In chapter 3, Ruth’s character is put to the test.

From the narrative, it seems that she and Naomi have been in Bethlehem for quite some time, because Naomi suggests it’s time for Ruth to find a husband.

Naomi instructed Ruth on how she should approach Boaz (3:3-4). Ruth, without question, said, “I will do everything you say.” (3:5) She is respectful and obedient to Naomi. Ruth may have been with her long enough to understand the laws or customs of the Hebrew people. Regardless, she simply did what Naomi told her to do. She could have raised many questions or made demands of her own. But it doesn’t seem that Ruth had even been thinking about her own needs, rather she was focused on caring for Naomi. We also see that Naomi, with her aged wisdom, saw that it was time for Ruth to have a husband. Not only for herself, but also to carry on the family name.

Then Ruth went to where Boaz was going to be sleeping that night and did as Naomi instructed, waited for him to lie down, and then went and lay at his feet. What a sign of submission, to both Naomi and Boaz.

When Boaz realized she was there, he did not chastise her because she had “shown more kindness now than before” (3:10) He said this because he had seen her almost daily for two harvest seasons. He noticed that she had not chased after the younger men, nor had she pursued any man, either rich or poor. She remained steadfast to her commitment to Naomi, because she loved her more than she loved herself. When it came time for her to leave Boaz, the next morning (sleeping at his feet the whole night), she left “while it was still dark” (3: 14) She did not want anyone making assumptions about Boaz. I don’t believe it was for her own reputation. She was conscientious of his reputation.

A word (or 80+) on my thoughts about submission…

According to Strong’s Concordance, to submit means to “to yield to one’s admonition or advice.

How many times has someone, with age and wisdom, told me to do something that was in my best interest and I just thumbed my nose at them? TOO MANY!!!

1 Peter, chapter 5, tells me…”{5} Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” {1 Peter 5:5 KJV} (blueletterbibl.org)

I think the world has told us (women especially) that to be submissive means to be a slave. I believe to be submissive frees me from making mistakes…great big life mistakes! I don’t think God intended me to submit blindly. There has to be some wisdom behind both leading and following. Maybe one day we’ll do an in-depth study on submission…lots of analogies to be made between submission and or relationship with God!!!

The remainder of the chapter speaks about the kindness of Boaz and also his character. He is a man who does not put things off, but gets them done because it is how it should be done. More on Boaz in the next post.  There, you will also read my conclusion about what I feel is Ruth’s most significant characteristic.

 

Photo by Channen M. Sallee
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