Ruth 3:2
And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.
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3:1-5 The married state should be a rest, as much as any thing upon earth can be so, as it ought to fix the affections and form a connexion for life. Therefore it should be engaged in with great seriousness, with earnest prayers for direction, for the blessing of God, and with regard to his precepts. Parents should carefully advise their children in this important concern, that it may be well with them as to their souls. Be it always remembered, That is best for us which is best for our souls. The course Naomi advised appears strange to us; but it was according to the laws and usages of Israel. If the proposed measure had borne the appearance of evil, Naomi would not have advised it. Law and custom gave Ruth, who was now proselyted to the true religion, a legal claim upon Boaz. It was customary for widows to assert this claim, De 25:5-10. But this is not recorded for imitation in other times, and is not to be judged by modern rules. And if there had been any evil in it, Ruth was a woman of too much virtue and too much sense to have listened to it.Behold, he winnoweth barley ... - The simple manners of Boaz and his times are here before us. This "mighty man of wealth" assists personally in the winnowing of his barley, which lies in a great heap on the floor Ruth 3:15, and sleeps in the open threshing-floor to protect his grain from depredation.

Tonight - For the sake of the breeze which springs up at sunset, and greatly facilitates the "cleansing" (separation) of the grain tossed up across the wind.

2. he winnoweth barley to-night in the threshing-floor—The winnowing process is performed by throwing up the grain, after being trodden down, against the wind with a shovel. The threshing-floor, which was commonly on the harvest-field, was carefully leveled with a large cylindric roller and consolidated with chalk, that weeds might not spring up, and that it might not chop with drought. The farmer usually remained all night in harvest-time on the threshing-floor, not only for the protection of his valuable grain, but for the winnowing. That operation was performed in the evening to catch the breezes which blow after the close of a hot day, and which continue for the most part of the night. This duty at so important a season the master undertakes himself; and, accordingly, in the simplicity of ancient manners, Boaz, a person of considerable wealth and high rank, laid himself down to sleep on the barn floor, at the end of the heap of barley he had been winnowing. Which was in a place covered at the top, but open elsewhere, whither Ruth might easily come. And this work of winnowing corn was usually begun or ended with a feast, as may be gathered both from Ruth 3:7, and from other instances, wherein they used to do so upon like occasions; and this work was to begin this evening, and, as some think, was done only in the evenings, when the heat grew less, and the wind began to blow. See Genesis 3:8.

And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast?.... He was, and her question supposes and concludes it, and which she observes, that Ruth might take notice of it, and encouragement from it; and the rather, since she had been admitted into the company and conversation of his maidens; and which was more, though not mentioned, into the company and conversation of himself, and whom Ruth knew full well; and who being, Naomi thought, the next nearest kinsman, and obliged by the law in Deuteronomy 25:5 to marry Ruth, with which view his relation is mentioned:

behold, he winnoweth barley tonight in the threshingfloor; which afforded a fit opportunity of meeting with him, being at night, and out of the city, from his own house, and alone, and after a feast for his reapers and threshers of corn, seems, from Ruth 2:7 as it was usual to have threshingfloors in an open place without the city, so to winnow at them, whereby the chaff was more easily separated from the corn, and that, in the evening, when in those countries there were the strongest breezes of wind to carry it off; hence the Targum here has it,"behold, he is winnowing the barley floor with the wind, which is in the night.''For before the invention and use of fans in winnowing, it was only done by the wind carrying off the chaff, as the oxen trod the corn, for it was done in the threshingfloor, as here: hence Hesiod (m) advises that the threshingfloors should be , in a place exposed to wind; and so Varro (n) observes, the floor should be in the higher part of the field, that the wind might blow through it; to this manner of winnowing Virgil (o) has respect. Nor was it unusual for great personages, owners of farms and fields, to attend and overlook such service. Pliny (p) reports, that Sextus Pomponius, father of the praetor and prince of the hither Spain, presided over the winnowing of his reapers; so Gideon, another judge Israel, was found threshing wheat, Judges 6:11.

(m) Opera & Dies, l. 2. ver. 221. (n) De re Rustica, l. 1. c. 41. (o) "Cum graviter tunsis", &c. Georgic. l. 3. Vid. Homer. Iliad 5. ver. 499. & Iliad, 13. ver. 588, &c. (p) Nat. Hist. l. 22. c. 25.

And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.
2. our kinsman] See on Ruth 2:1, a different word from near kinsman (go’el) in Ruth 3:9. His relationship to Elimelech, and the friendly disposition which he had shewn, led Naomi to think of Boaz in considering ‘a resting place’ for Ruth. He might be willing to do the kinsman’s part; at any rate, she made up her mind to act courageously and in a spirit of faith. In her plan for a next of kin marriage Naomi’s only concern is for Ruth’s future; the perpetuation of the name of her dead childless son is left for Boaz to mention (Ruth 4:5; Ruth 4:10).

to-night] when the wind blows (Targ.), and the weather is cool. In Palestine a wind rises from the sea at about four o’clock in the afternoon, and lasts till half an hour before sunset. For the threshing-floor an exposed, open spot was chosen on the side or summit of a hill; here it must have lain outside the village, and to reach it Ruth had to go down the hills on which Beth-lehem stands.

Verse 2. - And now is not Boaz, with whose young women thou wast, our relatives. Naomi opens her case. She had been studying Boaz all through the harvest season. She had been studying Ruth too. She saw unmistakable evidence of mutual responsiveness and attachment. And now she had a matured scheme in her head. Hence she brings up Boaz's name at once, and says, "Is he not our relative?" מודַעַת, an abstract term used concretely, meaning literally" acquaintance," but here "relative," or "kinsman" (see Ruth 2:1). Lo, he is winnowing barley on the threshing-floor tonight. Literally, "Lo, he is winnowing the threshing-floor of barley." The Hebrews could idiomatically speak of "the threshing-floor of barley," meaning "the threshing-floor-full of barley." The barley lay heaped up in Boaz's threshing-floor, and he was changed in winnowing it. He threw up against the wind the mingled mass that was on his floor, after the stalks had been carefully trodden or beaten. "Not far," says Dr. Horatio Hackett, "from the site of ancient Corinth, I passed a heap of grain, which some laborers were employed in winnowing. They used for throwing up the mingled wheat and chaff a three-pronged wooden fork, having a handle three or four feet long" ('Illustrations,' p. 106). "The winnowing," says Dr. Kitto, "was performed by throwing up the grain with a fork against the wind, by which the chaff and broken straw were dispersed, and the grain fell to the ground. The grain was afterwards passed through a sieve to separate the morsels of earth and other impurities, and it then underwent a final purification by being tossed up with wooden scoops, or shorthanded shovels, such as we see sculptured on the monuments of Egypt" ('Illustrations,' in loc., p. 40). In some of the Egyptian sculptures the winnowers are represented as having scoops in both hands. הַלַּיְלָה, tonight (Scottice, "the nicht"). The agriculturist in Palestine and the surrounding districts would often carry on his winnowing operations after sunset, taking advantage of the evening breeze that then blows. The Chaldee Targumist makes express reference to this breeze, explaining the word tonight as meaning in the wind which blows by night. Ruth 3:2As Naomi conjectured, from the favour which Boaz had shown to Ruth, that he might not be disinclined to marry her as gol, she said to her daughter-in-law, "My daughter, I must seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee." In the question אבקּשׁ הלא, the word הלא is here, as usual, an expression of general admission or of undoubted certainty, in the sense of "Is it not true, I seek for thee? it is my duty to seek for thee." מנוח equals מנוּחה (Ruth 1:9) signifies the condition of a peaceful life, a peaceful and well-secured condition, "a secure life under the guardian care of a husband" (Rosenmller). "And now is not Boaz our relation, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he is winnowing the barley floor (barley on the threshing-floor) to-night," i.e., till late in the night, to avail himself of the cool wind, which rises towards evening (Genesis 3:8), for the purpose of cleansing the corn. The threshing-floors of the Israelites were, and are still in Palestine, made under the open heaven, and were nothing more than level places in the field stamped quite hard.

(Note: "A level spot is selected for the threshing-floors, which are then constructed near each other, of a circular form, perhaps fifty feet in diameter, merely by beating down the earth hard." - Robinson, Pal. ii. p. 277.)

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