Book Of Ruth
"Gleaners in Boaz's Field"
J. Deering, AncientPath.net
1. Master Study
Introduction, Visualized Text with Commentary and Q&A, Charts
We want to
keep stressing our three applications of this book.
1. The Story itself.
2. Parallel 1 Israel
3. Parallel 2 believers
And if you haven't read Appendix-2 yet, now would be a good time to do that.
It is remarkable how gracious the call of God is when you answer it and seek Him. Chapter 2 is all about Boaz's grace toward Ruth as she begins the journey toward Him.
In Chapter 2:4-7 we are introduced to Boaz. He is a man of wealth and property. He is also seen to be a man of not only grace but also of a heart to keep the law, especially where the poor are involved. At a time when many farmers closed themselves off to "the law of the poor" that allowed the poor and the stranger to have access to the harvest, Boaz is seen to be a landowner who is not surprised to find gleaners in the field with his workers. It is his common practice to make sure that those who have come under the law to find sustenance are allowed to do so in his fields.
come to this field, she has asked for, and received, permission from the
overseer to glean, and she has been diligent in the gathering of grain for
herself and Naomi.
THE VISUALIZED TEXT (NASB) (conjunctions & prepositions (and other important words) underlined, words not in original text in italics) (alternate text in purple)
from Bethlehem and
to the reapers,
"May the LORD be with you."
"May the LORD bless you."
Brief Commentary on Ruth 2:4
"Now behold" introduces us to this verse and adds a little excitement to the plot. Ruth has asked for and received permission to glean – from the field supervisor, but not the owner. Now that she has been there gleaning for most of the day the owner arrives on the scene. He has come down from the city to review the fields and the workers.
Our introduction to Boaz tells us that he is a faithful man of the LORD God and that he is gracious to his workers. "May the LORD be with you," he says to the workers. He is a "mighty man" who has come to the fields to give the workers the blessing of God upon their lives and work. We could expect the master on his horse with a whip, or a master leading a company of tough guys to bring order and more work out of the fields and the field workers. But instead we are presented with a man of God who is at the first interested in his workers and the welfare of those who are less fortunate (the foreigner and the poor) who must resort to gleaning the leftovers.
When we see Boaz as the symbol of God in this text we get a glimpse into His grace. His interest lays in the workers of His field (those who know Him and are about His business) and those who have been drawn into His field to find not only His sustenance, but also to find Him.
Boaz's workers are also to be recognized for their grace toward their master (in blessing him) and for their grace toward Ruth and any others who have come to glean by extending permission (in the Master's name) to them to glean.
Questions and Answers about Ruth 2:4
What does the word "Now" indicate to you?
(A change of scene, that which went before is now past, and this is now)
Why use the word "behold"?
(Something unusual needs to be made note of, perhaps Boaz does not visit the fields all that often)
Who is Boaz?
(The wealthy kinsman of Elimelech)
Why state that Boaz came from Bethlehem, doesn't this story take place in
(It is unlikely that the fields are in "downtown" Bethlehem, but probably some distance outside the city. It also adds some importance to the event – he came from the city to visit here.)
Look up the word "reaper" in a Bible Dictionary and in a Strong's
Exhaustive Concordance (if you have one). Check the Hebrew meaning of the word,
what does it mean?
(The English word "reaper" means someone who reaps or gathers grain or other crop. The Hebrew word "'achar" only means to be a follower or a remnant. So that makes the Hebrew word an idiom – a word or phrase used whose meaning is not directly known by the word itself. Roughly translated this verse would say, "Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem and said to "the followers," 'May the Lord be with you." He was addressing those women who followed after the men who used their knives to cut the grain.)
How does Boaz greet his field workers?
(with Godly respect using a blessing)
How does his field workers address Boaz?
(with Godly respect using a matching response blessing)
What does this indicate to
(That Boaz was a devout Godly Jew who respected his staff, and in response to that he earned the respect of his staff)
What is the difference between "May the LORD be with you," and "May the
LORD bless you"?
(Basically Boaz said "Jehovah" and they answered "Jehovah, bless." Apparently this is a format of blessing similar to our own "The Lord be with you," which is answered "The Lord be with you as well.")
What does LORD in all capitals mean?
(YHWH – the Proper Name of God – often represented by the mixture of the consonants found in Hebrew YHWH and the vowels used in Adoni that has become the word Jehovah [remembering that we're talking about Hebrew here not English].)
What is a "blessing"?
(The word indicates that its background is rooted in the word for "kneel," and is most often linked to the idea of adoration.)
to his servant
who was in charge of (Lit., who was appointed over) the reapers,
"Whose young woman is this?"
Brief Commentary on Ruth 2:5
We see order in the operation of Boaz's field. There are grain cutters, reapers, bundlers, and supervisors for each group. Some sow, some water, some reap. There are so many parallels between the truths of the Old Testament and the New.
Boaz wants to know, "whose young woman is this?" He has seen her and must know more. She is probably quite beautiful, she's young, she has come alone and must be brave, she has come on Naomi's behalf and must be faithful, she has come and worked all day and must be diligent, and she has come to this field for sustenance and she must be hungry.
I the larger imagery Ruth (representing the one who is called by the LORD God and is responding to His call) therefore is quite beautiful to Him, she is quite young in Him, her faith has brought her to Him alone, she has bravely overcome the stubborn human will that is against Him, she has come to His presence because she is hungry for Him.
Questions and Answers about Ruth 2:5
What does the use of the word "Then" indicate?
(Another change in the focus of the story, a time shift that indicates Boaz is done with the greeting and now moved on to a more important question)
Who does Boaz address?
(The servant [supervisor] of the reapers – probably a woman)
Whose servant is this?
What is her job?
(Supervise the work of the reapers [typically all women])
What does Boaz mean by asking "Whose young woman is this?"
(The phrase indicates that Boaz knew the workers in the fields, here he found someone who doesn't belong – Verse 7 tells us that when Boaz asks this question Ruth is in a dwelling for rest and refreshment from the morning's gleaning – she has apparently been accepted by the staff)
How old do you think Ruth is?
(If Ruth was in her young teens when married to Mahlon, and they stayed in Moab for a full ten years after her marriage she could be in her early twenties)
in charge of (Lit., who was appointed over)
answered and said,
"She is the young Moabite woman
from the land
Brief Commentary on Ruth 2:6
Boaz's servant or field supervisor has all the information on this one who has come to his field to glean. It's Ruth, the stranger in Judah, the Moabite who came with Naomi when she returned to Bethlehem. Naomi, who is a close relative of her late husband.
Questions and Answers about Ruth 2:6
What does the use of the word "And" indicate?
(In this case it is a simple conjunction and just continues the story from verse 5)
What does it mean to be in "charge"?
(To be placed in authority, and held accountable)
What is the name of the young Moabite woman?
Why bring up the fact that she is Moabite?
(She's not Jewish – that's an important distinction to the Israelites, and also importantly she is the one who returned with Naomi)
Who is Naomi?
(Boaz's probable late older brother or cousin's wife)
Can you tell the story of Chapter 1 without looking there?
Where is the land of Moab?
(South East, across the Sea of Galilee)
let me glean and gather
after the reapers
among the sheaves.'
came and has remained
from the morning until now;
has been sitting
in the house
for a little while."
Brief Commentary on Ruth 2:7
The servant continues his dialog about Ruth. She asked permission to glean, and she asked specifically to glean right behind the reapers – there among the sheaves – and not way in the back where the field has already been picked over. She came this morning and has worked all day and only now takes a break.
Those who are returning to the Lord (repentance) or coming to Him for the first time (salvation) would do well to learn from Ruth. Come, ask, work hard at gleaning God's truth and character, and be diligent in your exercise of faith.
Questions and Answers about Ruth 2:7
What is the importance of the word "And" here?
(Again a simple conjunction continuing the conversation)
Who is the "she" that said "Please"?
Why is she asking permission to glean?
(Even though she has a legal right to glean she would still be a trespasser on Boaz's land and she could be in danger of being ill treated if she stayed without permission)
What does it mean to glean and gather?
(Gleaning is picking up those stalks of grain which have been left behind by the reapers. Harvesting is a lengthy process and swiftness gets the job done quickly before the threat of bad weather. God said it was the owner of the field who was held responsible to leave "gleanings" for the poor and the foreigner. Gathering indicates that there was much to glean. The stalks of grain would have to be bundled and wrapped with other stalks of grain to hold the "sheaves" together for transport.)
What are "reapers"?
(Those women who follow the male cutters of the grain. Their job was to gather and bundle the cut grain.)
What does it mean to be "among" the sheaves?
(Picture the harvested field with bundles (sheaves) of grain setting in rows waiting to be picked up and moved to the barns for winnowing and storage. Being among the sheaves is a beautiful picture of the work being done in the field)
What are "sheaves"?
(bundled stalks of grain, usually a measured amount – the Omer)
What is the importance of the word "Thus"?
(A connecting word that indicates a conclusion or result)
Who came and has remained?
What does it indicate that Ruth remained from morning till now?
(That Ruth was a diligent worker, and that they did not send her away)
Where is she at the end of the verse?
(She had worked long and hard and was resting with the other workers, probably in a threshing hut or building in the field)
Why was she there?
(She had to be invited. She was there to get out of the sun, to rest, and to get water)
How long had she been there?
(just shortly when Boaz arrived.)
Horizontal Chart for Ruth 2:4-7
Ruth 2:4-7 "Gleaners in Boaz's Field"
"Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem and said to the reapers, "May the LORD be with you." And they said to him, "May the LORD bless you."
"Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, "Whose young woman is this?"
"And the servant in charge of the reapers answered and said, "She is the young Moabite woman who returned with Naomi from the land of Moab.
And she said, 'Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.' Thus she came and has remained from the morning until now; she has been sitting in the house for a little while."
Verse Percentage Chart for Ruth 2:4-7
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