The Agora
Bible Commentary

1 2 3 4

Ruth 3

Rth 3:1

Boaz is delayed in fulfilling role of redeemer, poss becs of another kinsman (Rth 3:12,13), and thus Naomi presses the matter. Lesson: We must go to Christ, not wait for him to come to us.

A HOME: "Rest": cp Rth 1:9; 2:9. "Menucha" = safe shelter, rest, in husband's house. Cp Psa 132:8; Gen 49:15; 1Ki 8:56. Typ Christ: Mat 11:29. Christ gives peace (Joh 14:27) in his "house" (Heb 3:6n). Cp "rest" in Heb 4.

Rth 3:2

IS NOT BOAZ... A KINSMAN OF YOURS?: Naomi is thinking of a Levirate marriage: Rth 1:11; Deu 25:5-10.

TONIGHT: Time of ideal breeze in Palestine, generally in early morning, coming in from sea.

THRESHINGFLOOR: An open, exposed spot on a hill near Bethlehem. Sym judgment, as in parables: Mat 3:12; 13:24-30. Using a large shovel called a fan, or winnowing fork, the winnower tosses the (already) threshed mixture of grain and chaff up into the wind, so that the heavier grain falls near his feet and the lighter chaff is blown away into a separate pile (to be burned).

Rth 3:3

WASH: Typ: Isa 1:18. Cleansed in blood of Lamb (Rev 7:14). Made holy and righteous (Rev 19:8; Isa 61:10).

PERFUME: "Anoint": to make self ready, purification (Est 2:12). The preparation of a bride: Psa 45:10-14. The purification of a Gentile woman: Deu 21:10-14. Sts are bride also: 2Co 11:2; Rev 19:7.

PUT ON YOUR BEST CLOTHES: "Put on new man" (Eph 4:22-24).

Rth 3:4

Nothing indecent here, but rather an appeal based on the Law. Levirate marriage was to raise up seed: cp 1Ti 2:15: Ecclesia is saved in childbearing. Or, perh, a "carefully measured indiscretion": 'Here is how far I am willing to go, to humiliate myself!' "Eastern peoples often sleep in regular clothes. By custom, a servant will sleep at his master's feet, using a portion of his mantle" (JFB). Lesson: We must make first move toward our redeemer, Christ.

Rth 3:5

An echo of Exo 19:8; 24:3,7: the vows spoken by Israel to Moses. Where the whole nation of Israel had promised to do, but did not... Ruth, the one Moabite woman, promised to do, and did!

Rth 3:6

Ruth realizes the situation (Rth 3:9). She risked the poss scorn of ignorant neighbors, to follow the proper course.

Rth 3:7

IN GOOD SPIRITS: Not an excess (cp Pro 15:13).

HIS FEET: Cp the woman who was a sinner, anointing the feet of Christ (Luk 7:36-38,46-50).

Rth 3:9

Figurative: in the time of separation of the grain from the chaff (v 2: judgment!), the faithful Gentile asks the strong Jew for protection under the hem of his garment (cp Zec 8:23; Mal 4:2: healing in the hem of his garment: Mar 5:25-34).

SPREAD... OVER ME: "Marry your servant" (NET). In the metaphorical account in Eze 16:8, God spreads his skirt over naked Jerusalem as an act of protection and as a precursor to marriage. Thus Ruth's words can be taken as a marriage proposal. (This explains the customary act at eastern weddings.) Showing willingness to give shelter, or "menucha".

CORNER OF YOUR GARMENT: Sw "wings" in Rth 2:12. Here prob singular; altho evidence is uncertain.

KINSMAN-REDEEMER: See Lesson, Gaal: redeemer.

Rth 3:10

THE LORD BLESS YOU, MY DAUGHTER: "Once again Boaz gave her the cordial harvest greeting... this time with the implied assurance that 'God will give you a good harvest, for I intend to marry you' " (WJR).

THIS KINDNESS: Ruth's desire to raise seed to dead and to fulfill the Law.

MY DAUGHTER: Boaz was not young at all! Boaz shows great dignity and restraint.

Rth 3:11

ALL MY FELLOW TOWNSMEN: Lit "the gate" (as AV mg). The gate, where elders make important decisions (Deu 16:18; 21:19). Also, the place where women might typically pass along gossip: ie, 'Even the gossiping women of the town have nothing against you!'

A WOMAN OF NOBLE CHARACTER: "A virtuous woman" (AV). Virtuous women may sometimes be found in situations -- through no fault of their own -- which might naturally expose them to suspicion (like Ruth with Boaz on the threshing floor). But if their former behavior has been uniformly virtuous, then they have every right to be absolved of any suspicion. It is true: all sins may be forgiven. But this blessing (freedom from suspicion) is one continuing value of an exemplary and virtuous life.

NOBLE: The word "virtuous" (or "noble") implies force of character, and strength of mind: it describes the ideal wife in Pro 31 (cp vv 31:10,29). In the OT, elsewhere, the phrase is applied only to Ruth. Notice that the virtuous woman of Pro 31 is very wealthy, as was Boaz (this is implicit in Pro 31:13-18,27-31). Is it farfetched to suppose that Ruth was the prototype of the "virtuous woman" in Pro 31? That her descendants David and Solomon had her in mind when these words were spoken, and written? Perhaps in this lovely cameo of Pro 31 we get a glimpse of the remainder of Ruth's life with Boaz: continuing to show diligence (and faith!) in nurturing and encouraging her husband, in rearing her children, in providing for her household, in managing and instructing her servant girls, in running an estate and a business. A woman of means, who uses those means to help others and to glorify God! Notice also: if Ruth IS the prototype of the "virtuous woman", then the same diligence she showed as a destitute gleaner, she also shows as a rich wife!

Wealth didn't turn Ruth into a member of the "leisure class"; she doesn't spend her remaining days sitting on soft cushions and munching dainty cookies and checking her bank balance! Whether poor or rich, one could never tell by her level of activity, and her diligence in doing her duty -- whatever that might prove to be! And the reason for that diligence? the best reason of all: "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate" (Pro 31:30,31).

Rth 3:12

A KINSMAN-REDEEMER NEARER THAN I: Perh the reason Boaz had not volunteered. See Rth 4:6-8. Lesson: Christ's love is greater; obstacles may be overcome.

Rth 3:13

STAY HERE FOR THE NIGHT: As a precaution only. (Boaz himself risks gossip, etc.) Also, it might have been unwise for a single woman to make her way home very late at night, esp at harvest, when many farm workers were out and about.

MORNING: When "redemption" comes: Psa 30:5; 110:3.

Rth 3:14

Many a faithful Gentile "Ruth" lies asleep at the feet of Jesus (the "Boaz", or "mighty man" of the Jews), awaiting the "morning" of resurrection -- when he will stand in the "gate" of the great city and proclaim her for his very own.

Rth 3:15

SHAWL: Or vail, sym fleshly nature in Heb 10:20.

HE POURED INTO IT SIX MEASURES OF BARLEY AND PUT IT ON HER: There was a double purpose in this. First, to disarm the suspicion of anyone who might see Ruth coming away from the threshing floor. He sought to shield her from the gossip of slanderous tongues. And, secondly, the six measures were to indicate both to Ruth and Naomi that this generous man had every intention to fulfill his promise to Ruth, and Naomi, in the most honorable fashion.

THEN HE WENT BACK TO TOWN: "She went" (KJV) should read: "he went". Here is resolution. He meant to lose no time.

Rth 3:17

The large quantity of grain for Naomi is Boaz's way of assuring his kinswoman that he understands the request, and that he will do his best to see that she and Ruth are protected.

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