And Ruth the Moabite said, “Besides, he said to me, ‘You shall keep close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.’” And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you be assaulted.” So she kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests. And she lived with her mother-in-law.
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? Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.” And she replied, “All that you say I will do.”
Comment: Boaz had told Ruth to stay near the men who were doing the harvesting. Naomi tells her to stay near Boaz’s young women. I suspect that she didn’t want any of the young men to take a fancy to her! Ruth kept living with Naomi and working the edges of Boaz’s fields until the harvest was completed. When the harvest was complete Naomi confesses that she wants to see Ruth married to Boaz. I guess it was a custom of the time in Israel but it sounds odd to us. Ruth was told as the workers threshed the barley late and then ate and drank to hide herself until Boaz lay down to sleep. Then she was to sneak in, uncover his feet and lie at the bottom of his feet. The plan was, I guess, that with his feet cold he would wake up and see her, the one to whom he had been so good and was so beautiful, lying there. Ruth says ‘okay, I’ll do it.’
Prayer: Help me to understand and accept other people’s customs.