Book Of Ruth
J. Deering, AncientPath.net
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Introduction, Visualized Text with Commentary and Q&A, Charts
The Predicament! Just as the text says, "It happened in the middle of the night." Ruth has successfully arrived at the threshing floor (the storage barn at the threshing floor) and secretly made her way to the feet of Boaz. Boaz is sleeping peacefully and probably dreaming of the great wealth of grain or that pretty young thing that keeps coming to the fields to glean, perhaps even dreaming that he might one day be asked to marry her.
A touch, to his feet, a feeling that someone is there. He is alarmed and quickly reaches forward for the intruder – someone has come to steal his grain! Behold, it is a young woman – in a wedding gown! … I'm dreaming!
THE VISUALIZED TEXT (NASB) (conjunctions & prepositions (and other important words) underlined, words not in original text in italics) (alternate text in purple)
in the middle of the night
was startled and
a woman was lying at his feet.
Brief Commentary on Ruth 3:8
If we've paid attention to the story we know that Boaz has a strong attraction to Ruth. He has been taking very special care of her when she comes to glean. He knows that she is gleaning because she has no husband, is the daughter-in-law of Naomi, and Naomi is his "close relative's" late wife. He knows that she is available for the Levirate marriage arrangement but he is not the closest relative – and he's much older than she. "Hope against hope."
We know that Naomi has encouraged Ruth to continue to encourage Boaz because she knows that he, even though he may not be the first one in line he is wealthy, owns much property, and has already taken an interest in Ruth – but not immediately available. "Hope against hope."
We also know that Ruth, even though she has been more or less a silent partner in all this plotting, has taken so much of a liking to Boaz that she is quite willing to follow Naomi's convoluted plan to capture Boaz as her family's kinsman-redeemer. "Hope against hope."
Questions and Answers about Ruth 3:8
What does the word "And" mean
(Again just a simple connective – this thing happened along with the things of verse 7)
Why use the term "it happened in
the middle of the night"?
(This is the moment we have been waiting for – verse 7 has set us up for an event that will happen on this night. This is good story telling: And it happened! In the middle of the night!)
What does the word "That"
(In the English language the word "that" indicates two sentences have been shortened into one. It also tells us these two events occur at the same time)
Who is "the man"?
What woke him?
(Probably his feet were cold and he noticed the warmth of a body against the bottoms of his feet)
What was his emotional state
when he awoke?
(The Hebrew indicates that Boaz was SCARED! His first thoughts were that someone was there to steal his grain and perhaps take his life.)
What did he do first when he
(He reached forward and grabbed for his assailant)
What did he find at his feet?
(A woman, dressed in traditional wedding clothes sleeping at his feet)
"Who are you?"
"I am Ruth your maid.
So spread your covering over your maid,
for you are a close relative."
Brief Commentary on Ruth 3:9
"Who are you?" he cries out thinking someone may be there to steal his grain. "It's me, Ruth, asking for your hand in marriage under the Levirate Ritual!" "Spread your protection over me and my family by taking me as part of your family (spread your covering over your maid)". "Take me now!" (Please excuse my rough translation).
Herein lies the "predicament." Naomi wants them together. Boaz wants them together. Ruth wants them together. He does not qualify under the law to do this righteously. If you were a Jew reading this story you would see this coming. At this point in the story you would clearly see the predicament even though it has not been yet announced in the text. You would say to yourself, "Ah, Ha, what are they going to do about it."
If Boaz and Ruth make love there on the pile of grain and He does not marry her then they are both guilty under the law.
If Boaz uses Ruth's desire for Levirate marriage to his advantage, sleeps with her, and then does not marry her, they are both guilty under the law.
If Boaz and Ruth consummate the Levirate marriage now he and she become transgressors of the law. He and she would be committing fornication and immorality under the law. He does not qualify for the position of Levirate. He is not the qualified kinsman-redeemer.
If someone should see them together, at night, alone, on the grain pile, they both will be shamed and thought to be breakers of the law. – The Predicament! Is Boaz a Righteous man? What will he do?
Questions and Answers about Ruth 3:9
What did Boaz say to This woman?
(Who are you? Apparently he was not expecting a young lady proposing marriage to him tonight!)
How does Ruth respond?
(She answered him right away – probably pretty scared, not just because she had come but also because he reached forward without warning and grabbed her. "I'm Ruth your maid, I'm here with the intention of asking you to marry me in the Levirate tradition! You are a Kinsman-Redeemer!)
"Why did she ask Boaz to "spread
your cover over me"?
(Conservative scholars, both Jewish and Christian, remark that the request was for Boaz to place her under the protection of His faith in God. ""Ruth said, "Take me under your wing (kanaph)." Cover me, is a term of intimacy. Boaz was an honorable man and did the honorable thing. They were married, and she became his bride. Here she was a Moabite woman from a foreign country, grafted into the nation of Israel, like us. Boaz and Ruth are listed in the genealogy of King David and therefore of Y'shua ben Yosef (Jesus son of Joseph). She had the right to be covered by her spouse's Tallit. This is a symbolic expression of marriage. (In some Mid Eastern cultures they cast a garment over one being claimed for marriage.)" "In Ezk.16: 8 YHVH speaks to Jerusalem and likewise says, "so I spread my wing (kanaph) over you and covered your nakedness," and in Psalm 91 we are able to "abide under the shadow of the Almighty" and "under His wings (kanaph)."" *2 It needs to be pointed out here that Boaz (3:9) did not cover her with his garment (kanaph – wing, tallit). Instead he explained why he could NOT declare her as his wife (by covering her in the ritual) at this time – there was another who had the "right of first refusal" upon her request for Levirate marriage. He goes on to further state that if Redeemer #1 will not fulfill his duties as Kinsman-Redeemer with Ruth, then he, Boaz, certainly will." For footnotes and more: See Appendix-5)
What does she mean by the
expression "close relative?"
(The Hebrew word is "kinsman." When a man finds a woman (usually a sister-in-law of your late brother) at his feet, dressed in wedding clothes, asking to be married, and saying that he is her "kinsman," he knows that the request being made is the legitimate request for claiming the Levirate marriage rite.)
What then is
the "Predicament" listed in the Outline?
(Boaz is not Ruth's brother-in-law, nor is He Naomi's. As a matter of fact He is not the closest qualified male family member, and Loves Him and Boaz loves her – what a predicament!)
Horizontal Chart for Ruth 3:8-9
"And it happened in the middle of the night that the man was
startled and bent forward; and behold, a woman was lying at his
9 And he said, "Who are you?" And she answered, "I am Ruth"
Verse Percentage Chart for Ruth 3:8-9
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