Notes on Ruth 2:1-7

by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)

Ruth 2:1, KJV 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.

“Kinsman” means exactly that, a blood relative. An irony is that this kinsman, Boaz, was a “mighty man of wealth” but Elimelech took his family to Moab for several years. Had Boaz also suffered because of the famine that drove Elimelech out of Israel? Apparently Boaz was willing to stay in Israel and trust God.

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.

How Ruth had come into contact with this provision of the Law is unclear. At any rate, she was concerned enough about her mother-in-law to find some food for them. This may imply they were poor and had little if any money to purchase things. At this time, neither one had any idea where Ruth might find gleanings. “Corn” here means “grain”, not “maize” or Indian corn like “roasting ears”.

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.

We are not told how many, if any, other fields Ruth had gone to, attempting to gather or glean for her and Naomi. By God’s Providence, the field where she began to glean belonged to Boaz, Elimelech’s relative!

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.

Boaz coming to this field most likely means the field was outside the walls or borders of Bethlehem itself. Notice his greeting to all the reapers and their reply to him. What mutual respect!

5 Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel (is) this?

Now Boaz asks his servant, perhaps the foreman, “whose damsel is this?” Apparently he had never seen Ruth before, and may not have known his relative, Naomi, had returned to Bethlehem.

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:

The servant himself still didn’t know the name of this “Moabitish damsel” except that she had “come back” with Naomi after they had left Moab. He has more to say about her in the next verse.

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.

Note how the servant continues with his report about Ruth. He noted her polite request, “I pray you (this is a plural noun, how many people did she speak to?), let me glean. . .” According to the Law, no one should have had to ask (Leviticus 23:22) but she was courteous enough to get permission.

Then he also noted her basic diligence, stating she had begun “even from the morning (which may have been anywhere around sunrise) until now. . . .” meaning it was clearly later in the day. Ruth also “tarried a little in the house” which may mean she was tired!

Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV)

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