Ruth 3:6-8




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:uh7,µşŹ}r*n ,3c„3f`A vÜ7ą!t v±™°1vşu ,×2p7¦Đœ•u Ah„!t7v s‚*r5jŁœ•u v7kşhÜ8¦8v h±1m4j8c «h1vşh•u   j









so she went down




the threshing floor




and she did




as all








she said




her mother-in-law




and he ate








and he drank




and he was good




his spirit




and he went




to lie down




in far end of




the grain pile




and she came








and she uncovered




his feet




and she lay down




and he was




in middle of




the night




and he was startled




the man




and he turned




and see












his feet






3:6 So she went down to the thresh­ing floor, and did according to all that her mother-in-law had told her.


3:7 And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went and lay at the side of the thresh­ing floor; and while he was in deep sleep in the threshing floor, she came secretly and lifted the end of his robe and lay down near his feet.


3:8 And it came to pass at midnight that the man woke up and was startled when he saw a woman lying at his feet.


Stone’s Translation


3:6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything as her mother4n-law instructed her.


3:7 Boaz ate and drank and his heart was merry. He went to lie down at the end of the grain pile, and she came stealthily, uncovered his feet, and lay down.


3:8 1n the middle of the night the man was startled, and turned about and behold! there was a woman lying at his feet!




3:6 And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.


3:7 And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down.


3:8 And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet.   



Ruth 3:6

kai; katevbh eij" to;n a{lw kai; ejpoivhsen kata; pavnta o{sa ejneteivlato aujth'/ hJ penqera; aujth'"

Ruth 3:7 kai; e[fagen Boo" kai; hjgaquvnqh hJ kardiva aujtou' kai; h\lqen koimhqh'nai ejn merivdi th'" stoibh'" hJ de;

h\lqen krufh'/ kai; ajpekavluyen ta; pro;" podw'n aujtou'

Ruth 3:8 ejgevneto de; ejn tw'/ mesonuktivw/ kai; ejxevsth oJ ajnh;r kai; ejtaravcqh kai; ijdou; gunh; koima'tai pro;" podw'n aujtou'


Ruth 3:6-8 And she went down to the threshing floor and did all, as much as her mother-in-law enjoined her. 7 And Boöz ate and drank, and his heart was cheerful, and he went to lie down on a section of the pile of straw; she then came secretly, and uncovered his feet. 8 Thus it came to pass at midnight that the man was astonished and troubled; and behold, a woman lay at his feet. 



Peshat Level:




3:6 So she went down to the threshing floor, and did just as her mother-in-law had instructed her.


3:7 When Boaz had eaten and drunk and felt merry, he blessed the name of the Lord, who had accepted his prayer, in that he removed the famine from the Land of Israel. Then he went to lie down by the side of the grain-heap, and Ruth came secretly, uncovered his feet, and lay down to sleep.


3:8 And it happened at midnight that the man shuddered and trembled, and, as a result, his flesh became as soft as a [boiled] turnip. Though he perceived a woman sleeping at his feet, he subdued his evil inclination and did not draw nigh unto her, just like the righteous Joseph, who refused to draw nigh unto the Egyptian woman, the wife of his master; and just like the pious Paltiel, the son of Laish, who placed a sword between himself and Michal, the daughter of Saul and wife of David, refusing to approach her.




3:6  So she went down to the threshing floor and she did  She (Naomi) had said to her, “Therefore, bathe, and anoint yourself, and put your garments upon yourself”, and (only) afterwards, “and go down to the threshing floor”. But she (Ruth) did not do so, but (instead) she said, “If I go down when I am adorned, whoever meets me and whoever sees me will say that I am a harlot”. Therefore, she first went down to the granary, and afterwards she adorned herself as her mother-in-law had commanded her.


3:7  And his heart became merry (Because) he occupied himself with the Torah.


Then she came silently (ykc means) softly.


3:8   That the man trembled  He thought it was a demon, and he wanted to cry out, and she seized and clasped him in her arms.


And he was seized (,pkhu means) and he was seized, as in (Judges 16:29) “And Samson seized (,pkhu)”.


And behold a woman He placed his hand upon her head and he (thereby) recognized that it was a woman (since demons have no hair).



Gemarah Level:


Talmud Babli


Shabbath 113b Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put they raiment upon thee. R. Eleazar said: This refers to the Sabbath garments. Give instructions to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser. R. Eleazar said: This alludes to Ruth the Moavitess and Samuel of Ramah. ‘Ruth’ — for whereas Naomi said to her, Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the threshing floor, yet of her it is written, And she went down unto the threshing-floor, and [only] subsequently, and did according to all that her mother-in-law bade her.


Sanhedrin 19b  R.Johanan said: Joseph's strong [temptation] was but a petty trial to Boaz; and that of Boaz was small in comparison with that of Palti son of Layish. ‘Joseph's strong temptation was but a petty trial to Boaz,’ as it is written, And it came to pass at mid-night and the man was startled, ‘vayilafeth’. What is the meaning of - vayilafeth? - Rab said: His flesh became [liftath - as hard] as turnip heads [in the intensity of his arousal].



Midrash Level:


Midrash Rabbah


Ruth V:14 AND SHE WENT DOWN UNTO THE THRESHING FLOOR (ib. 6). It is written concerning Moav: I know his wrath, saith the Lord; but it is not so; his lies did not so effect it (Jeremiah XLVIII, 30).6 R. Hanina b. Papa, R. Simon, and the Rabbis explained the verse. R. Hanina said: The first impregnation of Moav was not for worthy motives, but for adultery, as it is said, And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit harlotry with the daughters of Moav  (Numbers XXV, 1); ’ His lies shall not so effect it,’ [viz.] for adultery, but for worthy motives instead. Now it does not say, ‘and it effected his lies,’ but ‘they  [sc. his lies] did not so effect it,’  [viz.] for worthy motives, but for adultery instead, [as it is said,]’and Israel abode,’ etc. The Rabbis say: The first impregnation was for adultery, but later it was for worthy motives, as it is said, AND SHE WENT DOWN TO THE THRESHING-FLOOR AND DID, etc.


Again what is the interpretation of the threshing floor - a very RICH symbol here! (cf. 2 Samuel 24:18-25).


Ruth V:15 AND WHEN BOAZ HAD EATEN AND DRUNK, AND HIS HEART WAS GOOD (III, 7). Why was his heart good? Because he recited the grace after meals. Another interpretation: AND HIS HEART WAS GOOD: he ate different kinds of sweet things after his meal, as they accustom the tongue to the Torah. Another interpretation of AND HIS HEART WAS GOOD: he occupied himself with the words of the Torah, as it is said, The law of thy mouth is good to me (Psalm CXIX, 72). Another interpretation: AND HIS HEART WAS GOOD: he sought a wife, as it is said, Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing  (Proverbs XVIII, 22). HE WENT TO LIE DOWN AT THE END OF THE HEAP OF CORN. R. Judah Nesiah inquired of R. Phinehas b. Hama: Boaz was one of the notables of his generation, and yet it says that HE WENT TO LIE DOWN AT THE END OF THE HEAP OF CORN: He answered him: That generation was steeped in immorality, and they used to pay harlots from the threshing-floors, as it is said, Rejoice not, O Israel, unto exaltation, like the peoples... Thou hast loved a harlot's hire upon every threshing-floor (Hos. IX, 1). And righteous men do not act so. Moreover, because the righteous spurn ill-gotten gain, their possessions are precious to them’.         


Ruth VI:1  [It may also refer to] the fear which Ruth caused Boaz to fear, as it is written, AND IT CAME TO PASS AT MIDNIGHT, THAT THE MAN WAS STARTLED (III 8), and he might easily have cursed her, but ’ Whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be set up on high’. But God put it in his heart to bless her, as it is said, BLESSED BE THOU OF THE LORD, MY DAUGHTER (ib. 10). AND TURNED HIMSELF.



Zohar Level:


Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 188b AND SHE PUT OFF FROM HER THE GARMENTS OF HER WIDOWHOOD . Tamar was the daughter of a priest, and it can hardly be imagined that she set out with the intention of committing incest with her father-in-law, since she was by nature chaste and modest. She was indeed virtuous and did not prostitute herself, and it was out of her deeper knowledge and wisdom that she approached Judah, and a desire to act kindly and faithfully (towards the dead). And it was because her act was based on a deeper knowledge that God aided her and she straightway conceived. So that it was all ordained from on high. If it is asked, why did not God cause those sons to be born from some other woman, the answer is that Tamar was necessary for this purpose, and not any other woman. There were two women from whom the seed of Judah was to be built up, from whom were to descend King David, King Solomon, and the Messiah, viz. Tamar and Ruth. These two women had much in common. Both lost their first husbands, and both took similar steps to replace them. Tamar enticed Judah because he was the next-of-kin to her sons who had died, and “she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she was not given unto him for wife”. Ruth similarly enticed Boaz, as it says, “and she uncovered his feet and laid her down” (Ruth III, 7), and afterwards she bore him Obed. Now we do not ask why Obed was not born from another woman, for assuredly Ruth was necessary for that purpose to the exclusion of any other woman. From these two women, then, the seed of Judah was built up and brought to completion, and both of them acted piously, and had for their aim to do kindness toward the dead, for the proper establishment of the world subsequently. And this bears out our exposition of the verse “Wherefore I praise the dead that are already dead” (Ecclesiastes IV, 2), for whilst their first husbands were alive there was no merit in them, but afterwards they were good for something,and so these two women exerted themselves to do kindness and truth with the dead; and God aided them in that work, and all was done fittingly. Happy is he who exerts himself in the study of the Torah day and night, as it says: “but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy ways prosperous, etc.” (Jos. I, 8).


Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 218a & b R. Jose began a discourse on the verse: “And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry”, etc. (Ruth III, 7). ‘His heart was merry,’ he said, ‘by reason of his having pronounced a benediction over his food; and there is, further, a deeper significance here, to wit, that whoever says a blessing after his meal satisfies his “heart”, that which is by him alluded to in the words: “In thy behalf my heart hath said” (Psalms XXVII, 8), also in, “but God is the rock of my heart” (Ibid. LXXIII, 26). For, since the blessing offered up for one's food is precious before the Holy One, blessed be He, whoever pronounces such a blessing after he is satisfied does good and brings joy to “another region”. So here “another region” derived enjoyment from the blessing after the meal that the righteous Boaz pronounced, and thus we read, “and his heart was merry”. Why pronounce a blessing? It is because the sustenance of man is troublesome, so to speak, for the Almighty, but when the words of the benediction pronounced by a man after eating and drinking ascend on high, that place derives an enjoyment from those words, and so benefit is drawn from the food, both below and above. This is a recondite teaching known to the Companions. Furthermore, on weekdays “that region” enjoys only the words of the after-meal benediction that ascend on high. On Sabbath days, however, there is an enjoying on high of the very food enjoyed on earth by man in virtue of this being part of the holy joy of the Sabbath. There is thus here a merging of the heavenly and the earthly. This recondite teaching is indicated in the passage, “for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee” (I Chronicles XXIX, 14), alluding to the enjoyment in heaven of the holy joy in the Sabbath repasts partaken of below. Whoever pronounces the after-meal benediction must do so devotedly, and in a joyful mood unmingled with any tinge of sadness, inasmuch as in giving thanks he is giving of his own to someone else; and thus, as he gives thanks joyfully and unstintedly, so will sustenance be given to him joyfully and unstintedly. By the benedictions, each commencing with “Blessed art Thou”, are sustained the four legions that rule over the four corners of the world. Hence we ought to recite them with heartiness. So Scripture says: “He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed, for he giveth of his bread to the poor” (Proverbs XXII, 9), where the term yeborakh (shall be blessed) can be read yebarekh (shall-or does-bless); and the verse thus amounts to saying that we should pronounce the after-meal blessing in a bountiful spirit, for through that blessing and our joyousness in uttering it we provide, as it were, sustenance for the poor, to wit, for that region[Tr. note: Malkuth.] that possesses naught of itself, but draws its sustenance from all sides and is made up from all sides. Now, these teachings have only been transmitted to the initiated who are conversant with the sublime mystical doctrines and with the paths of the Torah. Observe now that Boaz was bountiful of heart and free from all presumptuousness. It is thus written of him: “he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn” (Ruth III, 7). This is esoterically elucidated by the passage: “Thy belly is like a heap of wheat” (S.S. VII, 3), and so we learn from here that whoever pronounces the after-meal grace joyfully and with devotion, when he quits this world there is a place prepared for him in the sacred and mysterious mansions. Happy is the man who gives heed to the precepts of his Master and knows their recondite significance, since there is no precept in the Torah but contains manifold sublime recondite teachings and radiances and resplendencies; but the sons of men know not nor give they heed to the glory of their Master. Happy is the portion of the righteous who are assiduous in the study of the Torah; happy are they in this world and in the world to come.



Other Commentaries:


Me’am Lo’ez


3:6 So she went down to the threshing floor, and she did accord­ing to all that her mother-in-law had commanded her.


Ruth changed only one detail of her mother-in-law’s instructions. Out of modesty, she postponed anointing herself and dressing up until after her arrival at the threshing floor [in order not to attract attention on the way there].


Otherwise, Ruth did everything that Naomi said or even hinted, including to purify herself of idolatry. Thus she did not simply do kf, all, but kff, “according to all” that her mother-in-law bade her. This also conveys that with every action Ruth said to herself, “I am doing this to fulfill my mother-in-law’s command.”


The extra letter f (in kff), resembling a semicircle also hints that she went with the pure intention of begetting judges of the Sanhedrin, who would sit facing one another in a semicircle, reminiscent of half a thresh­ing floor.


Moreover, Solomon would build the Beth HaMikdash on the thresh­ing floor of Aravna, which David purchased and consecrated as a place of worship (2 Samuel 24).


3:7 Boaz ate and drank, and his heart was glad. He came to lie down at the end of the stack [of grain]. Then she came softly, uncovered his feet and lay down.


During the famine, even those fortunate enough to eat well never felt satisfied, and the wealthy Boaz had deliberately restricted his own eating in order to share in the communal suffering. But now, having winnowed his grain and beheld its abundance, “Boaz ate” his fill for the first time in years.


Then, in fulfillment of the Torah command: “You shall eat, and be satisfied, and bless the Lord, your God, for the good land that He has given you” (Deuteronomy 8:10), Boaz joyously thanked God for pro­viding food, and his heart was gladdened by reciting the Grace after Meals and studying Torah.


Obviously it was not eating that gladdened his heart, for “a right­eous man eats [only] to satisfy his soul” (Proverbs 13:25) [not to revel in feasts]. Nor would his heart have been merry with wine, for the pious take care to remain sober for reciting the Grace after Meals. Moreover, the scripture does not say that “his heart was glad with wine” as it does of Ahasuerus (Esther 1:10).


According to the Targum, Boaz thanked God for accepting his prayers and ending the famine. Indeed, uck cyhhu may allude to the bless­ing :chynvu cuyv, “Who is good and does good,” which one pronounces when a boon is granted.


Then, so that Ruth would not be kept waiting, God arranged for Boaz to go to sleep immediately.


Out of modesty, he went off alone to “the end of the stack,” far from his servants. There, the wealthy aristocrat lay humbly down on the floor. Thus his modesty and humility made possible the implementation of Naomi’s plan, and Ruth came to him without being noticed.


After Boaz lay down, Ruth came ykc, softly, quietly, perhaps with [her face] wrapped, like Elijah who “wrapped his face in his mantle” (u,rstcuhbp ykhu) (1 Kings 19:13).


The scripture also uses ykc (1 Samuel 24:5) to describe David’s remarkable entry into the cave after his enemy Saul, who was pursuing him. On that occasion David was able to cut a piece off Saul’s mantle without being detected.


Ruth’s entry into the threshing floor that Boaz was guarding against thieves was no less remarkable, particularly since he was not yet asleep but had only gone “to lie down.” Yet she came undetected, as if invisible. In this vein, ykc is reminiscent of ovhyvkc, “with their sorcery” (Exodus 7:11).


According to a different interpretation, Boaz did not notice her approaching because, having drunk wine, he fell into a deep sleep. Thus he only became aware of her at midnight, as the next verse records.


3:8 And it came to pass at midnight that the man was startled and turned about; and behold, a woman was lying at his feet.


Boaz slept deeply until midnight. Then, as the wine began to wear off, he tossed and turned (vayilafet, ,pkhu) in his sleep, or else stretched out, as in, “Samson clasped (,pkhu, i.e., by stretching his arms and legs against) the two middle pillars” (Judges 16:23)—and was startled to encounter someone lying at his feet. He put out his hand and felt the head of a woman.


Boaz always rose at midnight for worship and Torah study, follow­ing a tradition of his fathers that was subsequently also handed down to his descendants. Thus David said, “At midnight I rise to thank You for Your statutes of righteousness” (Psalms 119:62).


But this particular midnight Boaz awoke to face a great test. He found himself overwhelmed by desire (,pkhu, can also mean “seized”) which he did not know if he could master. The possibility of sinning so frightened him that his flesh turned soft as relish (,pk) and instinctively he held his head with his hands (,pkhu) as one does when terror-stricken.


Another interpretation is that he tried to scream, but she held him tight (,pkhu) until he regained his composure.


By focusing on the thought that at this very moment, at midnight, God enters the Garden of Eden with the righteous, he succeeded in overpowering his evil inclination. Thereby he joined the ranks of the righteous Joseph who refused the advances of his master’s wife, and of Paltiel son of Layish, who placed a dagger between himself and Michal, daughter of Saul, who had previously been betrothed to David (1 Samuel 25:44).


The beginning of this verse marks the middle of the book of Ruth, symbolic of the fact that the epic events it records transpired in the middle of the night.


The expression “it came to pass at midnight” is found three times in the scripture. “It came to pass at midnight, that the Lord smote every first-born in Egypt” (Exodus 12:29); “And Samson arose at midnight, seized the doors of the gate of the city” (Judges 16:3); and “it came to pass at midnight that the man was startled and turned about.” Common to all three instances is the onset of redemption or the gaining of free­dom, for midnight is a time when prayers are answered. Moreover, all occurred on the night of Passover (Talmud).


Likewise the future redemption will occur on Passover vkhkv hmjc, “at midnight,” which has the same numerical value (=190) as .e (“end”), the term designating the End of Days or Messianic era.


The term srjhu besides meaning “was startled,” also alludes to a state of prophecy. Boaz had a vision of David smiting Israel’s enemies, the Philistines and Amalekites, and he therefore asked her, “Who are you that from you will descend the redeemer of Israel?”


Our sages elaborate: Behold, the purest of women was lying at his feet.


Abraham Ibn Ezra





6. She then went down. After all the workers had completed their labor and gone home, Ruth secretly stole in to the barn, and did everything [in the barn] her mother-in-law had instructed her. This refers to perfuming herself and dressing in her Shabbos clothes.


7. Boaz ate and drank. At the time (after the day's work had been completed) Boaz ate and [then] came [into the barn] to lie down at the edge of the [grain] heap. She then came quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down.


The Malbim explains that when a man dies childless, he leaves his essence within his wife, agitated and threatened by the dissolution of his name and memory. By refusing to enter into a levirate marriage, the soul of the deceased husband is denied the "shoe" he needs to reenter this world and fulfill his destiny.


This explains why Naomi instructed Ruth to go to the granary at night, lie next to Boaz and uncover his feet (Ruth 3:4). While initially her behavior might seem inappropriate, the significance of Ruth's message to Boaz was that the time had come for action: either "uncover the feet" of her deceased husband, and thwart his soul's return, or provide his soul with a "shoe" by marrying Ruth.