Pastor Debra Isenbletter
Ruth 3:11 – “And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.”
In the first part of this verse you can see what Ruth is not to do and what Boaz promises he will do. Then you can see how far reaching her testimony was and what that testimony was. What wonderful words of encouragement Boaz gives to Ruth following his words of blessing.
The first thing Boaz tells Ruth is that she is not to fear: “He calls her “my daughter,” this is the third time Boaz addresses her in this way (2:8; 3:10; 3:11). Boaz speaks to her with respect and as noted in the previous verse the word daughter is used to show a relationship and respect. This word can also be translated “apple of the eye.” Jamieson, Fausset & Brown define the “apple of the eye” as:
The “apple of the eye” or “as the little man of his eye; i.e., the pupil, in which, as in a mirror, a person can discern the image of himself reflected in miniature. It is a beautiful image, it refers to the care with which every person defends his eye from injury, conveys a graphic idea of the tender, vigilant diligence/attention with which the Lord watched over His people.”
This was God’s promise and protection: “he kept them as the apple of his eye” (Deut 32:10). “for he that toucheth you touches the apple of his eye” (Zech 2:8). This was their prayer: “keep me as the apple of the eye” (Ps 17:8). This was God’s provision (to see His reflection in them): “Keep my commandments and my law as the apple of thine eye.” (Prov 7:2)
This is how Boaz felt about Ruth! This is how Jesus feels about His Bride. Jesus cares for and guards us as the “apple” of His eye!” Jesus sees the image of Himself reflected in His Bride!
The word “daughter” can be translated “first.” She served him “first,” he makes her “first” and will elevate her above all other women. This pictures saints who hold Jesus as their “first love” (Rev 2:4) and have not relaxed their hold on Him.
The word “daughter” can be translated “a company.” This is a “company” or “rank” of people. Ruth represents a company of people, a unique group of people that have the testimony of suffering, service and submission. Paul in describing the resurrection of the saints says that Christ is the first fruits but others will follow after Him in resurrection, “but every man in his own order (rank).” (1 Cor 15:23). The Psalmist talks about the greatness of “the company” of those who publish the Word (Ps 68:11). John singles out two churches, two companies that have no criticism against them in Revelation from the seven that he writes to. The Smyrna saints were known for their “works and tribulation and poverty” (Rev 2:9) but are told that they were rich; and the Philadelphia saints were known for their strength and John describes it as “a little strength,” not because it was weak, but because they were small in number, but they had the strength to stand and withstand. They showed that strength when they “kept” (guarded) the Word and refused to deny His name (Rev 3:8).
Boaz, as a type of Christ is talking about more than the family relationship. Yes, Ruth is his “daughter” in the sense that she is “a young woman.” Yes, she is his “daughter” in the sense that he is a “kinsman” through Naomi. But she is more than that; she is the “apple of his eye.” She is his “first” love as he has become her “first” love. She may look insignificant but she is part of a great “company,” from her will come forth kings and the Messiah. But all her qualities that look so insignificant are a wonderful portrait of the Bride of Christ, of the woman who He has redeemed and will elevate and exalt one day.
Boaz speaks gently to Ruth, he tells her not to be afraid, he says: “fear not.” The word for fear doesn’t mean terror, it means to “stand in awe” of. Boaz was a great man, a mighty man, a wealthy man, an older man. He was a man of position and power and Ruth was a servant in his fields. She had made her request and Boaz could see how overwhelmed she was in his presence. To go on in a deeper relationship, she must find a balance between reverential fear and awe and the loving devotion of a wife.
The first thing that Boaz does is calm her fears, he gives her comfort. We need not be afraid to come into the Presence of Christ with our petitions. We come in faith with “awe” and “reverential fear.” We come also in love and deep devotion. We come knowing there is a deeper, more personal relationship. Our Reverence (He is Savior/Master) and our Love (He is Bridegroom) are perfected balanced.
“Our assurance is not in our feelings or our circumstances but in His Word. During the Boxer Rebellion, when the workers with the China Inland Mission were experiencing great suffering, the founder James Hudson Taylor, then in his late seventies, said to some colleagues, ‘’I cannot read; I cannot think; I cannot even pray; but I can trust.’” (Warren Wiersbe)
Next we see what Boaz tells Ruth “I will do to thee all that thou requirest.” What a wonderful assurance! The word “requirest” means “a challenge,” “a demand;” “a desire.” It also means “to name,” showing the specific details of the request made. What wonderful boldness on her part and Boaz is not displeased, he is pleased! She has the right to demand and desire his help. Jesus is waiting for us to challenge Him, to prove Him, to come to Him and name our need, to let Him prove His love for us! Boaz’s words give this assurance. He says he will “do” what she has asked and that he will do “all,” everything that she has asked. She hasn’t listed the details, because he knows them, he knows what to do, what is his responsibility, what is required of him. He will answer her challenge and meet the desire of her heart, it is his desire too! The Lord will never start something and not finish it, Paul tells us He “has begun a good work…and will perform it” (Phil 1:6). It is not in His nature to do anything else and whatever He does, He does it well, we cannot help but be satisfied. From His work in saving us (justifying), to his work of cleansing us (sanctifying), to His work of putting us on display and calling us home (glorifying). It is a perfect work, it is a good work, it is a wonderful work. We have the assurance He will do everything He has said He would and waits for us to lay claim to those things.
Boaz concludes his words to Ruth with a description of her wonderful testimony, he tells her who has seen her testimony: “for all the city of my people doeth know” and what her testimony revealed: “thou art a virtuous woman.” We see who it is that observed Ruth, it was “all the city,” it was “my people.” The word people can speak of the whole population and it can speak of all who sat at the gate of the city, the elders. It can be translated both ways. The Amplified and NAS: “all my people in the city” and the Complete Jewish Bible: “for all the city leaders among my people.” He tells her what they “know,” what they have “observed” by watching her. He tells her that everyone has been watching her and I can just picture this. Here is a woman of Moab, come back with Naomi, and I think that their initial attitude of watching was to find something to criticize and they could not! At the end of the harvest everyone knows the type of woman she is. She is called “a virtuous woman.” The word “virtuous” means “valor, strength” and can be translated “army, company, power, strength.” It is translated “you are a woman of strength (worth, bravery, capability)” (Amplified); “you are a woman of noble character” (NIV); “you are a woman of excellence” (NAS). She is like the “virtuous woman” whose “price is above rubies” (Prov 31:10). He has searched for her and found her, she was easy to find, she was right there in their midst. What a testimony she had!
Ruth looked weak outwardly but all saw in her a noble, virtuous character. They saw in Ruth a power and strength that was revealed through her service to Naomi and Boaz. Her strength is a wonderful testimony of the strength of the Bride of Christ. It is the strength of an “army” or “company.” A company is a people bound together with one purpose, and one love and their unity makes them strong. Solomon describes the Shulamite as a company. He compares her to “a company of horses” (Song 1:9), this pictures the power of horses to draw the chariots, especially in battle. He compares her to “the company of two armies” (Song 6:13). She fights on two levels, through prayer and through praise; she has let the Lord make her into what He wants and declares “thou hast made us kings and priests unto God” (Rev 1:6). I think this can picture the two armies Solomon used to describe the one he loved, an army of kings and priests, and army of those who battle through prayer and praise, an army made up of a company, a group of saints that, like Ruth, come and lay claim to all Christ will provide.