16 June Ruth 3:1-18

16 June. Boaz agrees to take care of Ruth

“Then Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, said to her, ‘My daughter, I must find a suitable home for you, one that will be good for you. Now Boaz, whose young women you worked with, is our close relative. Tonight he will be working at the threshing floor. Wash yourself, put on perfume, change your clothes and go down to the threshing floor. But don’t let him know you’re there until he has finished his dinner. Watch him so you will know where he lies down to sleep. When he lies down, go and lift the cover off his feet and lie down. He will tell you what you should do.’”

“Then Ruth answered, ‘I will do everything you say.’ So Ruth went down to the threshing floor and did all her mother-in-law told her to do. After his evening meal, Boaz felt good and went to sleep lying beside the pile of grain. Ruth went to him quietly and lifted the cover from his feet and lay down.”

“About midnight Boaz was startled and rolled over. There was a woman lying near his feet! Boaz asked, ‘Who are you?’ She said, ‘I am Ruth, your servant girl. Spread your cover over me, because you are a relative who is supposed to take care of me.’”

“Then Boaz said, ‘The LORD bless you, my daughter. This act of kindness is greater than the kindness you showed to Naomi in the beginning. You didn’t look for a young man to marry, either rich or poor. Now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do everything you ask, because all the people in our town know you are a good woman.’”

“'It is true that I am a relative who is to take care of you, but you have a closer relative than I. Stay here tonight, and in the morning we will see if he will take care of you. If he decides to take care of you, that is fine. But if he refuses, I will take care of you myself, as surely as the LORD lives. So stay here until morning.’”

“So Ruth stayed near his feet until morning but got up while it was still too dark to recognise anyone. Boaz thought. ‘People in town must not know that the woman came here to the threshing floor.’ So Boaz said to Ruth, ‘Bring me your shawl and hold it open.’ So Ruth held her shawl open, and Boaz poured six portions of barley into it. Boaz then put it on her head and went back to the city.”

“When Ruth went back to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, ‘How did you do, my daughter?’ Ruth told Naomi everything that Boaz did for her. She said, ‘Boaz gave me these six portions of barley, saying, ‘You must not go home without a gift for your mother-in-law.’”

“Naomi answered, ‘Ruth, my daughter, wait here until you see what happens. Boaz will not rest until he has finished doing what he should do today.’”

          (Ruth 3:1-18)

 


 

In today’s episode of the ancestral history of King David, Ruth seeks out Boaz under cover of darkness and finds Boaz fast asleep after winnowing barley on the threshing floor. She lies down at his feet and tucks herself under the bed covering.

This story may sound odd to us today. We may think that Ruth was trying to attract Boaz sexually by sleeping at the foot of his bed; but nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, Ruth was following a precisely defined procedure that was completely upright and lawful in those days.

During the time of the ‘judges’, it was a religious obligation for the close relative of a widow without children to marry her so she could have children. The relative would care for the children, but legally, they would be regarded as the offspring of the woman’s deceased husband, and would belong to the dead husband, not the birth father (see Deuteronomy 25:5-6).

When Ruth went to lie at Boaz’s feet and removed the covering from his feet, she was following the acknowledged procedure to ask him to be her husband and to provide her dead husband with children.

The photo (by Sengaska) shows Bethlehem at night.

You can read more about Ruth and Boaz @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/29-the-journeys-of-ruth-and-samuel/ruths-journey-to-bethlehem/


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