Ruth Gleans in the Field of Boaz.
2. Ruth … said unto Naomi, Let me now go to
the field, and glean—The right of gleaning was conferred by a
positive law on the widow, the poor, and the stranger (see on Le 19:9 and De 24:19). But liberty
to glean behind the reapers [Ru 2:3] was not a right that could be claimed;
it was a privilege granted or refused according to the good will or
favor of the owner.
3. her hap was to light on a part of the field
belonging unto Boaz—Fields in Palestine being unenclosed, the
phrase signifies that portion of the open ground which lay within the
landmarks of Boaz.
He Takes Knowledge of Her, and Shows Her
4. Boaz came from Beth-lehem, and said unto the
reapers, The Lord be with you—This pious salutation between
the master and his laborers strongly indicates the state of religious
feeling among the rural population of Israel at that time, as well as
the artless, happy, and unsuspecting simplicity which characterized the
manners of the people. The same patriarchal style of speaking is still
preserved in the East.
5. his servant that was set over the
reapers—an overseer whose special duty was to superintend the
operations in the field, to supply provision to the reapers, and pay
them for their labor in the evening.
7. she said … Let me glean and gather after
the reapers among the sheaves—Various modes of reaping are
practised in the East. Where the crop is thin and short, it is plucked
up by the roots. Sometimes it is cut with the sickle. Whether reaped in
the one way or the other, the grain is cast into sheaves loosely thrown
together, to be subjected to the process of threshing, which takes
place, for the most part, immediately after the reaping. Field labors
were begun early in the morning—before the day became
she tarried a little in the house—that
is, the field tent, erected for the occasional rest and refreshment of
8, 9. said Boaz unto Ruth, … bide here fast
by my maidens—The reaping was performed by women while the
assortment of sheaves was the duty of men-servants. The same division
of harvest labor obtains in Syria still. Boaz not only granted to Ruth
the full privilege of gleaning after his reapers, but provided for her
9. go unto the vessels, and drink of that which
the young men have drawn—Gleaners were sometimes allowed, by
kind and charitable masters, to partake of the refreshments provided
for the reapers. The vessels alluded to were skin bottles, filled with
water—and the bread was soaked in vinegar (Ru 2:14); a kind of poor, weak wine, sometimes
mingled with a little olive oil—very cooling, as would be
required in harvest-time. This grateful refection is still used in the
14. he reached her parched corn, and she did eat,
and was sufficed, and left—some of the new grain, roasted on
the spot, and fit for use after being rubbed in the hands—a
favorite viand in the East. He gave her so much, that after satisfying
her own wants, she had some (Ru 2:18) in
reserve for her mother-in-law.
16. let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose
for her—The gleaners in the East glean with much success; for
a great quantity of corn is scattered in the reaping, as well as in
their manner of carrying it. One may judge, then, of the large quantity
which Ruth would gather in consequence of the liberal orders given to
the servants. These extraordinary marks of favor were not only given
from a kindly disposition, but from regard to her good character and
devoted attachment to her venerable relative.
17. and beat out that she had
gleaned—When the quantity of grain was small, it was beat out
by means of a stick.
an ephah—supposed to contain about a
20. the man is … one of our next
kinsmen—Hebrew, "one of our redeemers," on whom it
devolves to protect us, to purchase our lands, and marry you, the widow
of his next kinsman. She said, "one of them," not that there were many
in the same close relationship, but that he was a very near kinsman,
one other individual only having the precedence.
21. all my harvest—both barley and wheat
harvests. The latter was at the end of May or the beginning of
22. Naomi said unto Ruth … It is good
… that thou go out with his maidens—a prudent
recommendation to Ruth to accept the generous invitation of Boaz, lest,
if she were seen straying into other fields, she might not only run the
risk of rude treatment, but displease him by seeming indifferent to his
kind liberality. Moreover, the observant mind of the old matron had
already discerned, in all Boaz' attentions to Ruth, the germs of a
stronger affection, which she wished to increase.