Ruth and Boaz at the threshing-floor
1One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, ‘My daughter, I must find a home#3:1 Hebrew find rest (see 1:9) for you, where you will be well provided for. 2Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing-floor. 3Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing-floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. 4When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.’
5‘I will do whatever you say,’ Ruth answered. 6So she went down to the threshing-floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.
7When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. 8In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned – and there was a woman lying at his feet!
9‘Who are you?’ he asked.
‘I am your servant Ruth,’ she said. ‘Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer#3:9 The Hebrew word for guardian-redeemer is a legal term for one who has the obligation to redeem a relative in serious difficulty (see Lev. 25:25-55); also in verses 12 and 13. of our family.’
10‘The Lord bless you, my daughter,’ he replied. ‘This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: you have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. 11And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. 12Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I. 13Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it. Lie here until morning.’
14So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognised; and he said, ‘No-one must know that a woman came to the threshing-floor.’
15He also said, ‘Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out.’ When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and placed the bundle on her. Then he#3:15 Most Hebrew manuscripts; many Hebrew manuscripts, Vulgate and Syriac she went back to town.
16When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, ‘How did it go, my daughter?’
Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her 17and added, ‘He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, “Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.” ’
18Then Naomi said, ‘Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.’