One day Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, 'My daughter, should I not try to find a home for you, where you will be well provided for? Is not Boaz, with whose servant girls you have been, a kinsman of ours? Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. Wash and perfume yourself, and put on your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don't let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.'
This passage may seem very strange to us unless we examine what was happening and the culture of this time. Ruth had humbled herself since the beginning and had found favor with God. Naomi felt that it was her duty to see that her daughter was provided for and she knew that it was a husband's duty to provide for his wife. Therefore, she shared with her the procedure for a younger woman to propose marriage to an older man. (Although it may not be politically correct to say so, the biblical pattern of a husband providing for his wife is as true today as it was in Ruth's time.) A woman had the freedom to ask a man to marry her and she could be his helper (just as Eve was described in Genesis) but it was and is the man's duty to provide for his wife. At first, the idea of a woman of this time period proposing marriage may surprise us but it was a part of life at this time. Naomi tells Ruth where to find Boaz (he will be winnowing barley at the threshing floor). The process of winnowing (separating the chaff from the grain) was simple. The grain/chaff mixture would be tossed into the air and the breeze would carry away the chaff as the grain fell to the threshing floor. Then, Naomi gives her instructions on the proper way to propose marriage.