Boaz gives Ruth barley to take home to Naomi.
Consistent with her past conduct, Ruth submits herself to Boaz’s care, and does exactly as he instructed. She lay at his feet until morning. Ruth apparently interjects her own wisdom at this point. When morning came just before dawn, she rose before one could recognize another. This would allow her to leave the area without being noticed. Boaz then instructs his employees regarding Ruth, he said, “Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.”
The fact that Ruth left before she could be recognized, while at the same time all Boaz’s employees know she was there and are told to keep it quiet is likely because threshing floor was used by a number of different farms. Although Ruth had been recognized as a woman of excellence by the villagers, it seems clear the village is small and news travels fast. So Boaz wants to prevent public speculation as to Ruth’s presence and intentions. We can easily imagine where such speculation would land.
Now Boaz adds a gift and token of his commitment. He tells Ruth give me the cloak that is on you and hold it. As has been the case in every instance so far, Ruth does exactly as Boaz requests. She held it, and he measured six measures of barley and laid it on her. We can imagine Ruth’s thoughts at this point. There must have been relief. Her proposal was not rejected, and she was not taken advantage of. Instead she is blessed. However, there is uncertainty as to this other party who is the closest of kin.
Ruth then returns to Naomi and makes her report, telling Naomi all that the man had done for her. Once again Naomi makes a prediction about Boaz that will come true. She is obviously an astute observer and can predict people’s behavior based on the patterns she has observed. Naomi instructs Ruth to Wait, my daughter, until you know how the matter turns out; for the man will not rest until he has settled it today. Although Ruth continues to be thrust in to circumstances where she must trust others without knowing the outcome, she again waits obediently.
14 So she lay at his feet until morning and rose before one could recognize another; and he said, “Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.” 15 Again he said, “Give me the cloak that is on you and hold it.” So she held it, and he measured six measures of barley and laid it on her. Then she went into the city. 16 When she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “How did it go, my daughter?” And she told her all that the man had done for her. 17 She said, “These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said, ‘Do not go to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’” 18 Then she said, “Wait, my daughter, until you know how the matter turns out; for the man will not rest until he has settled it today.”
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