And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi
After they had been some little time at Bethlehem, and not long; for they came at the beginning of barley harvest, and as yet it was not over, nor perhaps for some time after this; and knowing and considering the circumstances they were in, and unwilling to live an idle life, and ready to do any thing for the support of her life, and of her ancient mother-in-law; which was very commendable, and showed her to be an industrious virtuous woman: she addressed her, and said:
let me now go to the field;
she did not choose to go any where, nor do anything, without her advice and consent; so dutiful and obedient was she to her, and so high an opinion had she of her wisdom and goodness; she desired to go to the field which belonged to Bethlehem, which seems to have been an open field, not enclosed, where each inhabitant had his part, as Boaz, ( Ruth 2:3 ) though Jarchi interprets it of one of the fields of the men of the city; hither she asked leave to go, not with any ill intent, nor was she in any danger of being exposed, since it being harvest time the field was full of people: her end in going thither is expressed in the next clause,
and glean ears of corn after him, in whose sight I shall find grace;
or "in" or "among the ears of corn" F15; between the ears of corn bound up into sheaves, and there pick up the loose ears that were dropped and left. This she proposed to do with the leave of the owner of the field, or of the reapers, whom she followed; she might be ignorant that it was allowed by the law of God that widows and strangers might glean in the field, ( Leviticus 19:9 Leviticus 19:10 ) ( Deuteronomy 24:19 ) or if she had been acquainted with it by Naomi, which is not improbable, such was her modesty and humility, that she did not choose to make use of this privilege without leave; lest, as Jarchi says, she should be chided or reproved, and it is certain she did entreat the favour to glean, ( Ruth 2:7 )
and she said unto her, go, my daughter;
which shows the necessitous circumstances Naomi was in; though perhaps she might give this leave and direction under an impulse of the Spirit of God, in order to bring about an event of the greatest moment and importance, whereby she became the ancestor of our blessed Lord.
F15 (Mylbvb) (en toiv stacusi) , Sept. "in spicis", Montanus, Drusius, Piscator; "inter spicas", De Dieu, Rambachius.