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Thursday, July 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Ruth 2

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-7

Ruth - Chapter 2

Ruth Gleaning, vs. 1-7

This passage begins with an introduction to a wealthy man of the town of Bethlehem named Boaz. It appears that much of his wealth may have consisted of lands. Being called a mighty man indicates that he was a man of prestige and influence in Bethlehem. He was a relative of Elimelech; in what way is not revealed, but Jewish tradition makes him the nephew of Elimelech. That he was some years older than Ruth will appear in the sequel.

Remember that Naomi had left lands when she went to Moab. How it had been used in her absence is not revealed, but certainly it could not support them presently. Crops had already been sown, and the barley had ripened and was being gathered when they returned. But the law provided for the poor and destitute by allowing them to glean in the fields of those who had food and harvests (see Leviticus 19:9-10). Ruth had learned about this provision and asked permission of Naomi to go into the fields and glean after the reapers. Note the use of the old English word "corn" which simply means "grain". The "corn" here was barley. The gleaner would be allowed to pick stalks and heads of grain which fell out of the sheaves or was overlooked or left by the reapers. Naomi gave Ruth permission to go and glean.

She soon found a likely place and received permission of the reapers to glean. "Her hap" was to be gleaning in a field which belonged to the wealthy Boaz. It did, of course, seem to be just a happening, but it is certain that the Lord was working these things according to His purpose and foreknowledge. (Cf. Proverbs 16:33)

The godly character of Boaz is apparent as soon as he enters the picture. He comes into the field courteously greeting his workers in the name of the lord, and they answer accordingly. Immediately Boaz noticed the presence of a strange young woman, and upon inquiring was informed that she is the Moabite girl who came home with Naomi. Her reason for being there was explained. The foreman of the reapers seems to speak commendably of Ruth, indicating that she had worked diligently all the morning with only a short rest.

Verses 8-16

Boaz Providing, vs. 8-16

Boaz was very favorably impressed with Ruth. He liked her faithfulness to Naomi, her diligence at the gleaning, her courtesy in his presence, and very likely he liked her appearance. There is no record that Boaz had yet married, so that all of these things would certainly prepare him for what is to follow.

Boaz was concerned about Ruth. He was concerned that she should allow him to continue to be her benefactor, so commanded her not to go into other fields. He took care that she not be molested by the young men, ordering them not to bother her. He wanted her to share in the food and drink which he provided for his reapers.

This grand treatment of Ruth, a Moabitess stranger, humbled her, and she fell down before Boaz. when she inquired why he would treat her so kindly, he answered that he had knowledge of the love and kindness she had shown Naomi, of how she had left her own family and home in Moab and embraced the God of lsrael. Then he uttered his blessing on her, that the Lord God of Israel would repay her for her trust in Him. In turn Ruth thanked Boaz for the kind words he spoke to her.

Boaz invited Ruth to dine with him and the reapers, sharing the parched grain and vinegar (a sauce) with her at mealtime. When she had done eating and moved away Boaz gave orders to his reapers to allow Ruth to glean wherever she willed, even to taking out of the sheaves, without rebuking her. In fact, he told them to drop handfuls of the grain on purpose that she might gather it up and get a good gleaning.

Verses 17-23

Naomi Contemplating, vs. 17-23

Ruth certainly was not lazy. She worked right on through the heat of the day, and evidently did not quit until the reapers quit for the day. Her gleaning turned out excellently. When she threshed her grain it amounted to an ephah, which is a little more than three pecks, or three ­fourths bushel. The reapers evidently had let fall quite a few handfuls on purpose. When it was brought to Naomi she had, it seems, taken out-for their evening meal, which is indicated by the words, "after she was sufficed." Still, Naomi was astounded. She knew it was impossible that anyone should be able to glean so much unless some special provision had been made, that someone had "taken knowledge of" her, (Philippians 4:19).

When Naomi learned who it was that had so befriended Ruth it seems wheels began turning in her head. She knew that the Lord was showing them special favor and blessing the legacy of the family of the dead Elimelech. With the death of both his sons Elimelech was left without an heir to bear his name, but Naomi could see hope. Boaz was a near kinsman who had the right of redemption. He could do much to set things right for Naomi and Ruth and for the dead.

Consequently Naomi concurred with Boaz in instructing Ruth to continue with his reapers, alongside the maidens who worked with the reapers tying up the sheaves, etc. And so Ruth did as instructed, going all through barley harvest with them, then continuing through the harvest of the wheat, also.

Learn from this chapter 1) God’s people should be willing to work and allow Him to guide them to the right place; 2) all the "happenings" in a saved person’s life will be according to the will of Christ if one is faithful; 3) godly persons speak with courtesy and friendliness to those they meet; 4) Christian behavior begets respect from most people; 5) keeping with the right company will bring the greatest blessing.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Ruth 2". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/ruth-2.html. 1985.
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