Chapter 2


Scene 2: Ruth Gleans in Boaz’s Field (2:1-23)

      • Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, from the clan of Elimelech, named Boaz, who was wealthy and prominent. And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go into the fields and gather the fallen grain behind whoever allows me to do so.” Naomi answered, “Go, my daughter.” So, Ruth went and gleaned in the field behind the harvesters, and she happened to end up in the part of the field that belonged to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech.

        • On Boaz as a wealthy and prominent man, the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible notes, “The Hebrew phrase used here is often rendered ‘mighty man of valor’…but sometimes it simply refers to a person of ability (1 Ki 11:28) or of wealth (2 Ki 15:20).”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “Harvesters were to leave some grain for the poor to glean (see Lev 19:9-10; 23:22; Deut 24:19-22). God provided the poor with food.”

        • NET Notes adds, “The text is written from Ruth’s limited perspective. As far as she was concerned, she randomly picked a spot in the field. But God was providentially at work and led her to the portion of the field belonging to Boaz, who, as a near relative of Elimelech, was a potential benefactor.”

      • At that moment, Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and said to the harvesters, “Yahweh be with you!” And the harvesters replied, “Yahweh bless you!” Then Boaz asked his servant in charge of the harvesters, “Whose young woman is this?” And the servant answered, “She’s the young Moabite woman that came back with Naomi from Moab. She said, ‘Please let me gather and glean among the sheaves after the harvesters.’ She came early this morning and has continued working until now, except for a short rest in the shelter.”

      • Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Listen, My daughter. Don’t go gather grain in another field or leave this one, but stay close to my young women. See the field where the men are harvesting and follow the young women. I have ordered the young men not to bother you. When you’re thirsty, you may go and drink from the jars the young men have filled.”

        • NIV Illustrated Study Bible writes, “Boaz gave Ruth the special privilege of gleaning right behind the young women. After the men cut the grain and tied it is small bundles, the women gathered the bundles into larger sheaves…Boaz assured Ruth that no one under his authority would taunt her or try to drive her away from his fields…Boaz’s generosity saved Ruth the trouble of drawing her own water.”

      • Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground before him, and said, “Why have I found favor with you, that you would notice me, even though I’m a foreigner?” And Boaz answered, “I have been given a full report of everything you have done for your mother-in-law since your husband’s death- that you left your parents in your native land and came to a people you didn’t know before. May Yahweh repay you for what you’ve done and may a full reward be given to you by Yahweh, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.” Ruth replied, “My lord, I have found favor in your eyes, for you have comforted and spoken kindly to your servant, even though I’m not one of your servants.”

        • Guzik notes, “Ruth’s attitude was wonderful. Some of us would have said, “Well it’s about time someone noticed! I’ve been working hard all day. Now God will give me the blessings that I deserve. We never see Ruth asking why all the hard things have come upon her in life. Instead, she asks why this good thing has come. This is a significant difference in attitude.”

        • NET Notes adds, “Ruth here uses a word (shifkhah) that describes the lowest level of female servant (see 1 Sam 25:41). Note Ruth 3:9 where she uses the word (ʾamah), which refers to a higher class of servant.”

      • At mealtime Boaz told her, “Come here and eat some bread, and dip it in the wine.” So, she sat beside the harvesters and he gave her roasted grain. She ate until she was satisfied and had some left over. When she got up to go glean, Boaz commanded his young men, “Let her glean among the sheaves also and don’t humiliate her. Pull some out from the bundles for her also and leave it for her to glean, and don’t rebuke her.” So Ruth gathered grain in the field until evening. When she beat out what she had gathered, it came to about 26 quarts of barley.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “Boaz’s instructions to his reapers as they returned to work after lunch made Ruth’s gleaning a great deal more productive. Boaz provided for Ruth much more than the law of gleaning required of him…Ruth could not normally have gleaned nearly as much as an ephah of barley (about two-thirds of a bushel).”

      • She picked it up and took it into the city, and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. Then she brought out what she had left over from her meal and gave it to her. Then her mother-in-law asked, “Where did you gather grain today? Where did you work? May the one who took notice of you be blessed.” And she told her mother-in-law, “The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz.” Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by Yahweh, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead. The man is a close relative of ours, one of our family redeemers.”

        • Guzik writes, “Besides all the barley grain, Ruth brought Naomi the food left over from the meal with Boaz. This was obviously a blessing for Naomi.”

      • On the term ‘”family redeemer” the NLT Illustrated Study Bible says, “(Hebrew go’el): The law specified that the go’el, the nearest male kinsmen, was to help a relative who fell into economic difficulty.”

      • Ruth the Moabite said, “He also told me, ‘Keep close to my servants until they have finished all of my harvest.’” And Naomi replied to her daughter-in-law Ruth, “My daughter, it is good that you go out with his young women so that you won’t be harmed in another field.” So, Ruth stayed close to Boaz’s young women, and gleaned until the end of the barley and wheat harvests; and she lived with her mother-in-law.

        • ESV Archaeology Study Bible writes, “The implication is that young women were not safe in such an environment.”

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “The author refers to Ruth as (literally) “Ruth the Moabite” five times…reminding us repeatedly that Ruth was not an Israelite.”

        • NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible adds, “The time involved would normally be two to two and one-half months, taking the wheat harvest into June. If the narrative is chronological, the winnowing of barley does not commence until ch. 3; it appears the barley winnowing was put on hold until the wheat harvest had come in. If this is the case, it implies a significant harvest in view of the recently terminated famine.”

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