Ruth 2:1 “…relative of Naomi’s husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech…”
Wonder if he had great wealth during the famine. Could he have possibly assisted Elimelech then? Did Elimelech ever ask? All speculation. Thought occurred to me that we make most of our own problems or make them worse because we try to deal with them on our own instead of checking with God first. Boaz will be used of God as a kinsman redeemer. Perhaps he could have been so earlier.
2 “…Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain…”
Ruth wasn’t afraid to work to help support herself and Naomi. In Leviticus and Deuteronomy, God had provided a way for the poor, the stranger, and those suffering financial misfortune to receive help and to do so in such a way as to retain their dignity. Those with crops were instructed to not completely glean their fields or vineyards, just reap them once and gather most, don’t go back and make sure you got everything. If anyone needed it, they could go and glean it for themselves. The poor and stranger would be provided for, but they would also have the dignity of having worked for it themselves. So much better than just a handout. Provides for physical as well as mental, psychological, and emotional needs. God always knows what He’s doing.
3 “…happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz…”
No coincidence there. Interesting that God usually chooses to work through His material creation by providence. He may not simply put us where He wants us. He has us walk, but He guides our steps. Even His miracles use aspects of His creation. When he parted the Red Sea, He used a wind to blow all night to dry the ground. His choice to use His creation this way has always intrigued me. Perhaps it shows His total and complete sovereignty better than just a display of power. All of creation is His, not just the material, but also its interaction, what we would consider chance or circumstance. He weaves it all together along with His choice to allow us free will and still works things for our best and to His glory. What a magnificent Father God we serve.
4 “…The LORD be with you!…The LORD bless you!”
Insight into Boaz’s character. Godly man who had a good relationship with his workers.
5 “…Whose young woman is this?”
The romantic in me wonders why he noticed. Was she one of just a few and so easy to recognize as new? Or was there something about her that he noticed? He doesn’t know who she is at this point.
7 “…she came and has continued from morning until now, though she rested a little in the house”
Servant reports that Ruth has been a good worker. Insight into her character.
8 “…Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women”
What is not said is just as interesting as what is. Certainly as a relative of Elimelech, Boaz would be interested in providing where he could for Ruth and Naomi. By keeping Ruth close, he could allow her to work for herself, but be in a position to provide resources as well as safety. But I have to also wonder if he wants her around since she has caught his eye. Being the man of Godly character that he is, he wouldn’t consider or do anything unseemly, but I’d like to know what he is thinking. The story of Ruth has such romance that is still pure. We forget that even romance comes from God. So much of what man comes up with today is perverted by sexual sin and greed; like picking gold flecks out of piles of manure.
11 “…It has been fully reported to me…”
Boaz had already heard of Ruth and what kind of woman she was, her kindness and compassion toward Naomi. Whatever else he thought about the current situation, he took the opportunity to praise and thank her for her actions. More insight into his character.
15-16 “…Let her glean even among the sheaves…let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her…”
Boaz is taking advantage of his opportunity to further help Ruth and Naomi. Regardless of his full intentions, it is a way to assist while allowing the assisted to maintain their dignity. When we care for more than others’ physical needs, we show more of the heart of Christ.
18-19 “…her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned…gave to her what she had kept back…Where have you gleaned today?…Blessed be the one who took notice of you”
Tried to find some relation between the amount of grain Ruth acquired to how much she would have had to glean. Ephah is supposedly about a bushel which weighs about forty-eight pounds. Near as I could discover, she would have had to glean quite a bit of barley to get that much grain. Naomi probably realized that the amount was more than one would get just by gleaning what was normally left over. Also, the parched grain told her Ruth had been allowed to associate with the reapers. Naomi could tell something unusual had occurred.
20 “…Blessed be he of the LORD, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!…”
She is beginning to see God’s hand in His care for her.
22 “…It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, and that people do not meet you in any other field”
I think Naomi could also see that Boaz appears to have been interested in Ruth beyond normal kindness and appreciation. She may be trying to help that along herself. Commentary also pointed out the practical aspects as well. Since Boaz had made the kind offer, it would have been rude and unseemly for Ruth to glean in other fields, not to mention the possibility of rude treatment for her.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.