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Ruth Three

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Ruth 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?

Ruth 3:2 And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.

Ruth 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.

Ruth 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.

Ruth 3:5 And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do.

Ruth 3:6 And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.

Ruth 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.

merry. There is no suggestion here that Ruth was taking advantage of Boaz in a drunken state. The term “merry” only suggests a feeling of satisfaction with a job well done, followed by a good meal and a sense of thankfulness for God's blessing.

laid her down. This was not an immoral act on the part of Ruth, but one in full accord with customs and procedures associated with the rights and obligations of the “kinsman-redeemer.” A widow could request in this way the nearest kinsman of her deceased childless husband to perform the duty of marriage to the widow and raising up children to “the name of the dead upon his inheritance” (Ruth 4:5).

Ruth 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.

Ruth 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.

thy skirt. The Hebrew word is occasionally translated “skirt,” but much more often is translated “wing,” as in Ruth 2:12, which speaks of God's covering wings. The basic idea, of course, is protection and security, which Ruth was requesting for herself and Naomi from their well-to-do kinsman, Boaz. In effect, she was proposing a Levirate marriage between herself and Boaz (see note on Ruth 3:13).

Ruth 3:10 And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast showed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.

Ruth 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.

virtuous woman. Here Boaz adds his own testimony, based on personal knowledge, to the general awareness of all who knew her, that Ruth was, indeed, a virtuous woman; there had been nothing immoral about her approaching Boaz in the way she did. In fact, he considered it a blessing that she came to him instead of a younger man (Ruth 3:10).

Ruth 3:12 And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.

Ruth 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: lie down until the morning.

the kinsman's part. “The part of the kinsman” is described in Deuteronomy 25:5-10. Although specifically expressed in relation only to brothers, it apparently extended to other male relatives as well, when no living brothers were available to raise up children of the childless relative. Tamar (like Ruth an ancestor of the Messiah) was rewarded in requesting her father-in-law to be her kinsman-redeemer when no brothers were available (Genesis 38:11, 14, 26). Ruth went to Boaz when both sons and their father were dead. Although such a Levirate marriage (from the Latin levir, “brother”) was not an actual requirement of the law, it was ordained by God as the honorable thing to do.

Ruth 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.

Ruth 3:15 Also he said, Bring the veil 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.

Ruth 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.

Ruth 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.

Ruth 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.

Sit still. Sometimes, when a believer has done all he knows to do according to God's word, he must be content simply to “sit still,” and wait for God to work (compare to Exodus 14:13; Isaiah 30:7).

finished. Compare Genesis 2:1-3; John 19:30.