What does Ruth 3:6 mean?
ESV: So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her.
NIV: So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.
NASB: So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law had commanded her.
CSB: She went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law had charged her to do.
NLT: So she went down to the threshing floor that night and followed the instructions of her mother-in-law.
KJV: And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.
NKJV: So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law instructed her.
Verse Commentary:
After watching her daughter-in-law glean in Boaz's fields the last two months, Naomi has decided that the two should get married. She has given Ruth specific instructions: replace her mourning clothes with clothes more appropriate for a woman who is ready to marry, go to the threshing floor, wait until Boaz has finished threshing and has celebrated the harvest with food and wine, find out where he is sleeping, and uncover his feet so he will gently wake up (Ruth 3:1–5). Ruth follows the instructions to the letter.

Usually, threshing floors are on a hilltop to catch the wind; the threshing floor of Araunah was on Mt. Moriah, later the temple Mount (2 Samuel 24:18). Bethlehem is higher than most of the surrounding area, however, so apparently their threshing floor was downhill.

"Threshing" is the act of releasing the grain kernel from the husk. It can be done in several ways, but typically by spreading the grain on the ground, placing heaving stones on a piece of wood, and having an ox or donkey pull the wood across the grain. Boaz's barley has already been threshed because Naomi tells Ruth he is ready to winnow (Ruth 3:2). Winnowing is when the grain is tossed in the air, allowing the wind to blow away the lighter husks. The kernels fall to the ground where they stay until dry.

Threshing and winnowing are times of great celebration, this one especially since it signals the end of a great famine (Ruth 1:1). When the work is done, people will be eating and drinking—and likely indulging in prostitution (Hosea 9:1). Ruth must walk a fine line. She needs to talk to Boaz in a way that offers privacy, but which also ensures they're not completely alone and open to suspicion. As Naomi instructed, Ruth hides until the party breaks up and Boaz retreats to find a place to sleep among the piles of grain.
Verse Context:
In Ruth 3:6–9, Ruth takes Naomi's plan and tweaks it. Naomi has developed an elaborate scheme whereby Ruth can carefully approach Boaz and present herself as marriage material. Ruth follows the plan but adds that she expects Boaz, as Naomi's relative, to generously provide for Naomi. Boaz is overwhelmed by Ruth's selflessness and quickly agrees. He just has one problem: he is not the next legal option in line to care for Naomi.
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 4/24/2024 7:08:38 PM
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