The Book Of Ruth
Chapter 3:12-14
"Problem"

 

Chapter 3:12-14
"Problem"

J. Deering, AncientPath.net

 


RUTH 3:12-14

1. Master Study

2. Visualized Text

3. Outline With Text

4. Reference Materials

5. Questions


 

MASTER STUDY
Introduction, Visualized Text with Commentary and Q&A, Charts

 


 

INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS:

 

The revelations about Boaz and Ruth's character continue in this verse. As we come full circle in this "Problem" we see two very Godly people working out a hopeful but difficult situation. We've said it before, Boaz wants Ruth, Ruth wants Boaz. Ruth is resting on Naomi's command – "Do everything Boaz tells you to do." Boaz is resting on his knowledge of what is right, righteous, and according to the Law. He is trusting "as the LORD lives" in the graciousness and righteousness of the LORD. He will do what is RIGHT, even if it means losing Ruth to another.

 


 

THE VISUALIZED TEXT (NASB)  (conjunctions & prepositions (and other important words) underlined, words not in original text in italics)  (alternate text in purple)

 

(3:12)

"And now

          it is true

                   I am a close relative;

however,

                   there is a relative

                             closer than I.

 

Brief Commentary on Ruth 3:12

 

Boaz immediately recognizes the problem. He is of her family. He is qualified, under the law, to be a kinsman-redeemer. But there is one who is more qualified – under the law – to take the rightful responsibility of Ruth's need.

 

Questions and Answers about Ruth 3:12

  1. What does "And now" mean?
    (A special introduction and change of scene, in this case even though Boaz was speaking in verse 11 and is still speaking, a major change in subject is taking place)

  2. What is true?
    (That Boaz is a close relative, a kinsman, a redeemer, one who qualifies to be in the line of succession to legally be a kinsman-redeemer)

  3. What does "however" mean?
    (Introduces contrast, similar to "but")

  4. What does Boaz mean by "relative"?
    (A close relative, a kinsman, a redeemer, one who qualifies to legally be a kinsman-redeemer, who is the first in line)

  5. What does the law say about who the kinsman-redeemer should be?
    (Brother-in-law, Levirate = "Brother-in-law" law)

  6. What are the implications to this statement?
    (Boaz is not the oldest living brother-in-law of either Ruth or Naomi. Ruth's only Jewish brother-in-law is deceased and we are not told whether Elimelech had any brothers. Therefore the rightful kinsman could be the oldest living brother of Elimelech (older brother of Boaz), or if there are no brothers of Elimelech to take the role then it could be the oldest living male cousin, and that would mean that Boaz could be a brother of his. The Jewish legal system is very specific, the law is about continuing the family, property, and land, and keeping it within the family.)


 

(3:13)

          "Remain this night, and

          when morning comes,

                   if he will redeem you, good;

                             let him redeem you.

                             But if he does not wish to redeem you,

                   Then I will redeem you,

                             as the LORD lives.

          Lie down until morning."

 

Brief Commentary on Ruth 3:13

 

Boaz finds his solution for the problem but can not take action on it until this next day. With his quick mind he has done the family lineage and found that there is another who is more qualified to take on the responsibilities of the kinsman-redeemer. It must be painful for him to tell this to Ruth. However, his hope-against-hope attitude allows him to tell her that, "If he does not wish to redeem you, then I will redeem you, as the LORD lives!" And he means it!

 

His immediate predicament is that he has a young lady, on his bed, that he wants desperately, whom his character will not allow him to take human advantage of the situation. He tells her to "lie down until morning." That could be an open invitation to an immoral act, but….

 

Questions and Answers about Ruth 3:13

 

  1. What is Boaz's intention in asking Ruth to "Remain this night"?
    (Ruth's safety. It would not be safe for her to walk back to the city during the night hours. He is more willing for her to be "found out" in his sleeping quarters in the morning than for her to walk home at night. This is 10 centuries before Christ and this man would not be walking her home.)

  2. What does "when morning comes" imply?
    (Just before daylight, in verse 14 we see that it is a time when at least Boaz's field supervisor has already arrived at work)

  3. Why does Boaz feel that if the closer redeemer gets Ruth it would good?
    (Boaz is most interested in making sure that Ruth and Naomi are taken care of. He is willing to sacrifice his personal feelings for her in order that she is protected and that the law is fulfilled.)

  4. What happens to a redeemer who does not / or can not fulfill the law?
    (The rite of refusal is interesting and we'll get to that in Chapter 4:7. The redeemer, and his family, who does not redeem is held to a certain level of shame within the community. It would be my understanding that if a redeemer refused his responsibility, and the one needing redemption was left with no redeemer, then the shame upon the family would be great. However, if there is another who is qualified under the law, and willing, to redeem then the shame would be little.)

  5. Boaz swears upon the LORD – what do you think about that?
    (It is not until the New Testament and Jesus tells us to let our yea be yea and not use the LORD's name to bind a human contract)

  6. Why does Boaz tell her to lie down until morning?
    (Seeing the character of Boaz in this story tells me that he doesn't want to test the temptation of being close to her awake. She had come to him to have him propose marriage and possibly consummate it. He cannot go there without violating his own character and ruining her reputation – and making her of not particular value to the rightful redeemer. He just will not do that. "Lie down, go to sleep, I'll fix this in the morning.")


 

(3:14)

So

          She

                   lay     at his feet until morning and

                   rose before one could recognize another;

and

          he said,

                   "Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor."

 

Brief Commentary on Ruth 3:14

 

We cannot allow ourselves to read into one verse of scripture any meaning or application that does not fit with the rest of scripture. The transition from verse 13 to 14 must be made, we cannot just end at 13 and our human assumptions.

 

Verse 14 leaves us with no other option but to believe exactly what it says. Following his command, she lays down – from then until morning – at his feet! And then her next act is to get up and leave. No seemly event, nothing out of character for the two people we have come to know well. They talked, she went to sleep at his feet (in the position of one who respects the other as lord over her), and she woke up and left. No messy American melodrama, no final seemly goodbyes.

 

She was up just before light, still dark enough so that her identity would be know (and according to the text not known). Another, probably the foreman (and early arrival at the field) who sees a woman leave, but not her identity.

 

Boaz's instruction to the observer is "keep this to yourself."  Who or why this woman was here is of no one else's concern. No one needs to say, "It's not what you think it is."

 

Questions and Answers about Ruth 3:14

 

  1. Why use the word "So" here?
    (It indicates to us the result of Boaz's commands upon Ruth)

  2. Who lay at his feet?
    (Ruth)

  3. What did she do?
    (The text is specific here, there are many things she could have done – but didn't. Instead she followed Boaz's command and she lay AT HIS FEET.)

  4. How long did she do that?
    (Until early morning)

  5. When did she get up to leave?
    (Early enough so that there was not enough daylight to recognize another person.)

  6. Who was Boaz talking to in the last half of the verse?
    (The first person onto the scene, probably the chief field servant (foreman))

  7. What were Boaz's instructions?
    ("Don't tell anyone that there was a woman here last night")

  8. Why not be more specific about who that woman was?
    (She left "before one could recognize another")


 

 Horizontal Chart for Ruth 3:12-14

 

Ruth 3:12-14

The Problem

"And now it is true I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I. Remain this night, and when morning comes, if he will redeem you, good; let him redeem you. But if he does not wish to redeem you, then I will redeem you, as the LORD lives. Lie down until morning." So she lay at his feet until morning and rose before one could recognize another; and he said, "Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor."

 


 

Verse Percentage Chart for Ruth 3:12-14

 

 


RUTH 3:12-14

1. Master Study

2. Visualized Text

3. Outline With Text

4. Reference Materials

5. Questions


The Book of Ruth, Bible Study, J. Deering, AncientPath.net, study materials are a ministry of AncientPath.net, and may be copied for use in Bible study groups, in limited numbers, providing that no charge is made for them.  No further distribution or use of these materials is allowable under U.S. or International Copyright Law without the express permission of AncientPath.net. 2008 AncientPath.net, All rights reserved.


2012-11-20