Ruth Chapter 3


The directions given to Ruth by Naomi. (Verse 1-5.)

Boaz acknowledges the duty of a kinsman. (Verse 6-13.)

Ruth’s return to her mother-in-law. (Verse 14-18.)

Two passages from the law of Moses come to bear upon the events in the last two chapters of the book of Ruth.
Ruth’s husband died childless – there was no son to carry on his name or to inherit his inheritance. Deut. 25:5-10 discusses
how a brother is to take his brother’s wife as his own in order to produce a child to carry on his brother’s name and
inheritance. Ruth’s husband had no living brother to do this, thus the whole matter reverted to the nearest male “kinsman”
or relative. Lev. 25:25 gives further information on how this near kinsman is to “redeem” (buy back for his own) the
inheritance of his new wife’s dead husband.

The picture or type that is portrayed in these chapters is the relation of Jesus Christ to us as our Kinsman
Redeemer. Jesus became flesh like we humans and thus became kindred to us. By dying on the cross, Jesus purchased our
salvation and bought us back to himself (ie. “redeemed” us)

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?

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

In a clear cut case of the widow being childless, the brother was to take his widowed sister-in-law to himself to
produce a child. In cases such as Genesis chapter 38 where the brother fails to do this, the woman would have to take the
initiative. In the case of Ruth where there was no obvious living brother to carry out this duty, Boaz was either unaware of
his obligations because of the complexity of the situation or he was unsure if Ruth wanted him to take her to be his wife
(the way in which he calls her daughter would suggest that he was much older – compare 2:8 and 3:10). Therefore, Ruth
here takes the initiative in the situation at Naomi’s suggestion.

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.

five things are suggested to Ruth by Naomi in preparation for meeting Boaz; these things roughly compare to the
believer preparing themselves in this life for meeting Jesus Christ at death or at the rapture!

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.

this was apparently the accepted way to make known to a near kinsman one’s desire for them to carry out their God-
commanded responsibilities.

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

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

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.

8 And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet.

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.

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

[Gen 24:31, Gen 26:29, Judges 17:2]

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.

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

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.

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.

unbeknown to Ruth and Naomi, there was a closer kinsman than Boaz which forms the drama of the remainder
of the book

15 Also he said, Bring the vail 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.

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.

“Who art thou my daughter?” – Naomi was wondering if Ruth was still “Miss Ruth” or if she was now “Mrs. Boaz.”
If Boaz had been the nearest kinsman, he could have taken Ruth to be his wife right then and there in the threshingfloor.
This is further revealed by the comment in verse fourteen that states that they “rose up before one could know another.”

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.

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.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

erse 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, Deuteronomy 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.

Verse 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.

Verse 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, Isaiah 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? Acts 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.