Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

“Bring the mantle you are wearing and hold it out,” Boaz orders Ruth after their night together on the threshing floor, and then he fills it with barley, as depicted in this drawing by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669). He tells her: “Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor,” and sends her off to await the outcome of his conversation with her closer kinsman. He has gained control of the situation.

Ruth has different priorities, as can be seen by her response to Naomi when she returns home. When Naomi asks how things went, Ruth tells her that Boaz said, “You must not go back empty-handed to your mother-in-law.” Although Boaz never actually said this, Ruth uses this rapport talk to assure Naomi that no matter what ensues with Boaz, the relationship between the two women will remain unchanged.