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Tuesday, July 16th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Ruth 2

Sermon Bible CommentarySermon Bible Commentary

Verses 1-23

Ruth 1-4

The Book of Ruth is a love-story told in four chapters. It gives us a glimpse of everyday life in Bethlehem; in home and in harvest-field, in its general gossip and its law-suits, more than three thousand years ago.

I. Glancing back over the lines of this sweet and pure pastoral idyll, we feel that rarely did human story more impressively demonstrate the unspeakable worth of lowly folk, the fine and favourable issues of seemingly suppressed lives, the hidden wealth of true and unobtrusive souls, for nations and for the race. Notoriety counts for nothing in the sum of things. The world's future lay more in quiet Bethlehem, with Naomi and Ruth, than it did at the headquarters of Judge Eli. Let us not despise ourselves. God does not, and our future is with Him. Every name is historic in His estimate.

II. But we are not near enough to the heart of this story to hear its beat and feel its warmth, until we see that it is a true and tender, pure and heroic woman's love that gives such grace to these Hebrew homes and confers such peerless worth on these lowly lives. The spell of the Book of Ruth is Ruth herself, and the chief charm of Ruth is her unselfish and devoted love.

III. Life and love lead to God. For life is God's gift, and love is of God's nature. "We love, because He first loved us." This is true of the love in the home as much as of the love of the Church. All pure and unselfish love comes from God and leads to God.

Thus the story of Ruth is a fragment in a missionary report. It tells of the conversion of a Gentile and illustrates the wisest way of winning souls. God saves the world by love, and we cannot succeed by departing from His method and ignoring His Spirit. Naomi is a typical home missionary, and Ruth is the pattern and prophecy of the success that crowns wise and loving labour.

J. Clifford, Daily Strength for Daily Living, p. 119.

References: Ruth 1:1 . Clergyman's Magazine, vol. x., p. 279. Ruth 1:1-5 . Expositor, 1st series, vol. ii., p. 81 (also S. Cox, The Book of Ruth, p. 43). Ruth 1:1-8 . Lady A. Blackwood, Sunday Magazine, 1885, p. 271.Ruth 1:1-18 . Parker, vol. vi., p. 185.Ruth 1:2 . Homiletic Magazine, vol. xi., p. 15.Ruth 1:6-22 . Expositor, 1st series, vol. ii., p. 92 (also S. Cox, The Book of Ruth, p. 63). Ruth 1:8 . W. M. Statham, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xv., p. 136; Old Testament Outlines, p. 60. Ruth 1:14 . Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 350. Ruth 1:14-18 . Sunday Magazine, 1885, p. 271.Ruth 1:16 . R. M. McCheyne, Additional Remains, p. 267; Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes, p. 54; Homiletic Magazine, vol. xiv., p. 49. Ruth 1:16 , Ruth 1:17 . G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 125; Preacher's Monthly, vol. iv., p. 31; Congregationalist, vol. vii., p. 656. Ruth 1:19 . W. M. Statham, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xv., p. 105; J. Van Oosterzee, Year of Salvation, vol. ii., p. 414; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 283.Ruth 1:0 Parker, vol. vi., p. 198. Ruth 2:1-23 . Expositor, 1st series, vol. ii., p. 165 (also S. Cox, The Book of Ruth, p. 81).

Verse 2

Ruth 2:2

Work has many aspects. It may be treated as a portion of man's curse. But it was not work which was new to man. From the beginning work had been assigned to him; the difference was that work henceforth was to be both excessive in degree and comparatively unremunerative.


I. Nature works. Sometimes in the mere consciousness of health and vitality. There is that in a man which will not and cannot be idle. Doubtless human life is the gainer by every kind and department of industry. The labourers of society are its benefactors. Better any work than any idleness.

II. Faith works. (1) The work of faith looks within. Faith, which is the sight of the unseen, apprehends the existence of spirit, the possibility of regeneration, and the direct influence of Divine grace upon the heart and soul of man. It would not be faith in the Christian sense if it did not apprehend these mysteries. Before faith can set out upon her gleaning she must find grace in the sight of One unseen. (2) The work of faith looks upward. The eye of faith is upon God, even while the hand of faith and the foot of faith are moving among the things of this world. (3) The work of faith looks around. Faith does not look only on her own things, but on the things of others. Faith does seriously contemplate the wants and the woes and the wickednesses which are making havoc of humanity, and has something truly of that mind in her which was also first and perfectly in Christ Jesus. (4) The work of faith looks onward. Oftentimes faith would faint if it had not an onward aspect. It is willing to wait for the day of God's power, willing to be lost and forgotten in the eventual ingathering.

C. J. Vaughan, Voices of the Prophets; p. 55 (see also Good Words, 1886, p. 815)

References: Ruth 2:3 . Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 214; Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 301.Ruth 2:4 . R. L. Browne, Sussex Sermons, p. 81; C. Kingsley, The Water of Life, p. 140; F. E. Paget, Village Sermons: Trinity to Advent, p. 201; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. ii., p. 266; J. Keble, Sermons for the Christian Year: Sundays after Trinity, Part II., p. 97. Ruth 2:12 . Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxi., No. 1851.Ruth 2:14 . Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. ix., p. 522; Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 79; W. Meller, Village Homilies, p. 114; S. Baring-Gould, Village Preaching for a Year, vol. i., p. 229. Ruth 2:15 , Ruth 2:16 . Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. viii., No. 464.Ruth 2:16 . D. Lane, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. x., p. 149.

Verse 17

Ruth 2:17

I. Notice first, the good providence of God as illustrated in the story of Ruth and Naomi. Who was more forlorn than Naomi when she set out, penniless and a widow, both her sons dead, to return into the land of Judah. God finds the widow friends, He finds the oppressed and solitary a Ruth to stay by them, a Boaz to see that they have their rights. He is a never-failing helper in the time of trouble.

II. Notice from this history the blessing which waits upon piety, for those who are kind and affectionate and helpful in their homes. Ruth was but a daughter-in-law, yet she acted the part of a real daughter to the widowed and childless Naomi. She clave to her in her trouble, she worked for her in her poverty, and she was rewarded even on earth.

III. Ruth is also an example of maidenly modesty, purity, steadiness of conduct. She kept fast by the maidens of Boaz unto the end of the barley harvest and wheat harvest.

IV. Notice the diligence of Ruth. She gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she gleaned; it was a good day's work, bringing with it a good recompense of reward. Ruth invites us to use all diligence to make our calling and election sure. God has set us in His field, the world, and set us there to glean, to gather up as we are able the precious seed. There is much for every one to do, and the time is short.

R. D. B. Rawnsley, Village Sermons, 3rd series, p. 119.

Reference: Ruth 2:17 . Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 216.

Verse 19

Ruth 2:19

I. There are some whose only chance of gaining knowledge is by gleaning. Their education has been neglected, and their time for reading is limited. To such let me say: (1) Glean where the corn grows and lies near at hand. You will not find the corn by the wayside or on the moor, It is not in all company that you may glean wisdom. To the most of us, Where hast thou gleaned? is but another way of saying, What hast thou got as the result of thy life? (2) To glean successfully we must be willing to stoop. He who would be fed with the bread of life must humble himself.

II. If we would glean a heap, we must be content with a little at a time. It is wonderful what may be done by never passing by a thing that is worth preserving. We have trampled under foot during our life that which, if saved, would have done much to make a golden age for ourselves.

III. No one can glean well who is not able to persevere. If we mean to succeed, we must go on long after we are weary. We shall glean with greater care and industry if we remember that we must live for ever on the results of this life. If men did but think they gather gold for a crown or iron for fetters, they would be more careful what they pick up.

T. Champness, New Coins from Old Gold, p. 142.

References: Ruth 2:19 . J. W. Burgon, Ninety-one Short Sermons, No. 76. Ruth 2:20 . S. Cox, The Book of Ruth, p. 164; H. Melvill, Lothbury Lectures, p. 316. Ruth 2:23 . R. Glover, By the Waters of Babylon, p. 73. 2 Parker, vol. vi., p. 204.Judges 3:1 . J. Irons, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. vii., p. 25.Judges 3:1-18 . Expositor, 1st series, vol. ii., p. 257 (also S. Cox, The Book of Ruth, p. 101); Homiletic Magazine, vol. xv., p. 112.Judges 4:1-22 . Expositor, 1st series, vol. ii., p. 360 (and S. Cox, The Book of Ruth, p. 121); Expositor, 3rd series, vol. iii., p. 126.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Ruth 2". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/sbc/ruth-2.html.
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