Ruth makes herself pleasing for Boaz though it might seem strange in our culture to lie down where he lays and wait for Boaz to tell her what she needs to do. After all it is dark outside and what if other people were around? We must be most careful not to let our vain imagination run wild and consider the custom of the day.
There is not a hint of ungodly behaviour, lack of wisdom or foresight here. Ruth could claim Boaz as the kinsman redeemer (c.f. Leviticus 25; Deuteronomy 25). This was in fact a just law and protected women and their property. Boaz knew exactly what Ruth was doing and what her intentions were.
Let us consider the motives of Naomi, Boaz, and Ruth by observing their actions. Naomi could have made her claim and sought out a husband, land, and wealth. They were probably a similar age and her life would be easier and more comfortable. But she chose to lovingly guide Ruth and she had figured out that Boaz loved Ruth. She used her wisdom, experience, insight, and resources to help them both.
It is no secret that Boaz was incredibly fond of Ruth. He knew that either young or wealthy men may want her. He never took advantage by appealing to his privileged status and he did not see her as a poor destitute stranger. He did not suspect her of being a gold digger either. But there is one outstanding issue that could upset the apple cart in view of there being yet still a closer relative. The closer relative could claim Ruth, but Boaz acts honourably and does all that he can.
Boaz is not passive, indifferent, resigned, or half-hearted. Boaz is a type or forerunner of Messiah. He generously provided for Ruth and Naomi, offered protection for Ruth, showed her grace, prayer with and for her, shared meals, and his time with her, comforted her and treated her as one of his friends and eased her work burden. Additionally, everyone within his sphere of influence is to treat her as he wants her to be treated.
Ruth responds by affirming that all she is asked to do she will do, and she demonstrates simple, implicit, childlike trust. Please note that childlike faith is a desirable quality and should not be confused with childish ways. Similarly God desires full obedience, not delayed obedience of partial obedience, joyless obedience, or reluctant obedience. Can you imagine a rescue operation where the rescuers were only partly committed or half-hearted? That would be ludicrous and so is half-hearted obedience before a holy and righteous God.
Ruth waited for Boaz to eat, drink, and lie down. She uncovered his feet and lay down and since she had an important proposal it would be wise to ask at a favourable time. We should note that carefully since we would do ourselves a great favour by making our important decisions neither hastily nor at an inopportune time, but if possible when we are in a good frame of mind. The uncovering of his feet indicated her request for him to take care of her. Lasting rest can only be found at the feet of the Redeemer (Luke 10:38-42).
Boaz was impressed with Ruth’s character since she looked beyond youth and wealth. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the years of one’s youth, fine appearance, or wealth. It was just that Ruth sought something better. How many films, stories, magazines, and idle discussions centre around external qualities? The message is simple yet shallow. Get those external must have qualities and you will live happily ever after. What does the Bible say? Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33). Instead seek spiritual qualities, moral character, and the essentials first and God will provide for your needs. Boaz words speak volumes “for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman (Ruth 3:11).
There was still the matter of the legal complication however since another man had a prior claim. This could have been Boaz’s older brother or cousin and it is interesting that he is not named. It was imperative that if a man died without a name, someone would marry his widow to maintain the name.
Much more was at stake here though. Of greater importance still was the preservation of the Messiah’s lineage, orchestrated by God which would also pass through David. Boaz declaration that he would honour that with ‘as the Lord lives’, was the most solemn declaration he could make.
Nevertheless, notice how discrete and wholesome their actions are. Boaz wanted to safeguard the godly reputation of Ruth and gave no appearance of evil. News travels quickly in a small village. Ruth and Boaz were excited and expectant, yet they acted in perfect innocence, integrity, restraint, and virtue.