Reading For Tuesday Ruth 2:1-23
Ruth was industrious, and she was certainly not afraid to work. She politely requested consent from her mother-in-law to go out into the fields where the barley was being harvested. Perhaps there she would find a land owner that would allow her to follow behind the harvesters picking up the stalks that they might leave behind lying on the ground. The Mosaic Law prescribed that the gleanings of the field be left for the poor, for strangers and widows and orphans. Either this custom also prevailed in Moab, or Ruth had learned of it from the women in that community. Naomi agreed to let Ruth proceed with her plan. At some point during her forays into the harvest fields, Ruth was providentially lead to the field of a wealthy farmer named Boaz. Boaz was from the same tribe as Elimelech. Boaz was an honorable man, and when he came out from Bethlehem to inspect the harvest, he greeted the reapers in the name of God. These reapers responded in kind. Seeing Ruth walking behind the reapers, Boaz inquired about her identity. Ruth was introduced as, "The young Moabite woman, who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab." Ruth requested permission to glean after the reapers in the field. Ruth had worked tirelessly all day, and it had been noticed.
Boaz addressed Ruth in a respectful and courteous manner. He invited her to join the women who were working for him, and she would be able to follow them from field to field during the harvest. Boaz gave strict orders to his male servants not to touch or in any way hinder her efforts. He invited her to help herself from the water jars that the servants might draw. Ruth was overwhelmed by this display of kindness by an Israelite. She bowed her face to the ground and asked why she, a foreigner, should have found favor in his sight. Boaz revealed that he had heard of all that Ruth had done for her mother-in-law after the death of her husband. He particularly moved by Ruth’s willingness to leave her mother and father and the land of her birth to stay with Naomi in a strange land. Boaz then pronounced a blessing on Ruth. Ruth responded with gratitude and humility. She did not consider herself equal to any one of Boaz’s maidservants. Nonetheless, the farmer had bestowed favor upon her. At mealtime, Ruth was invited her to come and eat with the reapers. Ruth received more than enough to eat, and as she arose to resume her labor, Boaz said that she should be allowed to glean among the tied sheaves, the servants were to drop some on purpose, and no servant was to rebuke her as she gleaned. Ruth continued to glean in Boaz’s field until evening. Then she threshed out what she had gleaned. Ruth took an ephah of barley, which was enough to last the two widows for weeks.
Naomi was amazed, and she pronounced a blessing on the benefactor, and inquired as to his name. When she learned that it was Boaz, she again pronounced a blessing. Boaz was a close relative, a kinsman-redeemer, in the family of Elimelech. The kinsman-redeemer had the right to recover forfeited property of a kinsman (Lev 25:25). The kinsman-redeemer was to purchase the freedom if one had fallen into slavery (Lev 25:47–49). The kinsman-redeemer was to marry the widow of a deceased brother to raise up children in the name of the dead relative (Deut 25:5–10; Gen 38:8–10). With great excitement, Ruth informed Naomi that Boaz had invited her to stay with his servants until the harvest was finished. This news pleased Naomi and for the next several weeks Ruth stayed close by the maids to glean. When the barley harvest was complete, she continued in this relationship into the wheat harvest as well. All the while she lived with her mother-in-law.
Thing To Consider:
- What does God's providential care teach us about how he loves us through our questions and doubts?
- Who has been unexpectedly kind to you?
- How did this encourage you?
- What does hard work have to do with this story?
- Who can you show favor to this week? What will you do?