Bible Commentaries
Ruth 3

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-18

  1. Intro:
    1. Redemption - Jesus sees us not only as we are, but as we can be!
      1. Jesus didn’t see Simon the fisherman, but Peter the Rock on which he would build his church.
      2. He saw David not as a shepherd boy, but as a Giant Slayer!
      3. Once someone came on Michelangelo chipping away with his chisel at a huge shapeless piece of rock. He asked the sculptor what he was doing. "I am releasing the angel imprisoned in this marble," he answered.
    2. Boaz was able to redeem, but was he willing?
      1. Ruth would find out…at midnight!
    3. Understanding the Levirate Law! (lev-er-it)
      1. Levirate = from the Latin Levir “brother-in-law”. Still practiced in some parts of Africa today.
      2. Read - Deut 25:5-9.
        1. That would sure make you keep an eye on who your brother was dating!
      3. Book of Ruth gives the only illustration of it in Scripture.
      4. A strange law but a few reasons why:
        1. [1] To protect womanhood – It would be very difficult for her to take care of the farm, vineyard, or flock of sheep, etc.
        2. [2] To protect land rights – Not only did God gave the children of Israel “the land”; but He also gave each tribe a particular parcel of land; & each family their own land. family could loose their land, but in the year ofJubilee it would be restored to the original owner. she could go off & marry a stranger, the foreignerwould inherit the land!
      5. She can now claim one of the brothers; in fact it’s her duty to her dead husband to carry on His name.
    4. Understanding the Threshing Floor!
      1. It was in the opposite position of the winepress.
        1. Winepress at bottom of hill(drag grapes downhill).
        2. Threshing Floor at top of hill – needed wind.
        3. That’s why it was funny when he calls Gideon in Judges 6:11,12 “…Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!”
    5. The Threshing floor was a hard smooth surface. It was usually circular with rocks places around it.
      1. Late afternoon a breeze would come up, off the Med. It would blow until sundown, sometimes as late as midnight.
      2. Sheaves were laid on the ground; they were trampled by oxen drawing sleds; then people took a flail(winnowing fork) & threw the grain up into the air(chaff would be blown away, the good grain would come down on the threshing floor)
      3. Then a feast was had. [Dinner, Praise to God, then lie down]
      4. The religious festivals were linked to the agricultural calendar.
        1. Passover & Unleavened Bread came 1st at the time of Barley harvest. - About 7 weeks later followed the Feast of Weeks(or Pentecost) at the end of the wheat harvest. Then theFeast of In-gathering(or Booths, Succoth) came a the end of summer when the harvest of the various fruits were complete. Each of these occasions was the opportunity for a good party!
      5. Then the men would sleep around the grain to protect it from thieves, often with their heads towards the grain & their feet out like spokes of a wheel. (Dr. J. Vernon McGee; Vol.2 pg.107)
    6. OUTLINE: Ruth Listening; Ruth Obeying; Ruth Believing; Ruth Receiving; Ruth Waiting!
    1. RUTH LISTENING! (1-4)
    2. (1,2) 1st move here is Ruth. Boaz must wait for her to claim him as her husband.
    3. (3,4) Here is also a picture of the sinner who comes to Jesus Christ!
    4. Washed – If you’re going to come to Jesus you must come “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,” Titus 3:5.
      1. You need a bath…a spiritual bath, the washing of regeneration!
      2. Someone asked John Wesley why is it you always preach on “you must be born again”(which was his favorite text). He said, “the reason I preach on you must be born again is because you must be born again!”
    5. Anointed – Ruth, get out that perfume, “Midnight in Moab” (or “Ruth Lauren”)
      1. You & I have an anointing of the H.S. “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, & you know all things(and all of you know the truth)” 1 Jn.2:20.
      2. He is the only way we can know the Word of God.
    6. Clothed – God not only subtracts our sin when we come to him, but he clothes us w/His robe of righteousness.
      1. “Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.” Rom.4:4,5
    7. RUTH OBEYING! (5-9)
    8. (5,6) All – “The will of God is not a cafeteria where we can pick & choose what we want!”2 – Accept all that He plans for you!
    9. Being obedient: “The only true guarantee of happiness has little to do with being married or being single, & everything to do with being obedient to the will of God.”
      1. A lot of singles yearn to be married, & a lot of marrieds wish they were single again!
      2. Contentment isn’t a singleness or a married issue, because everyone wrestles with dissatisfaction & envy.
      3. Contentment is found in enjoying God! – “Godliness with contentment is still great gain!”
    10. (7,8) Ok, a little different then!
    11. Lying at his feet(probably feet to feet) not at his side!
      1. Obviously Naomi trusted him to act responsibly.
      2. This whole uncovering of the feet was a ceremonial act that was completely proper.
      3. Uncovered his feet – He got cold. Wakes up notices his outer garment down below his feet…he reaches for it…Whoah!
        1. Probably screamed like a school girl!
    12. (9) Spread the corner of your garment over me (NIV)
      1. To draw a portion of a kinsman’s garment over oneself was the legal way of claiming protection & redemption.
      2. This is the same word used in 2:12 “wings”.
        1. ףָנָכּ [kanaph] – wing, skirt, border.
        2. 1st Ruth took refuge under the wings or skirts of the Lord, so now a like refuge is requested of Boaz.
    13. Close relative – near kinsman, goel, next of kin, kinsman redeemer.
      1. He had certain duties & privileges. To redeem the land or person of a kinsman who had been compelled to sell his land or himself through poverty.
      2. The goel must be related by blood; must be able to pay the price; & must be willing to redeem!
    14. RUTH BELIEVING! (10-14)
    15. (11) Note her reputation – Virtuous!
      1. A woman of excellence(NASB); A woman of noble character(NIV); A worthy woman(ESV);
      2. All the people of my town know (wow, within 6 weeks!)
      3. Probably the scene took place in the dark so that Boaz had the opportunity to reject the proposal w/o the whole town knowing about it.
      4. She was available…but careful! - Responsive…but pure! (Chuck Swindoll; pg.75.)
    16. (12) One more hurdle! – a closer relative.
      1. Maybe Elimelech’s brother? (an uncle of Ruths 1st husband), whereas Boaz was probably a cousin of her 1st husband?
      2. This was the perfect opportunity to let their feelings determine their actions!
        1. They could have said, “Forget the Law. I love you & that’s all that matters. Let’s not take the chance on anyone else!”
        2. But they realized that gaining a blessing by ungodly means was no blessing at all!
        3. Though interested in one another, they were patient.
          1. They trusted God!
    17. (13) He didn’t want her to return to Bethlehem when it was dark.
    18. (14) Stay until dawn & secretly leave, lest her mission be misinterpreted by witnesses; or someone gets a jump on letting his relative know what’s happening. [Boaz wants to handle this himself]
    19. RUTH RECEIVING! (15-17)
    20. (15) A very generous gift.
      1. Boaz sealed the vow with a gift of barley.
    21. RUTH WAITING! (18)
    22. What great instructions for us when we have needs to be met: (Warren Wiersbe; With the Word; pg.157.)
      1. Like Ruth we need to…
      2. [1] Listen to instructions! (1-4)
      3. [2] Obey! (5-9)
      4. [3] Believe what your Redeemer says! (10-14)
      5. [4] Receive His gifts! (15-17)
      6. [5] Wait in patience for Him to do the rest! (18)
    23. Ruth is called to Rest!
      1. From here on Boaz will be the man of action.
        1. The work of redemption is totally His work!
        2. All Ruth could do was ask for it!
      2. So how do we “rest”? - Bats are said to live longer for their size than any other animal. They have a life span of 20 years. It has been suggested that the secret of their longevity is their ability to relax and go quickly into the deep sleep of hibernation. Right after fighting, one of them can almost immediately slow its heartbeat from 180 per minute to 3, and it can retard its respiration from 8 breaths a second to 1 every 8 minutes. [but we’re not bats]
      3. Ps. 37:23 reads, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” In George Mueller’s bible in the margin next to that verse he wrote, “And the stops, too.” (Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : [a treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts andquotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers]. Garland TX: Bible Communications.)
      4. “The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the LORD.” Lam.3:25,26
      5. One day a friend saw the great New England preacher Phillips Brooks pacing the floor like a caged lion. “What is the trouble, Dr. Brooks?” asked the friend. “The trouble is that I’m in a hurry, but God isn’t!” (Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : [a treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts andquotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers]. Garland TX: Bible Communications.)
        1. Q: How do you control your impatience?
      6. “Be still, and know that I am God!” Ps.46:10
        1. [be still = lit. “take your hands off, relax”]
    24. Boaz will not rest till he has followed through concerning her request.
      1. Q: Do you believe that Jesus is working unceasingly for you? How is he working in you?
      2. For us it is wonderful to have a Savior in whom we can rest.
      3. We are invited into the rest of redemption because…it is finished!
      4. Jn.17:4 “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.”
      5. You cannot lift a finger to add to your salvation.
        1. God doesn’t need your little effort to help Him with Redemption. [It is fully His Redemption!]
        2. God is not receiving anything from us toward our salvation.
          1. Plus, what do we really have to offer? are bankrupt.
        3. Redemption has nothing to do with your character, your family, your tithe, nor your church membership.
          1. Redemption is His work in its entirety!
        4. Today you are either resting in Him, or you are trying to earn your own salvation!
      6. ​​​​​​​“Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, he washed it white as snow.” H.M.Hall
    25. As Boaz from Bethlehem was a near relative, who was both able to redeem & willing to redeem; so our “greater than Boaz”, who was also from Bethlehem, Jesus is both willing & able…this morning!
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Ruth 3". "Bell's Commentary". 2017.