Curious Customs in Foreign Parts

Michael Wilcock

READ : Ruth 3:1-5

“Uncover his feet and lie down.” (v. 4)

The marriage of her daughter-in-law was Naomi’s great hope. She was patiently waiting,
not for Boaz, or Ruth, or even God, to make the next move in bringing it about, but for
the right moment to help move things forward herself.

When she judged the time was ripe, she gave Ruth the strange instructions we find in
these verses. To us, maybe, they sound not only curious but positively immoral. Yet the
three people concerned are obviously good-living people who care about God and his ways,
so we can take it that Naomi’s proposal would not have been thought odd at the time.

It was in fact, in another sense, Ruth’s proposal—of marriage! That was how Naomi intended it, and that was how Boaz would understand it. What Ruth was going to propose will emerge in the next few verses. For the moment we may be feeling our way gingerly through unfamiliar territory as we explore this Bible country, with its customs and ways so unlike our own. Remember that everywhere in it, and especially here in the book of Ruth, many things that seem odd are in fact profound, and everything will lead us sooner or later to a deeper understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Lord, make us reverent and humble before the strangeness of Scripture. Amen.