And, behold, Boaz came to Bethlehem
Into the field, to see how his workmen went on, and performed their service, and to encourage them in it by his presence, and by his courteous language and behaviour, and to see what provisions were wanting, that he might take care and give orders for the sending of them, it being now near noon, as it may be supposed; and though he was a man of great wealth, he did not think it below him to go into his field, and look after his servants, which was highly commendable in him, and which showed his diligence and industry, as well as his humility. So a king in Homer F17 is represented as among his reapers, with his sceptre in his hand, and cheerful. Pliny F18 relates it, as a saying of the ancients, that the eye of the master is the most fruitful thing in the field; and Aristotle F19 reports, that a Persian being asked what fattened a horse most, replied, the eye of the master; and an African being asked what was the best dung for land, answered, the steps of his master:
and said unto the reapers, the Lord be with you;
to give them health, and strength, and industry in their work; the Targum is,
``may the Word of the Lord be your help:''and they answered him, the Lord bless you;
with a good harvest, and good weather to gather it in; and though these salutations were of a civil kind, yet they breathe the true spirit of sincere and undissembled piety, and show the sense that both master and servants had of the providence of God attending the civil affairs of life, without whose help, assistance, and blessing, nothing succeeds well.
F17 Iliad. 18. ver. 556, 557.
F18 Nat. Hist. l. 18. c. 6.
F19 De Administrat. Domestic. l. 1. c. 6.