What does Ruth 3:1 mean?
ESV: Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, "My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you?
NIV: One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, "My daughter, I must find a home for you, where you will be well provided for.
NASB: Then her mother-in-law Naomi said to her, 'My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may go well for you?
CSB: Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, "My daughter, shouldn’t I find rest for you, so that you will be taken care of?
NLT: One day Naomi said to Ruth, 'My daughter, it’s time that I found a permanent home for you, so that you will be provided for.
KJV: Then Naomi her mother-in-law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee?
NKJV: Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you?
Verse Commentary:
The harvests are complete, and the women have what they need as far as food. But soon Ruth will lose her opportunity to interact with Boaz. Naomi wants more for Ruth than "enough." She wants the young woman to find "rest" in a new family with a new husband (Ruth 1:9). When they were still in Moab, Naomi wanted her daughters-in-law to return to their mothers and find local husbands. Ruth gave up her family and her nation to follow Naomi and her God (Ruth 1:16–18). Given that Ruth was now a widowed Moabitess, it would have seemed unlikely for her to find a Jewish husband. But Naomi realizes Boaz, the man who made it possible for Ruth to collect so much grain, might be willing. It is interesting to note that Boaz's mother was Rahab (Matthew 1:5), who was also a foreign woman who recognized the truth about God and chose to help His people and follow Him (Joshua 2:1–21; 6:22–25).

Bible scholar Robert L. Hubbard explains that "'That it may be well with you'" is a common idiom associated with attractive benefits: bridal happiness (Jeremiah 7:23), security (Jeremiah 42:6), long life (Genesis 12:13; Deuteronomy 4:40; 5:16, 33), material prosperity (Jeremiah 40:9), and many children (Deuteronomy. 6:3)."

There's no indication that Naomi is thinking of a levirate marriage for Ruth. Levirate marriage is when a widow marries her late husband's brother to produce an heir for the deceased man. In this context, Naomi would have to marry Elimelech's brother, but Naomi is past child-bearing age, and Elimelech doesn't seem to have any brothers. Ruth could marry her late husband's brother, but he, too, died (Ruth 1:5). Boaz, as a more-distant relative, is not required to provide either with an heir. Naomi is thinking about Ruth and her future, not Elimelech's legacy.

That she can even do that is a miracle. Naomi lost her husband and two sons in Moab and left behind one cherished daughter-in-law (Ruth 1:1–5, 14). When she arrived in Bethlehem, she blamed God for her tragedies and accused Him of breaking His covenant oath with her (Ruth 1:20–21). Her focus on blessing Ruth is evidence that her faith in Yahweh has been restored.
Verse Context:
Ruth 3:1–5 highlights Naomi's plan. Ruth has been gleaning Boaz's fields throughout the barley and wheat harvests. She has more than enough to feed the two women for a year. But Naomi always wanted Ruth to find rest with a new husband (Ruth 1:9). She thinks Boaz will do nicely. She tells Ruth how to approach Boaz in a way that protects both their reputations. But Naomi doesn't quite understand that Ruth has other priorities.
Chapter Summary:
In Ruth 3, Naomi schemes to find Ruth a good husband, as was always her hope (Ruth 1:9). She tells Ruth how to propose to Boaz. When Boaz has fallen asleep after a long and joyful day of winnowing grain, Ruth is to gently awaken him and make her proposal. Ruth goes beyond Naomi's instruction, however. Boaz understands that Ruth expects him to buy Naomi's land and give her an heir to re-inherit it. He praises Ruth for her devotion to her mother-in-law, but there is another relative who is closer. In the next chapter, Boaz dispenses with his rival and marries Ruth.
Chapter Context:
Ruth 3 is the wind-up to the climax of the story. Ruth and Naomi returned to Bethlehem from Moab two months prior. Boaz, a relative of Naomi's late husband, has allowed Ruth to harvest enough grain to last the women a year (Ruth 1—2). Now that their physical needs are addressed, Naomi wants Ruth married to Boaz. Ruth wants Boaz to provide an heir for Naomi. Boaz is again impressed with Ruth's self-sacrifice and agrees (Ruth 3). After negotiating with a closer relative, Boaz marries Ruth and gives Naomi a son. That son becomes King David's grandfather (Ruth 4).
Book Summary:
Though set in a time of violence and tragedy, the book of Ruth tells one of Scripture’s most uplifting stories. Naomi, an Israelite, leaves her home during a famine. While away, in Moab, her husband and sons die. Naomi convinces one of her Moabite daughters-in-law to leave her and seek a new life. The other, Ruth, refuses, declaring her love and loyalty to Naomi. When the pair return to Israel, they encounter Boaz. This man is both kind and moral; his treatment of Ruth secures Naomi’s future and becomes part of king David’s ancestry.
Accessed 7/17/2024 11:47:20 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.