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Ruth 3:6-7, Ruth and Boaz at the Threshing Floor

Tuesday, August 7

Ruth Seduces Boaz

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

boaz on the threshing floor

Here it is. The moment of truth. Ruth got herself ready to seduce Boaz -- she got dressed up, perfume and hair, the whole bit -- and then she waited for him to get drunk. When finally he was drunk and passed out on the threshing floor, Ruth made her move.

She sneaked down to the threshing floor where women were not allowed. Then she "uncovered his feet." Now, if you know that "feet" is a squeaky-clean Bible translation for a man's private parts, then you know how very risque this story truly is! Yes, I'm saying Ruth got him naked and then lay down next to him. Tomorrow we will find out how he responded. For today, we leave the ball in Ruth's court.

This is one of the stories that makes the Bible so fascinating. As long as we are reading the Bible through the lens of "saints and sinners," or "right and wrong," we will always miss the nuances, the grays, the behaviors and events that are neither right nor wrong, neither good nor bad. They just are. This is one of those. 

Was Ruth right to seduce Boaz? It was forbidden for women to go to the threshing floor, not to mention having sex outside of marriage. Was Ruth wrong to seduce Boaz? If she hadn't, she never would have bore Obed, nor would she have found herself in Jesus' lineage. Maybe Ruth was neither right nor wrong. Maybe she just did what she had to do to survive. And maybe that's ok.

Narrative Lectionary Text: Ruth 3:6-7

So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had instructed her. When Boaz had eaten and drunk, and he was in a contented mood, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came stealthily and uncovered his feet, and lay down.