Ruth 3

1 Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shall I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you? 2 Now isn’t Boaz our kinsman, with whose maidens you were? Behold, he will be winnowing barley tonight on the threshing floor. 3 Therefore wash yourself, anoint yourself, get dressed, and go down to the threshing floor, but don’t make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 It shall be, when he lies down, that you shall note the place where he is lying. Then you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lay down. Then he will tell you what to do.” 5 She said to her, “All that you say, I will do.” 6 She went down to the threshing floor, and did everything that her mother-in-law told her. 7 When Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. She came softly, uncovered his feet, and laid down. 8 At midnight, the man was startled and turned himself; and behold, a woman lay at his feet. 9 He said, “Who are you?” She answered, “I am Ruth your servant. Therefore spread the corner of your garment over your servant; for you are a near kinsman.” 10 He said, “You are blessed by the LORD, my daughter. You have shown more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, because you didn’t follow young men, whether poor or rich. 11 Now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do to you all that you say; for all the city of my people knows that you are a worthy woman. 12 Now it is true that I am a near kinsman. However, there is a kinsman nearer than I. 13 Stay this night, and in the morning, if he will perform for you the part of a kinsman, good. Let him do the kinsman’s duty. But if he will not do the duty of a kinsman for you, then I will do the duty of a kinsman for you, as the LORD lives. Lie down until the morning.” 14 She lay at his feet until the morning, then she rose up before one could discern another. For he said, “Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.” 15 He said, “Bring the mantle that is on you, and hold it.” She held it; and he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her; then he went into the city. 16 When she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “How did it go, my daughter?” She told her all that the man had done for her. 17 She said, “He gave me these six measures of barley; for he said, ‘Don’t go empty to your mother-in-law.’” 18 Then she said, “Wait, my daughter, until you know what will happen; for the man will not rest until he has settled this today.”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

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, De 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, Isa 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? Ac 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.

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