One day Naomi said to Ruth, “My daughter, it’s time that I found a permanent home for you, so that you will be provided for. Boaz is a close relative of ours, and he’s been very kind……Now do as I tell you—take a bath and put on perfume and dress in your nicest clothes. Then go to the threshing floor, but don’t let Boaz see you until he has finished eating and drinking. Be sure to notice where he lies down; then go and uncover his feet and lie down there. He will tell you what to do.” (Ruth 3:1-4)
At first glance, it looks like Naomi has decided to become the Beverly Hills Madame of Bethlehem. Take a bath, put on perfume, get dressed up then go down to where the man will be sleeping, uncover his feet, lay down? OOOOOOOOkkkkkkay. However, Naomi was actually encouraging Ruth to ask Boaz to marry her. The ancient rules stated that the widow had to request to be redeemed. She had to ask the nearest relative to buy her family’s land and redeem her husband’s family name (Deuteronomy 25:5-10).
As is expected, our loyal Ruth did exactly what Naomi told her to do.
Around midnight Boaz suddenly woke up and turned over. He was surprised to find a woman lying at his feet! “Who are you?” he asked.
“I am your servant Ruth,” she replied. “Spread the corner of your covering over me, for you are my family redeemer.” Spreading of the garment was symbolic of asking for marriage/protection. Even in today’s Jewish weddings, the groom traditionally wears a tallit — or prayer shawl. This shawl is wrapped around both the bride and groom during the ceremony, to symbolize their unity. (Ruth 3:8-9)
So they immediately got married and lived happily ever after right?
Not exactly. Although Boaz was flattered and really wanted to redeem Ruth, there was someone younger than him who had the actual legal claim of “kinsman redeemer”. He instructed Ruth to wait until morning to return home (for her own safety and reputation). He sent her home to Naomi with food.
Thank you for the barley but I was expecting a ring!!!
After Ruth told Naomi all that had transpired and what Boaz instructed her to do, Naomi told Ruth:
“Sit still, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out….”
Wait? Sit still? Didn’t Ruth do all the steps….bath (check), perfume (check), dressy clothes (check), uncover his feet and lie down (check)?
Yes daughters, even when we do everything right, sometimes we gotta sit still until we learn how the matter turns out.
I found these questions in Ruth Curtis Higgs’ book ” The Girl’s Still Got It” and they really made me think:
In what area of life are you waiting right now?
Are you willing to rest in God’s sovereignty while you wait?
Read Ruth Chapters 3-4
Complete the “Session two” homework in our study materials