Ruth: 3:1-5; Naomi’s plan, Ruth’s confidence, and the joy of God’s people.

Ruth: 3:1-5; Naomi’s plan, Ruth’s confidence, and the joy of God’s people.  


Rut 3:1Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, "My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you?


Naomi is faced with three issues:

1) Maintain the family name, 2) Protect her land, 3) Provide security for Ruth. Marriage to Boaz solves all three.


It should be understood that by the words that Naomi uses, she seems only interested in the third issue and not in the first two. This speaks of her character.


Now technically, under the law of levirate (from Latin levir = brother-in-law) marriage as found in Deu 25, it should be Naomi who is redeemed by Boaz, if he chooses, because she is the closer relative. Ruth doesn’t really fit into the levirate marriage bond, but Naomi is going to pass this claim on to Ruth. We will look into the details of this in the Mosaic Law coming up.


Rut 3:2 "And now is not Boaz our kinsman, with whose maids you were? Behold, he winnows barley at the threshing floor tonight.


“kinsman” – moyda = relative. Same word used for Boaz by the author in 2:1. Ruth will address Boaz with a much stronger word, used by the Jews for kinsman-redeemer.


Naomi does not use the Hebrew word indicating kinsman-redeemer. She uses the word that only speaks of a relative. However, since she does address him as a relative, she has in mind an aspect of the custom of levirate marriage, but it does not seem to be her intent to have Boaz redeem her land. She only desires a husband for Ruth. However, Ruth will address Boaz with the word for kinsman-redeemer, outside of Naomi’s instruction, and we will see the significance of this.


Some time before this, on the first night that Ruth returned home with the produce of her gleaning, Naomi described Boaz with the stronger word, the word that means redeemer.


Rut 2:19 Her mother-in-law then said to her, "Where did you glean today and where did you work? May he who took notice of you be blessed." So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, "The name of the man with whom I worked today is Boaz."


Rut 2:20 And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, "May he be blessed of the Lord who has not withdrawn his kindness to the living and to the dead." Again Naomi said to her, "The man is our relative, he is one of our closest relatives."


Literally: “The man is near to us, he is our redeemer (Heb: gaal).”


Yet, about a month later, when instructing Ruth on what to do on the night of the threshing, Naomi uses the lesser name meaning just relative. Are we splitting hairs? Are we over analyzing? I don’t think so. The word of God is inspired by the Holy Spirit, and although we can be over analytical, the fact that Ruth will have the choice, either to address Boaz as moyda or gaal, she chooses the latter. “You are our redeemer.” She says it with confidence. Redeem us!


Rut 3:9 And he said, "Who are you?" And she answered, "I am Ruth your maid. So spread your covering over your maid, for you are a close relative."


Rut 3:9 “close relative” – gaal = redeemer.


This is another way in which Ruth is a type of the believer. We don’t ask Christ to redeem us, but we know that we need a Redeemer. Plus, I should always view my Lord as my Redeemer and Husband and I should always view myself as one redeemed and loved eternally.


Is it time for love or time for harvest? They are similar. Most of us know what it is to find love or fall in love, and the time of threshing is like it. Ok, maybe not so much alike, but we can say that they are both times of great celebration. Remember, Judah has been through several years of famine. This is the first time in a long time that they could openly thresh without worry of invaders, and it is the first time in a long time that the harvest was bountiful.



A threshing floor was a flat, hard area, usually the bedrock on a slightly raised hill or platform. The grain was beaten out of the stalks with instruments, such as a toothed sledge, or trodden over by an animal such as an ox. This was followed by winnowing, which involved throwing the grain into the air with a fork or a shovel and allowing the wind to carry the chaff away. In Israel, the westerly winds come in the late afternoon and continue until sunset. The grain was then removed from the threshing floor and placed in heaps, either to be sold or carried manually on carts for storage in the granary. The straw became fodder for the animals and the chaff for fuel. Nothing was wasted. Threshing times were times of festivity and rejoicing since it marked the climax of the harvest season.


The joy of threshing is used by God through the prophet Isaiah to communicate hope to Israel, who had been severely judged for her unbelief and sins.


Be anxious for nothing. Can we find the joy of God’s harvest in every part of our lives, no matter what is going on at the time?


Isaiah chapter 40 is where the message of judgment upon Israel, Isa 1-39, changes to a message of hope. Unfortunately, Israel does not heed the message, either before the exile or after it, but that doesn’t mean that God isn’t going to fulfill the covenant promise. The Son of David will come and He will establish justice and peace, and He will build a New Jerusalem.


Confidence in God’s deliverance = hope. Hope means no anxiety, worry, or fear. “Don’t worry about what’s coming, for I AM YOUR GOD!”


It is at the times when there seems to be much cause for worry that holding on to this promise will make you stronger than you’ve ever been.


Isa 41:10 'Do not fear, for I am with you;

Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,

Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'


Isa 41:11 "Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; Those who contend with you will be as nothing, and will perish.


Isa 41:12 "You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them, Those who war with you will be as nothing, and non-existent.


You have to wait on God for this deliverance. Reading the promise and believing it does not make the problem disappear immediately. God is working to increase your faith. Know that this deliverance will come, and put away all fear and anxiety.


Isa 41:13 "For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, 'Do not fear, I will help you.'


Isa 41:14 "Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel;

I will help you," declares the Lord, "and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.


Isa 41:15 "Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains, and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff.


Isa 41:16 "You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them;

But you will rejoice in the Lord,

You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.


Here, mountains and hills represent struggles, problems, obstacles. God is going to give a sledge that will allow them to pulverize obstacles. You and I are recipients of this New Covenant.


Remember, Isa 40 is the turning point in the book from judgment to hope. The nation would not survive, but the individuals in it who would humble themselves in faith were to know that hope was not lost.


Isa 40:1 "Comfort, O comfort My people," says your God.


Isa 40:2 "Speak kindly to Jerusalem;

And call out to her, that her warfare has ended,

That her iniquity has been removed,

That she has received of the Lord's hand

Double for all her sins."


Isa 40:3 A voice is calling, "Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness;

Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.


Isa 40:4 "Let every valley be lifted up,

And every mountain and hill be made low;

And let the rough ground become a plain,

And the rugged terrain a broad valley;


Isa 40:5 Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed,

And all flesh will see it together;

For the mouth of the Lord has spoken."


To all of those, who by faith will enter His kingdom, they will continually have the joy of threshing. Don’t wait for eternity for that to be true in your existence.


Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz are going to reap the joy of God’s harvest. Do not fear Naomi. You have lost much, but life ain’t over yet.


Rut 3:1 Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, "My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you?


Rut 3:2 "And now is not Boaz our kinsman, with whose maids you were? Behold, he winnows barley at the threshing floor tonight.


Remember that Naomi addressed Boaz earlier with the stronger word meaning redeemer (2:20), but this time she identifies him simply as a relative.



Author: relative.

Naomi: kinsman at first, then relative.

Ruth shows bravery; appeals to Boaz as kinsman.


The author describes Boaz as a relative. Naomi first describes him as a kinsman, but when she gives instructions to Ruth, she only uses the word for relative. Ruth will appeal to him with the word for kinsman.


Yet, it becomes significant that when giving Ruth instructions for proposing marriage, Naomi only uses the word for relative, however, when Ruth speaks to Boaz, she is going to call him a gaal, a kinsman-redeemer.


Rut 3:3 Wash yourself therefore, and anoint yourself and put on your best clothes, and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking.


Ruth is to beautify herself to make herself look as attractive as possible. She would take a bath and then anoint herself, which was usually done with perfumed olive oil. She was to put on her best clothes, but being poor, she wouldn’t have had very nice clothes. This may also mean that she was still wearing the mourning clothes of widowhood, and that she was going to put on regular clothes.


Naomi’s plan is well thought out. Boaz would be sleeping at the threshing floor. He would sleep there with some of his men in order to protect the piles of grain from robbers. Ruth was to wait until he had eaten and drunk, and during that time she was to remain anonymous. This, by the way, in no way implies that Boaz would get drunk. It simply means that he would have a full stomach and some wine coursing through his veins and he would become sleepy after a full day’s hard work.


It would make sense that Ruth would not be recognizable. If she had been wearing mourning clothes continually before this and had been working hard in the fields from morning until evening, she would have had that sort of air about her. But this night she is clean and primped and wearing regular clothes. She was to take steps to remain incognito, and with the business of the work and the preparation of the meal and the festivity, coupled with her unusual appearance, it would not have been difficult.


Rut 3:4 And it shall be when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies, and you shall go and uncover his feet and lie down; then he will tell you what you shall do."


Rut 3:5 And she said to her, "All that you say I will do."


Once Boaz had lied down and fallen into a deep sleep, Ruth was to go from blending in to action. She was to uncover his lower limbs by laying back the edge of the large mantle in which he slept. In guarding the grain, Boaz would be sleeping on the threshing floor and would have covered himself with his cloak against the cool of the night. Ruth was to uncover his feet so that he would awaken when his legs got cold enough. This would happen at a time in the night when all others were asleep.


In Lev 18:6-20, uncovering nakedness does imply sexual union, but there is no reason to interpret it here in that way. If something like that had happened, it would ruin the character of the book, since it is more proper to declare marriage first. If they had had sex then Boaz was obligated to marry her, but there is the problem that there is a closer kinsman, and so sex would have been very inappropriate.


Since there was a closer kinsman, consummating the marriage that night would have been very inappropriate.


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