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Ruth Meets Boaz

 2

Now Naomi had a kinsman on her husband’s side, a prominent rich man, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. 2And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain, behind someone in whose sight I may find favor.” She said to her, “Go, my daughter.” 3So she went. She came and gleaned in the field behind the reapers. As it happened, she came to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech. 4Just then Boaz came from Bethlehem. He said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you.” They answered, “The Lord bless you.” 5Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “To whom does this young woman belong?” 6The servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, “She is the Moabite who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. 7She said, ‘Please, let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the reapers.’ So she came, and she has been on her feet from early this morning until now, without resting even for a moment.”

8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. 9Keep your eyes on the field that is being reaped, and follow behind them. I have ordered the young men not to bother you. If you get thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.” 10Then she fell prostrate, with her face to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your sight, that you should take notice of me, when I am a foreigner?” 11But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. 12May the Lord reward you for your deeds, and may you have a full reward from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge!” 13Then she said, “May I continue to find favor in your sight, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, even though I am not one of your servants.”

14 At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here, and eat some of this bread, and dip your morsel in the sour wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he heaped up for her some parched grain. She ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. 15When she got up to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, “Let her glean even among the standing sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16You must also pull out some handfuls for her from the bundles, and leave them for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”

17 So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. 18She picked it up and came into the town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gleaned. Then she took out and gave her what was left over after she herself had been satisfied. 19Her mother-in-law said to her, “Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked, and said, “The name of the man with whom I worked today is Boaz.” 20Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “Blessed be he by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi also said to her, “The man is a relative of ours, one of our nearest kin.” 21Then Ruth the Moabite said, “He even said to me, ‘Stay close by my servants, until they have finished all my harvest.’ ” 22Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, “It is better, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, otherwise you might be bothered in another field.” 23So she stayed close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests; and she lived with her mother-in-law.


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Ru 2:1-3. 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.

Ru 2:4-23. He Takes Knowledge of Her, and Shows Her Favor.

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 oppressively hot.

she tarried a little in the house—that is, the field tent, erected for the occasional rest and refreshment of the laborers.

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 personal comfort.

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 harvest-field.

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 bushel.

20. the man is … one of our next kinsmenHebrew, "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 June.

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.




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