Practices in ancient Israel were very different from the modern western world. Indeed some cultural practices have become fodder for critics and skeptics. The practice of uncovering the feet (Ruth 3:7), for example, seems to the modern mind to be improper if not immoral, but in ancient Israel it did not carry the same sexual connotation as we might infer from it today.

  • First: It is unlikely that Boaz was alone at the threshing floor that evening after the days work. The harvest was in progress and the workers most likely “camped out” with him.
  • Second: There is nothing intimate in this passage. The language indicates that there was a distance between Ruth and Boaz. Ruth lay at his uncovered feet while he was sleeping and when he awake he put the corner (“skirt” is used in Scripture to speak of an edge or border or extremity) of his garment over her.
  • Third: both these actions were symbolic. Uncovering the feet of Boaz was an indication of subjection and submission and her willingness to become his wife. Furthermore, when Boaz threw the corner of his garment over her he indicated his willingness to spread a covering over her, as though taking her under his wing (cf. 2:12).
  • Fourth: the reason Ruth gave (3:9) for her action at the threshing floor was not at all sexual, but legal. She needed a (near) kinsman redeemer.
  • Fifth: that Boaz acted honourably is clear from the fact that he presented the other kinsman before himself (4:1f).