Ruth 2:1-8

Ruth 2:1

And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz.


Here we are introduced to Boaz whose name means “in strength.”  Boaz was a relative of Elimelech but it is not known as to what specific relationship he was.  He was considered to be a mighty man of wealth as he owned agricultural fields and probably invested in other things at this time.  He is also referred to as a “near kinsman” in later chapters in Ruth.  He not only possessed much material wealth but he also had an inner strength in love and compassion which is revealed in the upcoming chapters.


Ruth 2:2

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.


Ruth already knew that she and Boaz were going to become close as she now desired to go to the field and glean some ears of corn from the field of Boaz.  Then Naomi tells her to go and glean.  It is interesting that Ruth stated that she would find grace in the sight of Boaz.  Here in this narrative we have an exposure to grace where Ruth the Moabitess, a Gentile, will find grace in the life of Boaz, an Israelite.  It is the grace of salvation couched in a story of love.  Just as the Lord Jesus Christ would save millions of Gentiles throughout the ages, the story of Ruth and Boaz bring to light the love that motivated salvation by God.


Ruth 2:3

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.


Under the law it was required of landowners that when they harvest their crops, they are to leave a portion for the poor people to be able to glean and to feed themselves.  Ruth had begun to glean and the part of the field that she gleaned from had belonged to Boaz.  I am sure that she had done this intentionally making sure that she gleaned from the field of Boaz.


And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest.  (Leviticus 19:9)


And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.  (Leviticus 23:22)


Ruth 2:4

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.


Boaz now returned from Bethlehem and he probably heard about Ruth and Naomi returning to Israel after their long stay in Moab.  He may have gotten the information from someone since the town was moved concerning their return and maybe because Naomi was related to Boaz is why the townspeople spoke so much about it.  Then we see in this verse a mutual salutation which is still practiced today in the Middle East.  Boaz must have been a kind man to his workers because he acknowledged them by greeting them.  The greeting was basically a desire for a mutual blessing from the LORD on both worker and owner.


Ruth 2:5

Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this?


Then while Ruth was gleaning she was spotted by Boaz and no doubt she garnered favor in his sight immediately.  That is how grace works, it works immediately.  He wanted to know who the damsel was and she may have been a very beautiful woman.  Moab today would be in the country of Jordan so those who live in Jordan may be the descendants of Moab since the Arabs have lived in those areas for thousands of years.


Ruth 2:6

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:


Then the foreman came back to Boaz and told him that the woman is the one who returned from Moab with Naomi.  It was obvious that the foreman had a chance to speak with Ruth and was able to give Boaz the answers to his questions.  It might be that Ruth learned the language of Israel from Naomi and probably her husband.  She may have been able to speak both Hebrew and Arabic or whatever the dialect was in Moab.  If she was bi-lingual, it showed the Ruth had both intelligence and beauty.  I am sure that there were many Israelite women who would have desired to be with Boaz.


Ruth 2:7

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.


Ruth had approached the foreman and asked his permission to glean in the field after the reapers had placed the crops in sheaves or bundles.  They may have had a similar law in Moab or she learned the custom when she came to Israel from Naomi.  No doubt the foreman was obeying the law found in Leviticus where even the stranger in the land was allowed to glean and Ruth was definitely a stranger being from Moab.  Ruth also showed that she was not afraid of doing some hard work as she gleaned in the field from morning until afternoon because it was not time for the evening meal yet.  The little house that she dwelt in was probably a makeshift tent which was erected on the site where she was working and could be dismantled when she moved to a different location.  It shows that she did not tarry in the house for long periods of time because she was very industrious and spent most of the time in the field working.  The fact that she was not lazy was conveyed to Boaz on his return.


Ruth 2:8

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:


“Hearest thou not my daughter” was an expression of care for her by calling her daughter.  That was a great compliment because as a stranger or foreigner she had no rights of any type of possession in Israel.  Boaz was being kind to her because he had told her that she should not go to glean in another person’s field and not to go from the place where Boaz was.  Here he was beginning to show her kindness and compassion because Ruth did not have to worry about getting food by gleaning because Boaz already started to like her and would take care of her but there was one major obstacle in his path and that was that there was another man in the way who had the right to claim Ruth so at this point Boaz could not get overly involved with her because if he fell in love with her and the other person redeemed her, it would break his heart.  The maidens here that Boaz wanted Ruth to be with were those who followed the reapers not to glean but to actually place the harvest in bundles plus in those times women also reaped the fields so Ruth was actually raised from being a poor stranger to one of his handpicked crews which worked his field as an employee rather than a foreigner with no privileges.  The word for “here fast” is the word for cleave which speaks about marriage so Boaz is telling Ruth to stay in lockstep with his chosen maidens.