And he said, blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter
Instead of calling her an immodest woman for laying herself down at his feet, and a bold impudent woman, she being poor, to ask marriage of him; and instead of being angry with her, and chiding and reproving her for disturbing and frightening him in the night, he blesses her, and pray's to God to bless her, and prosper her in what she had engaged, and in a kind and loving manner calls her his daughter:
for thou hast showed more kindness in the latter end than at the
that is, to her husband's family; she had shown much love to her husband living and dying, and to her mother-in-law, in leaving her country and kindred to come with her into a strange country, and in labour to support her, as she had done, all which was great kindness; to which the Targum adds, her being proselyted; but the kindness she now showed exceeded all the former, in that she was desirous, according to the law of God, to build up her husband's family, to marry the next near kinsman, even though an old man, to raise up seed to the name and memory of her husband:
inasmuch as thou followedst not the young men, whether poor or rich;
the phrase of following young men is not to be understood of committing fornication with them, as the Targum explains it, but of marriage to them: she shunned their company and conversation, and did not put herself in the way of being caressed and addressed by them, and refused everything of that sort; and did not choose to follow any young man, rich or poor, as a bride follows her husband when married to him. Now Boaz mentions this as an instance of her virtue, and of her great respect to her husband's family, that a woman of such amiable qualities, virtuous, young, and beautiful, who doubtless might have been married to a young man in her own country, or in Israel, but chose to marry the nearest of kin in her husband's family, to perpetuate his name and memory; the Jews say F20 Boaz was now eighty years of age, and Ruth forty.
F20 Midrash Ruth, fol. 31. 4. & 34. 2.