Ruth 3:10
And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.
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(10) Blessed be thou of the Lord.—This answer of Boaz’s is in itself a sufficient proof of the view he took of her conduct, and of the integrity of his own. We note, too, that this blessing follows immediately on the avowal of her name. His own feelings had already been attuned to due honour and respect for Ruth; he is prepared not only to discharge the duty of next of kin, but to do it in no perfunctory spirit, but with a sincere loyal affection. The Targum on Ruth 3:15 supposes that to Ruth, the distant ancestress of the Saviour, was vouchsafed the knowledge, as in its fulness to the Virgin hereafter, of the birth of the Messiah through her. Origen compares Ruth to the Gentile Church, the engrafted wild olive.

Thou hast shewed . . . .—Literally, thou hast done well thy latter kindness above the former.

Ruth 3:10. More kindness in the latter end than in the beginning — Both to thy deceased husband, the continuance of whose name and memory thou seekest, and to thy mother-in-law, whose commands thou hast punctually obeyed. The former kindness which Ruth had shown to the family of Boaz was in her love and fidelity to her husband, and her affectionate regard to her mother-in-law. But Boaz here commends her willingness to marry him, who was advanced in years, in order to raise up seed to her departed husband, as the greatest instance of love that she had given; inasmuch as she had not followed young men — Either among the Israelites, or in her own country, as he intimates she would have done if she had not preferred obedience to God’s command, before pleasing herself.

3:6-13 What in one age or nation would be improper, is not always so in another age or another nation. Being a judge of Israel, Boaz would tell Ruth what she should do; also whether he had the right of redemption, and what methods must be taken, and what rites used, in order to accomplishing her marriage with him or another person. The conduct of Boaz calls for the highest praise. He attempted not to take advantage of Ruth; he did not disdain her as a poor, destitute stranger, nor suspect her of any ill intentions. He spoke honourably of her as a virtuous woman, made her a promise, and as soon as the morning arrived, sent her away with a present to her mother-in-law. Boaz made his promise conditional, for there was a kinsman nearer than he, to whom the right of redemption belonged.Thou hast shewed more kindness ... - Literally, "Thou hast made thy last kindness better than the first." Her last kindness was her willingness to accept Boaz for her husband, advanced in years as he was. 9. I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman—She had already drawn part of the mantle over her; and she asked him now to do it, that the act might become his own. To spread a skirt over one is, in the East, a symbolical action denoting protection. To this day in many parts of the East, to say of anyone that he put his skirt over a woman, is synonymous with saying that he married her; and at all the marriages of the modern Jews and Hindus, one part of the ceremony is for the bridegroom to put a silken or cotton cloak around his bride. Thou hast showed more kindness; both to thy deceased husband, the continuance of whose name and memory thou preferrest before the satisfaction of thy own lust; and to thy mother-in-law, whose commands thou hast punctually obeyed, even with thy own hazard in so doubtful an enterprise.

Thou followedst not young men, to seek thy marriage either here, or in thy own country, as thou wouldst have done if thou hadst not preferred obedience to God’s command, before the pleasing of thyself.

And he said, blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter,.... Instead of calling her an immodest woman for laying herself down at his feet, and a bold impudent woman, she being poor, to ask marriage of him; and instead of being angry with her, and chiding and reproving her for disturbing and frightening him in the night, he blesses her, and pray's to God to bless her, and prosper her in what she had engaged, and in a kind and loving manner calls her his daughter:

for thou hast showed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning; that is, to her husband's family; she had shown much love to her husband living and dying, and to her mother-in-law, in leaving her country and kindred to come with her into a strange country, and in labour to support her, as she had done, all which was great kindness; to which the Targum adds, her being proselyted; but the kindness she now showed exceeded all the former, in that she was desirous, according to the law of God, to build up her husband's family, to marry the next near kinsman, even though an old man, to raise up seed to the name and memory of her husband:

inasmuch as thou followedst not the young men, whether poor or rich; the phrase of following young men is not to be understood of committing fornication with them, as the Targum explains it, but of marriage to them: she shunned their company and conversation, and did not put herself in the way of being caressed and addressed by them, and refused everything of that sort; and did not choose to follow any young man, rich or poor, as a bride follows her husband when married to him. Now Boaz mentions this as an instance of her virtue, and of her great respect to her husband's family, that a woman of such amiable qualities, virtuous, young, and beautiful, who doubtless might have been married to a young man in her own country, or in Israel, but chose to marry the nearest of kin in her husband's family, to perpetuate his name and memory; the Jews say (t) Boaz was now eighty years of age, and Ruth forty.

(t) Midrash Ruth, fol. 31. 4. & 34. 2.

And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast {d} shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.

(d) You showed yourself repeatedly to be more virtuous.

10. thou hast shewed more kindness] At the outset Ruth had shewn her piety towards her mother in law (Ruth 2:11); now she shews it towards her husband’s family. She has declined to seek a second marriage outside, and by her action the dead will come by his rights.

Verse 10. - And he said, Blessed be thou of Yahveh, my daughter; thou hast made thy latter kindness better than the former, in not going after any young man, whether poor or rich. This verse is full of satisfactory evidence that Naomi was perfectly right in conjecturing that Boas, deep in love, was restrained only by diffidence from formally declaring himself. It shows us too that the chief ground of his diffidence was his age. He had been an acquaintance, and the equal in years, of Ruth's father-in-law, Elimelech, and the impression had got hold on him that the handsome young widow might feel repugnance to his suit. Hence, instead of being in the least degree offended by the steps she had taken, he was relieved, and felt full of gratification on the one hand, and of gratitude on the other. Blessed be thou by Yahveh. Literally, "to Yahveh," i.e. "in relation to Yahveh" (see Ruth 2:20). My daughter. His relative elderliness was in his mind. Thou hast made thy latter kindness better than the former. Michaelis has seized the true meaning of these words: "The kindness which thou art showing to thy husband, now that he is gone, is still greater than what thou didst show to him while he lived." Her employment of the word "kinsman," or goel, was evidence to Boas that she was thinking of the respect which she owed to her husband's memory. Her concern in discharging that duty of 'piety' struck the heart of Boaz; and all the more as, in his opinion, she might easily have found open doors, had she wished for them, in quarters where there was no connection of kinship with her deceased husband. "She did not go after any young man, whether poor or rich." She preferred, above all such, her first husband's elderly "kinsman." In the original the construction is peculiar - "in not going after the young men, whether a poor one or a rich one." He does not simply mean that she was free from vagrant courses and desires. Her character lay, to his eye, on a far higher level His meaning is that she deliberately refrained from "thinking of any young man. The plural "young men" is to be accounted for on the principle that when an alternate is assumed or postulated, there is, in actual contemplation, a plurality of individuals. Ruth 3:10Boaz praised her conduct: "Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter (see Ruth 2:20); thou hast made thy later love better than the earlier, that thou hast not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. " Ruth's earlier or first love was the love she had shown to her deceased husband and her mother-in-law (comp. Ruth 2:11, where Boaz praises this love); the later love she had shown in the fact, that as a young widow she had not sought to win the affections of young men, as young women generally do, that she might have a youthful husband, but had turned trustfully to the older man, that he might find a successor to her deceased husband, through a marriage with him, in accordance with family custom (vid., Ruth 4:10). "And now," added Boaz (Ruth 3:11), "my daughter, fear not; for all that thou sayest I will do to thee: for the whole gate of my people (i.e., all my city, the whole population of Bethlehem, who go in and out at the gate: see Genesis 34:24; Deuteronomy 17:2) knoweth that thou art a virtuous woman." Consequently Boaz saw nothing wrong in the fact that Ruth had come to him, but regarded her request that he would marry her as redeemer as perfectly natural and right, and was ready to carry out her wish as soon as the circumstances would legally allow it. He promised her this (vv. 12, 13), saying, "And now truly I am a redeemer; but there is a nearer redeemer than I. Stay here this night (or as it reads at the end of v. 13, 'lie till the morning'), and in the morning, if he will redeem thee, well, let him redeem; but if it does not please him to redeem thee, I will redeem thee, as truly as Jehovah liveth." אם כּי (Kethibh, v. 12), after a strong assurance, as after the formula used in an oath, "God do so to me," etc., 2 Samuel 3:35; 2 Samuel 15:21 (Kethibh), and 2 Kings 5:20, is to be explained from the use of this particle in the sense of nisi, except that, equals only: "only I am redeemer," equivalent to, assuredly I am redeemer (cf. Ewald, 356, b.). Consequently there is no reason whatever for removing the אם from the text, as the Masorites have done (in the Keri).

(Note: What the ל maju sc., in ליני signifies, is uncertain. According to the smaller Masora, it was only found among the eastern (i.e., Palestinian) Jews. Consequently Hiller (in his Arcanum Keri et Ctibh, p. 163) conjectures that they used it to point out a various reading, viz., that לנּי should be the reading here. But this is hardly correct.)

Ruth was to lie till morning, because she could not easily return to the city in the dark at midnight; but, as is shown in Ruth 3:14, she did not stay till actual daybreak, but "before one could know another, she rose up, and he said (i.e., as Boaz had said), It must not be known that the woman came to the threshing-floor." For this would have injured the reputation not only of Ruth, but also of Boaz himself.

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