Pastor Debra Isenbletter
Ruth 3:10 – “And he said, Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.”
Notice how many times Boaz uses the word “thou” in his response to Ruth – three times! Each “thou” is a description of what he saw in her and his description is both personal and powerful. The first “thou” describes her relationship; the second her kindness and the third her separation.
Her Relationship: “And he said, Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter.” The word “blessed” comes from “to kneel,” it means “to praise,” this is worship that is more than verbal! It also means “to bless” or “to be blessed.” She is “blessed” not just because of what she said but also because of what she did. She blessed the Lord first and now the Lord will bless her. She blessed the Lord when she decided to go with Naomi – she blessed the Lord when she accepted Naomi’s God and people – she blessed the Lord by her labors in Boaz’s fields. This is praise and this is worship seen in what she did, in the choices she made. The choices we make can honor or dishonor God, all her choices showed her heart attitude, God saw every act and action as “kneeling” before Him, He saw it as “worship.” Now Boaz responds to Ruth’s request with a blessing and also says she will bless him. How precious and wonderful and how we can see in it the promise of the blessing she will later enjoy. They will be natural blessings, marriage, children, fruitfulness, but they also point to the “all spiritual blessings,” God gives us through Christ. They are abundant blessings, all blessings, they are spiritual blessings. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3). We see the basis for the blessing rests on her actions (she blessed) and Boaz’s promise (he blessed).
We see what she did (she blessed God) and what God would do (bless her). Ruth now belongs to the Lord, this is the relationship Boaz assures her of. It is “Blessed be thou of the Lord.” She has this assurance, no longer a stranger, no longer a Moabitess, no longer a heathen but a child of God, a part of the people of God and into the promises of God.
Next we see another relationship, seen in the way that Boaz addresses her. She is called “my daughter.” He sees her youth, the word “daughter” shows she’s younger than him. He sees her belong to him, she is his responsibility: “my” daughter. He sees her relationship to God, to His people and to him! She is now a “daughter” of God of the “household of faith” (Gal 6:10). This is a tender, respectful phrase Boaz uses when he speaks to her. Boaz might have refused Ruth but he accepted her! He called her “my daughter” and he pronounced a blessing on her!
Her Kindness: “for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning.” This is the second description of Boaz showing what he saw in her and it is a description of what she did. The word “kindness’ comes from “to bow the neck” (in courtesy and submission). It is like the foundation of the word for “blessed” which comes from “to kneel.” It is all about submission and a submissive attitude! Gesenius gives the following meaning for “kindness,” it is an “eager and ardent desire by which anyone is led” or “to show oneself gracious.” Brown translates it as “to be kind.” Strong’s translates it as a “good deed” and “loving-kindness.” It can be shown toward God and toward man. Ruth did both! The words, which show the extent of her kindness are “showed more” which come from “to be sound, beautiful.” It means to “be comely, content, diligent” and “to please well.” Ruth did more, loved more, served more, labored more, she went above and beyond what was expected and what others might do. She pleased God well, and pleased Boaz well, she was well pleasing unto the Lord (Col 3:20). When we please God first, we will please man.
We see in these words the submission and diligence that made Ruth so beautiful. Naomi’s prayer for her and Orpah was the “Lord deal kindly with you” (Ruth 1:8). There the word means “faithfulness, devotion, grace, mercy, and steadfast love.” The word speaks of God’s “loving-kindness” to His people. Now the Lord’s “kindness” (that Naomi prayed for) is seen as a reward for Ruth’s “kindness” but not seen and enjoyed until she came out of Moab, until she had sacrificed and served. Her “kindness” is a perfect picture of her submission to the Lord, to Naomi and to Boaz. Here the growth of that “kindness” is seen, it never stopped, it was not a onetime act but was a lifetime pattern, seen in many, many acts. Boaz saw the growth of her kindness, he said it was “more … in the latter end than at the beginning.” Her kindness at the beginning speaks of her kindness to Naomi. Her kindness in the latter end speaks of her kindness to Boaz. It began with her husband and his family. It grew to include Naomi more than her own family. It grew to include Naomi’s people and God. It grew and grew until it finally reached out to Boaz and included him. Her kindness was that eager, ardent desire that never faltered or wavered. Her kindness was a desire to bow the neck in submission to Naomi, to God and to Boaz.
“Thy “latter kindness,” he says, has been greater than thy former. Then thy confidence in Jehovah brought thee from thy country and thy kindred; but now thou hast shown still greater faith in Jehovah. Thou hast taken the only place that a Moabitess can take – that of need and helplessness – and hast found grace in my sight.” – Mary Bodie
Her Separation: “inasmuch as thou followest not young men whether poor or rich.” Finally we have the third description of what Boaz saw in Ruth. This describes her separation, seen in who she did not follow after. The word “followedst” comes from two words, “to walk” and “to pursue after,” one is slow and one is fast. In a negative sense it means “to depart, to go (away) or to go (one’s way).” There were those that could have drawn Ruth away from God’s Will. They were the “young men,” not the older men (like Boaz). They were men she could have been attracted to, they were many in number and they were both “poor and rich.” If the man looked good but didn’t have wealth she could have chosen him. Ruth looked beyond the surface, she wanted more, and she wanted what God wanted for her. Here we see Ruth’s faithful, chaste, pure testimony. Considering the day she lived in, the time of the Judges, this may have been a hard thing for Ruth; she may have been pestered by or propositioned by these men. This was the time of the Judges, when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6; 21:25). Boaz saw this separation, others saw this! She was not in Boaz’s field to look for a husband; she was there to serve Boaz, serve Naomi, and serve God! Ruth had a choice, she didn’t choose any of the young men, she chose an older man, she chose “a mighty man,” and she chose “a kinsman.” She chose the man Naomi chose and God chose!
This is the testimony of the Bride, she is a chaste virgin (2 Cor 11:2), she doesn’t follow after what appeals to the flesh; she denies herself, takes up the cross and she follows Christ (Lk 9:23).