Ruth – Chapter 3

The Bible – Old Testament



Chapter 3


When she was back with her mother-in-law, Naomi said to her, «My daughter, I must seek a home for you that will please you.


Now is not Boaz, with whose servants you were, a relative of ours? This evening he will be winnowing barley at the threshing floor.


So bathe and anoint yourself; then put on your best attire and go down to the threshing floor. Do not make yourself known to the man before he has finished eating and drinking.


1 But when he lies down, take note of the place where he does so. Then go, uncover a place at his feet, and lie down. He will tell you what to do.»


«I will do whatever you advise,» Ruth replied.


So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had instructed her.


Boaz ate and drank to his heart’s content. Then when he went and lay down at the edge of the sheaves, she stole up, uncovered a place at his feet, and lay down.


In the middle of the night, however, the man gave a start and turned around to find a woman lying at his feet.


2 He asked, «Who are you?» And she replied, «I am your servant Ruth. Spread the corner of your cloak over me, for you are my next of kin.»


He said, «May the LORD bless you, my daughter! You have been even more loyal now than before in not going after the young men, whether poor or rich.


So be assured, daughter, I will do for you whatever you say; all my townspeople know you for a worthy woman.


3 Now, though indeed I am closely related to you, you have another relative still closer.


Stay as you are for tonight, and tomorrow, if he wishes to claim you, good! let him do so. But if he does not wish to claim you, as the LORD lives, I will claim you myself. Lie there until morning.»


So she lay at his feet until morning, but rose before men could recognize one another. Boaz said, «Let it not be known that this woman came to the threshing floor.»


Then he said to her, «Take off your cloak and hold it out.» When she did so, he poured out six measures of barley, helped her lift the bundle, and left for the city.


Ruth went home to her mother-in-law, who asked, «How have you fared, my daughter?» So she told her all the man had done for her,


and concluded, «He gave me these six measures of barley because he did not wish me to come back to my mother-in-law emptyhanded!»


Naomi then said, «Wait here, my daughter, until you learn what happens, for the man will not rest, but will settle the matter today.»

1 [4] Uncover a place at his feet, . . .: confident of the virtue of Ruth and Boaz, Naomi advises this unusual expedient to her daughter-in-law for the purpose of introducing her claim.
2 [9] Spread the corner of your cloak over me: be my protector by marrying me according to the duty of a near kinsman; cf ⇒ Deut 25:5; ⇒ Ezekiel 16:8.
3 [12] Relative still closer: who had a prior right and duty to marry Ruth.