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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible

Ruth 3

 

 

Verses 1-18

RUTH CLAIMING THE PROTECTION OFBOAZ

(vv. 1-18)

The time had now come for Naomi to give pertinent advice to Ruth.She seeks security (or "rest") for her daughter-in-law, reminding her that Boaz is their relative (vv. 1-2).She knew that Boaz was winnowing barley in his threshing floor, and would be sleeping that night at the floor.Therefore she told Ruth to wash and anoint herself, be clothed in her best garment and go down to the threshing floor, but wait until Boaz had laid down to sleep before uncovering his feet and lying down at his feet(vv.3-4). These instructions may seem strange to us.

However, Naomi knew of two laws in Israel on which she based her advice to Ruth.Leviticus 25:25 is explicit that an inheritance might be redeemed by the nearest relative who was able to redeem it.The property had belonged to Elimelech, but through his poverty it had been sold.If Naomi had the money for it, she could redeem it, otherwise a near relative could redeem it.

The other law pertained to a man of Israel who had died without children (Deuteronomy 25:5-12).His brother was to marry the wife of the deceased to raise up children for him.The word "brother" was used for any close male relative. Since Ruth's husband (an Israelite) had died, then Ruth, though a Gentile, could be brought into the congregation through a relative who had the right of redemption.Ruth did as Naomi told her, thus lying down at the feet of Boaz (vv.6-7). This is a picture of the godly remnant of Israel in the latter days virtually creeping to the feet of the Lord Jesus, in total submission to Him, yet to boldly claim His protection.

The time of harvest was a wonderful time in Israel when the crop was good, and the harvest is often spoken of in scripture as the gathering in of people by the grace of God, whether the wheat gathered into the barn, which speaks of heaven (Matthew 13:30) or whether (in the tribulation period) the bringing of Gentiles into earthly blessing by way of great suffering (Revelation 14:14-16).Usually the harvest emphasizes the blessing of Gentiles, and the vintage the blessing of Israel (Revelation 14:17-20).

At midnight Boaz was awakened and startled to find a woman lying at his feet (v. 8).When he questioned her, Ruth responded, "I am Ruth, your maidservant.Take your maid servant under your wing, for you are a close relative."The wing speaks of protection, which Israel had for centuries ignored, that is, the protection of their true Messiah, who wept over Jerusalem, saying, "How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!" (Matthew 23:37).All that was necessary was for Ruth to be willing, in order that she would have the protection of Boaz.

How it must have moved the heart of Ruth to hear the response of Boaz, "Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich" (v. 10).The Lord Jesus deeply values the faith and love of those who have a single eye for Him.Boaz was evidently a wise man who, though he loved Ruth, did not press his love upon her, but waited to find out if she loved him.Now the answer was plainly before his eyes.Ruth did not go after young men, whether poor or rich.There are popular, new movements that attract many people who fail to see in Christ the real answer to their needs. Some of these movements favor the "poor,"Out of sympathy for the poor, because of their poverty, they champion a cause that seems praiseworthy, but leaves out the Lord Jesus.Other movements are "rich," promising wealth and ease to those who will follow, but again do not recognize Christ. In fact, the antichrist will be such a leader, claiming even to be "God" (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). But the godly remnant of Israel will not be deceived by him, for their hearts have been drawn to the true Messiah of Israel.

Boaz gave Ruth every encouragement, telling her not to fear, for he would do all that she requested, for all the people of his town knew that Ruth was a virtuous woman (v. 11). However, he told her that though he was a close relative, there was a closer relative than he, who therefore should have the opportunity of redeeming the property of Naomi.Boaz would give him the opportunity the next morning, and promised Ruth that if the other relative would not perform the duty of a close relative, then Boaz would do it (v. 13).

At the word of Boaz, Ruth laid down till early morning, rising before it was light.Then Boaz told her not to let it be known that a woman had come in to the threshing floor (v. 14).Why not? Because the matter was to be thoroughly personal between Boaz and Ruth.Others who did not know the facts might be inclined to interpret Ruth's presence in the threshing floor with suspicion of wrong doing in spite of the words of Boaz that all the people knew that Ruth was a virtuous woman.

The grace of Boaz was further seen toward both Ruth and Naomi in his giving Ruth six measures of barley (already threshed), which she carried in her shawl (v. 15). This would not be a light load, but with her heart so affected, it would not seem heavy to her.

When she came to her mother-in-law, Naomi did not ask the same question as in chapter 2:19, "What have you gleaned today," but rather, "Who art thou, my daughter?" (KJV). Some translators have changed this because it did not sound right to them, but Naomi wanted to know if there was any change in Ruth's relationship to Boaz.In other words, was Ruth to have a change of name? Ruth then told Naomi all that had taken place, and also of the kindness of Boaz toward both her and her mother-in-law in giving them food.

The faith of Naomi in Boaz had been so long awakened that she was confident that Boaz would not rest until he had made a complete settlement of this matter. Ruth then could "sit still" and depend fully on the faithfulness of Boaz. Believers today also need such advice in reference to many problems which can never be ironed out by their own wisdom or work."Be still" (Psalms 46:10); "Stand still" (Exodus 14:1); and "Sit still" (v. 18) are words to often keep in mind.When Ruth had put her affairs in the hand of Boaz, then in faith she could leave them there, and depend on him to do the very best for her.Let us have such confidence in our Lord.

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Ruth 3:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/ruth-3.html. 1897-1910.

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