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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Ruth 3



Verses 1-18

Ruth 3. Boaz as a Goël.—Elimelech and his two sons were dead. Would any member of the family have enough right and proper feeling to save his name from extinction? The nearest relative was in this case silent and inactive. But, with the originality of love, Naomi devised a plan not merely for the redemption of her late husband's estate and the continuation of the family succession, but for the happy settlement of Ruth in a Judæan home. Ignorant of the customs of Bethlehem, Ruth follows her mother-in-law's instructions to the letter. According to the sentiment of the time there was nothing immodest or unwomanly in their bold and unusual line of action. Rightly understood, it was only a gentle and delicate way of appealing to a kinsman's chivalry; and Ruth did not appeal in vain.

Ruth 3:1. Better "a resting-place" (mg.); the beautiful Heb. word (mĕnûḥâ) has much the same associations as our "home" (Psalms 132:14).

Ruth 3:3. The time of the threshing was from four o'clock in the afternoon till half an hour after sunset, during which time a cool wind blows up from the sea.

Ruth 3:4. The peasants of Palestine still sleep in the open air at the threshing time (Robinson, ii. 720).

Ruth 3:7. The merriness of Boaz's heart seems as natural as its unaffected piety. The charm of this idyll lies in its perfect humanity.

Ruth 3:8-10. The hero of a western song is represented as saying, "O wert thou in the cauld blast . . . my plaidie to the angry airt, I'd shelter thee"; here it is the unsheltered woman who, greatly daring, takes the initiative with the prayer, "Spread thy skirt over thine handmaiden." This act had a symbolic, indeed a sacred, meaning, being a kinsman's mode of signifying that, in loyalty to the dead, he was ready to act the part of a "redeemer," wedding and protecting one who would otherwise be homeless and friendless.

Ruth 3:11. By this time all the city, lit. the "gate," knew Ruth's character. Just inside the gate of the city was "the broad place" (the Rĕhṓb), where all business was transacted and the news of the day discussed (Ruth 4:1). Ruth was a "virtuous woman" in the sense of Proverbs 31:10.

Ruth 3:16. Naomi's question, "Who art thou?" can only mean How is it with thee? How hast thou fared? (mg.).


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Ruth 3:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 21st, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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