Ruth 2:17-23

Ruth 2:17

So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley.


So Ruth continued to glean the fields of Boaz until the evening when it was time to start threshing the grain.  They could have used either sticks or stones and then winnowed the grain.  Sometimes the word “corn” is used generally for all types of grains.  She did not bring the barley into the barn or another place to winnow, instead she winnowed the grain in the field.  Winnowing was a method whereby a bunch of grain was tossed into the air and the wind would carry away the tares which were the part of the grains which were uneatable.  In the New testament, the tares are representative of unbelievers.  Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.  (Matthew 13:30)  When she was done she wound up with an ephah of barley.  The ephah would have lasted Ruth and Naomi food for at least a good number of days.  Ruth gleaned in one day food for many days.  This would have been between thirty and fifty pounds which was far more than the normal gleaner would glean.


Ruth 2:18

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.


So Ruth returned to Bethlehem and Naomi with the food she had gleaned.  Naomi then saw the vast amount of food which Ruth gleaned and gave it to Naomi and they took out the amount that was needed and then placed the rest in reserve or storage to be used as needed in the next couple of days. 


Ruth 2:19

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.


Gleaning the fields could be likened to evangelism.  Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.  (John 4:35)  Just as the gleaners go throughout the fields of grain, the true Christians goes throughout the entire world preaching the gospel and then the reapers will come to claim them and bring them to the master who is the Lord Jesus Christ.


Then Naomi asks Ruth where she gleaned today since she saw what a great amount of grain Ruth brought in and since she was directed where to glean by Boaz, it was no doubt very good grain.  She then basically asks the same question but this time she asks her where did you accomplish so much as to bring in this much grain?  Then Naomi blesses Boaz because she asked a blessing on the man who took such notice of Ruth and allowed her to glean so much.  Then Ruth told her that it was Boaz who was the one who showed such kindness to her and allowed her to glean so much. 


Ruth 2:20

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.


Naomi then pronounces a blessing upon Boaz for his kindness he showed them as ones who were living and out of respect for Elimelech and Mahlon and Chilion who died in Moab.  Boaz was taking care of his family members.  He was also following the law from Deuteronomy.  Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.  (Deuteronomy 10:19)  Ruth was definitely a stranger and just as God did not abandon the children of Israel in Egypt, the Israelites were not to abandon or persecute the strangers in Israel.  Then Naomi tells Ruth that Boaz is a kin to them because he was related to Elimelech and in the next portion of that statement Naomi uses the word “gâ’al” in the Hebrew which means “redeemer” and is the word behind “kinsman.” 


Ruth 2:21

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.


The Ruth states that Boaz told her to continue to be beside all the reapers until the time of the reaping is over this way Naomi and Ruth would have enough to eat.  This verse is also dripping with salvation language.  All the gleaners or Christians in the world will remain with the Lord Jesus Christ until the last one is saved and then all Christians will be taken from the earth to Heaven on the last day of evangelizing when all the Elect have been saved, that is, the fields being completely clear of all grain.  Once there are no more to be saved, then that is the last day just like when the last bits of harvest are done, then the reapers and gleaners are finished. 


{38} The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;  {39} The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.  {40} As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.  (Matthew 13:38-40)


Ruth 2:22

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.


Since Boaz had laid down the law that Ruth was not to be assaulted because she was a Moabitess, Naomi has told her that it is a good thing that she is in good with the maidens that work for Boaz.  If she had gone to work in another field for some stranger, then she might have been assailed by workers who might have worked for a boss who would not care what they did to her.  Boaz was her safety net while she worked in Israel.  Christians are assailed constantly by people of other religions.


Ruth 2:23

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.


So Ruth listened to the counsel given to her by Naomi because she saw that Ruth was safe working for Boaz.  Apparently the other maidens accepted Ruth for who she was seeing that she was a diligent worker and not a lazy person as she was holding her own in the field.  So until the barley harvest was done and then the wheat harvest which lasted from late April to early June, Ruth worked with the maidens while living with Naomi and also bringing in the grains they needed to live on.  Ruth came home every night after a day of gleaning and she lived with Naomi even after the harvests were completed.