TOP 

Ruth 2: 1-12

By Adrienne Crist

"2 There was a relative of Naomi’s husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz. 2 So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” 3 Then she left, and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers. And she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech. 4 Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!” And they answered him, “The Lord bless you!” 5 Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?” 6 So the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered and said, “It is the young Moabite woman who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. 7 And she said, ‘Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.’ So she came and has continued from morning until now, though she rested a little in the house.” 8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women. 9 Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.” 10 So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” 11 And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”

GENERAL INFO ABOUT the Barley harvest (time of year APRIL, etc.) and reapers as temporary or contract workers much like our temporary field workers today. Various herbs and legumes were harvested in spring, but the most important spring crops were cereals: barley and wheat. Barley was harvested first. A spring ritual took particular note of the cereals: Newly harvested grain could not be eaten until the firstfruits of grain had been offered on the “day after the Sabbath” of the Festival of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:9-14). Pentecost, near the end of the grain harvest, included grain and loaf offerings (verses 16-17). Pentecost was also called “the Feast of Harvest” (Exodus 23:16). 2:1

“There was a relative of Naomi’s husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz.” In Chapter 4, verse 3, we find out how Elimelech is related to Boaz and the other relative (unnamed) are related to each other. The other brother was probably older than Boaz so he would be the next in line to marry Ruth in order to continue the line of Elimelech. So in Chapter 4, verse 3, we read: “3 Then he said to the close relative, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech.” So we assume that Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, is the brother of both Boaz and this other nearest relative that Boaz is speaking to but we’ll get into that when we get to Chapters 3 and 4.

2:2 2 “So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.”  Ruth seemed to know at least this part of the Levitical law so it must have been taught to her by Naomi. Because Naomi didn’t offer to go with Ruth, this tells me that Naomi was most likely or may not able to do that type of labor any more for whatever reason otherwise I think she would have gone with her to protect her.

The mercy of God in the Levitical law: In the Levitical law handed down to Moses, God is very careful to make sure that the poor and the foreigner are treated fairly and taken care of. (Read Leviticus 19:9,10) “9 ‘When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God.” This is very cool in that it creates a welfare system but still people must work and it leaves them with some dignity. I would imagine that if someone is spotted as a good worker, they very well may have been offered a paying job or the person’s reputation would have been networked in the community as a good worker and also so that others could help the poor or the foreigner gleaning the fields further by knowing they were in need.

2:3-4 “3 Then she left, and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers. And she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech. 4 Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!” And they answered him, “The Lord bless you!” Interesting....Boaz immediately calls out a blessing to all of his “reapers,” his contract or temporary workers. They weren’t his even his full-time workers. They could have been a combination of of Jews and foreigners who were the reapers. He was telling them about God simply by greeting them with a warm blessing. How many of us have worked at jobs where we would love to have been greeted like this from a Godly employer. The workers responded to him in kind. They obviously cared and respected Boaz as they all responded to him in kind. The scripture doesn’t say some of them but “they answered him” as in all of them answered him. He was respected and very well thought of.

2:5-7  "Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?” 6 So the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered and said, “It is the young Moabite woman who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. 7 And she said, ‘Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.’ So she came and has continued from morning until now, though she rested a little in the house.” Boaz noticed Ruth immediately. “The servant who was in charge...” This is where we see that a full-time servant is in charge of the reapers or temporary workers. The servant spoke very highly of Ruth and what a hard worker she was. This is where we understand that when we work, our work should always be as if God were our boss. I’m sure Ruth didn’t know that the Supervisor had taken any notice of her. Ruth wasn’t even getting paid. She was picking up scraps or left overs for her mother-in-law and her. We never know who’s watching us but we do know that we’re always being watched by God and almost always being watched by non-believers especially when they know that we are followers of Christ Jesus. It is so important to give a Christ like example. It is a sermon without words. Naomi not only walked the corners and the edges but she asked the Supervisor if she could gather among the “sheaves” (the already bundled barley). Ruth knew her place as a foreigner and she was humble showing her humility by asking if she could also collect among the sheaves.

Now we’re going to SKIP DOWN TO VERSE 11

2:11 “11 And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before.” Boaz didn’t just merely inquire about who Ruth was. He wanted and got the full scoop. This tells me that Boaz wanted to know as much as possible about her possibly because:

- He wanted to know who was working in his field even of the gleaners because a young beautiful woman working by herself could cause some problems.

- She may have looked different by her dress and he probably checked his fields every day and spotted her as being new.

- He may have been attracted to her but as we will see in the coming verses, he made no overture because of propriety and the differences in their ages. Instead he took a FATHERLY role. COMPARISON: We, the church, are the BRIDE of Christ; He is also our FATHER as the Father and the Son are one (John 10:30) ; he is also our BROTHER, our FRIEND and most important of all, OUR LORD AND SAVIOR.

NOW BACK TO VERSES 8 AND 9....

2:8-9 “8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women. 9 Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.”

How would each of us feel if an employer showed this incredible kindness to us? (Discussion) By the way, this also speaks to Naomi’s glowing report of her daughter-in-law to the community when they returned from Moab.

2:10 “10 So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” The word “favor” also means “grace.” While the Levitical law allows for foreigners both men and women to glean, for the Jews to intermingle with them (especially the women) was very much frowned upon by the Sanhedrin high priests and most if not all of the Jewish population would shun them. Ruth recognized that even though she was a Jewish convert, that many still saw her as a Moabite foreigner. She knew that Boaz was showing extreme favor by the way he was treating her. Here we see the parallels of how Christ has shown us favor and grace. How much “favor” has Christ shown us? (Discussion)

2:11-12 “11 And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”

Not only does Boaz talk to her and make arrangements to make sure she gleans more than enough for her and Naomi and for her safety, he then extends a blessing to her. (Remember we mentioned a couple of weeks ago that the mother of Boaz was Rahab and no doubt Boaz had a special soft spot for struggling foreigners. Most likely Rahab being a harlot and a foreigner knew what unacceptance and shunning felt like and perhaps Boaz had witnessed his mother being treated that way.) It was an incredibly warm and special blessing. By Boaz stating, “under whose wings you have come for refuge,” he was saying that he was fully accepting that she was a true converted Jew because he was acknowledging the promises that God had made to the Jewish people of how He would protect them under his wings were also for her. (DISCUSSION - When have you felt the unmistakable presence of God’s protection over you or a loved one?)

I’ve made a copy of several scriptures where God uses the metaphor of “His wings” covering us in protection. God is so gracious. Not only does He tell us how much He loves us in scripture but He gives us pictures of His love so that we can visualize His love. Remember this was before the ultimate show of His love when His Son died on the cross for our sins.....a picture we all keep in our minds. He’s given us this picture and so many others throughout both the Old Testament and the New of His love and protection throughout the Old Testament. Jesus, Himself, gives a picture of how much He loved Jerusalem and its people when He tells the apostles in Matthew 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” .....and sadly they rejected Him. Let us rest securely and safely under the wings of the Lord Most High. PRAY and open for discussion.....

UNDER THE SHADOW OF GOD’S WINGS

Exodus 19:4 Reminding the Jews how he saved them from the Egyptians:‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself."

Deut 32 Moses reminds the people of God’s protection of the Jew while they were in the desert. 10 “He found him in a desert land And in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple (literally pupil) of His eye. 11 As an eagle stirs up its nest, Hovers over its young, Spreading out its wings, taking them up, Carrying them on its wings, 12 So the Lord alone led him, And there was no foreign god with him".

Psalms 17:8 David prayed:Keep me as the apple (literally pupil) of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings,

Psalms 36:7 - How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.

Psalms 57:1 - Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge. Until these calamities have passed by.

Psalms 61:4 - I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah

Psalms 63:6-8 - When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. 7 Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. 8 My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.

Psalms 91:1-6 - He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust. 3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. 4 He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. 5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, 6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

Matthew 23:37: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!

Update Notifications

 

 

* indicates required