Ruth 3:1-4 – Naomi’s Instructions to Ruth


Ruth 3:1-4


After the barley and wheat harvests, Naomi instructs Ruth on how to secure their future.


The 3rd chapter of Ruth begins with Naomi proposing to Ruth that she do a very shocking thing.  The manner in which she seeks “security” for Ruth is befitting her age, station, and lack of power or resources – she schemes. Naomi tells Ruth to dress up in her best clothes and go down to the threshing floor where all the men of the village will be gathered, presumably to work, party, and protect the harvest.  A threshing floor is where the men of the village gathered to separate the wheat from the chaff; it is where the men gathered and stayed the night to protect their wealth.  It is where they celebrated the end of the harvest and partied.  And the only women who came at night were those of a questionable character. 

Thus when Naomi tells Ruth to dress in her finest clothes, and lie down at Boaz’ “feet” (often a euphemism for private parts), the scene was set for a piping hot story. 

Some imagination is required to see how this scheme might be helpful.  On the face of it, Naomi is sending Ruth off to sleep with Boaz as any foreign widow with no family might do to make some extra cash.  But as family, she is sending her off with the hope that Boaz might act the part of the brother-in-law, and might marry her in order for the family name to continue. The plot hinges on how Boaz perceives Ruth.

(see Wenzil Bible