Ruth Chapter 2 introduces the man Boaz as being related to Elimelech, a relative in a position to redeem Naomi (redeemer=go’el). In this case Boaz reserved the right if he was found to be the closest living relative to buy and redeem the land that once belonged to Naomi back into her possession. God is also referred to as “go’el” redeemer, as redeemer of Israel (psa 74:2), and personal redeemer (psa 69:18, 103:4). Ruth didn’t realize that where she was going was a relative of Naomi, nor does she know yet how this man will bless her life, but she willingly puts in hard work and effort for her mother in law to help provide, her character shines through. The Lord was able to place Naomi in a situation where so much of His will could fall into place, down to the heritage of Jesus! I pray that the Lord would let me see His will in my life that clearly.
In Ruth chapter 1 all seems lost for Naomi and her daughters-in-law, now in chapter 2 we can see the beginnings of the hope and provision God is providing. In verse 1-3 we are shown Boaz’s status in wealth, and in 4 we are shown his relationship with God, and his character in how his workers think of him; that they ask the Lord’s blessing on Boaz speaks to their respect of him. We are shown more of the character of Ruth as well, she asked permission to do honest labour to provide for herself and Naomi. There were laws in this land that allowed her to gather the leftovers of harvest, but she still politely asked permission of the servant in charge, and worked hard for the full day, stopping to rest only once by account of the servant to Boaz. In our wealth we should do what we can to help those that have not been as blessed, and in our lack we can pray to God to help us, and he can work His will in many unexpected ways to provide for us in our need.
Boaz provides an arm of comfort and protection around Ruth, telling her she can keep working in his field, and encouraging her not to go elsewhere where she may not be safe from abuse. He lets her know that all the young men and maidens also know this. Ruth didn’t take this treatment for granted, she fell on her face in thanks to Boaz for giving her more than she ever expected, and he lets her know that her kind behaviour to Naomi and character are why he was willing to treat her so kindly. He also prays a blessing of God over her that she will be rewarded for her faithfulness, which he himself comes to provide. Ruth did not act and then expect preferred treatment, she did what she had to do, as we are called to do our work for the glory of God, and God provided without the expectation for Him to do so.
Ruth was both invited to sit and eat with Boaz’ household in v. 14-15 and was served by Boaz as a special guest. He then offers her a special provision to glean from where the main stocks are, not just from the remnants, and further to that he tells the young men to leave bundles behind for her. At the end of the day after threshing to separate the grains from the chaff she had almost 2/3 of a bushel (5 gallons or 30lbs) which would feed them for weeks! Not only did Ruth spend all day under the sun to gather the stalks of grain, but to hand thresh a bushel of grain would have been another hour of hard labour after the sun had begun to set. Talk about dedication! I need to remember to praise God in all things and approach my work with this same attitude (Col 3:23)
Naomi realizes through this experience that God has not forsaken her or the rest if her family in their deaths after all. Ruth was able to glean from Boaz’s field under these provisions for months more, gathering both barley and wheat for them to live off of. I need to spend more time considering all the God-given blessing in my day, I’m sure there are dozens more than I am aware of.
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. 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. 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. 4 And, behold, Boaz came from Beth–lehem, and said unto the reapers, The Lord be with you. And they answered him, The Lordbless thee. 5 Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this? 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: 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. 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: 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. 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? 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. 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. 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. 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. 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: 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. 17 So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.