Amplified: At midnight the man was startled, and he turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
BBE: Now in the middle of the night, the man awaking from his sleep in fear, and lifting himself up, saw a woman stretched at his feet.
CEV: In the middle of the night, Boaz suddenly woke up and was shocked to see a woman lying at his feet. (CEV)
GWT: At midnight the man was shivering. When he turned over, he was surprised to see a woman lying at his feet. (GWT)
KJV: And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet.
NJB: In the middle of the night, he woke up with a shock and looked about him; and there lying at his feet was a woman. (NJB)
Young's Literal: And it cometh to pass, at the middle of the night, that the man trembleth, and turneth himself, and lo, a woman is lying at his feet.
|Septuagint (LXX): egeneto (3SAMI) de en to mesonuktio kai echeste (3SAAI) o aner kai etarachthe (3SAPI) kai idou gune koimatai (3SPMI) pros podon autou
English of Septuagint: And it came to pass at midnight that the man was amazed, and troubled, and behold, a woman lay (sleeping) at his feet
|AND IT HAPPENED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT THAT THE MAN WAS STARTLED:
In the middle (02677) of the night - This phrase is literally "in the half of the night" or at midnight. Boaz awoke suddenly and discovered that a woman was lying at his feet. Possibly this scene took place in the dark so that Boaz had the opportunity to reject the proposal without the whole town knowing.
Was startled (02729) (charad) means to tremble, quake or shudder and describes human trembling before some strange or fearsome event. For example after Jonathan and his armor bearer had slaughtered about 20 Philistines,
Charad -39v in the OT - Gen 27:33; 42:28; Exod 19:16, 18; Lev 26:6; Deut 28:26; Judg 8:12; Ruth 3:8; 1 Sam 13:7; 14:15; 16:4; 21:1; 28:5; 2 Sam 17:2; 1 Kgs 1:49; 2 Kgs 4:13; Job 11:19; 37:1; Isa 10:29; 17:2; 19:16; 32:11; 41:5; Jer 7:33; 30:10; 46:27; Ezek 26:16, 18; 30:9; 32:10; 34:28; 39:26; Hos 11:10f; Amos 3:6; Mic 4:4; Nah 2:11; Zeph 3:13; Zech 1:21 and rendered in the NAS as -- been careful(1), came trembling(2), come trembling(2), disturb(2), frighten(3), frighten away(1), make afraid(4), quaked(1), routed(1), startled(1), terrified(2), terrify(2), tremble(10), trembled(4), trembles(1), trembling(2).
The Greek Septuagint (LXX) translates the Hebrew word for startled with the Greek verb (tarasso) (5015) which describes an inward commotion which takes away one's calmness, causing physical agitation and shaking like water in a glass that has been sharply jarred (tarasso was used to describe agitating of water in a pool). Figuratively tarasso describes that state of mind which is to stirred up or disturbed often accompanied by various emotions including fear and trepidation. We've all experienced a "Boaz like" reaction, being suddenly awakened by some strange noise in the middle of the night and thinking that there was a burglar in the house. And then we were wide awake for some time after that because we were so shaken. Now you have the picture of the state of Boaz on this fateful Bethlehem night.
So how did Boaz react? Startled and caught off guard -- remember that he was sleeping by the barley to protect it (these were evil "days of the judges" Jdg 21:25-note, Ru 1:1-note) and he may have had momentary fear that he was being robbed. The Targum translates it
Be aware of some very poorly substantiated exposition in various commentaries on this particular section of Ruth. For example one liberal source offers an absurd, even irreverent interpretation
Fortunately this genre of interpretation has been almost universally rejected as unfounded, particularly when one does a careful interpretation in light of the context of the entire story. It would be highly unlikely to see Ruth, portrayed uniformly as a woman of excellence (Ru 3:11, cp same adjective used to describe Boaz in Ru 2:1 = "wealth") stoop to such a level. Similarly it would be singularly out of character for a man like Boaz to take advantage of a woman in this way. Remember that Boaz goes the extra mile to maintain his integrity by emphasizing that he is not the closest Goel or kinsman-redeemer. Why would he besmirch his character in this section? Once again this genre of liberal interpretation shows the critical value of always interpreting Scripture in light of its context which is "king" in regard to accurate interpretation!
AND BENT FORWARD AND BEHOLD A WOMAN WAS LYING AT HIS FEET:
Bent forward (03943) is a Hebrew verb that is concerned with turning but does not specify a particular way of turning.
And behold (02009) - As the famous "canine cartoon commentator", Snoopy, used to say “Life is full of rude awakenings!”. For example, remember when Jacob awoke to discover he was married to the wrong woman! Adam on the other hand was put to sleep by God as a single fellow and awoke a married man! While Jacob's realization was rude, such could hardly be said of either Adam's or Boaz's awakening.
Where was Ruth? She was lying at Boaz's feet which is an important detail to exonerate her from false accusations of impure motives and even worse of participating in an illicit relationship! The Hebrew verb for "lying" (07901) can refer to lying down for rest, lying down forever (deceased) or lying down to have sexual relations. Some commentaries have focused on this last meaning completely ignoring the surrounding text (context). Three times the author emphasizes the fact that Ruth was at the feet (04772) of Boaz.
Click the picture of Ruth at the feet of Boaz ( from the Wenzel Bible - 1389)...
The Targum adds that
Woodrow Kroll makes the following comments regarding "middle of the night" noting that...
|Amplified: And he said, Who are you? And she answered, I am Ruth your maidservant. Spread your wing [of protection] over your maidservant, for you are a next of kin. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
BBE: And he said, Who are you? And she answering said, I am your servant Ruth: take your servant as wife, for you are a near relation.
CEV: "Who are you?" he asked. "Sir, I am Ruth," she answered, "and you are the relative who is supposed to take care of me. So spread the edge of your cover over me." (CEV)
GWT: "Who are you?" he asked. She answered, "I am Ruth. Spread the corner of your garment over me because you are a close relative who can take care of me." (GWT)
NJB: 'Who are you?' he said; and she replied, 'I am your servant Ruth. Spread the skirt of your cloak over your servant for you have the right of redemption over me.' (NJB)
Young's Literal: And it cometh to pass, at the middle of the night, that the man trembleth, and turneth himself, and lo, a woman is lying at his feet.
English of Septuagint: And he said, Who art thou? and she said, I am thine handmaid Ruth; spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid, for thou art a near relation
|AND HE SAID WHO ARE YOU AND SHE ANSWERED I AM RUTH YOUR MAID: (Ru 2:10,11-note; Ru 2:12-note; 1Sa 25:41; Lk 14:11)
Boaz recognized the shadowy figure as a woman, as his question "Who are you?" uses the feminine singular pronoun 'at.
I am Ruth you maid - She uses the Hebrew word 'amah (0519) which is applied both to literal slaves and to those who figuratively call themselves by this term as an expression of humility and submission.
Abigail for example fell at David's feet
Bathsheba addressed her husband David saying
The NET Bible (also ESV, NIV, NLT) rendering in fact puts it this way...
The Greek Septuagint translates it with the word ''doule" (cp word study on NT word for "servant" = doulos) meaning one whose will is submitted to the will of the master. Thus Ruth is clearly willing to humble herself before Boaz. Doule is the name by which Mary (our Lord's mother) referred to herself...
As a husband you may wish your wife submitted to you the way Ruth submits to Naomi and to Boaz. Then ask yourself whether you are providing the kind of godly leadership, care, and concern that Boaz showed towards Ruth? Now on the other hand, many wives wish they had a husband who loved, cared, and treated them they way Boaz did towards Ruth. But are they showing the same kind of humble submission and respect Ruth showed to Boaz? Ruth is a very practical book, especially regarding the relationship between men and women, especially between husbands and wives, and for these reasons alone it merits frequent study and meditation to "glean" the hidden treasures of wisdom for living buried in these four simple and yet very profound chapters.
Ruth your maid - The first time at his "feet" she had referred to herself as "a foreigner" (Ru 2:10-note). Here she did not call herself Ruth the Moabitess or a foreigner but “your handmaid” which certainly suggests as some have surmised that Ruth was making a new beginning. Ruth is mentioned twelve times, five references as the Moabitess (Ru 1:22; 2:2, 21; 4:5, 10-see notes Ru 1:22; 2:2; 2:21; 4:5; 4:10).
SO SPREAD YOUR COVERING OVER YOUR MAID: (Dt 22:30, Ezek 16:8)
Ruth reminded Boaz of his own words, and requested him to become the fulfiller of his own prayer. The word for corner is the same as that for `wing' in Ru 2:12 (note) Ruth reminded Boaz of his own words, and requested him to become the fulfiller of his own prayer.
To raise the skirts of a woman's garment is a symbol of insult and disgrace Jer 13:22, 26; Nah. 3:5, whereas to cover her with one's skirt was a token of matrimony. No doubt the idiom reflected the custom, still practiced by some in the Middle East, of a man throwing a garment over the woman he has decided to take as his wife, and symbolizing protection as well as fellowship.
Spread (05203) (paras) is commonly used to describe wings as "being spread" or open fully.
There are 39 uses in the OT - Gen. 31:28; Exod. 23:11; Num. 11:31; Deut. 32:15; Jdg. 6:13; Ruth 3:9; 1 Sam. 4:2; 10:2; 12:22; 17:20, 22, 28; 30:16; 2 Sam. 5:18, 22; 1 Ki. 8:57; 2 Ki. 21:14; Neh. 10:31; Ps. 27:9; 78:60; 94:14; Prov. 1:8; 6:20; 17:14; Isa. 2:6; 16:8; 21:15; 32:14; 33:23; Jer. 7:29; 12:7; 15:6; 23:33, 39; Ezek. 29:5; 31:12; 32:4; Hos. 12:14; Amos 5:2. The NAS renders paras - abandon(7), abandoned(5), allow(1), cast away(1), ceased(1), drawn(1), fall(1), forego(1), forsake(3), forsaken(2), forsook(1), hangs slack(1), leave(2), left(5), lie fallow(1), neglected(1), spread (6).
In a parallel passage in Ezekiel we see God speaking to Israel reminding her
In this metaphorical account in Ezek 16:8, God spreads his skirt over naked Jerusalem as an act of protection and as a precursor to marriage.
To spread one’s mantle over a person meant to claim that person for yourself. For example in (1Kings 19:19) we Elijah finds
Covering (03671) (kanaph translated with Septuagint (LXX) pterugion = tarret or pinnacle) refers to an edge or extremity; specifically of a bird and thus refers to a bird's wing as used in Ru 2:12 ("under Whose wings" ) referring figuratively to the wings of the Almighty God. Now Ruth would be under the wings of Boaz, her beloved husband. What a beautiful picture of marriage! Is that a picture of your marriage?
There are 85 uses of kanaph in the OT - Gen. 1:21; 7:14; Exod. 19:4; 25:20; 37:9; Lev. 1:17; Num. 15:38; Deut. 4:17; 22:12, 30; 27:20; 32:11; Ruth 2:12; 3:9; 1 Sam. 15:27; 24:4f, 11; 2 Sam. 22:11; 1 Ki. 6:24, 27; 8:6f; 2 Chr. 3:11ff; 5:7f; Job 37:3; 38:13; 39:13, 26; Ps. 17:8; 18:10; 36:7; 57:1; 61:4; 63:7; 68:13; 78:27; 91:4; 104:3; 139:9; 148:10; Prov. 1:17; 23:5; Eccl. 10:20; Isa. 6:2; 8:8; 10:14; 11:12; 18:1; 24:16; Jer. 2:34; 48:40; 49:22; Ezek. 1:6, 8f, 11, 23ff; 3:13; 5:3; 7:2; 10:5, 8, 12, 16, 19, 21; 11:22; 16:8; 17:3, 7, 23; 39:4, 17; Dan. 9:27; Hos. 4:19; Hag. 2:12; Zech. 5:9; 8:23; Mal. 4:2. The NAS translates kanaph as - bird*(1), corner(1), corners(4), covering(1), each other(1), edge(5), edges(1), ends(3), fold (2), garment (1), kind (3), skirt(3), skirts(1), sorts (1), wing(14), winged(5), wings(59), wingspan(1).
Fruchtenbaum comments that spreading the covering referred to...
In the present context, kanaph refers to the edge of a garment or bed-clothing flap. We find a similar use in Deuteronomy where God directs His people to
Ruth’s words about Boaz taking her under his wing suggest that in her mind, she was entering into betrothal to marry Boaz. Betrothal was the first stage of marriage in which a couple contracted to marry each other (scroll down to entry #2 "Betrothal the First Formal Part" - in ISBE discussion of Marriage). Betrothal in ancient Israel (at the time of Christ) lasted for a year and was as binding as marriage, being dissolved only by divorce. Should the man to whom a girl was betrothed die, in the eyes of the law she was a widow. During the actual marriage ceremony, the groom’s relatives cover the bride with the groom’s garment, indicating that from then on, she was under his protection ("his wing").
In an earlier encounter Boaz had offered a prayer for Ruth,
The word wings was a symbol of protection, as with baby birds which run under their mother's wings to escape the birds of prey. God used Boaz as the vessel to answer his own prayer in behalf of Ruth. It was customary for a Jewish husband to cover his new wife with the end of his tallit (Heb., prayer shawl) to signify that she was under his protection. Accordingly, Ruth was asking Boaz to accept his responsibility as kinsman and to take her as his wife. The modern Jewish marriage ceremony takes place under a "huppah/chuppah" (a canopy -- sounds like "kanaph") in the presence of two lawful witnesses.
To this day in many parts of the East when a man says he put his skirt over a woman it is synonymous with saying that he has married her.
The Old Testament uses kanaph many times, most often figuratively and most often referring to God in a positive context. For example, Israel's redemption and deliverance from bondage in Egypt is twice described with the beautiful picture of "wings" for God reminds His people
God's "wings" are pictured as instrumental in the redemption of His wife Israel from Egyptian bondage. Here in Ruth, the bride is requesting that her redeemer cover her with his "wings"! And ultimately from this covenant comes One from the line of David and the tribe of Judah, Who Himself is the Redeemer of all mankind. Have you sought refuge under the wings of the Redeemer of Israel from the wrath to come? Paul teaches that if you have, you are safe and can
This phrase Spread your covering vividly pictures the provision of protection, warmth and fellowship and in context speaks beautifully of marriage. Would it be true that all husbands covered their dearly beloved the way God does and the way Boaz did in this love story. There appears to be no hesitation in the response of Boaz. Ruth could let go of any fear she may have had, for there was no rebuke from this godly man. To the contrary, he gives her a blessing and acceptance as a `my daughter' in the family. No longer was she a stranger or foreigner for Ruth had come under the wings of Jehovah God (Ru 2:12-note); and now she would be under the wings of her kinsman-redeemer, Boaz!
Jamieson adds that Ruth
Fruchtenbaum observes that...
FOR YOU ARE A CLOSE RELATIVE: (Ru 2:12 -note)
Today's English Version is very direct (albeit a paraphrase)
Note she says "You are a kinsman-redeemer," rather than, "You are my kinsman-redeemer". Whether Ruth knew that there was a closer kinsman is uncertain.
It is surprising that Jonathan Edwards in his book "History of Redemption" which traces the history of redemption from Moses to David, absolutely ignored Boaz as a type of Christ (see Typology), the great Redeemer and instead included many of the judges (including Samson!) writing that
J. Vernon McGee further notes that
The responsibilities of the kinsman redeemer or go'el mentioned in Scripture are...
1). Avenging the death of a murdered relative (Nu 35:19)
2). Marrying a childless widow of a deceased brother (Dt 25:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10),
3). Buying back family land that had been sold (Lv 25:25),
4). Buying a family member who had been sold as a slave (Lv 25:47, 48, 49),
5). Looking after needy and helpless members of the family (Lv 25:35).
Amplified: And he said, Blessed be you of the Lord, my daughter. For you have made this last loving-kindness greater than the former, for you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
BBE: And he said, May the Lord give you his blessing, my daughter: even better than what you did at the first is this last kind act you have done, in not going after young men, with or without wealth.
CEV: Boaz replied: The LORD bless you! This shows how truly loyal you are to your family. You could have looked for a younger man, either rich or poor, but you didn't. (CEV)
GWT: Boaz replied, "May the LORD bless you, my daughter. This last kindness-that you didn't go after the younger men, whether rich or poor-is better than the first. (GWT)
KJV: And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast showed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.
NJB: 'May Yahweh bless you, daughter,' he said, 'for this second act of faithful love of yours is greater than the first, since you have not run after young men, poor or rich.
Young's Literal: And he saith, 'Blessed art thou of Jehovah, my daughter; thou hast dealt more kindly at the latter end than at the beginning -- not to go after the young men, either poor or rich.
Septuagint (LXX): kai eipen (3SAAI) Boos eulogemene (RPPFSN) su to kurio theo thugater hoti egathunas (2SAAI) to eleos sou to eschaton huper to proton to me poreuthenai (APN) se opiso neanion eitoi ptochos eitoi plousios
English of Septuagint: And Booz said, Blessed be thou of the Lord God, my daughter, for thou hast made thy latter kindness greater than the former, in that thou followest not after young men, whether any be poor or rich
|THEN HE SAID MAY YOU BE BLESSED: (Ru 2:4-note; 1Cor 13:4, 5)
Of the LORD - Boaz's immediate use of God’s covenant Name shows His acknowledgment and recognition of Jehovah's sovereign and providential hand in all that was taking place. How quick are we to recognize and acknowledge the hand of the Lord in all that transpires in our life? May we like Boaz make this our natural (supernatural) response in everything (cp 1Th 5:18-note)
There was not a moment's hesitation in the response of Boaz. It is obvious that Boaz understood Ruth’s action as a request for marriage. Ruth could let go of her fears for no rebuke was forthcoming. Instead, she received a blessing and acceptance as a `daughter' in the family. No longer was she a stranger or foreigner. (We too are now "accepted in the Beloved" KJV, Eph 1:6-note)
Bless (01288) (barak) (see Vine's note below) literally means to kneel down and to be or go to a stance in which one is on the knees as contrasted with standing on the feet, with the back straight or bent.
To bless in the OT often conveys the idea of to endue with power for success, prosperity, fecundity, longevity, etc. Its major function seems to have been to confer abundant and effective life upon something (Ge 2:3) or someone (Ge 27:27) The source of true blessing is God and God alone. God's name, the manifestation of His personal, redemptive, covenant-keeping nature, is at the heart of all blessing.
Boaz might have refused to have anything to do with Ruth; but in his love for her, he called her “my daughter” (Ru 2:8-note) and pronounced a blessing on her (Eph 1:3-note). Our Heavenly Father and our Redeemer seek a closer relationship with us, and we should not be afraid to draw near and share Their love (Jn 14:21). If we could only realize in even a small way the great love our Kinsman Redeemer has for us, we would forsake everything else and enjoy His fellowship.
MY DAUGHTER YOU HAVE SHOWN YOUR LAST KINDNESS TO BE BETTER THAN THE FIRST BY NOT GOING AFTER YOUNG MEN WHETHER POOR OR RICH:
"even better than what you did at the first is this last kind act you have done, in not going after young men, with or without wealth" (BBE)
"You are showing more family loyalty now than ever by not running after a younger man, whether rich or poor" (NLT)
"this second act of faithful love of yours is greater than the first, since you have not run after young men, poor or rich" (NJB)
"This act of kindness is greater than the kindness you showed to Naomi in the beginning. You didn’t look for a young man to marry, either rich or poor" (NCV)
"You are showing even greater family loyalty in what you are doing now than in what you did for your mother-in-law. You might have gone looking for a young man, either rich or poor, but you didn’t" (TEV)
"This shows how truly loyal you are to your family. You could have looked for a younger man, either rich or poor, but you didn’t." (CEV)
Boaz realized that Ruth was primarily concerned for Naomi's future (cp Php 2:3, 4-note). It would have been natural for Ruth to have sought a husband of her own age rather than someone old enough to be her father. He had observed her reticence and respected her for it. He could do all she asked without incurring blame because the whole community had come to appreciate Ruth's integrity.
In ancient times, daughters were not prized as highly as sons. Some fathers actually looked upon them as nuisances. However, the Hebrews treated their daughters more humanely than some of the surrounding cultures.
Kindness (lovingkindness) (hesed) (used also in Ru 1:8-note; Ru 2:20-note) conveys the basic meaning of steadfast or unfailing love and devotion. Hesed for example is used to describe God's faithfulness to keep His covenant.
What was Ruth's latter "kindness"? Ruth’s former act of devotion was her decision to stay with and help Naomi (cp Ru 1:15, 2:2, 2:11). The latter act of devotion is her decision to marry Boaz and thereby provide a child to carry on her deceased husband’s (and Elimelech’s line) and to provide for Naomi’s needs in her old age. (Ru 4:5, 10, 15-see notes Ru 4:5; 10, 15).
Her first kindness was described in Ru 2:11 (note). If Ruth had been merely sensually inclined like so many in American culture today, she would have followed her fleshly desires and consorted easily with the younger men. In seeking out Boaz, she shows that her primary interest in this whole affair is the “immortality” of her husband and father-in-law. Her hesed or covenant loyalty and faithfulness to her deceased husband Mahlon and to her mother-in-law Naomi became obvious in Moab, when she refused to leave Naomi and this kindness now takes on a new radiance, clearly attractive to Boaz.
Boaz is saying something like
Fruchtenbaum comments that...
Young men - The idea is ''choice men'' in that the picked or chosen men for example in a military context are usually the young men. So there appear to be 2 reasons that Boaz had not proposed marriage to Ruth: (1). His considerably advanced age in comparison to Ruth and (2). His knowledge that there was a nearer kinsman than he.
Whether poor or rich - This phrase suggests that Ruth must have been quite a "catch" and could have married anyone she wished. However, only by marrying a Goel or “kinsman redeemer” could she carry on her dead husband’s line and make provision for Naomi. Once again we see Ruth's lifestyle to daily "deny self" (Mk 8:34), the mantra of an OT follower of the Messiah.
So it appears from Boaz's assessment of Ruth's motives that she was not simply trying to improve her condition in life by seeking Boaz to be her husband, for she might have had a rich young man. Ruth's Christ-like attitude of considering others more important than herself motivated her to seek to "build up the house" (preserving the name) of her deceased husband Mahlon (Ru 4:10) as well as the name of Elimelech.
Some commentators have cynically considered the entire episode in Ruth 3 as an example of the wily ways of a woman who was simply out to "get her man". This genre of (mis) interpretation shows a lack of sensitivity to the intricate (providential) chain of events (context must be king for interpretation to be accurate) that are unfolding in the story.
Amplified: And now, my daughter, fear not. I will do for you all you require, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of strength (worth, bravery, capability). (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
BBE: And now, my daughter, have no fear; I will do for you whatever you say: for it is clear to all my townspeople that you are a woman of virtue.
CEV: Don't worry, I'll do what you have asked. You are respected by everyone in town. (CEV)
GWT: Don't be afraid, my daughter. I will do whatever you say. The whole town knows that you are a woman who has strength of character. (GWT)
KJV: And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.
NET: Now, my dear, don't worry! I intend to do for you everything you propose, for everyone in the village knows that you are a worthy woman.
NJB: Don't be afraid, daughter, I shall do everything you ask, since the people at the gate of my town all know that you are a woman of great worth. (NJB)
Young's Literal: And now, my daughter, fear not, all that thou sayest I do to thee, for all the gate of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.
English of Septuagint: And now fear not, my daughter, whatever thou shalt say I will do to thee; for all the tribe of my people knows that thou art a virtuous woman
|AND NOW MY DAUGHTER DO NOT FEAR I WILL DO FOR YOU WHATEVER YOU ASK :
The first use of yare is instructional for it occurs just after the first sin, where Adam heard God in the garden of Eden and was afraid because of his nakedness (Ge 3:10). Sin brings a terrifying fear of God, because He is holy. The only reliable "antidote" for this fear is faith in our "greater Boaz", Who covers (clothes us) our spiritual nakedness (our unrighteousness) with His perfect righteousness (cp 2Cor 5:21, 1Cor 1:30, Re 3:18-note), that we might not be terrified by the presence of God. In fact the second use of yare in Ge 15:1 is God instructing Abram (later Abraham) to not fear. Why not? Because Jehovah promised him He would be his shield and would reward him. Abraham's had to "lay hold" of these promises by faith (relying on them even when what he saw might have tempted him to think otherwise, cp 2Co 5:7, 4:18, He 11:27-note), just as Ruth had to choose to place her trust in Boaz's promise in order to counter her feelings of fear (of rejection, of doubt, etc). Fear cannot cohabit with a real, robust faith!
Boaz comforted Ruth and allayed her concern that she might have acted presumptuously or offended him by her forwardness. In the midnight darkness, Ruth could not see the face of Boaz, but she could hear his voice and his voice spoke the reassuring words "Do not fear."
I will do for you whatever you ask - The promise. Boaz was a man of his word and so his promise was as good as if it were already accomplished. Ruth had seen and experienced his integrity in chapter 2 and thus had no reason to question his promise now.
As with Ruth, a believer's assurance is not to be based upon feelings and/or untoward circumstances but is rooted in the truth, in the sure word from our greater Kinsman Redeemer, Christ Jesus. Don't trust your feelings. Trust His Word. Are you "in" His Word, that you might "hear" Him speak words of comfort to your soul?
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Mills adds that
FOR ALL MY PEOPLE IN THE CITY KNOW THAT YOU ARE WOMAN OF EXCELLENCE: (Pr 31:29, 30, 31)
For - Now Boaz explains the reason he will fulfill his promise to Ruth.
All my people in the city know (cp Ru 1:19-note, Ru 2:11-note) Ruth was like the description Beverly Parkin gave in her book Flowers by the Wayside, in which she describes a flower that reminds us of Ruth, writing that the regal yellow iris
City (08179) (sha'ar) (used 4 times in Ru 3:11, 4:1, 10, 11 - see notes on Ru 3:11; 4:1; 10; 11) is literally gate so it reads more literally “all the gate of my people” where "gate" is a metonymy (= a figure of speech consisting of the use of the name of one thing for that of another of which it is an attribute or with which it is associated as “crown” in “lands belonging to the crown”) which could refer to everyone in town or to the leaders and prominent citizens of the community (Boaz’s peers) who transacted business and made legal decisions at the town gate.
Blaise Pascal, a 17th-century theologian declared
The people of Bethlehem ("all my people in the city know") had noticed Ruth's daily conduct, and that earned her the reputation of being a virtuous woman. Boaz does not for a moment question their assessment of Ruth, which he might have had any of her actions or address (uncovering his feet, lying at his feet, asking him to cover her) been unseemly or in the least bit anything other than excellent. So here we find another reason to totally disregard any who would some 2500+ years later seek to attribute impure motives to this Moabitess, a woman of virtue
A woman of excellence (cp Pr 12:4, 31:10,29, 30, 31) - A woman of valor. A woman of virtue.
The Hebrew adjective excellence (02428) (chayil) conveys the basic meaning of being strong or firm. One could therefore translate this phrase as "woman of strong (not strong willed) character" and this is essentially the same phrase used in Pr 31:10 to describe the ideal wife, where the writer of Proverbs emphasizes the wife’s industry, devotion to her family and her concern for others, all characteristics which Ruth had amply demonstrated. In the present context then chayil refers to Ruth's virtue, capability, inner strength.
Chayil is also used in the common OT phrase "mighty (gibbor) men of valor (chayil). The word mighty is gibbor (01368) a root commonly associated with warfare and has to do with the strength and vitality of the successful warrior. Gibbor is used to describe God in Isa 10:21, Jer 32:18. The identical Hebrew phrase (gibbor + chayil) is used to refer to Boaz in Ru 2:1 (note) where it is translated as
"man of great wealth",
"mighty man of wealth",
"a man mighty in wealth",
"a rich and influential man",
"a wealthy prominent man".
Just as courage and strength make a man a "hero", so too Ruth’s courage and strength, as shown in her virtuous character - make her a "heroine". The Greek Septuagint translates the Hebrew chayil with the word dunamis (word study) (a "dynamite" woman) which indicates inherent power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature -- dynamite has inherent power which becomes evident when the fuse is lit!
Although the proverb had not yet been written, Boaz, a man of excellence, recognized Ruth's character for he knew that
Peter's description of a godly woman readily fits Ruth's excellent character as we observe her...
As discussed in Ru 2:1 (note), the term used to describe Boaz is very similar to that used to describe Ruth thus making them the perfectly matched couple for an exemplary marriage.
Do you not find it Interesting that there is not one word praising her for her ''looks''. Boaz was most concerned about the ''inward look'' that she radiated.
Matthew Henry writes that
Woodrow Kroll applies the truth about Ruth's virtue, writing that
Amplified: It is true that I am your near kinsman; however, there is a kinsman nearer than I. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
BBE: Now it is true that I am a near relation: but there is a relation nearer than I.
CEV: It's true that I am one of the relatives who is supposed to take care of you, but there is someone who is an even closer relative. (CEV)
Darby: And now, truly I am one that has the right of redemption, yet there is one that has the right of redemption who is nearer than I.
KJV: And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.
GWT: It is true that I am a close relative of yours, but there is a relative closer than I. (GWT)
NET: Now yes, it is true that I am a guardian, but there is another guardian who is a closer relative than I am. (NET Bible)
NIV: Although it is true that I am near of kin, there is a kinsman-redeemer nearer than I. (NIV - IBS)
NJB: But, though it is true that I have the right of redemption over you, you have a kinsman closer than myself. (NJB)
NLT: But there is one problem. While it is true that I am one of your family redeemers, there is another man who is more closely related to you than I am. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Young's Literal: And now, surely, true, that I am a redeemer, but also there is a redeemer nearer than I.
English of Septuagint: And now I am truly akin to thee; nevertheless there is a kinsman nearer than I
|AND NOW IT IS TRUE I AM A CLOSE RELATIVE
Close Relative (Go'el = active participle of verb ga'al).
A reasonable question might be “Why didn’t Ruth wait for Boaz to propose to her?”
For one thing, he most likely expected that she would marry one of the younger bachelors in Bethlehem (Ru 3:10-note). Boaz was an older man, and Ruth was a young woman (Ru 4:12-note). Evidently he concluded that he was out of the running.
The more important reason is given in Ru 3:12 -- There was a nearer kinsman in Bethlehem who had first option on Ruth and the property, and Boaz was waiting for him to act. Ruth had forced the issue, and now Boaz could approach this kinsman and get him to decide.
As already suggested, Naomi may or may not have been known of the other kinsman (but see Ru 2:20 "he is one of our goels"), though Ruth probably did not know of his existence, so this revelation could have come as a small shock. Why Naomi sent Ruth to Boaz instead of to the other Kinsman Redeemer must have rested on Naomi's knowledge and instinct based on Ru 2:1 and his actions throughout chap 2.
HOWEVER THERE IS A RELATIVE CLOSER THAN I: (Ro 4:1-note; Mt 7:12; 1Th 4:6)
Boaz did not withhold the truth from Ruth that there was another go'el, for he did not want to give her false hope. Joy and peace based on ignorance of the truth is delusion and always leads to disappointment. The greatest concern of Boaz was for Ruth's redemption, even if that meant another go'el accomplished the goal. Boaz was not willing to sacrifice his integrity for the sake of expediency (a good lesson for all saints of all ages!). He sought do God’s will in God’s way for God's glory. He knew that if it were really from the Lord, than he would be able carry out the redemptive transaction in an orderly and proper way.
John Walvoord in his article entitled "The Incarnation of the Son of God" has the following entry on the Goel or Kinsman-Redeemer...
Why had this man not been mentioned before? The answer is not clear, but it seems likely that Naomi had already decided that the nearest relative was unlikely to take on any extra responsibilities. Boaz would put that matter to the test in Ruth 4.
Though the reader already knows through the subtleties of the storyteller's art that Boaz loved Ruth, it is clear that as an honorable man he was going to adhere strictly to the laws of his people. This speaks volumes of his willingness to hold fast his integrity trusting God for the outcome, considering the interests of Ruth and Naomi as more importance than his own personal interests in Ruth (which seem fairly obvious). Boaz was a living example of the greater Kinsman Redeemer for he too did