Ruth Chapter 3 Answers

About These Answers

Questions and Answers

1.  What exactly did Naomi instruct Ruth to do in the beginning of Chapter 3?

From verse 3

  • Wash
  • Put on perfumed oil
  • Wear your best clothes
  • Go down to the threshing floor
  • Don’t let the man know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. 

From verse 4:

  • When he lies down, notice the place where he’s lying
  • Go in and uncover his feet, and lie down

2.  There is limited biblical and extra biblical evidence for the legal precedence of ancient Israelites regarding the role of the kinsman-redeemer.  Precisely how the ancient reader understood the role is not clear but it was obviously not as ambiguous as it is for today's reader.  

Many have studied three texts (Genesis 38; Leviticus 25:25-34; and Deuteronomy 25:5-10) to develop an understanding of the role.  However, as Professor Robert L. Hubbard Jr. points out, the ancient Hebrew legal system was more about the application of principles to situations not a prescription for action on legal matters.  

Professor Hubbard reminds us that the ancient Hebrew legal system reflected their strong obligation to, and protection of, their fundamental value system.   With this understanding, read the following texts to understand the background of the kinsman-redeemer:

  • Genesis 38
  • Leviticus 25:25-34
  • Deuteronomy 25:5-10

From your reading, what values are represented by these texts?

From Genesis 38:  the value of continuing the line of the family descendants

From Leviticus 25:  the value of retaining family property

From Deuteronomy 25: the value of continuing the family name

Questions and Answers

3.  Much has been written about Naomi's instructions to Ruth regarding the uncovering of Boaz' feet in verse 4.  It's been speculated that this language was understood to mean that Ruth was to uncover his genitals for a sexual encounter.  Based on your reading of the text, does this seem probable?  Why or why not?

From a reading of the entirety of the Book of Ruth, this seems out of character for both Boaz and Ruth; therefore, it's improbable.  Although we aren't specifically told this it just doesn't fit.  Consider the following:

  • Boaz, not Ruth, makes the first move upon her discovery (verse 9)
  • Boaz first calls on the Lord to bless Ruth when he finds her (verse 10)
  • Boaz comments on Ruth's reputation of noble character (verse 11)
  • Boaz does not assume his requested role but defers to the closer redeemer instead (verse 12)

Boaz may have only had his feet uncovered so as to awaken him in the night.  It does not seem likely that this godly man and woman would have violated their trust in the provision of God for their lives.

4.  Who were the three people who knew of Ruth being at the threshing floor and why was it necessary that only they know of her presence?

Only Ruth, Boaz, and Naomi knew of her Ruth being at the threshing floor.  It was necessary to keep her presence there a secret because it could have been misinterpreted.  Professor Hubbard provides the following potential conclusions if they were to be discovered:

  • A respected older man was victimized by a seductive foreigner
  • Secretive lovers meet at night under cover of darkness   
  • Two conspirators tried to circumvent the rightful kinsman-redeemer

The townspeople should not be allowed to misconstrue the meeting; so Boaz provides grain to Ruth to carry home both as a shield for their meeting and as a gift to Naomi.

Questions and Answers

5.  What can we learn about the character of those in this story from the following verses?

  • Naomi - Verses 1-2
  • Ruth - Verses 5-6, 9-11
  • Boaz - Verses 10-15, 17-18 

Noami - She was kind and considerate.  She thought  enough of the welfare of others to devise schemes to bless them beyond her own lifetime.  It's unlikely Ruth would have had enough information and background to devise a plan similar to what Naomi proposed.

Ruth - She was a loyal, obedient, and trusting person who carefully followed a plan that was given to her.  She was humble in her description of herself (your slave), but bold enough to propose marriage (see question seven).

Boaz - He was a man a humble man who wished the blessings of God to those who showed him kindness.  He was an honorable man who would not take what did not rightfully belong to him.  He was a man who feared the Lord.  Here was a generous and kind man who was intent on swift resolution to ease the discomfort of those less fortunate than himself.

6.  Upon learning of her at his feet, Boaz instructs Ruth to remain until morning.  Do you think she was able to sleep well?  What might she have been thinking?  What about Boaz, do you think he slept well and what might he have been thinking?  Finally, what about Naomi, do you think she slept well that night?

Put your answer here or you may want to use the Facebook box below.

Questions and Answers

7.  In verse 9, Ruth basically proposes a marriage to Boaz (compare Ezekiel 16:8 and Malachi 2:16).  Some may think this is rather forward of her; however, we don't know all of the details regarding their previous interactions.   

For example, it may have been that she was wearing the traditional clothes of a widow previously which may have deterred Boaz.  In any regard, do you think the man should propose a marriage, or do you think it's OK for a woman to do so? 

Put your answer here or you may want to use the Facebook box below.

8.  Does Naomi's plot to send Ruth to the threshing floor to propose to Boaz violate the principle of relying on God to provide for one's family?

We cannot think that God will always perform miraculous things to provide for our needs as His children.  Oftentimes, God will simply allow us to act in faith to claim a promise or rely on His goodness to provide for our needs.

In the case of sending Ruth to Boaz, Naomi was simply acting on the promise of God that Boaz recognized himself (see Ruth 2:12) for her provision.  She was too old for marriage but her "daughter" Ruth was not.  God would provide for her and Ruth through the stand-in for their deceased husbands in the form of a kinsman-redeemer.

Questions and Answers

8.  What were the dangers Ruth faced in Naomi's plan?

  • The danger of traveling alone at night to and from the threshing floor
  • The danger of choosing the wrong man and laying next to him
  • The danger of her intentions being mistaken as promiscuous
  • The danger of her being mistaken as a prostitute
  • The danger of being rejected as a trickster

9.  Did Ruth follow Noami's plan exactly? 

No.  Naomi did not tell Ruth to propose marriage to Boaz.  Compare Ruth's request "spread your cloak over me" in verse nine to the instructions of Naomi in verses three and four.

Questions and Answers

10.  How many times is Ruth referred to as "my daughter" in this chapter and who is using this term of endearment?

Ruth is referred to as my daughter __ times in chapter three:

  1. verse 1 -    Naomi
  2. verse 10 - Boaz
  3. verse 11 -  Boaz
  4. verse 16 -  Naomi
  5. verse 18 -  Naomi

11.  How have you helped your extended family?  Or how has your extended family helped you overcome hardships or tough times?

Put your answer here or you may want to use the Facebook box below.