Ruth 3:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ruth 3:14, NIV: So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, 'No one must know that a woman came to the threshing floor.'

Ruth 3:14, ESV: So she lay at his feet until the morning, but arose before one could recognize another. And he said, “Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.”

Ruth 3:14, KJV: And 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.

Ruth 3:14, NASB: So she lay at his feet until morning, and got up before one person could recognize another; and he said, 'Do not let it be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.'

Ruth 3:14, NLT: So Ruth lay at Boaz's feet until the morning, but she got up before it was light enough for people to recognize each other. For Boaz had said, 'No one must know that a woman was here at the threshing floor.'

Ruth 3:14, CSB: So she lay down at his feet until morning but got up while it was still dark. Then Boaz said, "Don't let it be known that a woman came to the threshing floor."

What does Ruth 3:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Following Naomi's instructions (Ruth 3:1–5), Ruth tracked down Boaz at the community threshing floor and asked him to marry her (Ruth 3:6–9). It's the middle of what might have been the last night processing the grain, and Boaz and his servants spent the evening celebrating the completion of a successful harvest. The men are now scattered around the area, sleeping and protecting the newly winnowed grain.

Ruth has a high reputation in Bethlehem thanks to her arduous work and her devotion to her mother-in-law, and she needs to be careful to keep it (Ruth 3:11). The threshing floor is known for prostitution (Hosea 9:1). In addition, Ruth is a Moabitess. When the Israelites approached the eastern side of the Jordan River across from Jericho, the frightened Moabites sent their women to seduce the Israelite men, thus distracting them from war. The Israelites began worshipping the Moabites' gods. God punished the Israelites by killing masses of them in a plague (Numbers 25:1–9).

To make matters even more precarious, Boaz can't yet agree to marry Ruth. She proposed because he is a relative of her late husband. She has asked him to marry her so he can provide a son who can inherit her late husband's property and remove the shame from Naomi who lost her husband and both sons. But Boaz knows of a nearer relation who has first right of refusal (Ruth 3:9–12). Besides the fact that he is naturally protective of Ruth (Ruth 2:8–9), he won't risk harming her reputation by allowing others to think they slept together.

So, Boaz tells Ruth to wait until early in the morning when the late-night partiers will have finally fallen asleep, and the way will be clear for her to return to Naomi's house in Bethlehem without being recognized or accosted.

We don't know who Boaz is talking to, here. It may be a trusted servant, but it may be himself. Then again, his statement may be an awkwardly translated warning to Ruth.