Dave Burnette's Commentary

Ruth Chapter 3

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Samuel 
Date Penned: (1375-1050 BC)
Overview: To Show Israel to Have Character in Hard Times  (c 1-4)
Theme: Ruth Follows Naomi's Plan (c 3)
Message: Ruth Approaches Boaz at the Threshing Floor (v 1-18)

Ruth 3 Commentary

(3:1-9)  A Kinsman Redeemer - As widows, Ruth and Naomi could only look forward to difficult times. (See the note on 1:8-9 for more on the lives of widows in this culture. But when Naomi heard the news about Boaz's kindness toward Ruth, her hope for the future was renewed (2:20). Typical of her character, she thought first of Ruth, encouraging her to see if Boaz would take the responsibility of being a "kinsman redeemer" to her. A kinsman redeemer was a close relative who volunteered to take responsibility for his extended family. When a woman's husband died, the law provided that she could marry the brother of her dead husband (Deuteronomy 25:5-10). But Naomi had no more sons. In such a case, the nearest relative to the deceased husband could become a kinsman redeemer and marry the widow. However, the nearest relative did not have to do this. If he chose not to, the next nearest relative could take his place. If no one chose to help the widow, she would probably live in poverty the rest of her life, because in Israelite culture the inheritance was passed on to a man's son or nearest male relative, not to his wife. To take the sting out of these inheritance rules, there were laws for gleaning and for kinsman redeemers. We have a kinsman redeemer in Jesus Christ, who, though he was God, came to earth as a man in order to save us. By his death on the cross, he has redeemed us from sin and hopelessness and thereby purchased us to be his own possession. This guarantees our eternal inheritance (Philippians 2:6-8; Titus 2:14; Hebrews 9:15; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

(3:2) The Threshing Floor - The threshing floor was the place where the grain was separated from the harvested wheat stalks. The wheat stalks were threshed or crushed, either by hand or by oxen, and the valuable grain (inner kernels) was separated from the worthless chaff (the outside shell). The floor was made from rock or hard soil and located outside the village, usually on an elevated site where the wind would blow away the lighter chaff when the threshed wheat was thrown into the air (or winnowed). Boaz spent the night beside the threshing floor for two reasons: (1) to prevent theft and (2) to wait for his turn to thresh grain. (Threshing was often done at night because daylight hours were spent harvesting.)

(3:4) Naomi's Advice - Naomi's advice seems strange, but she was not suggesting a seductive act. In reality, Naomi was telling Ruth to act in accordance with Israelite custom and law. By uncovering Boaz's feet and lying down under his covering, Ruth was informing Boaz that he could be her kinsman redeemer- that he could find someone to marry her or marry her himself. At first it was family business, nothing romantic. But the story quickly turned beautifully romantic when Boaz realized what Ruth was suggesting. He was overcome, knowing that she could have chosen someone else, someone richer or younger, and not followed Israelite custom (3:10). From this start, they developed an unselfish love and a deep respect for each other. 

(3:5) Ruth Follows Namomi's Advice - As a foreigner, Ruth may have thought that Naomi's advice was odd. But Ruth followed the advice because she knew Naomi was kind, trustworthy, and filled with integrity. Each of us knows a parent, older friend, or relative who is always looking out for our best interests. Be willing to listen to the advice of those who are older and wiser than you are. The experience and knowledge of such people can be invaluable.

(3:6) A Pattern of Influence - Why was Ruth so willing to follow Naomi's instructions? She knew that she could trust Naomi, and she also knew how godly and kind Boaz was from the first day she met him. She had witnessed his love for the Lord, his obedience to God's law, his kindness, his respect toward women, his empathy for the poor, and his generosity (see 2:4-16). These are some of the characteristics that matter most when considering a relationship, whether seeking a spouse, a mentor, or a best friend.

(3:10-11) Ruth Has Her Character Tested - Difficulties and hardships can winnow away external appearances and pretenses to reveal the true inner character of a person. For Ruth, the hardships of losing her husband, leaving her country, and choosing to follow Naomi and serve her by working in the fields revealed an inner character that was strong and beautiful. If you have experienced difficulties as Ruth did, how have these experiences "winnowed" you? If such difficulties are still ahead of you, what will they reveal about your true inner character? Be the kind of person who works hard every day to display a virtuous character that is strong and beautiful in the eyes of God. Then, no matter what difficulties you face, you will be showing honor to God and blessing those who are around you.

(3:12-13) Boaz is Thinking About Marrying Ruth - Ruth and Naomi must have assumed that Boaz was their closest relative. Boaz, too, must have already considered marrying Ruth, because his answer to her shows he had been thinking about it. He couldn't have considered marrying Naomi because she was probably too old to bear any more children (1:11-12). One man in the city was a nearer relative than Boaz, and this man had the first right to take Ruth as his wife. If he chose not to, then Boaz could marry Ruth.

(3:18) Boaz Keeps His Word - Naomi implied that Boaz would follow through with his promise at once. He obviously had a reputation for keeping his word and would not rest until his task was completed. Such reliable people stand out in any age and culture. Do others regard you as one who will do what you say? Keeping your word and following through on assignments should be high on anyone's priority list. Building a reputation for integrity, however, must be done one brick, one act, at a time.


Dave Burnette's Life Application

Our Kinsman Redeemer


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Today we continue in the book of Ruth with Chapter 3, and we see the story of Ruth following Naomi's plan of approaching Boaz as a kinsman-redeemer. In making application, we have a kinsman-redeemer in Jesus Christ, who, though He was God, came to earth as a man to save us. By His death on the cross, He has redeemed us from sin and hopelessness and thereby purchased us to be His own possession. Our redemption comes when we approach Christ through confession and repentance of our sins, then ask the Lord to forgive us. How about you? Do you see Jesus-Christ as your kinsman-redeemer? Let us learn from our text today and this account of Ruth and Boaz seeing Jesus-Christ as our kinsman-redeemer.


Ruth 3

Ruth 3

 1Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee?

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

 3Wash 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.

 4And 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.

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

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

 7And 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.

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

 9And 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.

 10And 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.

 11And 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.

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

 13Tarry 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.

 14And 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.

 15Also 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.

 16And 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.

 17And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law.

 18Then 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.