Ruth 3:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ruth 3:11, NIV: And 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.

Ruth 3:11, ESV: And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.

Ruth 3:11, KJV: And 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.

Ruth 3:11, NASB: So now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you say, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence.

Ruth 3:11, NLT: Now don't worry about a thing, my daughter. I will do what is necessary, for everyone in town knows you are a virtuous woman.

Ruth 3:11, CSB: Now don't be afraid, my daughter. I will do for you whatever you say, since all the people in my town know that you are a woman of noble character.

What does Ruth 3:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Ruth is a Moabitess, descended from a man born of incestuous rape (Genesis 19:30–38) and women who seduced Israelite men into adultery and idolatry (Numbers 25:1–9). She shares none of those characteristics. When her father-in-law and husband died and her mother-in-law decided to return from Moab to Bethlehem, she disavowed her gods, her people, and her land and forced Naomi to take her with (Ruth 1:15–18). That alone gave her a good reputation among the townspeople (Ruth 2:11–12). Then she spent two months gleaning barley and wheat, ignoring the young men in the fields and in town, focused on her work of providing for Naomi (Ruth 2:23).

Now, she has proposed marriage to a much older man who can give Naomi what she needs (Ruth 3:1–9). He can buy Naomi's husband's field, providing the older widow with much-needed money. And he can have a son with Ruth, providing an heir who can re-inherit that land in their late husbands' names.

Boaz was impressed before; now he's floored. That Ruth would place Naomi's needs above her own, legitimate, happiness convicts him to agree to her request. He doesn't even meet the legal requirements of a man required to go into a levirate marriage—he's not that closely related (Deuteronomy 25:5–6). He could arrange a good marriage for her to someone more suitable. But he must respond to her honor.

Boaz is first introduced as a "worthy man" (Ruth 2:1). The Hebrew term, gibbor hayil, can mean rich, powerful, strong, and virtuous. This is the time of the judges, so likely Boaz has been a military commander. Now, he calls Ruth his equal, a "worthy woman." Eseth hayil is the heading of the Proverbs 31 passage describing a noble woman. In the Hebrew liturgical canon, the book of Ruth directly follows Proverbs 31, presenting Ruth as an example. Ruth is loyal, diligent, hard-working, smart, and generous, just like the Proverbs 31 woman. It's obvious she will reflect well on whoever is fortunate enough to be her husband.

There's just one complication: Boaz is not Naomi's husband's nearest relative. There is another. Boaz is obliged to present Ruth's offer to him. Boaz is more than willing to marry Ruth and do whatever she asks, but he must first deal with his rival (Ruth 3:12).

The term "all that you ask" is not completely clear. It could refer to all Ruth had asked for in verse 9 or all she asked that wasn't recorded. It might mean that Boaz is inviting her to request more. Or it could be an expression like when rulers offered "even to half my kingdom" (Esther 5:3; Mark 6:23).