Ruth Chapter 3: Ruth Uncovers Boaz’s Feet

Nov 9th, 2009 | By | Category: Ruth, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Ruth Chapter 3: Ruth Uncovers Boaz’s Feet

Ruth 3:1 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?

Verses 1-4 record the wise advice that Naomi gave to her daughter-in-law. Naomi was looking after Ruth’s welfare. According to the Law, Ruth had the right to seek a new companion who was related to her husband. Naomi knew that Boaz was a near kinsman, but probably neither she nor Ruth knew there was a closer kinsman.

Q: Was Naomi remiss in allowing her sons to marry Moabites? Were the sons unfaithful, or was it proper for them to marry Moabite women?

A: Not only could Naomi not tell her full-grown sons what to do, but there were precedents for marrying a non-Israelite. Both Joseph and Moses married other than Hebrew women. The family had gone to Moab because of a famine in Israel, and God overruled the experience to be a significant type. Ruth, Boaz, and Naomi were all outstanding in character, and some of the representations are as follows.

Naomi, a picture of the Grace Covenant, advised Ruth. Similarly, the Grace Covenant advises the Church, the Ruth class, in harmony with Scripture.

Elimelech had two sons, Mahlon and Chilion. They, with Naomi, went to the foreign land of Moab. The two sons picture the two kingdoms of Israel (the ten and the two tribes). Both kingdoms were taken into captivity several times before the AD era. They also went into captivity in the AD era, that is, in AD 70. At the time of Jesus’ ministry, the two tribes had been regathered. Therefore, when Jesus was sent to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” his mission included both kingdoms (Matt. 10:6). The Diaspora of Jews into Gentile lands began in AD 70, and this dispersion harmonizes with Moab’s being a picture of a foreign land. The Diaspora is also pictured in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.

Ruth represents Gentile converts. After AD 70, very few Jews entered the Church, and the Church became overwhelmingly Gentile. This development corresponds with Ruth’s coming into harmony with the God of Israel.

The name Elimelech means “God is King.” God dealt only with Israel (primarily the two tribes) until AD 36. Elimelech’s death pictures the end of exclusive favor to natural Israel. From that point on, the antitype takes place in the Gospel Age.

The Book of Ruth is a beautiful story of the Gospel Age from the standpoint of principle and the things that endear the Ruth class to Boaz (Jesus), but when Ruth and Naomi came back to Israel, it was the time of harvest. Hence, at that point, the picture shifts down to the end of the Gospel Age. Ruth 2:23 says that Ruth gleaned through both the barley and the wheat harvests. In gathering the wheat, she threshed only for her private use. Regarding the end of the age, the collective standpoint is also significant. Ruth gleaned to the end of the barley and wheat harvests and dwelled with her mother-in-law.

Verse 1 shows that Naomi was solicitous for the welfare of Ruth, but Ruth’s welfare would also bring satisfaction to Naomi. This is also true of the Sarah Covenant, which is looking for children. When the 144,000 are all gathered, “Sarah” will be satisfied in having fulfilled her mission as a covenant.

Ruth 3:2 And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley tonight in the threshingfloor.

The “maidens” picture the Great Company. Naomi said that Boaz (Jesus) “winnoweth [threshes] barley tonight in the threshingfloor.” The barley was about to be threshed when, as we shall see, Ruth went to meet Boaz.

As previously discussed, Matthew 13:24-30 speaks of two harvests: the gathering of wheat and the gathering of tares. Revelation 14:15,16,18-20 also mentions two harvests: a grain harvest and a grape harvest (grapes are to be thrown into the winepress of the wrath of God). Isaiah 21:10 adds a new feature: threshing. (For a fuller explanation, see Appendix 8, “A Prophecy Nearing Fulfillment,” on pages 643-646 in The Keys of Revelation.) The Isaiah 21:10 prophecy reads: “O my threshing, and the corn [bruised sons] of my floor: that which I have heard of the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you.” The feet members will be threshed, and Jesus, the Chief Reaper, is expressing sympathy for them. The special crushing of the Dark Ages will occur again. We should be conscious of the lack of such experiences in the Harvest period, for much of the Gospel Age has entailed violent persecution. In nature, the threshing occurs after the gathering of the wheat; that is, the sickling (or gathering) is followed by the threshing (or winnowing). The word “bruised” means “crushed” (put to death). The millstone will grind again before being cast into the sea (Rev. 18:21). As the grain, or wheat germ, is separated from the stalk by beating, so the new creature will be separated from the old man by threshing (persecution). The old man must perish to release the new man.

The literal Hebrew for Jesus’ sentiments in Isaiah 21:10 is as follows: “O my downtrodden one and the son [collective noun, hence plural in meaning] of my floor….” As a single ear of corn contains many kernels, or seeds, so “son” is plural in meaning.

Ruth 3:3 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.

Naomi’s instructions were, “Wash and anoint yourself, and put on your raiment. Go down to the threshing floor, but do not reveal yourself to Boaz until he has finished eating and drinking.” “Wash and anoint yourself, and put on your raiment” reminds us of several things:

1. Jesus’ words: “Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame” (Rev. 16:15).

2. The preparation period for Esther (Esther 2:12,15).

3. The wise virgins’ having the oil (Matt. 25:4).

4. And especially the Laodicean Church: “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire … and white raiment, … and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve” (Rev. 3:18). Consecration costs us something. Those in the Laodicean period of the Church need development, purifying, and crystallization of character if they are to please the Master, for the Laodicean spirit pervades not only the nominal Church but also the true Church. The Great Company at the end of the age are tribulation saints, who need to wash their tainted robes in the blood of the Lamb. The consecrated must voluntarily develop now, or there will be a forced wilderness experience later, as shown by the scapegoat picture (Lev. 16:9,10,21,22). Spots and creases are to be washed out as soon as possible. Being lethargic, the Great Company allow their garments to get soiled and wrinkled. Later stronger soap will be needed—and under dire circumstances.

Ruth was to act secretly until Boaz finished “eating and drinking.” When Jesus came in 1874, he served his people through a servant, supplying meat and drink. Jesus makes sure the food is served. When all the food that is due has been served, it will be the end of the sickling harvest, in contradistinction to the subsequent threshing. When the door to the high calling closes from God’s standpoint—when He sees that the last one has consecrated who will make the 144,000— He will discontinue the call. Otherwise, the call would be a false hope. No man down here will know when the door closes, but from that point on, none will be called whether they would be Little Flock or Great Company. The invitation will cease.

Down here the closing of the door will first be seen by the Great Company. The wise virgins will go through an open door, and Jesus will go with them. The day and hour of the closing of the door will not be known until the Great Company come back from the marketplace with the oil, knock on the door, and find it closed; that is, they will be mentally alerted to the fact they missed the marriage. Therefore, we do not know when the barley harvest will end. Ruth stayed until both harvests had ended.

The sickling has yet another standpoint. The Church class, the called-out ones, initially separate from a former condition, for both the Little Flock and the Great Company obey the call. (In the type, both Abraham and Lot left Ur of the Chaldees.) When God closes the door, the works of both the Little Flock and the Great Company will be terminated, but the winnowing will still lie ahead. Now that we are beyond the year 2000, more than 120 years have elapsed since 1878.

Therefore, we are near the end of the age, and the closing of the door will be exact, like the tick of a clock. The year can be known in advance but not the day or the hour.

What about the “eating and drinking”? Both the wise and the foolish virgins had oil earlier.

They all went forth to meet the Bridegroom in darkness. Their lamps were lit, but then they fell asleep. When they awoke, the foolish did not have a sufficiency of oil. Stated another way, when the Master finishes eating and drinking with his disciples, the foolish virgins will not have the extra supply of oil tucked away. Ruth illustrated this principle. When she got a supply of food from Boaz, she thought of Naomi and kept some aside for her.

Because the wise virgins had an extra supply of oil in their vessels, they could fill their lamps when they trimmed the wicks. (In the type, at 3 p.m. the high priest removed the dross and replenished the oil supply in the lamp from a separate container.) Having the extra oil, the wise were ready to meet the Bridegroom. When the foolish asked for oil, there was not time to secure it. The wise told the foolish to go to the marketplace and buy the oil for themselves (Matt. 25:8,9). The occurrence of these events will show the lateness of the hour.

Many are so content with the Harvest message that they do not try to understand other pictures. They say, “If those types were important, the seventh messenger would have written on them.” Hence they do not progress. “To the work, to the work!” is their cry.

The “awakening” in the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins is still future. When the virgins awake, there will be a separation between the wise and the foolish. The wise will enter in to the marriage, and the foolish will go back to the marketplace. In two Reprint articles, the Pastor said, regarding this parable, that in the future there will be a separation in the true Church between the Little Flock and the Great Company, between the wise and the foolish virgins.

Pictures such as this one are important, for they alert us to the needs of the future. We must let ridicule roll off our backs, for there is no time to feel resentment.

Ruth 3:4 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.

When will Boaz (Jesus) “lie down”? This term suggests Jesus’ being asleep in the  boat on the Sea of Galilee. Both storms on that body of water picture the end of the age. “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” asked the apostles (Mark 4:38). Jesus said on the Cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” These incidents indicate that the feet members will (and must) also experience such feelings. The heel members will have checkered, up-and-down emotions and experiences very similar to those in Jesus’ last hours. Having these feelings does not mean one is not a member of the Little Flock, for even Jesus had vacillating emotions. We will feel abandoned and discouraged.

Ruth had a right under the Law to uncover the feet of Boaz and to lie down there. By her actions, not only was she reminding him that he was a near kinsman, but she was more or less proposing. Boaz had mentioned earlier that she had a spotless reputation.

Boaz was an old man. The contrast of his age with Ruth’s age was noticeable. Jesus is “old” too, especially when compared with the Little Flock. In going to Boaz, Ruth put her reputation on the block. If she was seen by others, it would look as if mischief was taking place. (Jesus’ birth circumstances were impugned too.) Boaz and Ruth were both known as virtuous (Ruth 3:11).

We have no indication that Boaz was married. His concern lest Ruth be molested proves he had a high standard and a virtuous character.

“He will tell thee what thou shalt do.” Naomi added that Boaz (a type of Jesus) would tell Ruth what to do, just as we are being told now by God’s Word what to do at the end of the age.

Jesus informs his Church; instruction will be given. Naomi was saying that instruction would come in due time.

Comment: Ruth kept taking the initiative under the advice of Naomi (the Sarah Covenant). Her actions indicate that the feet members will take a stand.

Ruth 3:5 And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do.

Ruth said she would follow all of Naomi’s advice. In antitype, the feet members will obey the Sarah Covenant—especially regarding the end of the age.

All down the age, God’s people were responsible for the dispensational truth that was due in their respective time. Jesus gave dispensational advice in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, etc. In fact, dispensational advice is peculiarly Jesus’ responsibility. As the Revelator, he told John what to write, and the apostle merely recorded what he saw and heard.

Dispensational truth is due today. Although dispensational truth was given earlier in the Harvest, the end of the age will be a new experience. How startling that persecution has been lacking thus far in the Harvest!

Ruth 3:6 And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother-in-law bade her.

Ruth 3:7 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.

“At the end of the heap of corn [barley]” would be at the very end of the age in antitype. The New International Version has “at the far end of the grain pile.”

Ruth 3:8 And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet.

At midnight Boaz was afraid. Sensing something was wrong, he turned (bent forward) and saw a woman lying at his feet.

Q: In what way did Ruth lie at the feet of Boaz? Was she at the side of his feet?

A: Yes. When Boaz turned, he discovered her. Ruth was so close to him that when he moved, he felt something.

The NIV reads, “In the middle of the night [1] something startled the man, and [2] he turned and discovered a woman lying at his feet.”

At midnight, this incident occurred, corresponding with the midnight cry “Behold the bridegroom.” This “midnight,” when the barley was winnowed and threshed, will be the night wherein no man can work, the hour of power of the beast, the twelfth hour of the Parable of the Penny, and the antitype of the midnight when the destroying angel passed over the Israelite firstborn who were under the blood (John 9:4).

Ruth 3:9 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.

Ruth told her purpose: “I am Ruth, your handmaid.” (She was saying in effect, “I am Ruth. The rest of the matter is up to you.”) “Spread your skirt over your handmaid, for you are a near kinsman.” The implication is that Naomi and Ruth did not know there was a nearer kinsman than Boaz.

Ruth 3:10 And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast shown more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.

Boaz said, “Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter.” Boaz was old and Ruth was young, so he called her “my daughter.” As Christians, we are daughters of Jehovah, not Jesus, so the lesson here is one of age difference.

Consider the reference to “young men.” If Ruth waited too long, she would not be able to have children, and Hebrew women desired to have a son in the hope that he would be the Messiah. However, Boaz had noticed that as a principled woman, Ruth conducted herself very carefully and was not trying to attract young men, either rich or poor.

In matters of judgment, the Law commanded not to respect the person of the poor or the rich (Lev. 19:15; Deut. 1:17). Before the bar of justice, both king and pauper were to be treated equally. Following that principle, we are to judge righteous judgment and not let emotion affect our judgment. Judgment is to be impartial, and now is the time for Christians to learn the principles of judging. The 144,000 will be rich in faith and poor (humble) in spirit.

Q: In antitype, would the “young men” be human leaders that the Ruth class would not reverence or worship inordinately?

A: Yes, that would be true in church matters and in one’s spiritual life.

Comment: The Ruth class put their faith in the Lord, not in human leaders. They follow human leaders only in proportion as those leaders follow the Lord.

Ruth 3:11 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.

Ruth 3:12 And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.

Ruth 3:13 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.

Boaz promised to fulfill the part of a kinsman as much as possible, but first, he would have to seek out the nearer kinsman, as required under the Law (Deut. 25:5-10).

There is an antitype for the nearer kinsman. Both here and in the Law, the kinsman without a shoe was Adam. Jesus had to become a perfect man in order to be a substitute for Adam, the sinner. Being without one shoe indicates he lost his standing with God. In addition to loosing the shoe of the nearest kinsman who would not redeem her, the woman also spit in the man’s face. And that is what happened to Adam, who forfeited his right to be a proper father—God spit in his face. Boaz pictures Jesus, the Second Adam.

Ruth 3:14 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.

It was still dark enough just before dawn that no one could see Ruth leaving. Verse 14 proves it was not a bright moonlit night. Verse 9 is another proof of the darkness, for Boaz could not see who was lying at his feet and had to ask, “Who art thou?”

The paragraph mark at verse 14 indicates that a new and separate picture is beginning. One clue is the mention in verse 15 of “six measures of barley,” which represent the six Volumes of Studies in the Scriptures. Ruth, who pictures the feet members, lay at Boaz’s feet until morning.

The picture begins in 1874 and covers the Harvest period, the end of the age. This particular scene took place at the threshing floor, and in the antitype, no threshing has yet occurred. Morning precedes the sunrise, and a peculiar phenomenon of nature is that it is darker just before the dawn.

Boaz knew that Ruth was a virtuous woman, and he wanted to protect her reputation. By lying at his feet, Ruth put Boaz on the spot (but properly so according to the Law). The question was, Would he or would he not perform the duty of a kinsman?

If anyone saw Ruth leaving, it would be thought that mischief had occurred. There is a parallel between Jesus and Boaz along this line, for Jesus was not the son of Joseph, yet Mary had a child. At the close of Jesus’ ministry, the Pharisees accused him of being illegitimate. They said, “We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God” (John 8:41).

Ruth 3:15 Also he said, Bring the veil 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.

Ruth’s “veil” pictures the robe of Christ’s righteousness. The six measures of barley (the six Volumes) were given to the consecrated in the Harvest period. Barley is the first grain harvest in the Middle East; wheat is next. The six water pots at the wedding in Cana are a confirmation of the symbolism of the six measures of barley. There Jesus performed his first miracle by turning water into wine—just as refreshing, clear, pure truth miraculously became exhilarating wine through the six Volumes early in the Harvest period. Incidentally, grapes can have either an unfavorable connotation, as in the grapes of wrath, or a favorable connotation, as here.

Ruth 3:16 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.

Naomi asked Ruth, “How did you fare, my daughter?” Ruth related everything that had happened.

Ruth 3:17 And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother-in-law.

The six measures of barley would have been very heavy.

Ruth 3:18 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.

Naomi knew Boaz well. She knew he would not rest until the matter was settled regarding the nearer kinsman. In the antitype, the Lord does not rest on our behalf. He is not slack concerning his promises and providences. Chapter 4 tells what Boaz had to do to get Ruth as his bride under the Levirate law.

The Book of Ruth covers the Harvest up to the threshing. In Ruth 3:14, the account backs off and starts again at the beginning of the Harvest. Just as Boaz gave Ruth the barley one measure after the other, so the Volumes were issued consecutively (Ruth 3:15). The statement “she lay at his feet until the morning” ends one picture and starts another. The “morning” can be (1) the resurrection morning still future or (2) the Millennial morning, which began in 1874.

We “rest” in the sense of waiting to see whether we will be acceptable to Boaz. In addition, there remaineth a rest beyond the veil (Heb. 4:9-11). The Great Company will also get a spiritual reward, for God appreciates those who have dedicated their lives to Him. “Be thou faithful unto death” is the instruction (Rev. 2:10). If one stops his consecration midcourse, he does not get life. Both the Little Flock and the Great Company must be faithful unto death, but the Little Flock are more than overcomers (Rom. 8:37).

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