Ruth 3:14 MEANING

Ruth 3:14
(14) One could know another.--Literally, a man could recognise his friend; i.e., before daylight, in the early dusk.

A woman.--Literally, the woman--i.e., this woman. Thus it is of Ruth, not of himself, that Boaz is here thinking. A sensible man like Boaz knows "that we must not only keep a good conscience, but keep a good name; we must avoid not only sin but scandal." (Henry.)

Verse 14. - And she lay at the place of his feet until morning: and she arose ere yet a man could distinguish his neighbor. In the original it is "the places of his feet" (see ver. 4). Time would rapidly fly past. Sleep there would be none to either the one or the other. In mutual modesty they guarded each other's honor. Thoughts and feelings, narratives and projects, would be freely interchanged. Their mutual understanding would become complete. At length there began to be the first faint tinge of paleness streaking into the dark. Ruth arose, and prepared to depart. It is added, For he had said, - or, more literally, "And he had said," - Let it not be known that 'the' woman came to the threshing-floor. This has been to critics a puzzling clause. The conjunction in the foreground, a mere copulative, has occasioned difficulty. It is thoroughly Hebraistic. But of course it does not here introduce to notice something merely added to what goes before, of the nature of a parting injunction or request addressed to Ruth. The articulated phrase "the woman," as distinguished from "a woman," the expression in King James's version, renders such an interpretation impossible. The Targumist explains thus: "and he said to his young men." But the whole tenor of the preceding narrative proceeds on the assumption that there were no servants on the premises or at hand. Other Rabbis, and after them Luther and Cover-dale, interpret thus: "and he said in his heart," or, "and he thought." Unnatural. The difficulty is to be credited, or debited, to simplicity of composition, and the habit of just adding thing to thing aggregatively, instead of interweaving them into a complex unity. In the course of their many interchanges of thought and feeling, Boaz had expressed a desire, both for Ruth s sake and for his own, that it should not be known that she had come by night to the threshing-floor. The narrator, instead of introducing this expression of desire in the way in which it would directly fall from the lips of Boaz, "Let it not be known that thou didst come," gives it in the indirect form of speech, the oratio obliqua, as his own statement of the case. It is as if he had introduced a parenthesis or added a note in the margin. The ἅπαξ λεγόμενον טָרְום -instead of טֶרֶם- was most probably not a later form, as Berthean supposes, but an older Hebrew form that had died out of use long before the days of the Masorites.

3:14-18 Ruth had done all that was fit for her to do, she must patiently wait the event. Boaz, having undertaken this matter, would be sure to manage it well. Much more reason have true believers to cast their care on God, because he has promised to care for them. Our strength is to sit still, Isa 30:7. This narrative may encourage us to lay ourselves by faith at the feet of Christ: He is our near Kinsman; having taken our nature upon him. He has the right to redeem. Let us seek to receive from him his directions: Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Ac 9:6. He will never blame us as doing this unseasonably. And let us earnestly desire and seek the same rest for our children and friends, that it may be well with them also.And she lay at his feet until the morning,.... In the same place where she first lay herself down:

and she rose up before one could know another, because of the darkness, as the Targum, it not being yet break of day:

and he said, let it not be known that a woman came into the floor, to whom he spoke these words is not said, perhaps to Ruth, whom he might call to arise so early as she did, before one could know another, and distinguish a man from a woman; and so sent her away, and bid her be cautious, as much as in her lay, that it might not be known she had been there; for though they were both conscious of their purity and chastity, yet it became them to be careful of their good name, and to prevent scandal upon them, or hinder the nearer kinsman from doing his part, who might refuse upon hearing that Boaz and Ruth had been together; or this was said to his young men, as the Targum adds, charging them to let no one know of it; which is not so likely: it is the sense of some Jewish writers (a), that Boaz said this in his heart, in an ejaculatory prayer to God, entreating that affair might be a secret, that it might not be known that a woman had been in the floor that night, lest the name of God should be blasphemed, and he and Ruth be wrongfully reproached.

(a) Midrash Ruth, fol. 34. 14. so some in Abendana in Miclol Yophi in loc.

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