A Study of Ruth 3:8-9
“And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet. 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.”
Every Old Testament Book is a message about Christ our Lord and about His redemptive work as Prophet, Priest, and King. In other words, in the book of Acts chapter 10:43 it says; “To Him give all the prophets witness.” They all wrote of Christ. He said, “Moses…wrote of me” (John 5:46). Every Old Testament book that you read is a message about Christ.
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15)
“As Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40)
“As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” (Luke 17:26)
These are a few examples of how every Old Testament book is a message of Christ. And He said in Luke chapter 24 to two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus that all things must be fulfilled which are written in the law of Moses, in the prophets, in the Psalms, concerning Himself. “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures these things, concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27)
Let’s look at the Book of Ruth.
“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 3:9)
In this study we are going to look at the primary teachings of the Book of Ruth concerning Christ our Kinsmen Redeemer.
There was a man of Israel called Elimelech. He was a wealthy man in Israel. He was a landowner. He lived in Bethlehem, Judea. But because of the famine he left Israel, he and his wife Naomi and his two sons. And they went down into a heathen country called Moab. And after he had gotten to Moab and spent some time there, Elimelech died and left his wife and two sons. And the Scripture tells us in the Book of Ruth that these two boys married women of Moab, of this heathen country. They took them wives of the Moabite women.
And these two boys didn’t live there long with their wives, just a few years, and then they also died. So Elimelech and Naomi and their two sons left Israel because of the famine. They sold out and left Israel and went down into Moab and there they lived for a while and Elimelech, the father died.
And then, the two boys died and left Naomi and the two daughters-in-law in poor circumstances. And so Naomi, poor, without support and broken hearted, determined to leave Moab and go back to Bethlehem, back to Israel.
She told her daughters-in-law to stay in their home. “This is your country and this is your people. You’re still young and beautiful. Why don’t you just stay here in Moab and marry men of your own nation, your own people, and leave me go; I’m going back to Israel, back to my people, and you stay here.”
“And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. The LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.” (Ruth 1:8-9)
And one of the daughters, daughters in-law, did stay.
“And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17)
So Ruth and Naomi left Moab and journeyed back to the land of Israel. Now this is beautiful here. They went back to Bethlehem. And when the people of Bethlehem saw these two women coming; it had been a long time since Elimelech and Naomi had left Bethlehem, many years.
Elimelech was dead and the two boys were dead. Naomi had been through much sorrow and trial and heartache. She was a different woman. She left there with plenty. She left there prosperous. They left there as land owners, but sold everything. She came back with nothing. She came back poor, broken hearted, and distressed. She came back without a husband, without her two sons. She came back with a daughter in-law following her.
The Scripture says here in the Book of Ruth, “And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?” (Ruth 1:19)
Do you know what the word Naomi means? It means pleasant.
And she said; “Call me not Naomi; (that is, don’t call me pleasant) call me Marah, (which means bitter). For the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.” (Ruth 1:20)
Do you know what the name Elimelech means? I see here a picture of man’s fall. I see a picture of Adam’s departure from God. I see a picture of the human race in its great fall. For we were rich. We had plenty. We were in the Garden of Eden. God gave us the whole world. He said; “It’s yours Adam; reign over it, subdue it, conquer it, replenish it, it’s yours.” Adam was a king, Adam was a priest, and Adam was a prophet. Adam had all these blessings and he fell.
But Elimelech; the name means my God is King. And here’s Elimelech, (my God is King), here’s Naomi, (pleasant) and they left Israel.
They left Bethlehem. That’s the home of David. That’s really the birthplace of Christ our Lord. They left Bethlehem, they sold out. They left and she came back not pleasant; she came back in bitterness.
Yes the king is now the servant. The prince is now the pauper. The pleasant is now the bitter. The full is now the empty. The blessed is now the cursed.
So Naomi and Ruth are here in Bethlehem and they are without means of support. They have nothing; they are very poor. And they come to Bethlehem right at the beginning of the harvest season.
And Naomi says to Ruth, being very poor and without support, having nothing. The inheritance was gone; they sold everything. They came back as beggars; that’s what they really were, beggars. You are going to see that in a moment.
And so, Naomi told Ruth, “We’ve got to have something to eat.” And Ruth said, “Well I’ll go out in the fields.” Now this was permitted in Old Testament days. When the reapers went through the wheat fields and the fields of grain they left pieces of grain all over the field. And the beggars and the poor could come along behind the reapers.
Boaz did not clean the field absolutely and spotlessly clean but would leave some. When they left some wheat; they said, “Just leave it there” and the poor people and the beggars would come and scavengers and pick it up and put it in their little bags, you know, and take it home. That’s all they had to live on.
So Ruth went out to the field and began to glean what the harvesters, the reapers had left, just little pieces of wheat here and there. And the Scripture says: “She happened upon the field of a man called Boaz.” She happened by God’s mercy and by God’s grace. We know that.
It was no accident but it was to her. She happened on the field of a man called Boaz and he came riding out to his field and he saw this young woman. She was very beautiful. And he was impressed with her. At once she found favor in his eyes.
And he called some of the reapers over, some of the harvesters, and he said; “You see that young lady over there picking up pieces of wheat that you are leaving? Leave her some handfuls on purpose.”
And that’s where that comes from. You will find that in the Book of Ruth chapter 2: verse 16. And so they left her a whole lot. And when Ruth came home that evening she just had plenty of grain. She had a large sack full of grain, just plenty of grain, just very unusual.
Usually the people who were scavengers and picked up the remains just brought home a few handfuls. She had a sack full of grain. And Naomi her mother in law said: “Where did you glean today?”
And Ruth said; “I gleaned in the field of a man called Boaz” and Naomi said; “Blessed be the name of the Lord; praise God.” She said, “God hath not left off His kindness.”
Here is the key to the Book of Ruth! Naomi said, “This man Boaz is a near kinsman; he’s our kinfolk. He’s related to us. He’s our near kinsman and he has the right to redeem. He has the right to buy back what we lost. He has the right to buy back our inheritance.”
Now, if you want to study something that’s interesting, you read the Book of Leviticus chapter 25, and you’ll find that God made a provision that a family could not totally lose their land, a family of Israel. If they were very poor and waxen poor and had to sell their land, when a certain number of years passed, that land could be bought back and given to them by a kinsman redeemer or a near kinsman.
They may be flat broke. They may not have a shirt on their back. They may not have a rag to their name. They may not have a cent to their name. But if a near kinsman will do it, (and they generally did) they could buy back all that the man sold. It’s called, “The Year of Jubilee” and it was given back to them.
Now Elimelech had sold his property in Israel, in Bethlehem. Naomi had nothing. She was broke; she had nothing and she was poor. And her daughter-in-law Ruth had nothing. But when Ruth came in with that sack full of grain “and her mother in law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned to day? and where wroughtest thou? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee. And she shewed her mother in law with whom she had wrought, and said, The man’s name with whom I wrought to day is Boaz.” (Ruth 2:19)
And Naomi immediately said, “Praise God; He can redeem us. He is a near kinsman. He can buy back all that we lost.” And this is the key to this Book. A near kinsman has the right, (everybody couldn’t do this), but that near kinsman has the right to redeem.
“And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.” (Ruth 2:20)
And this is used over and over again in the Book of Ruth, over and over. It’s not just a love story. It’s not just the story of the faithfulness of a daughter-in-law; it’s the story of the redemption of Jesus Christ. It’s used over and over again, one who has the right to redeem.
So Naomi told Ruth; she said, “Now tonight the rulers and the landowners are staying down at the threshing floor. You go down there and you uncover the feet of Boaz.” This was a custom I don’t fully understand but I’ll just give it to you like the Scripture says it.
“You uncover the feet of Boaz and you lie down at his feet.” And that’s what Ruth did and Naomi said, “He’ll tell you what to do.” So Ruth uncovered the feet of this man Boaz and she lay down at his feet.
And after a while he awakened. Boaz awoke and found her there and he said to her: “Who art thou?” That’s where our text comes in: “Who art thou?” And she said: “I’m Ruth, thine handmaid. Spread thy robe over me for thou art a near kinsman (who has the power, the right, to redeem).”
And Boaz looked at her and he said, “There is a kinsman nearer than I who has first claim on you and tomorrow I’ll go down to the gate where the men do business and I’ll talk with him. And if he’ll redeem you then he’ll have to redeem you but if he won’t I will.”
Now catch this; he said; “There’s another kinsman you don’t know about, I do know about; he’s got a claim on you and he has first choice to redeem you and to marry you. And if he won’t redeem you I will and I’ll make you my wife.”
So Boaz the next day went down to the gate where the men gathered to transact business and he saw this other kinsman coming toward him. And he said: “Sit down I want to talk to you.”
Now he said, “You know about Elimelech our brother. You know about his widow Naomi. You know about Ruth, highly esteemed among women,” (and that’s what it says contrary to the movie that was shown not long ago on TV).
Naomi was not despised by the people of Bethlehem. She was not despised by the women of Bethlehem. She was loved, esteemed, and respected by the women of Bethlehem and that’s what Boaz said.
And he said; “You know about Elimelech and Naomi.” “Yes, I know about the loss. I know about the sale of the property.” Well Boaz also said, “Now, you are a nearer kinsman than I am. You have first choice to redeem Naomi and her inheritance. Will you do it?” He said: “I will do it, I will do it.” That’s what the other man said.
Boaz said; “Now remember this; when you redeem Naomi and her property you must marry Ruth.” And the man shook his head and he said, “I can’t do that lest I mar my own inheritance. I’m sorry I cannot marry Ruth.”
And so Boaz says, “Well I will.” And they sealed the bargain there and they sealed the deal. He said, “I will redeem her and I will marry her.” So Boaz, the Scripture says, married Ruth. He redeemed her. He bought back what Naomi lost. He purchased their inheritance and gave it back to them and married Ruth.
And she conceived and bare a child who was in the line of Christ our Lord. In fact, it was Obed, the father of Jesse who was the father of David. That’s right. Ruth the Moabite was the grandmother of King David.
Now what do you see here?
We see the picture of Christ redeeming us!
We’ve lost our inheritance. We lost it in Adam. We lost it in the Garden. We lost it in the fall. We’re stripped; we don’t have anything. We are broke and we are bankrupt. We are beggars. We’ve lost everything.
But our LORD saw us out there in our condition just as Boaz riding through the field. He saw Ruth and He loved her. Ruth didn’t love Him. Ruth didn’t know Him. Ruth had to ask who he is. “Who is this man?” She didn’t know. But Boaz saw her and was attracted to her and loved her.
And our Lord Jesus Christ saw us in our ruined, lost, and fallen condition, and He loved us. He said, “With an everlasting love” (Jeremuah 31:3). He loved us with an infinite love. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1st John 4:10)
Our Lord Jesus Christ saw her just as Boaz saw Ruth in the field and loved her. She found favor in His sight. And she found grace in His sight. He said to the reapers; “Leave her some things to gather. Don’t clean it all up. Leave her some handfuls on purpose.”
And so Boaz loved her just as our Lord Jesus Christ from back yonder before the foundation of the world set His love upon us and made us objects of His love.
We’re found at His feet!
When Ruth came home with this huge sack of grain that Boaz had provided for her and her
mother in-law said; “Where did you glean today?” She said, “In the field of a man called Boaz.” And that’s when her mother-in-law said, “Well praise God. God hasn’t left off His kindness.
God hasn’t left off His mercy. This man Boaz is a near kinsman redeemer.”
Now, we’ve got to show that we know our need. We’ve got to show that we know our place. We’ve got to show to Him the true humility of our hearts. Now this is a very humble thing for this beautiful woman to do.
So she goes down to where this man is lying on the threshing floor and she uncovered his feet and lay down at his feet. Now that’s humility and that’s contrition and that’s taking the place of a lowly servant and a lowly person, at his feet.
That’s what our Lord was doing when He washed the disciple’s feet. He said, “You do the same thing. He that be greatest among you let him be your servant.” This is a mark of the Redeemed; its humility and its contrition.
Consider Mary; when our Lord Jesus was in the home of Mary and Martha it said that Martha was off in the kitchen. She was working busily and serving the Lord you know and preparing the meal, fixing things up for Him, making Him comfortable, and doing things for Him.
And she came in and said, “Lord; don’t you care?” Here’s Mary sitting at His feet in the humble position, down there looking up into His face with love, need, admiration, and just feasting upon the words and the grace that fell from His lips.
And Martha came in and said, “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me” (Luke 10:40). And the Lord Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:” (Luke 10:41)
And I’m afraid that’s what’s wrong with our religious world; we’re too busy serving the Lord and we’ve never been served. We’re just too busy ministering and we’ve never been ministered to.
And Christ said, “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). And He said: “You’re cumbered about with much care but Mary hath chosen the good thing. She’s sitting here at my feet.”
That’s where the harlot found mercy, at Christ’s feet. All these Pharisees and Scribes were sitting in the uppermost seats exercising their intelligence, their education, their arguments, their reasoning powers, and debating with the Lord.
And this poor harlot was found at His feet, bathing His feet with tears and drying them with the hair of her head. And that’s the one who found mercy and the only one in the whole place that found mercy was at His feet.
And this is where Ruth is, she’s at His feet. Men today are too proud to find themselves at the feet of Christ. They are too wise, too prudent, too educated, too intelligent, and they are missing the way of salvation.
Our Lord Jesus said: “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.” (Luke 10:21)
The way up is down. The choice gifts of God are on the lower shelves. You’ll be broken or you will be judged. You will be humiliated and humbled or you’ll never be exalted.
The Lord Jesus Christ knows how to abase people and He knows how to exalt people: “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 14:11)
This woman Ruth was told by her mother-in-law, “You do what I say, and you go down there and lie at his feet and you show your need and you show your humility and you show your submission.”
We’ve got nothing to be proud of. We’ve got nothing; we are bankrupt. It’s no time to boast. It’s no time to brag. It’s no time to talk about what we use to have; we don’t have anything.
And that’s the condition you and I are in; we don’t have anything. We are lost, we’re broke, we’re bankrupt, we’re hungry, we’re needy creatures, we’re sick, we’re empty, we’re penniless and we’re beggars.
We need to find ourselves at the feet of Christ. Somebody said, “We are beggars at the backdoor of mercy.”
Boaz said, “Who art thou?” She said, “I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.” (Ruth 3:9)
And Boaz presented a problem. He said, “Ruth; I want to redeem you but he said there’s one that has first claim on you. There’s one who has first priority; I’ve got to talk to Him first. There’s one nearer than I.”
Who is that? My friend; in the case of the sinner it’s the law of God. The law of God has first claim on us because it’s the law of God that we’ve offended. It’s the law of God that we’ve broken.
That’s what Job is talking about when he says; “What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?” (Job 15:14); “How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?” (Job 15:16)
The law of God has a claim on us. The law of God and the justice of God and the righteousness of God have a claim on us. And so the Lord Jesus Christ who would redeem us comes to the law and says, “Law; can you redeem that sinner?”
And the law says, “I can’t redeem you lest I mar my own righteousness, unless I mar my own inheritance; I can’t redeem you.” He’s broken the law. I’ve examined his character and his character doesn’t come up.
Justice has examined him and he won’t meet the requirements. “He’s sinned and come short of the glory of God. I can’t redeem him.” Christ said, “I can and I will. I’m a near kinsman. I’m a brother.” “He was to be made like unto his brethren.” (Hebrews 2:17)
“He was numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12). He was bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. He is one of us. He said, “I can redeem him and I will redeem him.” And that’s what He did. He came down here and He didn’t purchase us with gold and silver; but He purchased us with the silver of His sweat and the gold of His blood.
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1st Peter 1:18-19). That’s what Boaz redeemed Ruth with, gold and silver. But Christ redeemed us with His blood, with the precious blood of Christ. He was the near kinsman.
And the law couldn’t save us and the justice of God couldn’t save us lest they mar their own righteousness and inheritance; Christ did.
One day our Lord Jesus Christ saw you and me in His eternal purpose, in His eternal wisdom and foreknowledge, and He loved us. He set His love upon us.
But we were in captivity to the law. We were enslaved to the law. We were captives, we were in darkness, and we were in the dungeon of sin. We were bound by our own guilt and He said, “Law; I want those birds.”
And the law said; “Lord, they are no good.” He said, “I know it but I want them and I want to buy them what will it cost?” And the law and justice of God said, “It will cost you the gold of your blood and the silver of your sweat.” He said, “I’ll pay it.”
He came down to this earth and that’s what He did; He came down here to redeem us. He’s the near kinsman. He has the right to redeem and He did it and He married us.
And there’s going to be a marriage supper of the Lamb one of these days and all who will be redeemed are going to be with Him around that table!