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Thursday, May 30th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Ruth 2

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-23

Chapter 2

Now Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; his name was Boaz ( Ruth 2:1 ).

So Elimelech had, and in the fourth chapter Boaz calls him, "our brother Elimelech," so a relation, perhaps a full brother, perhaps a half-brother who became a very wealthy man, a mighty man of wealth.

And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean the ears of corn [after that which I must] after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter ( Ruth 2:2 ).

Now in the law, God made a provision for the poor people. There were welfare laws in those days. I think they are far superior to the welfare laws today. It wasn't just a "give me," or give-out dole to people. But the law declared that when you had fields, you could only harvest your fields once. You couldn't go back through to pick the second time. You had one shot at your harvest. You went through once, that was it. Nor did you pick up anything off the ground. So that the poor of the land could come into your field after your harvesters had gone through, and whatever wasn't ripe when they had gone through, whatever was there, was free for the poor people. Thus, they could always go into the fields and they could come in after your harvesters. They could pick up any vegetables, or any fruits or whatever that remained after your first once harvest through the thing then the rest was left for the poor, thus, were the poor of the land taken care of. It was a very excellent welfare law. The poor of the land were taken care of adequately by this law. If you wanted to eat there was always food. You could always go out into the field and gather it after the harvesters.

So Ruth said to Naomi, "I'm gonna go out and glean in the field after the harvesters." It says,

And it was her hap [or we would say today, "It so happened,"] that she was in the part of the field that belonged to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech ( Ruth 2:3 ).

"It so happened," no that's not so. Nothing just so happens. When we relate a thing we say, "You know it was the strangest coincidence." But really when you're God's child, and God's hand is on your life, there aren't really coincidences. God's hand is in all of these things.

Now when God guides our lives, somehow we've got a mental concept that in order for God to guide me, there's got to be some kind of a mystical, spooky kind of an aura, you know. Where you almost go into a semi-trance and a fog begins to sort of come around you. You hear a voice in the echo chamber that says, "Goooo left." You expect God to lead you in some kind of a mystical way, when in reality God leads you in such natural ways. You say, "Well, it just happened that I was there at that moment."

For the last few weeks my wife has been asking me concerning a doctor that was with us in Israel last year who helped her when she broke her arm. She said, "I'm so concerned about him? I wonder if everything is all right. We haven't heard. We sent him a Christmas card, and we haven't heard. I wonder, oh I wonder how he's doing, if you've seen him."

"No I haven't seen him."

"Well I wonder how they're doing." She's been on to me for this for a few weeks. Well, at my son's church the ladies were having a retreat up at Idylewild last weekend, not this, but the previous, and so Kay went up to teach the ladies. Because the dust was getting to her, she decided not to eat lunch there in the camp, but to go into a little restaurant called, "The Breadbasket." So as she was in there eating lunch, who should come in but the doctor's wife, who was passing by and decided, "Oh, I want to get one of the specialties of the bakery shop there." So she just on impulse ran in to get something out of the bakery. It just so happened, you see? No, those things don't happen, God is leading, God is guiding, and God put these things together but it happens so naturally, that you don't recognize that it's God doing it.

God leads us in very natural ways. It comes as a thought, it comes as an impulse, it comes as an idea, or it comes as an inspiration. "Oh, I'm hungry for a tamale."

"Got to have a tamale."

"Well where shall we go?"

"Well, let's go there." God is actually putting together circumstances. You get there and there's the plan of God unfolding. He's been guiding and it just so happened-but no. It doesn't so happen. God's hand is there leading and guiding. "For the steps of a righteous man are ordered of the Lord, and he delights in His ways." If you will in all your ways just acknowledge Him, He will direct your paths.

Now looking at it from our side, we say, "Now it so happened that she came into the field of Boaz." But in reality God was holding her by the hand, and directing her to that field. She was going out wondering, "Where in the world am I going to glean? Oh my, this is all new. I don't know any place around here. Oh, there's some gals out there, I'll follow them." God was just leading all the way along.

Neat the way the Lord does lead our lives. It's glorious the way God directs our paths as we just yield ourselves to Him. Before I get out of bed in the morning, I say, "Lord today is Yours. My life is Yours. Now You just lead me Lord in whatever You have for me. Direct my life today Lord. I don't have any hard, fast plans that can't be broken, Lord. You just bring into my path whatever You want. I want to be open to You today." It's always exciting because you never know just what God has in mind for you each day as He puts the circumstances together. We look at it and, "Man, that is the most amazing coincidence I've ever seen." Not really. God was bringing the ends together all the way along.

And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and he said to the reapers, The Lord be with you. And they answered him, The Lord bless thee ( Ruth 2:4 ).

Now Boaz does show many characteristics of a fine, outstanding, godly man. Just remember it's a time of spiritual declension and apostasy, the period of the Judges. But here's a man who's walking with God, who comes out and greets his servants by saying, "The Lord be with you!" Evidently there's a good management relationship here with servants, and they say, "And the Lord bless thee!" What's the other indications of this man's spiritual nature?

Then said Boaz unto his servant that was over the reapers, Where did this chick come from? [that's a modern translation] And the servant that was over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab: And she said, I [beg you, or] pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers after the sheaves: and she came, and hath continued even from morning until now, she only tarried for a little time in the house. Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Listen my daughter? Don't glean in any other field, neither go from here, but abide here fast by my maidens: And let your eyes be on the field that they reap, and follow after them: for I have charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when you're thirsty, you can go to the vessels, and drink of the water that the young men have drawn. And she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that you should take knowledge of me, seeing I'm a stranger? And Boaz answered and said unto her, It has been fully shown unto me, all that thou hast done unto your mother in law since the death of your husband: and how you have left your father and mother, and the land of your nativity, and are come unto a people which you did not know before this. The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given to thee of the Lord God of Israel, unto whose wings thou art come to trust ( Ruth 2:5-12 ).

So it's a beautiful scene. They are meeting and he speaks to Ruth and says, "You know just stay in the fields of my maidens, follow them. Don't go to any other fields. When you get thirsty you can drink from the containers that the young men have drawn." She's amazed by the kindness.

She's a stranger here, and she said, "How come you're treating me so kindly? I'm a stranger."

He said, "I've heard all about you. I've heard about your kindness to Naomi. I've heard about your decision really to come into a new land, and under the shelter of Jehovah." So his beautiful words, "May Jehovah recompense thy work. May the Lord just reward your decisions. And a full reward be given to you from the God of Israel under whose wings you have come to trust."

The people there were very close to nature. They were very earthy people. Thus, they pictured God in earthy pictures. One of the pictures that they had of God was that loving, protecting concern over His children, as a mother hen has that loving, protective concern over her little chicks. So that when danger threatens, the little chicks run under the mother who ruffles out her feathers and covers them, and stands there to protect them against danger. This is one of the pictures of God in the Old Testament. "Under His wings shalt thou trust." This picture of a mother hen brooding, and covering, and protecting with her wings, with her feathers, her little coop. It's a very earthly kind of thing, and if you haven't been around a farm or chickens, you don't understand it fully. Fortunately when I was a kid, even growing up here in California we were country enough where we still had chickens around in the backyard. "But may the Lord reward you under whose wings, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to trust." Trusting in God now. Looking to Him.

Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for you have comforted me, and you have spoken friendly unto your handmaid, though I am not like one of your own handmaidens. And Boaz said to her, At mealtime you can come here, and eat of the bread, and dip your morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left ( Ruth 2:13-14 ).

So Boaz is showing a definite interest in her, reaching over and getting some parched corn for her. Inviting her to eat and showing the protection.

And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Now you let her glean even among the sheaves, don't approach her: ["If she happens to wander over into the area where you haven't been yet, don't yell at her, let her go."] Then every once in awhile just let a handful drop on purpose for her,... So Ruth gleaned that day and she came up with about a bushel of barley. [So that when she got back to Naomi,] Naomi said, Where in the world were you gleaning today? The Lord be gracious unto that man. Ruth said, Well I happened to be in the field of a man whose name is Boaz. And Naomi said unto her, Blessed is he of the Lord, who has not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said to her, The man is near of kin to us, he is one of our next goels, kinsman redeemers. ["This man is a family member, he's a goel, he's a kinsman redeemer to us, one of the next of kinsman redeemers."] And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said unto me also, You shall stay fast by my young men until they have ended all my harvest. And Naomi said to Ruth her daughter in law, It is good, my daughter, that you do not go out with his maidens, and that they do not meet you in any other field. So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of the barley harvest and of the wheat harvest; and she stayed there with her mother in law ( Ruth 2:15-23 ). "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Ruth 2". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/ruth-2.html. 2014.
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