Then said Boaz unto Ruth
Having heard what the servant said concerning her, he turned himself to her, and addressed her in the following manner:
hearest thou not, my daughter?
meaning not what the servant had said, but hereby exciting her to hearken to what he was about to say to her. Noldius F23 takes the particle to signify beseeching and entreating, and renders the words, "hear, I pray thee, my daughter". Some from hence conclude that Boaz was a man in years, and Ruth much younger than he, and therefore calls her his daughter:
go not to glean in another field, neither go from
which she might be inclined to, lest she should be thought to be too troublesome to be always in one man's field; but Boaz taking a liking to her, and willing to do her some favour, chose she should not go elsewhere:
but abide here fast by my maidens;
not maidens that gleaned also as she did, poor maidens he permitted to glean; or that gleaned for the poor, and much less that gleaned for him; a person so rich and liberal as he was would never employ such for his advantage, and to the detriment of the poor; nor would it be admitted of it being contrary to the law as it should seem, and certain it is to the later traditions of the elders; for it is said F24,
``a man may not hire a workman on this condition, that his son should glean after him; he who does not suffer the poor to glean, or who suffers one and not another, or who helps any one of them, robs the poor.''But these maidens were such, who either gathered the handfuls, cut and laid down by the reapers, and bound them up in sheaves, or else they also reaped, as it seems from the following verse; and it was very probably customary in those times for women to reap, as it is now with us.
F23 Ebr. Concord. part. p. 257. No. 1150.
F24 Misnah Peah, c. 5. sect. 6.