Ruth 2:16 let fall also some… and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not
“Poverty-stricken though she was, Naomi did not rush to her husband's wealthy kinsmen, introduce herself, and expect to be taken in. There were other ways to provide for themselves. She and Ruth arrived in the fall while the harvest was being gathered. Gleaning, according to the Mosaic law, was the privilege of the poor. (See Deuteronomy 24:17-22.) Landowners were forbidden to harvest the corners or to pick up what fell to the ground. But gleaning was hard work, not suited for an older woman. Ruth left Naomi and went to the fields by herself.
“The people of Bethlehem noticed her. When she came to her rich kinsman's field, he expressed an interest in her, saying: ‘It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother-in-law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.’ (Ruth 2:11)
“Then secretly he ordered his servants to let more barley fall, that Ruth might have more to glean. His charity was offered in a way that would not injure the pride of the two widows, who had chosen to remain independent. Expecting no thanks, he hoped Ruth would never know he was helping her. But Naomi wasn't fooled; when Ruth returned with more than her usual gleanings, she asked, ‘Where hast thou gleaned today?’ Ruth explained her encounter with Boaz, and Naomi expressed her thanks, saying, ‘Blessed be he of the Lord, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead.’” (Jerrie W. Hurd, Our Sisters in the Bible [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 58)
Ruth 3:4 go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do
“Because we know so little about the customs of that day, it is hard to judge whether Naomi's plan was bold or conventional. Unquestionably there was some risk. Boaz was a kinsman, and in ancient Israel, kinsmen had particular responsibilities toward their brothers' widows. (See Deuteronomy 25:5-10.) Naomi knew that. She also knew that Boaz was not her nearest kinsman, but that since he had shown an interest, he might seek to assume that responsibility if he were encouraged. Weighing everything carefully, she decided to instruct Ruth on how a woman could properly approach such a man and seek his protection in marriage.
“Relying on Ruth to follow her instructions explicitly, she told her to go to the threshingroom where Boaz would be sleeping to guard his grain from thieves. Washed and dressed in her finest, she was to wait until he was asleep; then she was to uncover his feet and lie down beside him. There was nothing in those actions intended to compromise or entrap him, but merely an attempt to let him know that if he sought to marry the widow of his next of kin, the woman herself would find such an arrangement acceptable.
“Ruth obeyed. Boaz was at first surprised, then delighted. He acknowledged both his obligation and Naomi's hand in the affair. Taking care for Ruth's reputation, he sent her away before dawn but not before he had given her six measures of barley, saying, ‘Go not empty unto thy mother-in-law.’” (Jerrie W. Hurd, Our Sisters in the Bible [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 59)
Ruth 3:9 spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid
“Her request is not unlike our idiom ‘take me under your wing.’ Gesenius, the famous Hebraist, says it was a proper proposal of marriage—even though the girl was doing the proposing!’ (Rasmussen, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1:157)
“The idiom means ‘protect me,’ or, in other words, ‘be my protector or husband.’ …’[Boaz] took no offence at the manner in which she had approached him and proposed to become his wife. On the contrary, he regarded it as a proof of feminine virtue and modesty, that she had not gone after young men, but offered herself as a wife to an old man like him.’” (Old Testament Student Manual: Genesis – 2 Samuel, [CES: 1981], p. 263)
Ruth 4:7 Now this was the manner in former time in Israel… a man plucked off his shoe… and this was a testimony
Boaz is rarely revered as a hero, but he was following the Law of Moses with exactness. His duty was to get permission from the closest of kin, in case he preferred to marry Ruth. Look how closely Boaz follows the Law:
If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her.
And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.
And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother.
Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her;
Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house.
And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed. (Deut. 25:5-10)
Boaz appears to have left out spitting in the face of his relative, but otherwise followed the practice as a testimony to the elders of the city, just as the Law reads.
Ruth 4:17 they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David
“Ruth must have been aware of the Israelite attitude toward foreign women. Her faith had already been tried by the triple tragedy that had befallen her good family, all of which Naomi clearly attributed to her God. Her resolve must have been further tested with the drawing back of her sister-in-law, Orpah. In the face of such trials, Ruth chose decisively and forever in favor of her mother-in-law, her way of life, and her God. Her reward was to receive what she did not seek—a husband, wealth, children, and an inheritance among the chosen of Israel.
“In the end, there is something appropriate in a Moabite woman's place in the genealogy of Jesus, who was the savior of all the world—every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. I find it even more appropriate that Ruth won that honor by her own faith, and not because of where she was born.” (Jerrie W. Hurd, Our Sisters in the Bible [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 61)
“In a culture hostile to the leadership of women, these women—Naomi and Ruth—lived to bring about an end the scripture’s writer carefully emphasizes: Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David, through whose lines, which are carefully detailed for us in the first chapter of Matthew, came Jesus who is called Christ. Would you ever have expected the small book of Ruth to foretell such a great event?
“Ruth confidently met hardships not uncommon in our time—the death of a loved one, loneliness in a new place, and the need to work hard for her bread. Her small efforts, linked significantly to a later great event, tell me that each of us can take seriously the importance of our daily lives and decisions as we choose to follow God.” (Aileen H. Clyde, “Confidence through Conversion,” Ensign, Nov. 1992, 89)