OceanSide church of Christ
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To Boaz’s Field and Back (4)
IV. THE FINDINGS REPORTED (Ruth 2:18-23)
Victor M Eskew
IV. THE FINDINGS REPORTED (Ruth 2:18-23)
A. The Return Home (Ruth 2:18)
1. Portion Gleaned (Ruth 2:18a)
And she took it up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned.
a. The verb “took up” means to lift something in order to carry it.
1) Ruth’s ability to carry this large portion of grain indicates to us something of her physical strength.
2) She probably made her way home physically exhausted, but her heart was
b. Naomi saw what Ruth had gleaned.
1) Naomi looked upon the harvest and knew Ruth had had great success.
2) Von Wolde: “You can almost see Naomi’s eyes popping open with amazement. It is the first good thing that has happened to her in ages” (as quoted by Stewart, 90).
2. Provisions Given (Ruth 2:18b)
…and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed.
a. Ruth gave Naomi the leftovers that she could not finish at lunch.
b. “The verb ‘had left’ (yathar) is also used in connection with leftover food in other contexts (Exo. 12:10; 16:19-20; Lev. 22:30; II Kings 4:43-44)” (Stewart, 90-91)
B. The Report to Naomi (Ruth 2:19-22)
1. Kinsman (Ruth 2:19-20)
a. The Probing (Ruth 2:19a)
And her mother in law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned today? And where wrought-est thou? Blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee…
1) Naomi was impressed with the amount of food with which Ruth had returned home.
a) Her gleaning was over-abundant. She could not have taken this much on her own. Thus, she asks where she had gleaned.
b) Remember: The field and the landowner go hand-in-hand.
2) Naomi is so impressed that she wishes a blessing on the individual even before she knows his name. She is thankful for whoever’s generosity this might be.
b. The Person (Ruth 2:19b)
And she showed her mother in law with whom she had wrought, and said, The man’s name with whom I wrought today is Boaz.
1) Ruth reveals the man’s name: “Boaz.” Boaz’s name has been used throughout the chapter to create a literary suspense in the text.
a) He was introduced to the readers (Ruth 2:1).
b) Ruth “haps” upon the field of Boaz (Ruth 2:3)
c) Boaz comes to the field (Ruth 2:4).
d) Boaz inquires about Ruth (Ruth 2:5).
e) Boaz speaks to Ruth (Ruth 2:8).
f) Naomi learns that Ruth has been in the field of Boaz (Ruth 2:19).
2) Ruth does not know who he is other than by way of what she had seen that day. Naomi knows exactly who he is.
3) NOTE: The providence of God is once again unfolding itself unto man.
c. The Praise (Ruth 2:20)
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.
1) Naomi expands her blessing by specifically applying it to Boaz.
2) She refers to him as “he of the Lord.” Here is a man whose heart and life belong to the Lord. (This is important, especially as God develops His plan to bring the Messiah into the world).
3) Who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead.
a) Who is the “who” of this verse?
- Stewart thinks it refers to Boaz.
- Peipman believes that it refers to God. (This writer leans to Naomi’s referring to God).
- “…denotes the grace that one shows to another who is in genuine need” (Stewart, 93).
- “It is the warmth of royal love combined with ‘brotherly comradeship’ and a sense of committed and reliable faithfulness” (Atkinson, 80).
c) To the living, Naomi and Ruth, and the dead, Elimelech and Mahlon.
4) “Naomi is about to make a revelation to Ruth. If Ruth had been
astonished that this exalted man had taken notice of her, she will be even more astonished when she finds out who he is. She may have thought that his name would mean little if anything to Naomi, but this is far from the case” (Peipman, 196).
a) This man is near of kin unto us.
- This phrase merely indicates that Boaz is a relative of the family.
- At this point, Ruth may have been surprised, but the real signifi-cance has not been revealed to her.
b) …one of our next kinsmen
- The term kinsmen is “go`el” which means redeem or act as a kinsman.
- This word is found almost 20 times in the book.
- “Kinsmen-redeemers preserved the family or clan by acting as an advocate for disadvantaged relatives. In this way, they seemed to restore the balance of society” (Stewart, 94).
- Four duties are specifically set out for the kinsman-redeemer in the law of Moses.
+ “to receive the payment of restitution when one’s relative to whom such a payment was due had died (Num. 5:5-10).
+ to avenge the blood of one’s relative who had been mur-dered (Num. 35:9-34; Duet. 19:-13).
+ to purchase one’s relative who, due to poverty, had been forced into slavery to a non-Israelites (Lev. 25:47-55).
+ to purchase the property of one’s relative that, due to poverty, had been sold outside the family (Lev. 25:23-24; Jer. 32:6-15)” (Stewart, 94-95).
- NOTE: In this list, there is no responsibility given to marry a widow of a family member.
+ This concept is known as the Levirate marriage (Deut. 25:5-10).
+ Two arguments against this being part of the kinsman-redeemer responsibility.
= “Scholars note that the term ‘kinsmen-redeemer’ (go`el) is not found in the levirate text” (Stewart, 95).
= In addition, they point out that the levirate law only directs the brother of the dead man to marry his widow.
= #1: Some feel that Boaz is just going beyond the demands of the law in marrying Ruth.
= #2: Ruth appeals to Boaz’s being a near-kinsman when she desires marriage (Ruth 3:9).
= #3: The relative who is closer to Elimelech than Boaz does not challenge what Boaz has to say because of what is found in the law (Ruth 4:5)
- It appears that the kinsman-redeemer law and the levirate laws were closely connected one to another.
- Importance in our discussion: Naomi was telling Ruth that Boaz is one of their relatives who could redeem the family and marry her.
- Question: Would Boaz fulfill his obligation?
+ The man did have a choice in the matter.
+ If he did not, however, it was considered a reproach against him and his family.
2. Kindness (Ruth 2:21-22)
a. The Proposition (Ruth 2:21)
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.
1) He said unto me also…
a) The statement carries the emphatic tone.
b) The way others translate the statement:
- He even told me
- And guess what else he said to me!
2) Thou shalt keep fast by my young men.
a) She notes that Boaz has invited her to stay in his field until the end of the harvests.
b) In Ruth 2:8, Boaz told Ruth to “abide her fast by my maidens.” Why did she tell Naomi that he exhorted her to abide fast by his young men?
- She may have combined both instructions found in Ruth 2:8-9.
- Perhaps the masculine includes the whole group of workers, both male and female.
3) Until they have ended all my harvest.
a) This will include both barley harvest and the wheat harvest.
b) It was a period of about seven (7) weeks.
b. The Persuasion (Ruth 2:22)
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.
1) It is good, my daughter
- Strong (2896): good in the widest sense
- BDB: good, pleasant, valuable, excellent, happy, prosperous
b) The narrator continues to call Ruth the daughter-in-law of Naomi. Naomi, however, chooses the more personal and intimate title, “daughter.”
2) That thou go with his maidens
a) Naomi appears to have understood that Ruth’s gleaning would be with the maidens.
b) She exhorts her to do as Boaz has given permission to do.
3) That they meet thee not in any other field.
a) This is somewhat confusing because we are not certain to whom the word “they” applies.
b) Most interpret it to mean those individuals who are in another field.
- The key seems to be in the definition of the word “meet.”
+ Strong (6293): impinge, by accident or violence
+ BDB: to strike, to touch…to make attack
- In another field, there would not be the guaranteed safety that Ruth would enjoy in the field of Boaz. They were living in the time of the judges.
- “The point is that Naomi, like Boaz, wanted to protect Ruth from being in harm’s way. Perhaps she had spent the whole day at home fretting over her daughter-in-law’s welfare in the field” (Stewart, 97).
C. The Resignation of Ruth (Ruth 2:23)
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.
1. This verse provides a summary much like the last verse of chapter one summarized that chapter.
2. Ruth followed the advice of Naomi and continued to glean in the field of Boaz.
3. Unto the end of the barley harvest and wheat harvest.
a. “The barley harvest extended from late April through mid-May while the wheat harvest lasted from mid-May to early June” (Stewart, 98).
b. “The barley harvest began about the time of Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread, while the wheat harvest culminated seven weeks later in the Feast of Weeks, also known as Pentecost (Lev. 23:4-22; Num. 28:16-31; Deut. 16:1-12) (Stewart, 98).
4. And dwelt with her mother in law.
a. Ruth worked and then returned home to Naomi. There were no extracurricular activities in her schedule.
b. Ruth kept the promise she had made to Naomi on their return to Bethlehem: “…and where thou lodgest, I will lodge…” (Ruth 1:16).
A. The previous chapter had ended in despair. Noami and Ruth had returned to Bethlehem with nothing. Naomi even referred to herself as “bitter.”
B. This chapter ends with a ray of hope.
1. Naomi and Ruth are being cared for.
2. There is also hope in the fact that Boaz is a “kinsman-redeemer.”
C. Atkinson notes that we have seen three types of “grace” in this chapter.
1. The grace of providence
2. The grace that comes through suffering
3. The grace of provision