Ruth 3

3:1 One day Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not try to find a home for you [an unselfish expression of Naomi’s concern for Ruth and a persistent concern], where you will be provided for [with the security and benefits of marriage]?

3:2 Is not Boaz, with whose servant girls you have been [interpreted by Naomi as an indication of Boaz’s interest in Ruth], a kinsman of ours? Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor [an opportunity for Ruth to show Boaz her willingness to marry him].

3:3 Wash and perfume yourself, and put on your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking.

3:4 When he lies down [on the threshing floor to protect the grain], note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down [a symbolic gesture whereby Ruth indicated she wanted to be Boaz’s wife but, as symbolized by lying at his feet, did not yet have that status]. He will tell you what to do.”

3:5 “I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered.

3:6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.

3:7 When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits [does not necessarily mean that he was drunk], he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down [Ruth showed no impropriety. She merely exercised her right under Jewish law to approach a kinsman-redeemer.].

3:8 In the middle of the night something startled the man, and he turned and discovered a woman lying at his feet.

3:9 “Who are you?” he asked. “I am your servant [shows humility and respect] Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me [some interpret this as a marriage proposal], since you are a kinsman-redeemer.”

3:10 “The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied [a joyful response]. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier [see 2:11]: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor.

3:11 And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character [Boaz was also of noble character (see 2:1)].

3:12 Although it is true that I am near of kin, there is a kinsman-redeemer nearer than I [and therefore the law required that he be given first choice].

3:13 Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to redeem, good; let him redeem. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives [a solemn and binding oath] I will do it. Lie here until morning [an indication of Boaz’s trust in God and his willingness to go about the matter in the right way … according to the laws of his people.].”

3:14 So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “Don’t let it be known that a woman came to the threshing floor [which could have become fodder for the town gossips].”

3:15 He also said, “Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out.” When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and put it on her. Then he went back to town.

3:16 When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “How did it go, my daughter?” Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her

3:17 and added, “He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, “Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed [the same word used by Naomi in 1:21; last recorded words of Ruth in the book].’”

3:18 Then Naomi said, “Wait [an indication that Naomi trusted God to work things out], my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.”

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