Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee?
shall I not
And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.
is not Boaz
It is probable that the winnowing of grain was effected by taking up a portion of the corn in a sieve, and letting it down slowly in the wind; thus the grain would, by its own weight, fall in one place, while the chaff, etc., would be carried a distance by the wind. It is said here that this was done at night; probably what was threshed out in the day was winnowed in the evening, when the sea breeze set in, which was common in Palestine.
Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking.
And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.
uncover his feet
or, lift up the clothes that are on his feet.
And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.
And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down.
went to lie
Such was the simplicity of those early times, that the most wealthy persons looked after their own affairs, both at home and in the field. These threshing-floors were covered at top to keep off the rain, but lay open on all sides, that the wind might come in freely, for winnowing the corn; which being done, it is probable they were shut up at night, with doors fitted to them, that if any one lay there he might be kept warm, and the corn be secured from robbers.
And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.
Hebrew "spread thy wing;" the emblem of protection; and a metaphor taken from the young of fowls, which run under the wings of their mother from birds of prey. Even to the present day, when a Jew marries a woman, he throws the skirts of his talith over her, to signify that he has taken her under his protection.
a near kinsman
or, one that has right to redeem.
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.
at the beginning
And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.
And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.
Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman's part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning.
if he will
the Lord liveth
And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor.
Let it not
Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city.
or sheet, or apron. The word mitpachath has been variously rendered. The LXX. translate it [ ] an apron, and Vulgate, pallium, a cloak. By the circumstances of the story, it must have been of a considerable size; and accordingly Dr. Shaw thinks it was no other than the hyke, the finer sort of which, such as are still worn by ladies and persons of distinction among the Arabs, he takes to answer to the [ ] or robe, of the ancient Greeks.
The quantity of this barley is uncertain. The Targum renders it, shith sein, "six seahs." A seah contained about two gallons and a half, six of which must have been a very heavy load for a woman, and so the Targumist thought, for he adds, "And she received strength from the Lord to carry it."
And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her.
Who art thou
Or, as the Vulgate renders, Quid egisti filia? "What hast thou done, my daughter?"
Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.