Naomi aims to provide “rest” for her daughter-in-law Ruth (Ruth 3:1), and the Hebrew word is manoach , built from the root nuach , which is the name of Noah, the one who gives rest to the earth. On a small scale, Boaz proves to be Noah redux, guiding Ruth and Naomi through the flood of death that takes their husbands into a world of abundance and fruitfulness.

And that gives another angle from which to view to the nighttime scene on the threshing floor. Sneaking to the sleeping Boaz at night, Ruth reverses the incestuous origins of Moab (Genesis 19). She is also another Ham (Genesis 9) coming to a “father” (see Boaz’s repeated “my daughter,” Ruth 2:8; 3:10-11) who is relaxed by wine. Unlike Ham, she doesn’t come to steal his robe of authority, but to seek refuge under it. Though a foreigner, she is not cursed like Canaan, but blessed: “May you be blessed of Yahweh, my daughter” (Ruth 3:10). And thus, though a foreigner, she is incorporated into the family of God.