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Rth 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.
Ver. 1. And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s.] Lyra saith Elimelech and Salmon - other Hebrews say Elimelech and Naasson - were brethren. Some, more probably, hold that Elimelech was the son of Salmon’s brother, and so his son the kinsman of Boaz once removed; for there was one nearer. Rth 3:12
A mighty man of wealth. ] Rich, and yet religious - a rare bird.
And his name was Boaz, ] i.e., Strength, or fortitude. He was strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. The rich man’s wealth is his strong city. Pro 18:11 But good Boaz had learned better than to trust in uncertain riches: 1Ti 6:17 he was rich in this world, and withal rich in good works (ibid.), rich in faith, Jam 2:5 rich to Godward. Luk 12:21
Rth 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.
Ver. 2. And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi. ] This request of Ruth made way to her recompense. Great things oft come of small beginnings. God put small thoughts into Ahasuerus’s heart, but for great purpose. Est 6:1
Let me now go to the field. ] In the midst of worldly wants she murmureth not against the God of Israel, for maintaining his servants no better, as Aigoland, king of Saragossa, did against the God of Christians, when he saw the many poor that expected alms from Charles the Great’s table, a - she meditateth not to return to Moab, as those in the wilderness once did into Egypt; she stealeth not, setteth not herself to sale for a livelihood, &c., but bethinks her of an honest, though painful employment, and thereto craveth Naomi’s consent, whom she ever honoured as a mother by a singular piety.
After him in whose sight I shall find grace. ] This was her modesty, notwithstanding the liberty given her by the law. Leviticus 9:10 ; Lev 23:22 A good heart inquireth not only An liceat? but also An deceat, an expediat? Ruth would not lease without leave and good liking.
Go, my daughter. ] A mild speech from a meek spirit.
Rth 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.
Ver. 3. And she went, and came, and gleaned. ] A mean, but honest employment, which therefore she stoopeth unto, and it proved a step to her highest preferment. A diligent person liveth not long in a low place. Pro 22:29
And her hap was to light, &c. ] Accidit accidens vel eventus. By mere chance, in respect of Ruth, - who, being a stranger, knew not whose field it was, - but by a sweet providence of God, who led her hither by the hand as it were, for her present encouragement and future advancement. God will direct and succeed the attempts of the well minded.
Rth 2:4 And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD [be] with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.
Ver. 4. And, behold, Boaz came from Beth-lehem. ] To look to his country business, as a good economist: his eyes are on the servants, on the reapers, on the gleaners. Maiores fertilissimum in agro oculum domini esse dixerunt; a our ancestors were wont to say, that the master’s eye maketh the ground most fruitful. The master’s footsteps, saith one in Aristotle, are the best manure for the farm. b And, Procul a villa sua dissitus iacturae vicinus, said Cato: The farther from thy business, the nearer to loss. Boaz had a bailiff of his husbandry, Aγρονομον , as Josephus calleth him, careful and painful; and yet we find him not only looking to, but even lodging in the midst of his hinds. Ruth 3:7 ; Rth 3:14
The Lord be with you … The Lord bless thee.] Piety not only stands with humanity and civil courtesy, but also exacteth and requireth it. Matthew 10:11 1 Peter 3:8 Luk 10:5 God hath his ethics, and commandeth good manners as well as good conscience. Affability and courtesy is the way to win upon others; men’s minds are taken with it, as passengers’ eyes are with fair flowers in the spring-tide; whereas a harsh, sullen, sour, churlish conversation is very distasteful to all, galleth the best, witness David, 1Sa 25:10-13 and openeth bad men’s mouths to speak evil of religion, as if it were an enemy to comity and courtesy - as if it removed it, whereas it only rectifieth it, and prescribeth to it, by restraining flattery and treachery.
The Lord bless thee. ] Courtesy must be paid in the same coin. The Turk’s salutation is Salaum aleek, Peace be to thee; the reply is, Aleek salaum. They which salute are to be re-saluted. Note this against some Anabaptists and the Quakers. Those places, 2Ki 4:29 Luke 10:4 , make nothing for them, as enjoining only haste to be made in matters so weighty. Nor that, 2 John 1:10 , as meant only of desperate heretics, such as was Marcion, to whom Polycarp, Agnosco te primogenitum diaboli. As for others, "Charity hopeth all things," and if they be not sons of peace, our peace returneth to us.
a Plin., lib. viii. cap. 6.
b Domini vestigia stercus optimum. - Arist. Oecon., lib. i.
Rth 2:5 Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel [is] this?
Ver. 5. Unto his servant that was set over the reapers. ] His villicus, his bailiff, whose office was to see that the rest were painful and faithful. The Jews have a saying, Marbe gnabhadim, marbe gezel, He that multiplieth servants, multiplieth thieves. How idle and wasteful are many! An overseer, therefore, is but necessary.
Whose damsel is this? ] Observing her by her habit or complexion to be a stranger, and with it laborious, he maketh this inquiry.
Rth 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:
Ver. 6. And the servant. ] He gives a ready answer, a good account, Rationem cum domino crebro putet, saith Cato a concerning a steward.
It is the Moabitish damsel. ] He commendeth her for her virtues, little thinking that shortly she should be his mistress. This was fair, and not ordinary. Vituperant homines quam collaudant promptius. Malignity and morosity reigneth everywhere.
a De Re Rust, cap. v.
Rth 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.
Ver. 7. I pray you, let me glean. ] See Trapp on " Rth 2:2 "
And gather after the reapers. ] She thrust not herself in before or among the reapers as an impudent, bold housewife, pretending that now God’s barn door was open, and she might take where she could, &c., but begged leave to follow after them, to gather up the loose ears. This was her honesty, modesty, and humility, to her great commendation.
And hath continued even from the morning. ] "Not slothful in business," Rom 12:11 but assiduous and constant at it. Ecc 10:18 This is praiseworthy, - in a minister especially, who is bidden to be instant, or to stand over his work, to stand close to it, 2Ti 4:2 a to live and die upon it. Oportet Episcopum conscionantem mori, said Bishop Juell.
Until now, that she tarried a little in the house. ] For necessary repast and repose, in the heat of the day. Excepa modica sessione eius in tugurio; so Munster rendereth it.
a επιστηθι .
Rth 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:
Ver. 8. Hearest thou not, my daughter? ] q.d., Hear and heed what I say to thee; be advised by me. Audite senem iuvenes, &c. Neither showed Boaz his love "in word or in tongue only" - such love is good cheap - "but in deed and in truth." 1Jn 3:18
Abide here fast by my maidens. ] Who were there, either as reapers, binders, or takers: or if they gleaned, it was for themselves, because they were poor and indigent.
Ruth 2:9 [Let] thine eyes [be] on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of [that] which the young men have drawn.
Ver. 9. Go thou after them. ] Mercy is not miserly: charity is no churl. Love is full of good works. This age aboundeth with mouth mercy, Jam 3:15-16 but a little handful were better than a great many such mouthfuls.
That they should not touch thee. ] With a wanton touch, as young men are apt to do, or otherwise wrong thee. Let masters of families make Nebuchadnezzar’s law, that nothing be said or done, by those under their charge, against the God of heaven.
Drink of that which the young men have drawn. ] Not without hard labour in those hot and high countries: the courtesy, therefore, was the greater.
Rth 2:10 Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I [am] a stranger?
Ver. 10. Then she fell on her face, &c. ] Here shine forth her humility, modesty, and many other graces: a she was, as Gualther saith of the Lady Jane Gray, Pietatis, prudentiae, et modestiae delicium. Yea, caelum quoddam lucidissimis virtutum stellis exornatum, as Bucholcer saith of Joseph. All the people of her city soon knew that she was a very virtuous woman, Rth 3:11 and hence it was that she found so much favour, for true goodnass is very lovely: οττι καλον φιλον εστι .
That thou shouldest take knowledge of me. ] Non sum dignus, Domine, quem diligas, saith Augustine. Every saint may say with admiration as he did in John 14:22 , "Lord, how is it that thou hast manifested thyself to us, and not unto the world?"
a Rutha tanquam lucidum speculum multarum virtutum nobis proponitur. - Lavater.
Rth 2:11 And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and [how] thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.
Ver. 11. It hath fully been showed me. ] Her faith to God and love to her mother-in-law was much noted and noticed. See 1 Thessalonians 1:8 . Fame a followeth virtue, as the shadow doth the body, at the heels. "Since thou hast been precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable." Isa 43:4 By faith those "elders obtained a good report," Heb 11:2 as Abel, who, "being dead, yet speaketh," or, is spoken of, as some render it, Heb 11:4 and as Abraham, who forsook all, and followed God into a strange country; so did this daughter of Abraham, and was famous for it, yea, renowned. See Psalms 37:6 ; Psalms 112:6 .
All that thou hast done unto thy mother-ln-law. ] A sure sign of thy true love to thy late husband, and how greatly thou prizest holiness in his mother, a happy instrument of thy conversion. Ruth was lovely, and therefore loved: Ut ameris amabilis esto.
a "If there be any virtue, if any praise." - Philippians 4:8 .
Rth 2:12 The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.
Ver. 12. The Lord recompense thy work. ] Though Ruth lacked the world’s wealth, yet she lacked not good works, such as God regarded and rewarded too. Many Papists, and some as silly, have shrunk up good works to a hand-breadth, to giving of alms. Ruth had no alms to give, and yet her work was with the Lord, who heard this good man’s prayer for her, and gave her a full reward, yet not of merit, but of free grace and fatherly love, as a father rewardeth his son that serveth him.
And a full reward be given thee. ] Fiat merces tua solida. a It was so when she became his wife, which he little thought of, when he thus heartily prayed for her, but especially when she came to heaven; whither that proud merit monger never came who said, Caelum gratis non accipiam, If I may not earn heaven, I will never have it of free gift. Let us "look to ourselves that we lose not the things that we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward." 2Jn 1:8
Under whose wings thou art come to trust. ] A metaphor usual in Scripture, from young birds hovering and covering under the dam’s wings. Ruth "coming to God, believed that God is, and that he is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him." Heb 11:6 Fides est quae te pullastram, Christum gallinam facit, ut sub pennis eius speres; nam salus in pennis eius. b
Rth 2:13 Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens.
Ver. 13. Let me find favour in thy sight, a my lord.] May I be so happy as still to continue high in thy love and favour, though I be never so unworthy. See 2 Samuel 16:4 . See Trapp on " 2Sa 16:4 "
For that thou hast comforted me, ] viz., By thy praising me, praying for me, and speaking kindly unto me.
“ Oργης νοσουσης εισιν ιατροι λογοι .” - Aeschylus.
Comfortable words "do good like a medicine."
To thine handmaid. ] He had called her "daughter": she thinks not the better of herself for that; she is his "handmaid" still, yea, she addeth, "Though I be not like one of thy handmaidens."
a Habeas me tibi commendatam.
Rth 2:14 And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy 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.
Ver. 14. And Boaz said unto her. ] Here gratiarum actio erat ad plus dandum invitatio. Ruth’s thankfulness was rewarded with more kindness. Efficacissimum genus est rogandi, gratias agere, saith Pliny. a As a little water poured into the pump when the springs lie low, bringeth up a great deal more together with it; so is it here.
And eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. ] Here was plain fare. Nature is content with a little; and hunger hunteth not after delicates.
And she sat beside the reapers. ] She sat to a side, and did not thrust in saucily amongst them, though favoured.
And he reached b her parched corn.] Which was great dainties in those days (1 Samuel 17:17 2Sa 17:28 ). Now-a-days, what marvel is it that we die so fast? saith Seneca, qui tot mortibus vivimus, who do live by the death of so many other creatures.
a In Panegyr.
b Sept., εβουνισεν αυτη , He reached unto her by heaps.
Rth 2:15 And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not:
Ver. 15. And when she was risen up to glean. ] After thanks returned, first to God, and then to Boaz, she returneth to her labour. Eat she did to live, not live to eat.
Boaz commanded his young men. ] These he bound to the good behaviour, as being apt enough to be unruly.
Reproach her not, ] sc., By rebuking her Rth 2:16 as too forwardly.
Rth 2:16 And let fall also [some] of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave [them], that she may glean [them], and rebuke her not.
Ver. 16. And let fall also some of the handfuls. ] Boaz could have given her at first an ephah of barley, and it had been no more charge to him. But he will have her use her endeavours to gather, and glean, and beat out. And that labour of hers should be the price she should pay for it. So God gives knowledge and grace. The heathen could say, Dii laboribus omnia vendunt.
Rth 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.
Ver. 17. Until even. ] Strengthening herself to her labour, as that good housewife, Pro 31:17 and laying her bones to work.
About an ephah. ] Almost a bushel, her back burden.
Rth 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.
Ver. 18. And gave to her that she had reserved. ] Ruth was not like that pamphagus [ παμφαγος , alldevouring] Nabal, all whose logic was little enough to conclude for himself.
Rth 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.
Ver. 19. Where hast thou gleaned today? ] The recording of these small matters showeth how dear to God are his saints, and how he is taken with everything they say or do if not sinful.
Rth 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.
Ver. 20. Blessed be he of the Lord. ] As health is the poor man’s patrimony, so prayers are the poor man’s requital.
To the living, and to the dead. ] Dead Elimelech and Mahlon were after a sort gratified in Naomi and Ruth. God never leaveth off his kindness to his living and dead servants. Bless him therefore.
The man is near of kin unto us. ] This she had never told her till now. She delighted not to brag of her rich kindred.
Rth 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.
Ver. 21. He said unto me also. ] She further setteth forth his courtesy, but not a word of what he said in her commendation.
Rth 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.
Ver. 22. It is good, my daughter. ] Thus the elder woman must advise the younger, and say,
“ Thesaurum cum virgo, tuum vas fictile servet,
Ut fugias quae sunt noxia, tuta time. ”
That they meet thee not. ] Or, Fall not upon thee, or solicit thee to folly. Vulgo dicitur castam esse quam nemo rogarit.
Rth 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.
Ver. 23. So she kept fast. ] According to her mother’s counsel, which she esteemed as an oracle.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ruth 2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12