We begin this week by reading Ruth 3:1-10
v1: Security: Literally the word for ‘rest’. Rest is related to the outcome of G-d’s will. When we fulfil G-d’s plans and purposes, and are obedient to Him, we can expect rest. This word is related to a Kingdom rest or experience – not a kicking off of our shoes and lying down. It’s being in the place where G-d wants us to be and, when we are in that place, we are at REST. An eternal aspect is brought into the text with this word “rest”.
Naomi was finally behaving like a Jew in this verse – that is, she was acting in a way to bless others. She now began to teach, instruct, and reveal to Ruth what Ruth needed to do in order for G-d’s will to become a reality in her life. This is what Israel is called to do (Gen 12:3)
v2: After the harvesting is over, the barley and wheat need to be threshed – the chaff needs to be separated from the wheat. The edible grain needs to be sorted out from that which is not.
- Tonight: This is a very significant word. In many places, in the Scripture, you will find that good things happen at night. (not “at darkness” – that is not the same thing) Night is related to redemption. (see Ruth 3:8)
v3: Naomi gave Ruth instructions on what to do (she taught Ruth).
v4:According to Deut 25:5-10, Ruth had to marry a relative, of her deceased husband, in order to have a son who would carry the name, and inherit the estate or portion, belonging to the deceased man. If the relative did not want to marry the deceased’s widow, they went up to the city gates and, before witnesses, she uncovered his foot – removed his sandal and spat in his face – because that is what was done to a man who refused to carry out this commandment.
Uncovering Boaz’s feet had nothing to do with anything sexual. By this act Ruth signaled to Boaz that she was a widow with no son, and her husband had no heir. She reminded him that the Torah commanded that one of the deceased’s relatives needed to marry her in order to raise up a child so that the deceased’s name was not blotted out in Israel.
She would only spit in Boaz’s face at the city gate if he refused to obey the command.
v8: Good things happen at night, and they are usually related to redemption (Ex 12:29-31, Matt 25:6)
- Startled: Shook. Why did he shake? Because he should have, but had not yet, obeyed the commandment from Deuteronomy. His feet are uncovered, and he is one step away from having Ruth spit in his face. There was still a chance for Boaz to be obedient.
v9: “Take your maidservant under your wing” or “Spread your corner over me” is a Hebrew idiom. (Num 15:37-41) – she was asking him to fulfil the obligation of the commandment that he had toward her (Deut 25:5-10).
v10:Ruth understood that there is a relationship between the grace of G-d and the commandments of G-d. Ruth sought the will of G-d.
- More kindness at the end: This latter act, that Boaz referred to, is this mitzvah to raise up an heir for the deceased husband. Most women would be desperate to find a husband in order for him to supply their physical needs. But Ruth didn’t do that. She went to work. She applied the Word of G-d to her life and, when she found out about this commandment related to redemption, she was concerned for the name of her deceased husband.
Boaz acknowledged that what she was doing, for Mahlon’s name, was an act of grace. It was an act of even greater significance than just caring for her mother-in-law. Boaz understood this, and he wanted to be obedient. He wanted to apply the Word of G-d to his life – not thinking about finances or earthly outcomes, he was more concerned about the spiritual.