Ruth Chapter 2

Ruth was the widowed, Moabite daughter-in-law of Naomi, who was an Israelite. She had traveled to Beth-lehem with Naomi, in order to care for her. Ruth had left her family and culture behind, never to return, because she loved Naomi and wanted to remain with her. This next chapter begins:

1 And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz.
2 And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.
3 And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.

Ruth went out to see if she could glean corn for Naomi and herself. Gleaning was acceptable under the law of Moses, and the Israelites had been commanded to allow the borders of the fields for this purpose. In so doing, I believe the Lord was allowing for Israelites to care for the poor among them. As it happened, she ended up in the field of Boaz, who was a member of Naomi’s family by marriage.

4 And, behold, Boaz came from Beth-lehem, and said unto the reapers, The Lord be with you. And they answered him, The Lord bless thee.
5 Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this?
6 And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab:
7 And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house.
8 Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens:
9 Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.
10 Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?
11 And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.
12 The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.
13 Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens.
14 And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.
15 And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not:
16 And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.
17 So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley.

Boaz went to his fields and greeted the reapers. He asked the servant of the reapers, who Ruth was. The servant told him that Ruth was the Moabite woman who had returned with Naomi, and that she had asked permission to glean in their field, after the reapers. She had been their all day. Boaz showed kindness towards Ruth, by telling her that she could continue to reap in his field and did not need to go elsewhere for food. He also allowed her to remain with the women of his household. His men were instructed that they were not to stop her from being there, and she was allowed to drink the water with them as well. She respectfully asked him why he would notice her and show kindness to her, when she was a stranger or foreigner. He told her that he had heard the things she had done to care for her widowed mother-in-law, even leaving her own people to be with her in the land of the Israelites. The Lord had reason to bless her for these things. She desired to find favor in the sight of Boaz, and so he told her to join him for a meal with his workers, which she did. When she was finished eating, she returned to glean in his field of Barley. Boaz told his men not only to allow it, but to drop some of the harvest they gathered, so that she could have it.

18 And she took it up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed.
19 And her mother in law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned to day? and where wroughtest thou? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee. And she shewed her mother in law with whom she had wrought, and said, The man’s name with whom I wrought to day is Boaz.
20 And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the Lord, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.
21 And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said unto me also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest.
22 And Naomi said unto Ruth her daughter in law, It is good, my daughter, that thou go out with his maidens, that they meet thee not in any other field.
23 So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law.

Ruth took the food she had gleaned, back to Naomi, and gave it to her. Naomi asked Ruth where she had gleaned. Ruth told her that she had worked with Boaz. Naomi blessed Boaz for his kindness toward Ruth, telling Ruth that he was her kin, or of her family, who had the right or ability to redeem her. Meaning that Boaz had the ability to purchase the land of Naomi’s husband and redeem Naomia and Ruth to the land of their inheritance. Ruth also told Naomi that Boaz had told her to remain with his men throughout the harvest. Naomi felt this would be good for Ruth, and so Ruth continued to glean in the fields of Boaz, until the end of harvest.

I am not absolutely sure what is meant, but I think that in verse 20, Naomi meant that in choosing to be kind to her, Boaz was also extending a kindness to the men in their family who had died. In a recent attempt to better understand how I could keep the commandment to honor my father and mother, I asked my father how he felt I could honor him. One of the answers he gave to me, was to care for my mother after he could was no longer in this life. We can extend kindness to those who have gone on before, by caring for those who they leave behind, especially the widows and fatherless. Throughout time, loving and caring husbands and fathers, pass on and are no longer able to perform their duties to provide and protect the family they love. I can imagine an incredible gratitude expressed in the eternities, to individuals who choose to be kind to the widows and children left behind, when they themselves progress from this life. It takes a compassionate man to assume the role of providing for another such as this. This shows us that Boaz was a very kind and compassionate man, as Naomi describes him to be. This should be an example to us, that there is an important need for us to care for those who are left when a husband and father pass on from this life.

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