Ruth 2

1 It so happened that Naomi had a relative by marriage, a man prominent and rich, connected with Elimelech's family. His name was Boaz.
2 One day Ruth, the Moabite foreigner, said to Naomi, "I'm going to work; I'm going out to glean among the sheaves, following after some harvester who will treat me kindly." Naomi said, "Go ahead, dear daughter."
3 And so she set out. She went and started gleaning in a field, following in the wake of the harvesters. Eventually she ended up in the part of the field owned by Boaz, her father-in-law Elimelech's relative.
4 A little later Boaz came out from Bethlehem, greeting his harvesters, "God be with you!" They replied, "And God bless you!"
5 Boaz asked his young servant who was foreman over the farm hands, "Who is this young woman? Where did she come from?"
6 The foreman said, "Why, that's the Moabite girl, the one who came with Naomi from the country of Moab.
7 She asked permission. 'Let me glean,' she said, 'and gather among the sheaves following after your harvesters.' She's been at it steady ever since, from early morning until now, without so much as a break."
8 Then Boaz spoke to Ruth: "Listen, my daughter. From now on don't go to any other field to glean - stay right here in this one. And stay close to my young women.
9 Watch where they are harvesting and follow them. And don't worry about a thing; I've given orders to my servants not to harass you. When you get thirsty, feel free to go and drink from the water buckets that the servants have filled."
10 She dropped to her knees, then bowed her face to the ground. "How does this happen that you should pick me out and treat me so kindly - me, a foreigner?"
11 Boaz answered her, "I've heard all about you - heard about the way you treated your mother-in-law after the death of her husband, and how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth and have come to live among a bunch of total strangers.
12 God reward you well for what you've done - and with a generous bonus besides from God, to whom you've come seeking protection under his wings."
13 She said, "Oh sir, such grace, such kindness - I don't deserve it. You've touched my heart, treated me like one of your own. And I don't even belong here!"
14 At the lunch break, Boaz said to her, "Come over here; eat some bread. Dip it in the wine." So she joined the harvesters. Boaz passed the roasted grain to her. She ate her fill and even had some left over.
15 When she got up to go back to work, Boaz ordered his servants: "Let her glean where there's still plenty of grain on the ground - make it easy for her.
16 Better yet, pull some of the good stuff out and leave it for her to glean. Give her special treatment."
17 Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. When she threshed out what she had gathered, she ended up with nearly a full sack of barley!
18 She gathered up her gleanings, went back to town, and showed her mother-in-law the results of her day's work; she also gave her the leftovers from her lunch.
19 Naomi asked her, "So where did you glean today? Whose field? God bless whoever it was who took such good care of you!" Ruth told her mother-in-law, "The man with whom I worked today? His name is Boaz."
20 Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, "Why, God bless that man! God hasn't quite walked out on us after all! He still loves us, in bad times as well as good!" Naomi went on, "That man, Ruth, is one of our circle of covenant redeemers, a close relative of ours!"
21 Ruth the Moabitess said, "Well, listen to this: He also told me, 'Stick with my workers until my harvesting is finished.'"
22 Naomi said to Ruth, "That's wonderful, dear daughter! Do that! You'll be safe in the company of his young women; no danger now of being raped in some stranger's field."
23 So Ruth did it - she stuck close to Boaz's young women, gleaning in the fields daily until both the barley and wheat harvesting were finished. And she continued living with her mother-in-law.

Images for Ruth 2

Ruth 2 Commentary

Chapter 2

Ruth gleans in the field of Boaz. (1-3) The kindness of Boaz to Ruth. (4-16) Ruth returns to her mother-in-law. (17-23)

Verses 1-3 Observe Ruth's humility. When Providence had made her poor, she cheerfully stoops to her lot. High spirits will rather starve than stoop; not so Ruth. Nay, it is her own proposal. She speaks humbly in her expectation of leave to glean. We may not demand kindness as a debt, but ask, and take it as a favour, though in a small matter. Ruth also was an example of industry. She loved not to eat the bread of idleness. This is an example to young people. Diligence promises well, both for this world and the other. We must not be shy of any honest employment. No labour is a reproach. Sin is a thing below us, but we must not think any thing else so, to which Providence call us. She was an example of regard to her mother, and of trust in Providence. God wisely orders what seem to us small events; and those that appear altogether uncertain, still are directed to serve his own glory, and the good of his people.

Verses 4-16 The pious and kind language between Boaz and his reapers shows that there were godly persons in Israel. Such language as this is seldom heard in our field; too often, on the contrary, what is immoral and corrupt. A stranger would form a very different opinion of our land, from that which Ruth would form of Israel from the converse and conduct of Boaz and his reapers. But true religion will teach a man to behave aright in all states and conditions; it will form kind masters and faithful servants, and cause harmony in families. True religion will cause mutual love and kindness among persons of different ranks. It had these effects on Boaz and his men. When he came to them he prayed for them. They did not, as soon as he was out of hearing curse him, as some ill-natured servants that hate their master's eye, but they returned his courtesy. Things are likely to go on well where there is such good-will as this between masters and servants. They expressed their kindness to each other by praying one for another. Boaz inquired concerning the stranger he saw, and ordered her to be well treated. Masters must take care, not only that they do no hurt themselves, but that they suffer not their servants and those under them to do wrong. Ruth humbly owned herself unworthy of favours, seeing she was born and brought up a heathen. It well becomes us all to think humbly of ourselves, esteeming others better than ourselves. And let us, in the kindness of Boaz to Ruth, note the kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ to poor sinners.

Verses 17-23 It encourages industry, that in all labour, even that of gleaning, there is profit. Ruth was pleased with what she gained by her own industry, and was careful to secure it. Let us thus take care that we lose not those things which we have wrought, ( 2 John. 1:8 ) should examine their children, as Naomi did, not to frighten or discourage them, so as to make them hate home, or tempt them to tell a lie; but to commend them if they have done well, and with mildness to reprove and caution them if they have done otherwise. It is a good question for us to ask ourselves every night, Where have I gleaned to-day? What improvement have I made in knowledge and grace? What have I done that will turn to a good account? When the Lord deals bountifully with us, let us not be found in any other field, nor seeking for happiness and satisfaction in the creature. We lose Divine favours, if we slight them. Ruth dutifully observed her mother's directions. And when the harvest was ended, she kept her aged mother company at home. Dinah went out to see the daughters of the land; her vanity ended in disgrace, ( Genesis 34 ) . Ruth kept at home, and helped to maintain her mother, and went out on no other errand than to get provision for her; her humility and industry ended in preferment.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO RUTH 2

In this chapter we have an account of Ruth's gleaning corn in the fields of Boaz, a relation of Naomi, Ru 2:1-3, and of Boaz coming to his reapers, whom he saluted in a very kind manner; and observing a woman gleaning after them, inquired of them who she was, and they informed him, Ru 2:4-9, upon which he addressed himself to her, and gave her leave to glean in his field, and desired her to go nowhere else, and bid her eat and drink with his servants, Ru 2:8-14 and gave directions to his servants to let her glean, and to let fall some of the handfuls on purpose, that she might gather them up, Ru 2:15-17 and then an account is given of her returning to her mother-in-law with her gleanings, to whom she related where she had gleaned, who was owner of the field, and what he had said to her, upon which Naomi gave her advice, Ru 2:18-23.

Ruth 2 Commentaries