This chapter starts out in a pretty weird way. To put it bluntly, Naomi basically pimps out her daughter-in-law. She tells her to bathe, get herself all made up, and to wait until Boaz is done eating and drinking. “And it shall be when he lies down, that you shall know where he will lie, and you shall come and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what you shall do (Ruth 3:4).” Um. Awkward. We don’t get to hear what Ruth thinks or feels about all of this – does she even like Boaz? Does she want a new man in her life? Instead, she just says she’ll do what she is told, which I guess is a form of consent, and she carries out Naomi’s wishes.
She gets to Boaz’s bedroom, and it’s an awkward sounding first encounter. To start, upon seeing a woman in his bed, he first asks who she is. I thought they’d already met, so maybe it’s dark, or he’s drunk, but still, I’d hope that one generally expects that the people they get into bed with at least know their names. She introduces herself, and he blesses her, and repeatedly calls her his daughter, which I understand is a euphemism, but still strikes me as awkward. He invites her to sleep over, gives her barley to bring home, and she returns home the next day. We know (spoiler alert) that Ruth and Boaz will get married in tomorrow’s chapter, but this seems like a less than auspicious beginning for that experience. More tomorrow!