A NOBLE CHARACTER
Lord, guide my path as I ponder what to do.
Read RUTH 3
Ruth and Boaz at the Threshing Floor
3 One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home[a] for you, where you will be well provided for. 2 Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. 3 Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.”
5 “I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered. 6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.
7 When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. 8 In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet!
9 “Who are you?” he asked.
“I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer[b] of our family.”
10 “The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. 11 And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. 12 Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I. 13 Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it. Lie here until morning.”
14 So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “No one must know that a woman came to the threshing floor.”
15 He also said, “Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out.” When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and placed the bundle on her. Then he[c] went back to town.
16 When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “How did it go, my daughter?”
Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her 17 and added, “He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, ‘Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’”
18 Then Naomi said, “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.”
- Ruth 3:1 Hebrew find rest (see 1:9)
- Ruth 3:9 The Hebrew word for guardian-redeemer is a legal term for one who has the obligation to redeem a relative in serious difficulty (see Lev. 25:25-55); also in verses 12 and 13.
- Ruth 3:15 Most Hebrew manuscripts; many Hebrew manuscripts, Vulgate and Syriac she
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.’ (Ps 37:5,6)
The book of Ruth is a very uncomfortable read in the twenty-first century! The fact that these two amazing women are so dependent and vulnerable is shocking and frustrating! Naomi and Ruth realize that to survive they will need Ruth to get married. They need the protection of a man. Ruth follows Naomi’s lead in how to approach Boaz about marriage. I certainly wouldn’t want my daughter following Naomi’s advice, but Ruth’s actions seem to be acceptable to Naomi and to Boaz. Boaz may have been startled by finding a woman in his bed, but he doesn’t see Ruth’s behavior as provocative. He understands exactly what she is doing and why. Ruth makes certain to establish ground rules by remarking on the nature of her dependence and appealing to Boaz’s integrity: she calls herself his servant; she reminds him that he is the ‘family guardian’ (9, TNIV) for their family. Boaz, thankfully, responds with integrity by calling Ruth ‘daughter’ and blessing her character, rather than her beauty! Boaz notes that she could have chosen a different way to get on in life (by chasing after young men!), but she has chosen the God-honoring way. Ruth and Boaz are presented as models of integrity. Boaz has already been noted as a ‘man of standing’ (Ruth 2:1) and Ruth’s consistent behavior and actions mark her out as a ‘woman of noble character.’ (Ruth 2:11)
Ruth could have chosen a different way to make herself secure in life, but she chooses to follow wise advice and godly character over compromise. Our lives throw up so many situations where compromising our character and godly principles to get what we feel we need is a real temptation: when we’re looking for love, trying to get on in the workplace, looking for health, wealth, and happiness, for example.
‘But you, man [or woman] of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.’ (1 Tim 6:11) How does this advice apply to your life today?
Lord, we appreciate Your infinite capability for putting the right people together in any situation, especially in marriage.
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