What does Ruth 3:13 mean?
ESV: Remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the LORD lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.”
NIV: Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the LORD lives I will do it. Lie here until morning.'
NASB: Remain this night, and when morning comes, if he will redeem you, good; let him redeem you. But if he does not wish to redeem you, then I will redeem you, as the Lord lives. Lie down until morning.'
CSB: Stay here tonight, and in the morning, if he wants to redeem you, that's good. Let him redeem you. But if he doesn't want to redeem you, as the Lord lives, I will. Now lie down until morning."
NLT: Stay here tonight, and in the morning I will talk to him. If he is willing to redeem you, very well. Let him marry you. But if he is not willing, then as surely as the Lord lives, I will redeem you myself! Now lie down here until morning.'
KJV: Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman's part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning.
Ruth has obeyed Naomi by proposing marriage to Boaz, but her intentions differ from those of her mother-in-law. Naomi wants Ruth to have a stable marriage. Ruth wants Naomi to have an heir for her late husband and sons. Boaz is a relative of Naomi's husband, so he is in the line to redeem the family farmland. In addition, Ruth asks him to marry her and provide a son who will redeem the family line (Ruth 3:1–9).
This is unusual; the concepts of kinsman-redeemer and levirate marriage aren't directly related (Leviticus 25:25–28, 47–49; Deuteronomy 25:5–6). Boaz does not strictly fit the qualifications for a levirate marriage as he is a more distant relation. In fact, there is a closer relation, although still not close enough to be required to give Naomi an heir (Ruth 3:12).
Boaz understands that Ruth's proposal isn't because she necessarily wants to be married to him—an old man. It's all for Naomi. So, he promises to present Ruth's proposal to this nearer relative. If he accepts, Ruth still gets what she wants. If he doesn't, Boaz is more than willing to step up. He will not only redeem the land, but he will also redeem Ruth.
Boaz and Ruth are talking in the middle of the night on the community's threshing floor. Typically, threshing and winnowing were times of great celebration. Between the food and wine and their desire to protect the grain, Boaz's servants are likely sleeping close to the couple. If someone sees Ruth, they will assume she has come to have sex with Boaz as prostitution is common at the threshing floor (Hosea 9:1). It's dark; there were no streetlights in that era. Even if Ruth made it past the sleepers without being seen, she'd still have to find her way back into town, through the streets, to Naomi's house without coming across men who would not be so honorable. Boaz, always mindful of her safety (Ruth 2:8–9), tells her to "remain"—the same word as "lodge" in Ruth 1:16—until there's enough light to see and the carousers are in their beds.
In Ruth 3:10–15, Boaz presents his plan to make Ruth's plan come to fruition. She has asked him to be Naomi's kinsman-redeemer, to buy Naomi's land and provide for her needs. Ruth has also proposed marriage and asked Boaz to give Naomi an heir who will inherit the land. Boaz is humbled by Ruth's dedication to her mother-in-law, but there's a problem—he is not the closest relative. He has to offer the plan to another man. If that man refuses, he will do everything Ruth says.
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.
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).
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.
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