Book Of Ruth
"Gleaning From Boaz's Field"
J. Deering, AncientPath.net
1. Master Study
Introduction, Visualized Text with Commentary and Q&A, Charts
In chapter 2:15-18 where Boaz treats Ruth with seemingly unending grace, we have the picture of the LORD's dealing with those who willingly return to Him. Whether we consider the repentance (turning around to God from idolatry) and return of the family of Abraham or the similar repentance of the believer (turning around to God from sin in general) we have the very same picture. Those who return to Him find grace in abundance. He does not look to embarrass. He does not look to withhold things. Instead those who return find Grace, Provision, and Abundance in Him.
THE VISUALIZED TEXT (NASB) (conjunctions & prepositions (and other important words) underlined, words not in original text in italics) (alternate text in purple)
she rose to glean,
Boaz commanded his servants, saying,
"Let her glean even among the sheaves, and
do not insult her."
Brief Commentary on Ruth 2:15
When Ruth was finished with mealtime in the field (2:14) she got back on her feet and headed out with the reapers to resume gleaning along behind them. As she was going Boaz tells his servants to let her glean, and even glean round the already cut and bundled grain. She had come from Moab; she had been a Moabite and one who had been faithful to her gods until she met Mahlon and Naomi. It was there that she found The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Boaz instructs his servants not to insult her and her former predicament. She has come to the Field of Boaz to rightfully glean under the law as a Jew even though she is foreign born.
So too when the nation left its idolatry and returned to the LORD God those who had always been faithful should never insult them but instead praise the graciousness of their God and welcome them home. They came home to "glean" expecting little, but received much from the loving hand of their God.
And also, when the believer returns to the fellowship of God by way of the confession of their sin, expecting punishment for their disobedience, instead receive grace and much more. God instructs us to "welcome home" the returning believer and get the fatted calf ready for the one who was lost has been found.
Questions and Answers about Ruth 2:15
does the word "when" indicate?
(Something else is going to happen at the same time "she rose")
does it mean to "rose."
(She stood up, she got up)
are the gleaners and what do they do?
(Gleaners are the poor and foreigner who gather left-over grain after, or behind, the reapers)
commanded his servants?
(The Master of the Field – Boaz)
are his servants and how many are there in the field?
(Supervisors – men for the men, women for the women), Cutters or Harvesters (traditionally men), Reapers (traditionally women) and Gleaners (the Poor and foreign Gentiles) – Any number from a small farm handful to a larger operation of hundreds)
was his command?
(let her glean anywhere after the cutters or harvesters – Quite unusual)
does the word "let" mean?
(To not hinder)
is the "her"?
is the importance of the word "even"?
("Even" designates a special opportunity or provision in this instance. Elsewhere the word is used in Hebrew poetry and prose to link two thoughts that are either similar or the same but worded different)
is the importance of the word "among"?
(She is being given access to not only the dropped "gleanings" that remain behind the reapers, but also the cut and dropped grain stalks before the reapers have finished picking them up to bundle into sheaves)
What is a "sheave"?
(A tied (with stalks of grain) bundle of cut grain stalks)
is the importance of the word "and"?
(Indicates that the two commands are linked and given at the same time and addressed to the same servants)
would they insult her?
(Do you remember being "Teacher's Pet?" Then consider Ruth – a foreigner, a woman, allowed to glean, and just imagine, allowed to glean where the reapers are, and allowed to glean the very grain stalks the reapers are supposed to be picking up to put into bundles)
from the bundles and
that she may glean, and
do not rebuke her."
Brief Commentary on Ruth 2:16
Here is the grace of Boaz toward Ruth as he tells his workers to put out full stalks of ripened grain for her to collect as she is gleaning. We begin to see the special nature of the relationship between the master Boaz, and the faithful Ruth. Her treatment of Naomi and her now dead sons has touched Boaz's heart. It is probable that Naomi is his sister-in-law, cousin, or niece. Boaz is thankful for Ruth's treatment of Naomi and her sons and now has the opportunity to help.
And again the warning comes. This time it takes the form of "do not rebuke her." Boaz says "I have instructed you to leave her much more food, don't you question her right to have it."
Questions and Answers about Ruth 2:16
say "And also" when either word alone would carry the meaning?
(Making the point – in case the servants did not understand his meaning—by repeating the meaning – this command is binding upon YOU ALSO!)
is to pull out grain and leave it?
(The reapers whose job it was to pick-up, bundle and tie the bundles)
what intention are the servants to pull out the grain?
(So that Ruth will get MUCH MORE than she would have picking up the leftovers.)
are the servants to accomplish this?
(They are to take fresh grain stalks from the finished bundles [probably before they are tied] and place them on the ground [as if they had never been picked up] and leave them there on the ground)
is to benefit from this?
is Boaz's final instruction?
(Do Not Rebuke Her when she picks up the extra grain that has been left on the ground) (If it's on the ground she cannot be guilty of stealing it)
Why are they not to reproach her?
(The Master of the Field has commanded them so)
in the field
beat out what she had gleaned, and
it was about an ephah of barley.
took it up and
went into the city, and
her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned.
took it out and
gave Naomi what she had left
after she was satisfied.
Brief Commentary on Ruth 2:17-18
The last two verses are together. She gleaned till late, she beat and winnowed 30 lbs of grain, she took it home, she took what she needed, and she gave the rest to Naomi. There is no reason to think that Ruth was selfish with her portion of the barley. She ate and she stocked her shelves, and probably had more than half the original 30 pounds left to give to Naomi.
When we return to Him, He feeds us until we are full and there is more left over that when we started. We should say with the hymn writer, "Oh, the wonderful grace of Jesus."
Questions and Answers about Ruth 2:17-18
is the result of Boaz's instructions in verse 16?
(Ruth's gleaning resulted in 25-30 Lbs of grain – MUCH MORE than the amount she would have gleaned without Boaz's commands to his servants)
did this occur?
(In the Field of Boaz)
late did they work?
(Until evening – end of harvesting and reaping day, not end of work day)
the finished reaping the fields what did they do?
(All the workers participated in "beating out" and winnowing the grain out from the grain stalks)
is this done?
(Usually done in the "wine press," a stone floored water proof bottomed area. The grain stalks were placed upon the floor and stomped on repeatedly to separate the grain from the stalks. The resulting mixture was then moved to a flat stoned area where the mixture was tossed into the air so that the wind could further separate the chaff (ground-up stalks and hulls) from the grain, leaving the clean grain as the final product. The stalks, chaff and hulls was used to feed the animals through the winter.)
portion did Ruth beat out?
(The amount she had gleaned)
she was done how much grain did she have?
(an ephah – 25-30 Lbs of grain – the word epah means "measure," and refers to whatever standard sized measurer they were using, not the amount of grain. You would say, "hand me the measuring cup," they would say, "hand me the epah." It is now known that the epah that was used to measure wheat and barley held approx. 30 Lbs of grain.)
kind of grain was it?
(Barley – it was the Barley Harvest, although wheat was also harvested during this same harvest time.)
is barley used for?
(Most commonly used to feed the animals, barley is a very course grain. In the home it is used for soup stocks – but because of its courseness it is rarely used for bread)
does the writer now say "she also"?
(The writer is not ending the story yet, there is more, "she also ….")
does it mean to "take it up or out"?
(The writer wants you to see the picture of Ruth dealing with the 30 pounds of grain seeds – that's a lot of grain and Ruth is not going to leave it behind for others to take)
did she take it out from?
(First the winnowing or thrashing floor, and then from the Field of Boaz)
did she take it out to?
(Home, in the city of Bethlehem – she carried this large, heavy load to the city and took it home.)
much did Ruth keep for herself?
(As much as she needed)
does "after she was satisfied" mean to you"
(She has taken what she can use and safely store) (Some commentators felt that – based on the KJV translation – besides the grain she took home she also took home what she did not eat of the Roasted Grain and Balsamic Vinegar refreshment, and that is what is meant here by these words)
this mean that Ruth was selfish and taking care of her needs first?
(Selfishness is avoided because it is not made part of the story. Apparently Ruth had so much that she could easily eat and store away all she needed and still have an excess that would more than satisfy Naomi as well)
Horizontal Chart for Ruth 2:15-18
Ruth 2:15-18 "Gleaning from Boaz's Field"
Verse Percentage Chart for Ruth 2:15-18
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