Ruth 3:2: Naomi's Plan, Part 1

Verse 2:[1] And now is not Boaz of our kindred, (Ruth 2:8) with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.



[He is our relative, מֹדַעְתָּנוּ] Our kinsman (Montanus, Malvenda); he is known to us (Jonathan); our familiar (Septuagint); of our consanguinity (or family [Munster]) (Pagnine). These latter understand a preposition (Drusius). Our kinsman, or, relative, or, relation (Syriac, Junius and Tremellius); a man of our kinsmen (Piscator). Our kindred, in the place of, our kinsman; just as we use captivity in the place of a captive, lodging in the place of a lodge, necessities in the place of things necessary.[2] Thus, in Leviticus 18:11, the nativity of thy father,[3] in the place of, one born of thy father. This genus of expression, because rare, I wish the studious carefully to observe (Drusius).


[And this night, etc.] Hebrew: behold,[4] etc. A note of attention: that is to say, pay attention to the providence of God, whereby He supplies for us an occasion of managing the matter (Piscator).


[He fans the threshingfloor of barley, זֹרֶ֛ה אֶת־גֹּ֥רֶן הַשְּׂעֹרִ֖ים] Fanning the threshingfloor of barleys (Montanus, Pagnine, Septuagint), that is, the barley on the threshingfloor (Junius and Tremellius, Vatablus, Piscator). It is a Hebraism (Vatablus, Drusius); like, gehenna of fire,[5] in the place of, fire of gehenna. And he fans, that is, he has decided to fan; like, Naomi returned, that is, Naomi decided to return[6] (Drusius); and, in Ruth 4:3, she sells, that is, she prepares to sell. But, it is simpler, Behold, he sleeps this night on the threshingfloor, so that at the top of the morning he might see to it that the barley is fanned (Malvenda).


[This night (thus the Septuagint, Syriac, Junius and Tremellius, Tigurinus), הַלָּיְלָה] At night (Montanus); on this very night (Munster); until night (Castalio); scattering the threshingfloors of barleys in the breeze of night (Jonathan). At night they were sometimes willingly doing that fanning, partly because those fanning were less wearied by the heat; partly because the blowing of the winds was more consistent at night. Moreover, formerly great men were wont to be present at the fanning. Thus Pliny in his Natural History 22:25, Sextus Pompeius…a prince of the closer side of Hispania, while he was presiding over the fanning of his barns, having been seized by the pain of gout, immersed himself in the wheat up to his knees, and having been lifted out, with his feet dried in a marvelous manner, he afterwards made use of this remedy (Serarius).


Threshingfloor: Which was in a place covered at the top, but open elsewhere, whither Ruth might easily come. And this work of winnowing corn was usually begun or ended with a feast, as may be gathered both from verse 7, and from other instances, wherein they used to do so upon like occasions; and this work was to begin this evening, and, as some think, was done only in the evenings, when the heat grew less, and the wind began to blow. See Genesis 3:8.

[1] Hebrew: וְעַתָּ֗ה הֲלֹ֥א בֹ֙עַז֙ מֹֽדַעְתָּ֔נוּ אֲשֶׁ֥ר הָיִ֖ית אֶת־נַעֲרוֹתָ֑יו הִנֵּה־ה֗וּא זֹרֶ֛ה אֶת־גֹּ֥רֶן הַשְּׂעֹרִ֖ים הַלָּֽיְלָה׃


[2] That is, an abstract noun in the place of a concrete.


[3] Leviticus 18:11: “The nakedness of thy father’s wife’s daughter, the nativity of thy father (מוֹלֶ֣דֶת אָבִ֔יךָ), she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.”


[4] Hebrew: הִנֵּה.


[5] See, for example, Mark 9:47: “And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire (εἰς τὴν γέενναν τοῦ πυρός)…”


[6] See what things are on Ruth 1:6.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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