Wednesday, January 8, 2020

2020.01.08 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ruth 3:14-18

Questions from the Scripture text: Where did Ruth lay (Ruth 3:14)? Until when? How early did she rise to leave? What did Boaz say in verse 14? What does he tell her to bring (Ruth 3:15)? What does he put in it? How much? Where does Boaz go (n.b. NKJV footnote “he,” which follows the Hebrew)? To whom does she come in Ruth 3:16? What does Naomi ask? What does Ruth tell her? What does Ruth 3:17 highlight her as having especially related to Naomi? What does Naomi tell Ruth to do in Ruth 3:18? When is Naomi sure that Boaz’s word will have been kept (cf. Ruth 3:13)?
Ruth has conducted herself uprightly—note, even, that she continues to lay at his feet rather than by his side. He would not send her home in the middle of the night, for that would be dangerous. And she rises to go before one can recognize another, almost certainly that she might bring shame on neither herself nor Boaz.

But, the field workers will start arriving soon. Whether his speech in Ruth 3:14 is to himself or to those in his trusted inner circle who kept the night watch with him, there would be a great difference between their knowing and how it might appear to a wider group. Also, if he is to win her hand that day, it must not come by prejudicing the proceedings. The nearer kin must feel completely free to redeem her.

Apparently, part of Ruth’s uprightness has been to bring a shawl/cloak big enough to keep herself warm so that she would not really be “under the covers” with Boaz at all. The amount of barley that he is able to measure into it weighs about one hundred twenty pounds! (It’s not surprising that this young woman who has worked so diligently from sunrise to sunset these three months to this point is able to carry that home).

Perhaps the question in Ruth 3:16 is because the person who came in is twice the size of the young lady who left! Or, perhaps it’s just her way of saying, “how did it go?” The latter certainly seems to be the question that Ruth answers, and she wants her mother-in-law to know (Ruth 3:17) that Boaz was mindful of Naomi’s wellbeing too.

For her part, Naomi has a high degree of confidence in Boaz’s character. He is a “greatly worthy” man as Ruth 2:1 said (using the same word that describes Ruth in Ruth 3:11), and if he has said that he will deal with it in the morning, then Naomi is sure that Ruth will know what is to come of her by the end of the day. Indeed, Ruth 3:15 as it reads in the Hebrew (most English translations follow the Syriac or Vulgate for some reason) tells us that as soon as Boaz had loaded Ruth with the grain, he headed into the city. He’s a man of his word—at great cost to himself, to lose a day during this threshing season.

In all of this, Boaz is a type of Christ to us. He has kept His Word to redeem us; and so great is His concern for our honor that, at the cost of the cross, He has obtained our public vindication as those who are right with God. Shall we not also imitate Him in our concern for others’ reputations and in our keeping of our word?
In what ways do you have opportunity to maintain others’ good names? What are some situations in which you have given your word, that you need to keep, even at cost to you?
Suggested Songs: ARP15 “Within Your Tent Who Will Reside” or TPH443 “Come unto Me, Ye Weary”

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