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Ruth 3:9

9 He said, "Who are you?" And she answered, "I am Ruth, your servant. 1Spread your wings[a] over your servant, for you are 2a redeemer."

Ruth 3:9 Meaning and Commentary

Ruth 3:9

And he said, who art thou?
&c.] He spoke quick and short, as one displeased, or however surprised and frightened, just coming out of sleep, and in the night:

and she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid;
that had gleaned in his fields with his maidens, and with whom he had conversed there, and knew her by name:

spread therefore thy skirt over thy handmaid;
which seems to account for the reason of her uncovering his feet, or turning up the skirt of his garment that was upon them; not through wantonness and immodesty, but to direct him, when opportunity offered, to spread it over her as a token of his taking her in marriage, and of her being under his care and protection, and of her subjection to him; so the Targum,

``let thy name be called upon me to take me for a wife,''

Whether the custom now used with the Jews at marriage, for a man to cast the skirt of his "talith", or outward garment, over the head of his spouse, and cover it, was in use so early, is questionable; and yet something like it seems to have been done, as this phrase intimates, and to which there is an allusion in ( Ezekiel 16:8 ) . So Jarchi,

``spread the skirt of thy garments to cover me with thy talith, and this is expressive of marriage;''

and Aben Ezra says, it intimates taking her to him for wife; though as the word signifies a wing, the allusion may be to the wings of birds spread over their young, to cherish and protect them, which are acts to be done by a man to his wife:

for thou art a near kinsman;
as she had been informed by Naomi, to whom the right of redemption of her husband's estate belonged, and in whom it lay to marry her, and raise up seed to his kinsman, her former husband.

Ruth 3:9 In-Context

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 grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down.
8 At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet!
9 He said, "Who are you?" And she answered, "I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer."
10 And he said, "May you be blessed by the LORD, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich.
11 And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.

Cross References 2

  • 1. Ezekiel 16:8; [Deuteronomy 22:30]
  • 2. Ruth 2:20

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Compare 2:12; the word for wings can also mean corners of a garment
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.