3:6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law had instructed her to do. 1 3:7 When Boaz had finished his meal and was feeling satisfied, he lay down to sleep at the far end of the grain heap. 2 Then Ruth 3 crept up quietly, 4 uncovered his legs, 5 and lay down beside him. 6 3:8 In the middle of the night he was startled 7 and turned over. 8 Now 9 he saw a woman 10 lying beside him! 11 3:9 He said, “Who are you?” 12 She replied, “I am Ruth, your servant. 13 Marry your servant, 14 for you are a guardian of the family interests.” 15
2 tn Heb “and Boaz ate and drank and his heart was well and he went to lie down at the end of the heap”; NAB “at the edge of the sheaves.”
3 tn Heb “she”; the referent (Ruth) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
4 sn Ruth must have waited until Boaz fell asleep, for he does not notice when she uncovers his legs and lies down beside him.
6 tn The words “beside him” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. Cf. TEV “at his feet”; CEV “near his feet.”
7 tn Heb “trembled, shuddered”; CEV, NLT “suddenly woke up.” Perhaps he shivered because he was chilled.
8 tn The verb לָפַת (lafat) occurs only here, Job 6:18, and Judg 16:29 (where it seems to mean “grab hold of”). Here the verb seems to carry the meaning “bend, twist, turn,” like its Arabic cognate (see HALOT 533 s.v. לפת, and F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 163).
9 tn Heb “and behold” (so KJV, NASB). The narrator invites the reader to view the situation through Boaz’s eyes.
10 sn Now he saw a woman. The narrator writes from Boaz’s perspective. Both the narrator and the reader know the night visitor is Ruth, but from Boaz’s perspective she is simply “a woman.”
12 tn When Boaz speaks, he uses the feminine form of the pronoun, indicating that he knows she is a woman.
13 tn Here Ruth uses אָמָה (’amah), a more elevated term for a female servant than שִׁפְחָה (shifkhah), the word used in 2:13. In Ruth 2, where Ruth has just arrived from Moab and is very much aware of her position as a foreigner (v. 10), she acknowledges Boaz’s kindness and emphasizes her own humility by using the term שִׁפְחָה, though she admits that she does not even occupy that lowly position on the social scale. However, here in chap. 3, where Naomi sends her to Boaz to seek marriage, she uses the more elevated term אָמָה to describe herself because she is now aware of Boaz’s responsibility as a close relative of her deceased husband and she wants to challenge him to fulfill his obligation. In her new social context she is dependent on Boaz (hence the use of אָמָה), but she is no mere שִׁפְחָה.
14 tn Heb “and spread your wing [or skirt] over your servant.” Many medieval Hebrew
15 tn Heb “for you are a גֹאֵל [go’el],” sometimes translated “redeemer” (cf. NIV “a kinsman-redeemer”; NLT “my family redeemer”). In this context Boaz, as a “redeemer,” functions as a guardian of the family interests who has responsibility for caring for the widows of his deceased kinsmen. For a discussion of the legal background, see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 166-69.
sn By proposing marriage, Ruth goes beyond the letter of Naomi’s instructions (see v. 4, where Naomi told Ruth that Boaz would tell her what to do). Though she is more aggressive than Naomi told her to be, she is still carrying out the intent of Naomi’s instructions, which were designed to lead to marriage.