Verse 1, 2 – The threshing floor was the place where the grain was separated from the harvested wheat. The wheat stalks were crushed, either by hand or by oxen. The grain (inner kernels) was separated from the chaff (outside shell). The floor was either rock or dirt and located outside the village, usually on an elevated site where the winds blow away the lighter chaff when the crushed wheat was thrown in the air. Boaz spent the night on the threshing floor for two reasons: (1) to prevent theft and (2) to wait for his turn to thresh grain.
Verse 4 – Naomi’s advice seems strange to us today but she was telling Ruth to act in accordance with Israel’s custom and law. It was common for a servant to lie at the feet of his master. By Ruth observing this custom, she would inform Boaz that he could be her kinsman-redeemer or marry her himself. This act was family business, nothing romantic.
Verse 5 – As a foreigner, Ruth may have thought that Naomi’s advice was odd. But, Ruth followed the advice because Ruth knew Naomi was kind, trustworthy, and filled with moral integrity. Imagine what Ruth’s life would have been like had she ignored her mother-in-law.
Verse 12 – Ruth and Naomi must have assumed that Boaz was their closest relative. Boaz must have already considered marring Ruth because his answer to her shows he had been thinking about it. He didn’t consider marrying Naomi because she was too old to bear children. There was one man in the city though that was a closer relative than Boaz was. He had to go talk to this man and see if he was willing to marry Ruth. Yet Boaz reassured Ruth, one way or another she would be redeemed.
Verses 14, 15 – Getting Ruth home before daylight kept wrong impressions from being formed.
Verses 16-18 – Naomi implied that Boaz was a man of great reputation and would keep his promise. Do others regard you as one who will do what you say?