Ruth 1-2

Sunday Evening Bible Study

December 16, 2001


Though the book of Ruth does not tell us who the author was, Jewish tradition has it that Ruth was written by the prophet Samuel.

Ruth 1

:1 Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.

in the days when the judges ruled – it’s hard to nail down a precise date of these events. The hero of the story, Boaz, will be the great grandfather to King David. This could be a hundred years or so before the time of David. Some have suggested that the time of Ruth may have been somewhere around the time of Gideon.

famine – things like famines would cause people to move from one area to the next in order to survive. Often in the Bible, famines came as a judgment on the people.

Bethlehemjudah – the town of Bethlehem in the tribe of Judah. Bethlehem means “house of bread”

The same little town that has figured prominently in the last couple of stories in Judges.

Judges 17-18 – The Levite that led the tribe of Dan into idolatry came from Bethlehemjudah
Judges 10-21 – The concubine that was cut into pieces by her husband was from Bethlehemjudah

Now, Elimelech comes from the same town.

This is the same town Jesus would be born.

Moab – the land on the eastern side of the Dead Sea, about 50 miles to the east of Bethlehem. These were the descendants of the incestuous relationship between Lot and one of his daughters (Gen. 19:30-38).


Even in dark times, God is at work

The period of the judges were some of the most bleakest in Israel’s history. We’ve already seen in the last two stories in Judges how great depravity was going on, all in the area of Bethlehem.
Yet while the nation was slipping downhill, God would be at work. Even while the nation was involved in horrible things, a family was growing, a family that would give birth to a king, David.
There would be another day when the land of Israel would be in great darkness.
(Mat 4:13-16 KJV) And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: {14} That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, {15} The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; {16} The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

:2 And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.

In Bible times, a person’s name had significance. Often, there was a prophetic aspect about a name.

Elimelech‘Eliymelek – “my God is king”

I think there’s an interesting turn in events. In the two previous stories involving Bethlehemjudah and the troubled nation of Israel, the catch phrase was, “there was no king in Israel”.

Now there will be an eventual change for the better for Israel, and it will start with a man whose name is “my God is king”.

NaomiNo‘omiy – “my delight”, or, “pleasant”

MahlonMachlown – “sick”

ChilionKilyown – “pining”

Ephrathites – “fruitfulness”, the ancient name of Bethlehem was Ephrath

Ge 35:19 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which [is] Bethlehem.

You will see this name used in that special prophecy concerning the coming of the Messiah –

(Micah 5:2 KJV) But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

:4 And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth

wives of the women of Moab – This is not necessarily a good thing. The Moabites were not godly people. There was some bad history between Israel and Moab. The Moabites were worshipers of the god Chemosh, a deity whose worship was similar to that of Baal.

When Israel was about to cross into the Promised Land, it was the Moabites that caused such great trouble to Israel through the hiring of the prophet Balaam to put a curse on Israel. When Balaam was unable to curse Israel, he counseled the Moabites to send their young girls into the Israelite camp and tempt the Israelites into immorality and idolatry. As a result, God said,

(Deu 23:3-6 KJV) An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever: {4} Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee. {5} Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee. {6} Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever.

Though it was not expressly forbidden for a Jewish boy to marry a Moabite, it might have been considered an unwise thing.

Orpah‘Orpah – “gazelle”. She married Chilion (Ruth 4:10)

RuthRuwth – “friendship”. Ruth married Mahlon (Ruth 4:10).


God uses outcasts

What we’re going to see is how God is able to take someone who is “unacceptable”, and use her to bring great blessings.
This is grace. Where the “Law” would exclude Ruth, God in His grace would include her. She is included in the genealogy of Jesus Christ:
(Mat 1:1-6 KJV) The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. {2} Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; {3} And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; {4} And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; {5} And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; {6} And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;

:5 And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them

Was it a mistake for Elimelech to take his family to Moab?

I can see why some would say “yes”.

Elimelech abandoned his heritage in the Promised Land. He left Israel.
Sojourning was something you did for a couple of months, but they ended up staying ten years.
You could make a point that he “walked by sight and not by faith” because he made his decision based upon his circumstances rather than God’s leading.
People move during times of famine because they don’t want to die. Yet in the end, his move ended with his own death and the death of his two sons.


God can turn tragedy to triumph

Even though you could make a case for the trip to Moab being a disaster, if Elimelech hadn’t taken his family to Moab, there’s be no Ruth.
And Ruth is GOOD.
(Rom 8:28 KJV) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

:6 the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.

Naomi heard that there was now “bread” in Bethlehem, the “house of bread”.

:8 Go, return each to her mother's house

In the culture of the time, women frequently lived in separate quarters from the men. If the gals went home, they would be living with their mothers.

:8 the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.

Naomi is asking God to treat these gals with kindness, the same way they treated their husbands while the husbands were alive.


What if God treated you like you treat your spouse?

Jesus said,
(Mat 5:7 KJV) Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
In reality, God is much more merciful to us than we are to others.

:10 Surely we will return with thee unto thy people.

Both Orpah and Naomi express that they wish to return to Israel with Naomi. We get the idea that neither of them have been to Israel. They have been exposed to Judaism through this family.

:11 are there yet any more sons in my womb

Naomi is referring to the Levirate law,

(Deu 25:5-10 KJV) If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her. {6} And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel. {7} And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother. {8} Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her; {9} Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house. {10} And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.

It was a man’s duty to take his brother’s wife if the brother dies and the couple was childless.
An example of this happening is found in Genesis 38, where Judah’s son Er died, and his wife Tamar was given to the next brother Onan in order to have a child. Onan too died, and in the end Tamar ended up tricking and seducing Judah in order to get pregnant. She would give birth to twins, Perez and Zerah, who would be the fathers of the rest of the tribe of Judah. At the end of Ruth, the people of the city pray that God would bless Ruth’s descendants like He did the descendants of Judah and Tamar (Ruth 4:12).

Naomi is saying that she doesn’t have any more sons to give to these gals.

:12 I am too old to have an husband

Naomi is past the age of childbearing.

:13 Would ye tarry for them till they were grown?

Naomi is presenting what seems a funny situation. She is saying that even if she had a husband, and she were to get pregnant that same day, would the gals want to stick around to wait for a baby boy to grow up and marry them? Of course not. Let alone think of what a funny situation of a baby growing up, knowing that he would have to one day marry these older women.

:13 for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me.

LORD – Naomi uses God’s name, Yahweh.


Helping or hindering the kingdom.

Moses invited his father-in-law to come with them to the Promised Land
(Num 10:32 KJV) And it shall be, if thou go with us, yea, it shall be, that what goodness the LORD shall do unto us, the same will we do unto thee.
It seems that Naomi is doing everything she can to keep Orpah and Ruth from coming back with her.
One commentary suggested that she might have been embarrassed to bring the Moabite girls back with her, since it would demonstrate to the rest of the town that they had left the Promised Land.
Do you know people who don’t know the Lord? How important is it to you that they come to the Lord? Would you be embarrassed if they came to church with you?

:14 Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.

Orpah kisses Naomi goodbye and leaves. But Ruth doesn’t want to leave.

John Wesley wrote, “She loved Naomi, but she did not love her so well, as to quit her country for her sake. Thus many have a value for Christ, and yet come short of salvation by him, because they cannot find in their hearts, to forsake other things for him. They love him, and yet leave him, because they do not love him enough, but love other things better.”


What would make you leave?

It seems it didn’t take too much to talk Orpah into leaving.
Naomi makes a very good point. Naomi doesn’t have anything to offer to the girls.
She is poor and can’t support them financially.
Life would probably be very much better if they just stayed in Moab. After all, they are Moabites.
Naomi can’t give them husbands.
Why take so many risks and go? Why not leave Naomi?
There is a sense in which it can be quite easy at times to want to walk away from the Lord.
Jesus told a parable of a farmer throwing his seed on various types of soil. It was a picture of how people react differently when the Word of God is planted in their lives. One of the soils was the “rocky soil”. Jesus first described it by saying:

(Mat 13:5-6 NLT) Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The plants sprang up quickly, {6} but they soon wilted beneath the hot sun and died because the roots had no nourishment in the shallow soil.

Then Jesus gave the interpretation:

(Mat 13:20-21 NLT) The rocky soil represents those who hear the message and receive it with joy. {21} But like young plants in such soil, their roots don't go very deep. At first they get along fine, but they wilt as soon as they have problems or are persecuted because they believe the word.

:15 return thou after thy sister in law.

The Scripture doesn’t condemn Orpah for leaving. But there is a greater blessing that is coming for the one who is committed, not just to Naomi, but to the Lord.

:16 And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

Verses 16-17 are sometimes used in wedding ceremonies, which is nice, but this is the commitment of a gal to her mother-in-law.

While Orpah chose to leave Naomi to look for a husband, Ruth made a choice that would logically end with her staying single for the rest of her life.

This is a picture of true conversion.

:17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.


The beauty of commitment

Ruth has a wonderful commitment to her mother-in-law. But it’s more than just a commitment to Naomi, Ruth is committed to Naomi’s people (Israel) and to Naomi’s God.
(Mat 16:24-26 KJV) Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. {25} For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. {26} For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

:18 When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.

stedfastly minded‘amats – to be strong, alert, courageous, brave, stout, bold, solid, hard

John Wesley writes:

“See the power of resolution! Those who are half-resolved, are like a door a-jar, which invites a thief. But resolution shuts and bolts he door, and then the devil flees from us.”

:19 Is this Naomi?

It’s been ten years since Naomi has been home.

The condition she returns in is so different from when she left, the whole city is moved to see her.

:20 Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.

MaraMara’ – “bitterness”


Be careful about bitterness

Sometimes bitterness causes us to do things we’ll regret.
(Heb 12:15 KJV) Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

Bitterness causes trouble and defiles others

The elderly couple had been married for 50 years -- 50 full years of misery. They had fought every day of their marriage. It was the typical standoff: she said she would change when he did, and he said he would change when she did.
The couple’s children threw a 50th wedding anniversary party for them. After the celebration had ended and the guests were gone, the wife turned to her husband and said, “We’ve lived together for 50 years, but its been miserable. We’ve fought every day.”
She paused. “Now I think it’s time to change. In fact, I’ve been praying that things would change. I’ve been praying that the Lord would take one of us home. And when he answers my prayer...I’m going to go live with my sister in Grand Rapids!”
An old missionary couple had been working in Africa for years and were returning to New York to retire. They had no pension; their health was broken; they were defeated, discouraged, and afraid. They discovered they were booked on the same ship as President Teddy Roosevelt, who was returning from one of his big-game hunting expeditions.
No one paid any attention to them. They watched the fanfare that accompanied the President’s entourage, with passengers trying to catch a glimpse of the great man.
As the ship moved across the ocean, the old missionary said to his wife, “Something is wrong. Why should we have given our lives in faithful service for God in Africa all these many years and have no one care a thing about us? Here this man comes back from a hunting trip and everybody makes much over him, but nobody gives two hoots about us.”
“Dear, you shouldn’t feel that way,” his wife said.
“I can’t help it; it doesn’t seem right.”
When the ship docked in New York, a band was waiting to greet the President. The mayor and other dignitaries were there. The papers were full of the President’s arrival, but no one noticed this missionary couple. They slipped off the ship and found a cheap flat on the East Side, hoping the next day to see what they could do to make a living in the city.
That night the man’s spirit broke. He said to his wife, “I can’t take this; God is not treating us fairly.”
His wife replied, “Why don’t you go in the bedroom and tell that to the Lord?”
A short time later he came out from the bedroom, but now his face was completely different. His wife asked, “Dear, what happened?”
“The Lord settled it with me,” he said. “I told him how bitter I was that the President should receive this tremendous homecoming, when no one met us as we returned home. And when I finished, it seemed as though the Lord put his hand on my shoulder and simply said, ‘But you’re not home yet!’”

-- Ray Stedman, Talking to My Father

:21 I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty


Sometimes we need to be emptied.

I know this sounds kind of callous, especially since the “emptying” that Naomi went through was the loss of her husband and two sons.
The prophet Jeremiah told of a time of judgment coming to the people of Moab:
(Jer 48:11-13 KJV) Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed. {12} Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will send unto him wanderers, that shall cause him to wander, and shall empty his vessels, and break their bottles. {13} And Moab shall be ashamed of Chemosh, as the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel their confidence.

In making wine, first the grapes were stomped, then the juice was placed into bottles or skins and allowed to ferment. During this time the sediment, or dregs, would settle to the bottom. After 40 days the fermented wine was carefully poured into another container to separate it from the dregs. If the dregs were allowed to remain, the wine became too sweet and thick and was spoiled.

Moab had never gone through the difficult times that Israel had, and was becoming spoiled and rotten.

Sometimes we need to be emptied. Sometimes we need to be poured out.


Don’t give up.

Naomi doesn’t see it right now. All she sees is the devastation that has occurred to her family.
She doesn’t realize that she has a treasure right under her nose.
Danny Sampson used a hand-me-down Colt .45 to rob a bank in Canada, getting away with $6,000. When the Mounties caught up with him, they confiscated the gun and sent it to their laboratory, where it was recognized as a collector’s item. Danny discovered that he didn’t have to rob a bank; his gun was worth $100,000.
Hang in there. Wait until the end of the story.

:22 in the beginning of barley harvest.

Around the end of March.

Ruth 2

: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.

kinsmanmowda‘– kinsman, relative

mightygibbowr – strong, mighty

wealthchayil – strength, might, efficiency, wealth, army

BoazBo‘az – “fleetness”

I have this notion that there was a fairly significant age difference between Boaz and Ruth. Ruth could be in her mid twenties (marrying age + ten years). Perhaps Boaz was in his forties or beyond. Later Boaz will be surprised that Ruth is paying any attention to him at all rather than pursuing the “young men” (3:10).

The writer informs us that Naomi has a kinsman, but keep in mind, Ruth as of yet doesn’t know anything about this.

:2 Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace

gleanlaqat – to pick up, gather, glean, gather up. The idea of gleaning is to gather up all the “leftovers” from the harvest.

The Law required that when you harvested your field that you left some of the produce in the field to be picked up by the poor.

(Deu 24:19 KJV) When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands.
Instead of just giving a free handout, the poor were allowed to go into the fields and pick up what was left after the harvesters went through.

Ruth is going to go out into the fields to support herself and her mother-in-law.

ears of cornshibbol – ear (of grain), head of grain. Not our “corn”, but barley.

after him in whose sight I shall find grace – apparently each farmer had the ability to allow only the ones they wanted into their fields to glean.

gracechen – favour, grace; acceptance

:3 her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz

her hapmiqreh – unforeseen meeting or event, accident, happening, chance, fortune

Coincidence: When God does a miracle and remains anonymous.

a part of the field belonging to Boaz – fields didn’t have fences between them. The fields of several land owners might be right next to each other. She just happens to land in Boaz’ field.


God works in life’s “coincidences”

Four expectant fathers were in a hospital waiting room while their wives were in labor. The nurse arrived and announced to the first man, “Congratulations sir! You’re the father of twins.” “What a coincidence!” the man said with some obvious pride. “I work for the Minnesota Twins baseball team.” The nurse returned in a little while and turned to the second man, “You, sir, are the father of triplets.” “Wow! That’s really an incredible coincidence,” he answered. “I work for 3M. My buddies will never let me live this one down.” An hour later, while the other two men were passing cigars around, the nurse came back. This time she turned to the third man, who had been very quiet in the corner. She announced that his wife had just given birth to quadruplets. Stunned, he barely could reply. “Don’t tell me, another coincidence?” asked the nurse. After finally regaining his composure, he said, “I don’t believe it. I work for the Four Seasons Hotel.” After hearing this, everybody’s attention turned to the fourth guy, who had just fainted, flat out on the floor. The nurse rushed to his side and after some time, he slowly gained consciousness. When he was finally able to speak, you could hear him whispering the same phrase over and over again: “I should have never taken that job at 7-Up. I should have never taken that job at 7-Up. I should have never taken that job at 7-Up...”
Abraham’s servant was given a mission to go back to Abraham’s hometown and find a bride for Isaac. As he stopped by a well, he just “happened” to meet Rebekah, exactly the gal he was looking for.
(Gen 24:27 KJV) And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master's brethren.

:4 The LORD be with you

We see that Boaz seems to have a knowledge of the Lord. He talks the talk, does he walk the walk?

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

his servant – an overseer whose special duty was to superintend the operations in the field, to supply provision to the reapers, and pay them for their labor in the evening.

damselna‘arah – girl, damsel, female servant

:7 And she said, I pray you, let me glean

The servant tells Boaz that Ruth came and asked permission to glean and has been working hard all day, except for a short break.

:8 Go not to glean in another field

Boaz invites Ruth to stay in his field and not worry about going anywhere else.

:9 have I not charged the young men …

Boaz offers Ruth not only the permission to glean in his fields, but also offers her protection and water. She won’t have to worry about being driven from his field and she won’t have to worry about bringing her own water to the fields each day.

: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?

bowed herself to the ground – she shows great respect and humility towards Boaz.

gracechen – favour, grace; acceptance

a stranger – a foreigner

:11 And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been showed me, all that thou hast done

answered‘anah – to answer, respond, testify, speak, shout. Boaz is getting excited. He’s raising his voice to answer her.

It hath fully been showednagad – to be conspicuous, tell, make known; (Hophal) to be told, be announced, be reported

Word has spread through the small town about this Moabite woman that came back with Naomi.


A good reputation

(Prov 22:1 KJV) A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
(Prov 3:3-4 NLT) Never let loyalty and kindness get away from you! Wear them like a necklace; write them deep within your heart. {4} Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will gain a good reputation.
(Prov 24:8 NLT) A person who plans evil will get a reputation as a troublemaker.
Not much more can happen to you after you lose your reputation and your wife.

-- John Mitchell, Former Member of the Nixon Administration. As Quoted by Jim Zabloski in, 25 Most Common Problems in Business, (Broadman-Holman, 1996), p. 91

(Eccl 7:1a NLT) A good reputation is more valuable than the most expensive perfume.

: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.

recompenseshalam – to be in a covenant of peace, be at peace; (Piel) to complete, finish; to make safe; to make whole or good, restore, make compensation; to make good, pay; to requite, recompense, reward

fullshalem – complete, safe, peaceful, perfect, whole, full, at peace

rewardmaskoreth – wages

wingskanaph – wing, extremity, edge, winged, border, corner, shirt

to trustchacah – (Qal) to seek refuge, flee for protection; to put trust in (God), confide or hope in (God) (fig.)

Boaz acknowledges that Ruth has come to trust in the Lord.  He has seen by her actions that she trusts the Lord.

(Psa 91:1-4 KJV) He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. {2} I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. {3} Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. {4} He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

:13 Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly

favourchen – favour, grace, charm; acceptance

comfortednacham – (Piel) to comfort, console

friendlyleb – inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding

She responds with humility. She realizes that she doesn’t deserve a thing from this man, yet he has treated her with kindness.

Note: Even though Boaz is aware that he is “kinsman” to Ruth, he doesn’t tell her. Ruth is still unaware of how she is related to Boaz.

:14 he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.

Boaz invites her to lunch. She is allowed to eat lunch with Boaz’s employees.

parched corn – freshly harvested grain that was roasted on the spot.

was sufficed, and left – Boaz fills her plate with so much roasted grain that she has some leftovers to take home to Naomi (2:18).

:16 And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her

handfulstsebeth – bundles; of grain

purposeshalal – (Qal) to draw out; to spoil, plunder, take spoil

These were bundles of grain that are dropped on purpose.

Boaz is ordering his young men to help Ruth. She wasn’t going to have to scrape to get by. She is going to have bundles of grain dropped in her lap.

Note: It is possible that we are seeing the beginnings of a love story. It could be that Boaz is attracted to Ruth. But keep in mind, when Boaz finds himself receiving attention from Ruth, I get the idea that he is surprised and caught off guard that she is giving him attention, perhaps because of an age difference between them.

(Ruth 3:10 KJV) And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast showed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.

I think there is something else going on here. Boaz knows that Ruth is daughter-in-law of his relative, Naomi. He knows that he has a responsibility as a family member to take care of those in need. I think this initially is his primary motive for being kind to her.


Take care of family

The early church had a practice of taking care of the needs of widows and orphans. But when a widow had relatives, the church was to encourage the family to take care of her:
(1 Tim 5:3-4 KJV) Honour widows that are widows indeed. {4} But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to show piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.
People who do not take care of their family are acting like unbelievers.
(1 Tim 5:8 KJV) But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

:17 So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley.

even – evening. Ruth worked all day.

beat out – taking a stick to the stalks of grain, she separates the grain from the stalks.

ephah – An ephah is estimated to be somewhere between 3/8 and 2/3 of a bushel. A bushel is equivalent to 2,100 cubic inches, a little larger than the size of the average office trashcan. One commentary said this would be about 30 pounds of grain. For someone who is just gleaning in a field, this is huge. This is enough food for many days.


The value of hard work

Ruth didn’t take it easy once she found out about Boaz’s offer to help. She works hard all day.
Ruth is a “virtuous woman”
(Prov 31:27 KJV) She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
I think part of the “formula” of God working in Ruth’s life was that she was willing to work hard.

:18 her mother in law saw what she had gleaned … that she had reserved after she was sufficed.

after she was sufficed – these are the leftovers from lunch (2:14).

Ruth takes her barley and the food left over from lunch and shows it all to Naomi.

:19 Where hast thou gleaned to day?

Naomi is amazed at how much barley Ruth comes home with.

John Wesley wrote, “It is a good question to ask ourselves in the evening, “Where have I gleaned to-day?” What improvements have I made in grace or knowledge? What have I learned or done, which will turn to account?”


Wisdom in our use of time

Do people look at our lives and say, “WOW!! Where did you glean today!!!”
To keep the farming analogy going, where and what we “glean” will depend a lot upon where we “sow”.
(Hosea 8:7 KJV) For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind

The nation of Israel in Hosea’s day had sown a lot of “air”, spending their time with worthless things like worshipping golden calves. As a result they would be reaping a “whirlwind”, a tornado of destruction.

(Eph 5:15-18 NASB) Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, {16} making the most of your time, because the days are evil. {17} So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. {18} And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,

:20 Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead.

kindnesscheced – goodness, kindness, faithfulness

God has continued to be kind both to the living (Naomi and Ruth) as well as the dead, being Elimelech, Mahlon, and Chilion. God has been kind to the dead because He has opened the door for Elimelech’s name to continue through Boaz.

:20 The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.

near of kinqarowb – near; kinship

our next kinsmen ga’al – to redeem, act as kinsman-redeemer, avenge, revenge, ransom, do the part of a kinsman

"That man is our close relative; he is one of our kinsman-redeemers." (NIV)


The Kinsman Redeemer

We’ll look at all this means next week …

:21 Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest.

keep fastdabaq – to cling, stick, stay close, cleave, keep close, stick to, stick with, follow closely, join to, overtake, catch

until they have ended all my harvest – not just until the end of the barley harvest, but the wheat harvest as well. The barley harvest would be over by April, the wheat harvest would be over by July.

Ruth excitedly adds that Boaz has invited her to keep gleaning in his fields until the end of the harvest season.

:22 that they meet thee not in any other field.

I think the idea is that Ruth as a young gal out in the fields would be far safer with a group like Boaz’s servants than just venturing into any old field.