with His Covenant with Abraham, Isaac & Jacob), when they recognise their Kinsman-Redeemer and request Him to redeem them. cp. Eze 16:8-15,59-63; Rom 11:11; Gal 3:17-24
Boaz' reply (v.10-13) indicates the extent of...
  1. his observation of her- She had not been chasing potential husbands.
    She had gained a reputation as a virtuous woman. cp. Prov 12:4; 31:10-31
  2. his preparation for this moment-
    • I will do... all that you {have spoken}... - He accepted the responsibility without hesitation. He had already considered its costs and complications. He would do so joyfully, because of love for her.
    • there is a ''goel'' nearer than I...- He had already researched the legal ramifications,
      and discovered that a closer relative (perhaps a brother to Elimelech) had a right that took precedence over his own right to redeem.
When does Boaz begin to 'spread his skirt' over her? Immediately! (Actually, much earlier.)
In continuation of his already active loving concern for her, he takes action to secure -
  • physical protection- 'Lie down until the morning'.
    He would spare her from the untold dangers of a jouney home at night.
  • provision- (v.15)
  • protection of her reputation- (v.14). He concealed her visit from public knowledge.
    Boaz was careful not to disgrace Ruth. The nearer kinsman might yet take her to wife.
    Boaz is watching over her in love, though it is possible his heart will suffer loss.
    True love is selfless. 1Cor 13:5
  • prosecution of her request- In some MSS, v.15b reads: ''and he went into the city''. cp. 4:1
    Boaz wasted no time in pursuing the role of Kinsman-Redeemer.
3:16 And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who [art] thou, my daughter?
And she told her all that the man had done to her.
3:17 And she said, These six [measures] of barley gave he me;
for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law.
3:18 Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall:
for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.
Who art thou...?- Naomi wants to know: 'Are you about to be Mrs. Boaz, or not?' [JVMcGee]
Ruth's answer to 'who she is' is now full of 'who he is'-
''She told her... all that he had done... he gave... he said...''
''The bride eyes not her garment,
But her beloved's face... '' [hymn, 'In Emmanuel's Land']
''Fill all my vision Savior I pray,
Let me see only Jesus today... '' [hymn, 'Fill All My Vision']
cp. 1Cor 13:12; 2Cor 3:18; Php 1:20,21; Col 3:1-4; Heb 12:2
Sit still my daughter... the man will not rest, until he have finished...-
  • There was nothing more for Ruth to do, once she had claimed him as her redeemer,
    except to expectantly wait for him to finish his work and return for her.
    Boaz, motivated by love, would be sure to accomplish all that was necessary.
  • Likewise, Redemption is the Lord's work.
    God rested at the completion of the creation. Gen 2:1-3
    Then man fell into sin, and God could no longer rest (cp. Luk 14:5; Joh 5:17; 14:2,3),
    until Christ had finished the work of redemption. Joh 17:4; 19:30
    ''Jesus paid it all;
    All to Him I owe;
    Sin had left a crimson stain;
    He washed it white as snow.'' [hymn]
    There is nothing left for me to do, but to trust in Him. cp. Joh 3:14,15
  • By faith, the believer rests in His work in our behalf. Heb 4:9,10
    ''Jesus, I am resting, resting in the joy of what Thou art,
    I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart.
    Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee, and Thy beauty fills my soul,
    For by Thy transforming power, Thou hast made me whole.'' [hymn]

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