Ruth’s proposal to Boaz in last week’s episode seemed promising, but in today’s episode we find her back at Naomi’s place with a heavy haul of barley, another gift from Boaz, as the waiting begins.
In today’s episode we get a bit of a jolt to the “love story” of Ruth and Boaz, and Naomi suggests something that might startle us. Ruth’s actions might be viewed with some skepticism too.
WARNING: While I think most will be fine listening to this episode with their children, you may wish to preview this one first.
This episode will be challenging our modern view of marriage and of women’s independence, but I also think it demonstrates just how strong of a woman Ruth was, especially in light of all that she has been through.
Ruth 3:1 (NET) At that time, Naomi, her mother-in-law, said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home for you so you will be secure. 2 Now Boaz, with whose female servants you worked, is our close relative. Look, tonight he is winnowing barley at the threshing floor. 3 So bathe yourself, rub on some perfumed oil, and get dressed up. Then go down to the threshing floor. But donʼt let the man know youʼre there until he finishes his meal. 4 When he gets ready to go to sleep, take careful notice of the place where he lies down. Then go, uncover his legs, and lie down beside him. He will tell you what you should do.” 5 Ruth replied to Naomi, “I will do everything you have told me to do.”
In this episode of Noble Bereans, we see Ruth humbly wondering why Boaz is so kind to her, and he explains that he is aware of her actions toward Naomi and all she sacrificed to be with her. He then blesses and encourages her, which is just the beginning of his provision for her.
Ruth 2:10 (NET) Ruth knelt before him with her forehead to the ground and said to him, “Why are you so kind and so attentive to me, even though I am a foreigner?” 11 Boaz replied to her, “I have been given a full report of all that you have done for your mother-in-law following the death of your husband – how you left your father and your mother, as well as your homeland, and came to live among people you did not know previously. 12 May the Lord reward your efforts! May your acts of kindness be repaid fully by the Lord God of Israel, from whom you have sought protection!” 13 She said, “You really are being kind to me, sir, for you have reassured and encouraged me, your servant, even though I am not one of your servants!”
Ruth continues in the same respectful way as we’ve seen thus far, and she takes it upon herself to go into the fields to harvest some of the leftover Barley. This is where she meets Boaz for the first time.
Ruth 2:1 (NET) Now Naomi had a relative on her husbandʼs side of the family named Boaz. He was a wealthy, prominent man from the clan of Elimelech. 2 One day Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields so I can gather grain behind whoever permits me to do so.” Naomi replied, “You may go, my daughter.” 3 So Ruth went and gathered grain in the fields behind the harvesters. Now she just happened to end up in the portion of the field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech.
Leviticus 19:9 (NET) ʻWhen you gather in the harvest of your land, you must not completely harvest the corner of your field, and you must not gather up the gleanings of your harvest.”
Deuteronomy 24:19 where it is stated, “When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.”
Deuteronomy 23:3 (NET) An Ammonite or Moabite may not enter the assembly of the Lord; to the tenth generation none of their descendants shall ever do so, 4 for they did not meet you with food and water on the way as you came from Egypt, and furthermore, they hired Balaam son of Beor of Pethor in Aram Naharaim to curse you.
In this episode we look at Naomi’s and Ruth’s arrival into Bethlehem, joy in the eyes of some, but bitterness in the eyes of Naomi, who even asks to be called by a different name!
Ruth 1:18 (NET) When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped trying to dissuade her. 19 So the two of them journeyed together until they arrived in Bethlehem.
When they entered Bethlehem, the whole village was excited about their arrival. The women of the village said, “Can this be Naomi?” 20 But she replied to them, “Donʼt call me ʻNaomiʼ! Call me ʻMaraʼ because the Sovereign One has treated me very harshly. 21 I left here full, but the Lord has caused me to return empty-handed. Why do you call me ʻNaomi,ʼ seeing that the Lord has opposed me, and the Sovereign One has caused me to suffer?” 22 So Naomi returned, accompanied by her Moabite daughter-in-law Ruth, who came back with her from the region of Moab. (Now they arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.)