Ruth 3:2 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ruth 3:2, NIV: Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor.

Ruth 3:2, ESV: Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor.

Ruth 3:2, KJV: And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.

Ruth 3:2, NASB: Now then, is Boaz not our relative, with whose young women you were? Behold, he is winnowing barley at the threshing floor tonight.

Ruth 3:2, NLT: Boaz is a close relative of ours, and he's been very kind by letting you gather grain with his young women. Tonight he will be winnowing barley at the threshing floor.

Ruth 3:2, CSB: Now isn't Boaz our relative? Haven't you been working with his female servants? This evening he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor.

What does Ruth 3:2 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

As Naomi begins her instructions to Ruth, she identifies Boaz in two ways. The first is as "our relative." As such, he would be responsible to buy Naomi's husband's field so that the land would stay in the clan and Naomi would not be destitute (Leviticus 25:25–28, 47–49).

The second is as the man who took great pains to protect Ruth as she worked. Ruth has spent the last two months in Boaz's fields gleaning grain. This meant scavenging dropped stalks from the hired workers. Typically, a gleaner would make no more than a modern person today who collected aluminum cans from the street. But Boaz was so impressed by Ruth's desire to provide for her mother-in-law that he told his reapers to leave extra stalks of grain for Ruth to pick up. He also fed her, arranged for her to take water with his reapers, and told her to stay close to the women he'd hired to bundle the stalks together, thus keeping her safe from any man who was tempted to harm a foreign widow (Ruth 2:8–9, 14–16).

The passage doesn't explain why Naomi thinks Boaz will be winnowing his grain this night. It might be because it's sufficiently windy. Or, because he has been using the communal threshing floor and town gossip has revealed he has more to do.

Winnowing is one step in processing the harvested grain. First, the grain is threshed—crushed by foot, a sledge, animal hooves, or heavy stones—to break the husks away from the kernels. Then the grain is winnowed: tossed in the air so the wind can blow away the lighter husks, leaving the kernels. The threshing season is a celebratory time, especially after such a long famine (Ruth 1:1). It's also a time for eating, drinking, and immorality. Likely, Naomi mentions how Boaz protected Ruth to reassure them both that Boaz will not do anything to harm the young woman.