Ruth 3

Listen to Ruth 3
1 One day Naomi said to Ruth, “My daughter, it’s time that I found a permanent home for you, so that you will be provided for.
2 Boaz is a close relative of ours, and he’s been very kind by letting you gather grain with his young women. Tonight he will be winnowing barley at the threshing floor.
3 Now do as I tell you—take a bath and put on perfume and dress in your nicest clothes. Then go to the threshing floor, but don’t let Boaz see you until he has finished eating and drinking.
4 Be sure to notice where he lies down; then go and uncover his feet and lie down there. He will tell you what to do.”
5 “I will do everything you say,” Ruth replied.
6 So she went down to the threshing floor that night and followed the instructions of her mother-in-law.
7 After Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he lay down at the far end of the pile of grain and went to sleep. Then Ruth came quietly, uncovered his feet, and lay down.
8 Around midnight Boaz suddenly woke up and turned over. He was surprised to find a woman lying at his feet!
9 “Who are you?” he asked. “I am your servant Ruth,” she replied. “Spread the corner of your covering over me, for you are my family redeemer.”
10 “The LORD bless you, my daughter!” Boaz exclaimed. “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.
11 Now don’t worry about a thing, my daughter. I will do what is necessary, for everyone in town knows you are a virtuous woman.
12 But while it’s true that I am one of your family redeemers, there is another man who is more closely related to you than I am.
13 Stay here tonight, and in the morning I will talk to him. If he is willing to redeem you, very well. Let him marry you. But if he is not willing, then as surely as the LORD lives, I will redeem you myself! Now lie down here until morning.”
14 So Ruth lay at Boaz’s feet until the morning, but she got up before it was light enough for people to recognize each other. For Boaz had said, “No one must know that a woman was here at the threshing floor.”
15 Then Boaz said to her, “Bring your cloak and spread it out.” He measured six scoops of barley into the cloak and placed it on her back. Then he returned to the town.
16 When Ruth went back to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “What happened, my daughter?” Ruth told Naomi everything Boaz had done for her,
17 and she added, “He gave me these six scoops of barley and said, ‘Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’”
18 Then Naomi said to her, “Just be patient, my daughter, until we hear what happens. The man won’t rest until he has settled things today.”

Ruth 3 Commentary

Chapter 3

The directions given to Ruth by Naomi. (1-5) Boaz acknowledges the duty of a kinsman. (6-13) Ruth's return to her mother-in-law. (14-18)

Verses 1-5 The married state should be a rest, as much as any thing upon earth can be so, as it ought to fix the affections and form a connexion for life. Therefore it should be engaged in with great seriousness, with earnest prayers for direction, for the blessing of God, and with regard to his precepts. Parents should carefully advise their children in this important concern, that it may be well with them as to their souls. Be it always remembered, That is best for us which is best for our souls. The course Naomi advised appears strange to us; but it was according to the laws and usages of Israel. If the proposed measure had borne the appearance of evil, Naomi would not have advised it. Law and custom gave Ruth, who was now proselyted to the true religion, a legal claim upon Boaz. It was customary for widows to assert this claim, ( Deuteronomy 25:5-10 ) . But this is not recorded for imitation in other times, and is not to be judged by modern rules. And if there had been any evil in it, Ruth was a woman of too much virtue and too much sense to have listened to it.

Verses 6-13 What in one age or nation would be improper, is not always so in another age or another nation. Being a judge of Israel, Boaz would tell Ruth what she should do; also whether he had the right of redemption, and what methods must be taken, and what rites used, in order to accomplishing her marriage with him or another person. The conduct of Boaz calls for the highest praise. He attempted not to take advantage of Ruth; he did not disdain her as a poor, destitute stranger, nor suspect her of any ill intentions. He spoke honourably of her as a virtuous woman, made her a promise, and as soon as the morning arrived, sent her away with a present to her mother-in-law. Boaz made his promise conditional, for there was a kinsman nearer than he, to whom the right of redemption belonged.

Verses 14-18 Ruth had done all that was fit for her to do, she must patiently wait the event. Boaz, having undertaken this matter, would be sure to manage it well. Much more reason have true believers to cast their care on God, because he has promised to care for them. Our strength is to sit still, ( Isaiah 30:7 ) . This narrative may encourage us to lay ourselves by faith at the feet of Christ: He is our near Kinsman; having taken our nature upon him. He has the right to redeem. Let us seek to receive from him his directions: Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? ( Acts 9:6 ) . He will never blame us as doing this unseasonably. And let us earnestly desire and seek the same rest for our children and friends, that it may be well with them also.

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Hebrew six measures, an unknown quantity.
  • [b]. Most Hebrew manuscripts read he; many Hebrew manuscripts, Syriac version, and Latin Vulgate read she.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO RUTH 3

In this chapter we have a proposal of Naomi to Ruth, with advice and directions to get Boaz for her husband, Ru 2:1-4. Ruth's obedience to the instructions she gave her, Ru 2:5-7, the notice Boaz took of her, and the conversation that passed between them, Ru 2:8-13 the dismission of her in the morning to her mother-in-law with a gift, to whom she returned, and acquainted her with what had passed, Ru 2:14-18.

Ruth 3 Commentaries