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Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee?
2And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.
Behold, he winnoweth barley ... - The simple manners of Boaz and his times are here before us. This "mighty man of wealth" assists personally in the winnowing of his barley, which lies in a great heap on the floor Ruth 3:15, and sleeps in the open threshing-floor to protect his grain from depredation.
Tonight - For the sake of the breeze which springs up at sunset, and greatly facilitates the "cleansing" (separation) of the grain tossed up across the wind.
3Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking.
4And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.
Uncover his feet - Rather, "the place of his feet;" the foot of his bed, as we should say. So also Ruth 3:7-8.
5And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do.
6And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.
7And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down.
8And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet.
Turned himself - Rather, "bent forward," so as to feel what it was which was at his feet. The same word is translated "took hold of," in Judges 16:29.
9And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.
Spread thy skirt ... - The phrase indicates receiving and acknowledging her as a wife.
10And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.
Thou hast shewed more kindness ... - Literally, "Thou hast made thy last kindness better than the first." Her last kindness was her willingness to accept Boaz for her husband, advanced in years as he was.
11And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.
12And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.
By "kinsman," understand the גאל gā'al (Ruth 2:20 note).
13Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman's part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning.
14And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor.
15Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city.
The vail - Quite a different word from that rendered "vail," in Genesis 38:14. It seems rather to mean a kind of loose cloak, worn over the ordinary dress (see the margin).
Six measures - i. e. six seahs, in all two ephahs, twice as much as she gleaned Ruth 3:17, and a heavy load to carry; for which reason he laid it on her, probably placed it on her head. It is well known that women can carry great weights when duly positioned on their heads.
And she went into the city - The Hebrew has "he went," namely, Boaz, where, accordingly, we find him Ruth 4:1.
16And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her.
Who art thou, my daughter? - In the dim twilight Ruth 3:14 her mother was not sure at first who the young woman was, who sought admittance into the house.
17And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law.
18Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.