So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law instructed her.
In the musical Fiddler on the Roof there was a character named Yente, the Matchmaker, whose work like many traditions of the Russian Jews was becoming a thing of the past. In Chapter 3 of the Book of Ruth, we see Naomi plying some matchmaking skills with Boaz and her loving and devoted daughter-in-law, Ruth. Naomi is growing older and she is concerned for Ruth’s emotional and physical needs as she wants to “seek some security” for her. Boaz, Naomi’s kinsman, seems to exhibit some fine characteristics as does Ruth.
After telling Ruth where she will find Boaz on a particular night, Naomi gives Ruth some instructions. “Now wash and anoint yourself, and put on your best clothes and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking.” Naomi wants Ruth to very alluring and she also warns Ruth that Boaz, like other men may be cranky and grumbling until they have had their fill. Naomi gave Ruth additional instructions so that she might find favor with Boaz. “She [Ruth] said to her [Naomi] ‘All that you tell me I will do.’”
A courtship between Boaz and Ruth develops, but it becomes known that Naomi has a kinsman closer than Boaz. Before Boaz and Ruth could become husband and wife, first refusal must have been given to the kinsman who had a prior claim and that must be respected. Boaz filled her cloak with barley and sent her back to Naomi’s and together they would wait to see how the next-of-kin matter would be resolved.
O God, we thank You for all who teach us …for school teachers, for parents, for other relatives and elders, for experienced and skilled co-workers. Help us ask the right questions when we do not understand. Guard us from thinking that we know better or can accomplish more by doing things a different way. Help us to be students who are eager to learn and so increase in wisdom. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.