Ruth 3-4 part 2

 

Tonight we continue our lesson from the book of Ruth. We need to remember that in the first 2 chapters of Ruth that Naomi her family leave the promise land and go to Moab because a famine was occurring. Naomiís 2 sons marry to women of Moab Orpa and Ruth. Well, Naomiís husband dies and 10 years latter so do both her sons. Naomi decides to go back to Godís people and both daughter-in-laws decide to go with her. However when they reach the boarder of Moab Naomi encourages them to go back to their homes. Orpa leave but Ruth stays. So they make their way back to the promise land and Naomi is welcomed back. Ruth goes out to gather some grain for them to eat and she catches the eye of Boaz who shows her kindness and does what he can to protect her while she gathers grain. Ruth informs her mother-in-law of what had happened and this makes her very happy because she knows that Boaz is related to her deceased husband. Now we pick back up on this beautiful story in chapter 3.

 

Ruth 3:1 Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, "My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you?2 "Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor.3 "Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking.4 "Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do."5 And she said to her, "All that you say to me I will do."6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law instructed her.7 And after Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was cheerful, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came softly, uncovered his feet, and lay down.8 Now it happened at midnight that the man was startled, and turned himself; and there, a woman was lying at his feet.9 And he said, "Who are you?" So she answered, "I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative."10 Then he said, "Blessed are you of the LORD, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich.11 "And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.12 "Now it is true that I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I.13 "Stay this night, and in the morning it shall be that if he will perform the duty of a close relative for you -- good; let him do it. But if he does not want to perform the duty for you, then I will perform the duty for you, as the LORD lives! Lie down until morning."14 So she lay at his feet until morning, and she arose before one could recognize another. Then he said, "Do not let it be known that the woman came to the threshing floor."15 Also he said, "Bring the shawl that is on you and hold it." And when she held it, he measured six ephahs of barley, and laid it on her. Then she went into the city.

 

 

In the text we just read we can see that Naomi is very concerned about Ruth andshe wants her to have security that is she wants her to find a good husband that will provide for her. I believe most of the women in this room can relate to Naomi because many of you have daughter-in-laws that you have in sense adopted as your own daughter and you love them just as much as if you had bore them yourself. Just as Naomi you love them and you would do what you could to make sure they are taken care of. So we see Naomi who would be familiar with the customs of her people instruct Ruth on how to propose to Boaz. She has her clean up and put on fresh clothing.

 

Now at this time we see that Boaz was at the threshing floor winnowing the barley at night. Now winnowing is process of separating the kernels of barely from the husk. They would throw these husk into the air and the night time wind would blow away the husk but the barely kernels would drop to the threshing floor.

 

Now after he had finished working for the night he would stay to protect his harvest. Think about it if he just left it someone else could easily come in and gather up all his hard work. Naomi instructs Ruth to wait until he lies down to go to him. Now I am sure most us in this room has worked so hard during the day that you so tired that as soon as you laid down you were out like light. Well, I suspect the same thing happened with Boaz because he was asleep when Ruth goes to him and uncovers his feet. Now this may seem kind of strange to us today that she was doing this but we need to understand they had different customs back then and Naomi new what they were. This idea of uncovering his feet has the idea of revealing something or to show fact of something and we know that Ruth was letting Boaz know that she wanted him to be her husband. Now I said Boaz was fast asleep while this was going on and when he awoke you could imagine that he was startled and certainly did not know who was at his feet. When he found out that it was Ruth he was very happy because he was a much older man and apparently recognized that Ruth was very beautiful and young enough that she could have found someone younger either poorer or richer to marry. However Ruth was reminding Boaz of his duty to be a redeemer for her husband Mahlon.

 

Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative."

 

This idea of taking a person under their wing means to take them under their protection she wanted Boaz to be her husband. This same figurative language is used in.

 

Ezekiel 16:8 "When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine," says the Lord GOD.

 

Now Boaz was willing to do this because I believe he loved Ruth and he respected the fact that she was known as virtuous women. Now this does not just carry the idea that she was pure but also means,

 

ability, efficiency, often involving moral worth; of a woman; ††††

Ruth would certainly make a great wife for any man. Now even though Boaz wanted her for his own he knew there was a closer relative and that he would have the first right of marrying her. So even if he couldnít marry her he would make sure she fell under the protection of this other relative.

 

Now Boaz ask her to stay there for the night and so she sleeps at his feet until the early morning. He then wants here to leave while it is still dark so that no one would know thata women had came to the threshing floor. Now some have taken this story out of context and had said that something sinful happened between Ruth and Boaz that night. In fact I just found out that 2 different professors from 2 different Christian university have been teaching the very thing to the students. However there is nothing in this text that would indicate that such a thing happened. There are several reason which shows thatnothing happened between Boaz and Ruth.

 

1. Ruth was following Naomiís advice who would know what the custom was in asking for someone to marry them.

2. Ruth only uncovered Boaz feet and laid down at his feet and she remained at his until morning.

3. Boaz certainly would not have called her a vitreous woman if she had came to him for a sinful purpose.

4. Nothing in the text suggest that something illicit occurred.

 

Now why did Boaz ask her to stay the rest of the night and why did he send her away early so no one would see that she had came there? Now I can only make some assumptions here I believe the logical reason he wanted her to the night was because it wouldnít be safe for her to travel back during the night. The reason why he wanted her leave early so no one would know she was there was probably so no one would assume that something sinful had taken place because people have the habit of jumping to conclusions.

 

People have this problem today. For instance I read a story about a good deacon who was called at his home to go to a bar to escort a drunken friend home.His answering the call for help necessitated his visit, although as brief as possible, to a tavern.He then helped the drunken friend leave and, walking with him, steered him safely home.An observer, who knew nothing of the call for help, saw the deacon arm in arm with the drunk emerging from the bar.He wrongly concluded that the deacon was drunk and spread the evil report to others.

 

John 7:24 ††"Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."

 

It is easy for us to jump conclusions sometimes when we really donít know the facts. We need to be careful of judging people to quickly until we understand the circumstance or more details. However on this same note we as Christians must take careful consideration in what circumstance we put ourselves in. Sometimes there is no way for to avoid putting ourselves in situation that may appear evil however there are many times that if we took just enough time to think about it we could make it possible not to appear evil.

 

Now Boaz does not send Ruth empty handed he gives her more grain and she takes it back to her mother-in-law.

 

Ruth 3:16 So when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, "Is that you, my daughter?" Then she told her all that the man had done for her.17 And she said, "These six ephahs of barley he gave me; for he said to me, 'Do not go empty-handed to your mother-in-law.' "18 Then she said, "Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day."

 

Here we see Naomi trying to calm Ruth down. We have all experienced the uneasiness that Ruth was going through in one or another and so we can just imagine how she was probably rambling and pacing along in anticipation for an answer.Naomi assures her that the matter will be taken of that day.

 

Ruth 4:1 Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there; and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz had spoken came by. So Boaz said, "Come aside, friend, sit down here." So he came aside and sat down.2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, "Sit down here." So they sat down.3 Then he said to the close relative, "Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech.4 "And I thought to inform you, saying, 'Buy it back in the presence of the inhabitants and the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am next after you.' " And he said, "I will redeem it." 5 Then Boaz said, "On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also buy it from Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance."

 

During this time the city Gate is where they would have their public discussion and legal proceedings. Boaz gathers witnesses and the nearest kinsmen. He explains to the man that he is the closest kin and that he must either buy back the land from Naomi or let him buy it back. He also informs him if he decides to take the land that he must also marry Ruth because under the Levite marriage law. Now again we can just imagine how Boaz heart was pounding as he hoped that this relative would turn down the offer. Notice the response.

 

Ruth 4:6 And the close relative said, "I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem my right of redemption for yourself, for I cannot redeem it."

 

Well, Boaz gets the response he was hoping for and I can just imagine a big smile coming on his face has he tried to hold back his excitement. Now we see in our text that this nearest kinsmen is saying that it will ruin his inheritance if he takes Ruth on as a wife. Well to explain this please notice what the one writer said about this.

 

"...if he acquired the field by redemption as his own permanent property, he would have increased by so much his own possessions in land. But if he should marry Ruth, the field so redeemed would belong to the son whom he would beget through her, and he would therefore have parted with the money that he had paid for the redemption merely for the son of Ruth, so that he would have withdrawn a certain amount of capital from his own possession, and to that extent have detracted from its worth."<12>

 

Of course all Boaz cared about is that this man had turned his right down and now Boaz would have Ruth as his wife. They had avery unique custom on bringing about the agreement as we continue to read in:

 

Ruth 4:7 Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging, to confirm anything: one man took off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was a confirmation in Israel.8 Therefore the close relative said to Boaz, "Buy it for yourself." So he took off his sandal.9 And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, "You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, from the hand of Naomi.10 "Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from his position at the gate. You are witnesses this day."11 And all the people who were at the gate, and the elders, said, "We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman who is coming to your house like Rachel and Leah, the two who built the house of Israel; and may you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem.12 "May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring which the LORD will give you from this young woman."

 

So once the sandal came off the agreement was sealed and all those eyewitnesses agreed to what happened and they all begin to wish their Boaz and Ruth to be successful in bearing a child and continuing on the name of the dead.

 

Ruth 4:13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son.14 Then the women said to Naomi, "Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel!15 "And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him."16 Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him.17 Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, "There is a son born to Naomi." And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.

 

 

So through the blessing of God we see that Ruth gives birth to her son Obed who Naomi would take care of and then in return when Obed got older he would serve his grandmother in her old age. One thing of interest is found in verse 17 and it gives us a idea of who might of wrote the book and when. We see in last verse and verses to follow that they end with Obed being the grandfather of David. Since David is not referred to as a King many believe that this book was written before he became a King and that Samuel was probably the author of it. But then again we canít know for sure.Now the book of Ruth ends with portion of Jesusí family tree.

 

18 Now this is the genealogy of Perez: Perez begot Hezron;19 Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab;20 Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon;21 Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed;22 Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.

 

So ends the beautiful book found within the time of judges where we see men keeping Godís law and we see a Gentile women who learn to give up her family and her Gods to take refuge with God almighty and his people. Because of her love for her mother-in-law and God she is rewarded by the providence of God as she marries Boaz and has the privilege of being part of the bloodline that ultimately brings about Jesus Christ. This book has shown us very clearly that if we learn to put our trust and our faith in God that he will take care of us through his providence. I want to end this lesson with the beautiful words that Ruth said to her mother-in-law in:

 

Ruth 1:16 But Ruth said: "Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.17 Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me."