Ruth 2

2:1 Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, from the clan of Elimelech, a man of standing [a distinguished person or property holder], whose name was Boaz.

2:2 And Ruth the Moabitess [this term serves as a reminder that Ruth was a foreigner] said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up [glean] the leftover grain [see Deut. 24:19 and Lev 19:9-10; 23:22] behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor [an indication that the poor were not always treated well by landowners].” Naomi said to her, “Go ahead my daughter [an affectionate reference].”

2:3 So she went out and began to glean in the fields behind the harvesters. As it turned out [a reference to God’s providential guidance], she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech.

2:4 Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The Lord be with you! [a typical Israelite greeting … see Psalm 129:8]” “The Lord bless you!” they called back.

2:5 Boaz asked the foreman of his harvesters, “Whose young woman is that? [suggests an attraction to Ruth]

2:6 The foreman replied, “She is the Moabitess who came back from Moab with Naomi [Boaz probably had heard about Ruth and Naomi (see 1:19) but had not yet had an opportunity to meet either of these women].

2:7 She said, ‘Please [Ruth courteously asked permission to glean] let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She went into the field and has worked steadily from morning until now, except for a short rest in the shelter [perhaps a reference to a temporary shelter where workers could rest].”

2:8 So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter [may indicate a disparity in their ages … see also Ruth 3:10], listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with my servant girls [an indication of Boaz’s concern for Ruth].

2:9 Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the girls. I have told the men not to touch you [further indication of Boaz’s concern for Ruth]. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled [a privilege not extended to other gleaners].”

2:10 At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She exclaimed, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me — a foreigner?”

2:11 Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband — how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before [Boaz had heard about Ruth’s devotion and sacrifice.].

2:12 [Boaz pronounced a blessing on Ruth.] May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge [Boaz certainly became an answer to his own prayers.].”

2:13 “May I continue to find favor in your eyes [an expression of gratitude], my lord [a common way of expressing respect],” she said. “You have given me comfort and have spoken kindly to your servant — though I do not have the standing of one of your servant girls [a woman at the lowest social level].”

2:14 At mealtime Boaz [continued to express an interest in Ruth] said to her, “Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar.” When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over.

2:15 As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men [Boaz’s orders show his special interest in Ruth], “Even if she gathers among the sheaves, don’t embarrass her.

2:16 Rather, [deliberately] pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her.”

2:17 So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed [separated the grain from the chaff] the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah [possibly up to fifty pounds of grain which was far more than a gleaner could acquire in an ordinary day of work and an amount that would last Ruth and Naomi for several weeks].

2:18 She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left over after she had eaten enough [an indication of Ruth’s thoughtfulness].

2:19 Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you! [Naomi pronounced a blessing on the benefactor.]” Then Ruth told her mother in law about the one at whose place she had been working. “The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz,” she said.

2:20 “The Lord bless him! [Naomi pronounced a second blessing on Boaz.]” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. “He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead [Boaz would eventually show kindness to Mahlon by giving him an heir through levirate marriage.].” She added, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our kinsman redeemers [Hebrew = goel, meaning “to redeem, buy back.” A kinsman redeemer “was responsible for protecting the interests of needy members of the extended family — e.g., to provide an heir for a brother who had died (Deut. 25:5-10), to redeem land that a poor relative had sold outside the family (Lev. 25:25-28), to redeem a relative who had been sold into slavery (Lev. 25:47-49) and to avenge the killing of a relative (Num. 35:19-21). —from NIV Study Bible].”

2:21 The Ruth the Moabitess said, “He even said to me, ‘Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain [this arrangement offered protection for Ruth].’”

2:22 Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with his girls, because in someone else’s field you might be [violently] harmed.”

2:23 So Ruth stayed close to the servant girls of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished [the two harvests lasted for about seven weeks]. And she lived with her mother-in-law.

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