Summary: In seeking our Kinsman-redeemer we must look for: 1) The Right Purpose, we must go to 2) The Right Person 3) We Must Make the Right Preparations and finally 4) We Must be at the Right Place
A curious phenomena occurring more and more these days is the ever increasing relationships between two people of differing age brackets. For some noteworthy examples, it can be decades apart. A French court is currently examining whether the elderly heiress to the L’Oreal fortune, Europe’s richest woman, was in her right mind when she lavished gifts worth close to US$1.4-billion on a younger male friend. Prosecutor Philippe Courroye, who has been probing the gifts made by Liliane Bettencourt, 86, to socialite Francois-Marie Banier, 62, said yesterday the case would come to trial in September. Ms. Bettencourt is the biggest shareholder in cosmetics giant L’Oreal, the company her father founded. Mr. Courroye’s investigation stems from a complaint filed by Ms. Bettencourt’s daughter, Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers, who accuses Mr. Banier of taking advantage of her mother’s frailty (http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=1794774).
In one of the most curious match-making endeavors in Scripture we find Naomi in Ruth chapter 3 trying to set her daughter in law, Ruth, up with the much older Boaz. When the two widows came to Bethlehem, their plan was that Ruth take care of Naomi and both of them eke out an existence the best they could. But now Naomi has a new plan: Ruth is to marry Boaz, and then all of them can live happily ever after. In that day, it was the parents who arranged marriages; so Naomi was not out of place in what she did. She is out of place in how she attempted to do it.
Keep in mind that the Book of Ruth is much more than the record of the marriage of a rejected alien to a respected Jew. It’s also the picture of Christ’s relationship to those who trust Him and belong to Him. In the steps that Ruth takes, recorded in this chapter, we see the steps God’s people must take if they want to enter into a deeper relationship with the Lord. Like Ruth, we must not be satisfied merely with living on leftovers (2:2), or even receiving gifts (2:14, 16). We must want Him alone; for when we have Him, we also have all that He owns. It’s not the gifts that we seek, but the Giver (Wiersbe, Warren W.: Be Committed. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1996, c1993 (An Old Testament Study. Ruth and Esther), S. Ru 3:1).
In seeking our Kinsman-redeemer we must look for: 1) The Right Purpose: Ruth 3:1, we must go to 2) The Right Person: Ruth 3:2, 3) We Must Make the Right Preparations: Ruth 3:3a and finally 4) We Must be at the Right Place: Ruth 3:3b-6
We must have:
1) The Right Purpose: Ruth 3:1
Ruth 3:1 [3:1]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? (ESV)
In Ruth 1 Ruth did not even know that Boaz existed. In Chapter 2, she saw him only as her benefactor. Now, in Chapter 3, Ruth wants to establish a permanent relationship with him.
The ending to chap. 2 leaves the reader wondering what would come of Naomi’s dream and what would happen to Ruth, the alien, settling down in Naomi’s house. The question of timing is highlighted by the first word of Chapter 3: ‘then”. The word can also be rendered as “Some time later”: the adverbial conjunction in Hebrew should not be understood as “immediately” or “right then,” but as a reference to the next significant element in the sequence of events.*The lapse of time could not have been more than a few weeks at most, for the threshing of the barley had not been completed, even though both the barley and the wheat had been harvested. The harvest included cutting the stalks in the field, gathering and tying them into sheaves, and transporting the sheaves to the threshing floor (Waard, Jan de ; Nida, Eugene Albert: A Translator’s Handbook on the Book of Ruth. 2nd ed. New York : United Bible Societies, 1992, S. 46).
In light of the closing verses of chap. 2, one may speculate that Naomi hoped Boaz would take the initiative in establishing a relationship with Ruth that was more personal than that of native landowner and alien scavenger and that would eventually lead to marriage. Perhaps Boaz was being sensitive toward Ruth as a widow, not wishing to impose himself upon her until she was emotionally healed and ready to contemplate remarriage. Obviously he was not making any moves; so as Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi took it upon herself to overcome his inertia. Her speech to Ruth breaks down into three parts: (1) a statement of the problem (v. 1), (2) a summary of the facts (v. 2), and (3) a detailed prescription of the procedure (vv. 3–4).
Naomi broaches the subject of finding a husband for her daughter-in-law gently, with an affectionate address of Ruth as “My daughter.” This is only one word in Hebrew, but it is highly significant, expressing the relationship between these two women from Naomi’s perspective and laying the foundation for the daring scheme she will propose.