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⇩ Digging Deeper option
M Memory verse suggestion
Read Ruth Chapter 3. Write out any verses, phrases or anything that stands out to you here:
Read verses 1-2. The last verse of the previous chapter tells us that Ruth gathered grain in the fields until the harvests were finished. The next step in the process was winnowing. This is how the grain was separated from the chaff or outer shell. The grain or seed kernel within is what is ground into flour. The chaff is a rough, inedible shell that needs to be removed. Winnowing was done utilizing wind or air. The pod of wheat or barley was tossed into the air above a threshing floor, and the heavier seed would fall to the ground to be collected or ground there. The chaff, which was much lighter, would blow away in the wind. Sometimes people did this using a basket with special holes in it called a winnowing fan, which would knock the seed loose. Sometimes they laid out the grain on a threshing floor and led oxen or sheep walk over the hard shells and knocked the seeds loose. This was done in a big open area where the chaff could blow away on the wind, and the hard stone floor would hold the seed, instead of a dirt floor where the seed would be trampled into and difficult to pick up after.
In verses 1-2, what was Naomi trying to do for Ruth?
Read Deut. 25:5, Lev. 25:47-49. What was Boaz to them and why was that significant?
What did Naomi say Boaz would be doing?
Read verses 3-4. What did Naomi tell Ruth to do?
Read verses 5-7. Ruth went to the threshing floor near Boaz after he ate, drank and was what?
Why is it usually a better time to ask someone something after they've eaten and are relaxed for the evening?
What did Ruth do after Boaz laid down?
Read verses 8-9. What was Boaz’s reaction?
There is an exclamation mark at the end of the first sentence in some versions of verse 8. That’s because this was a scandalous thing she did, which could have tarnished her reputation. It wasn’t expressly immoral, but spending the night with a man suggested something could have happened, even if it hadn’t, and could have tarnished her reputation and his. Ruth was obeying Naomi in doing this, because she didn’t know what to do in this culture, in a foreign land, and trusted Naomi. Naomi was also a wise older woman, who knew not only the customs of the land and her people, but also something my hilarious mother once told me, “in order to make it clear to a man that you like him, sometimes you have to hit him over the head with a 2x4!” There was absolutely no room for doubt now that Ruth was interested in Boaz. She had been very patient waiting for him, but he seemed to not be getting the hint or acting on it. Even the densest, most insecure man would have understood her feelings after this action. Naomi knew this and advised Ruth this way most likely to make it abundantly clear to him.
What did Ruth say to Boaz?
Some versions say “servant”, and some say “slave.” Please don’t take this as Ruth was saying Boaz could be her cruel or authoritative or dictatorial master and he could treat/abuse her as a slave, or be unkind to her. Boaz had been nothing but compassionate, kind, and respectful to her in every interaction, and would continue to be so. This was his reputation in the town (hayil, honorable, noble) among all who knew him. She also wasn’t saying she was less of a human than he was. She was recognizing his position of authority and power as a wealthy, prestigious land-holder and her potential kinsman-redeemer. She recognized the position of power he held in their society. The word here is more like "maidservant", meaning close at hand as his servant. She desired to serve him, to take care of him. As a wealthy, powerful single man, he didn't need a maid; he needed a wife. She was making it clear that she would be that for him if he wished, and take care of him in all the loving, thoughtful ways only a wife can or should for her husband. Again, she was showcasing her feelings for him.
Some versions of this verse say "Take me under your wing" and others say something more like “spread the corner of your garment over me.” Both suggest protection. Ruth had already covered herself with a corner of his cloak, making it clear it was his specific protection she desired, not any other man's. Ruth then asked him to spread the corner of the cloak, meaning “show me that you want to redeem and protect me.” What is also interesting is that a common Jewish wedding tradition is the spreading of a special type of cloak, a prayer shawl, over the couple during the wedding ceremony. This symbolizes their faith, the protection of God, and their commitment to protect each other, including in prayer.
By spreading his cloak on herself, Ruth was saying to Boaz: “I give you permission to protect me and provide a life and home for me. I choose you to be my protector. Your job as kinsman redeemer is to cover me and protect me and I choose this. I want to be warmed and comforted by you and your blanket of covering. I want you to be my kinsman redeemer and to redeem me as a husband, according to your laws. I want it to be you. I choose you.” This is actually a sweet, romantic moment that no man could have missed, and we see the tenderness and love here further by how Boaz humbly responds and accepts her obvious offer.
Read verses 10-11. How did Boaz respond?
Why does he say she showed greater kindness ("hesed" again—1:8, lovingkindness, faithfulness)?
What type of man could she have chosen? (one of these words meant closer to her age than his)
Do you think he could have been insecure about his age?
How could that have maybe been what held him back in the past from pursuing courting her?
Do you know any book or movie characters like this, and which ones turned out well or poorly? (Little Women, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Far from the Madding Crowd, Jane Eyre, the real story of Pocahontas, Celine Dion, C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman, Joel Smallbone and Moriah Peters of For King and Country)
What does Boaz say he will do for Ruth and why?
What are some synonyms for noble?
The Hebrew word here for “noble character” is hayil or chayil. It is the same word used in Proverbs 31:10. It can also be translated as strong, competent or talented (Gen. 47:6) valiant or mighty (Judges 6:12), or capable. Exodus 18:21 commands the people to “select capable men from among the people—God-fearing, trustworthy men who are averse to dishonest gain. Appoint them over the people as leaders...” Hayil is the same word used to describe Boaz in chapter 2 verse 1. Ruth and Boaz were equally yoked (2 Cor. 6:14), perfectly matched in the way they respected each other and others, in their pursuit of honor, in their humility, in their kindness, in their overall character.
Read verses 12-13. What was the issue with Boaz immediately becoming Ruth’s “family/kinsman redeemer”?
What was Boaz’s plan?
If you’re wondering why Boaz told Ruth to stay instead of go home, remember this was a dangerous time, and it would have been unsafe for Ruth to walk home alone, but also scandalous and suggesting impropriety for her to be seen out with him so late at night (if he tried to walk her home at midnight). It was safer for her and her reputation to stay where he could protect her and to remain hidden.
Do you think he was eager to “redeem” and marry her, and why or why not?
Read verses 14-15. When did Ruth get up to leave?
What did Boaz tell her?
Why was that wise advice, especially if what she did could have ruined her reputation and his?
Did Boaz let her leave empty-handed, or did he provide more generosity for her and Naomi, whom it was known she lived with? Why would he do that?
Read verses 16-18. Naomi calls Ruth “my daughter” here, “bitti” from the Hebrew word “bath”, meaning daughter, and Boaz also calls her this name. How do they each mean it in different ways?
How much barley did Boaz give Ruth and why?
Is it possible he was grateful to Naomi, suspecting she was the one who gave Ruth that advice and giving him hope that he had a chance with Ruth, considering Naomi knew the Israelite customs?
What made Naomi so sure that Boaz would not rest until it was all resolved, and that it would be that day?
Do you think Boaz possibly admired and was attracted to Ruth for a long time and thought he didn’t have a chance with her?_____ Why or why not?
Are there any books, movies, or tv shows (or anyone’s real life stories you know about) that remind you of this, what some call a “slow burn”, where a man waits a long time for a woman he likes to see him as a potential husband or boyfriend, or waits to know for sure that she does before he makes a move? Describe the context:
Why is it more satisfying to gain something we’ve waited a long time for, rather than to receive instant gratification?
Conclusion of the chapter:
What verse or passage stood out to you most?
What are each of the promises in this chapter?
What verse are you working on memorizing?
What’s your biggest takeaway idea or lesson from this chapter?
© 2021 Amanda Lorenzo