Ruth (2)

Ruth  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:00:22
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Ruth Meets Boaz

Going for Grain: Harvest

New Setting

Ruth 1:22–2:1 ESV
22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest. 1 Now Naomi had a relative of her husband’s, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz.
The last verse of chapter 1 sets the new setting for chapter two.
What still remains in the next part of the Ruth is that Naomi will still be the main character of the story, although she does disappear from the scene for the major portion of the chapter.
It begins saying “NAOMI RETURNED” and “Ruth… with her”
Even when BOAZ is introduced, it says “NAOMI had a relative...”
Narrator also reminds the reader of the place and the time of Naomi and Ruth’s arrival.
The narrator here introduces the new character.
There’s four important details to be noted about Boaz:
Relative of Naomi’s husband
Worthy man (Character)
Clan of Elimelech
More clarification first information
Name - Boaz
Husband of Ruth and father of Obed, the grandfather of King David.

The Initiative of Ruth

Ruth 2:2–3 ESV
2 And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” 3 So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech.
As mentioned earlier, syntax of chapter 1 verse 22 suggest that Naomi still remains as main character of the story but the narrator also hints coming prominence of Ruth. Much of Ruth’s increase of presence is derived from what may be the causes of tension as she settles in the new country. The fact that she’s Moabite woman in Israel world, where there is little reason to expect acceptance by Israeli townsfolk and also the fact she’s Naomi’s daughter-in-law, who has returned to home country empty handed.
Narrator emphasises the fact that Ruth is the Moabite. This is to emphasis the brave, courageous and extraordinary nature of her action to go to the field to get food for herself and Naomi. She is determined to make something of her life.
What we should note here is the fact that Ruth requested to go to the field to GLEAN. She’s not going to the field to work in the field to earn, but going to the field to gather food according to what was permissible for her to collect.
Deuteronomy 23:25 ESV
25 If you go into your neighbor’s standing grain, you may pluck the ears with your hand, but you shall not put a sickle to your neighbor’s standing grain.
Deuteronomy 24:19 ESV
19 “When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.
Leviticus 19:9 ESV
9 “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest.
Ruth’s activity is to be distinguished from harvesting as we can see from the Mosaic law. She’s barely collecting from what was deliberately left by the owners of the field, or ears of grain that might have dropped on the ground. But what is surprising is that although such law was inscribed in the Mosaic law, the rights to glean was frequently denied. Hence she needs to “FIND FAVOUR IN THE EYES OF THE OWNER/HARVESTERS” in the field.
Upon affirmative response from Naomi, Ruth set out to collect food from the field. The narrator draws attention to Ruth’s chance of arrival at a field of Boaz.
By the orthodox Israeli there was no such thing as chance. An Israelite proverb declares:
Proverbs 16:33 ESV
33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.
If the Lord even determines how the dice falls, how can the narrator speak so explicitly of chance of Ruth landing at Boaz’s field?
It’s probable, that the narrator is looking at the event through Ruth’s eyes. Moabite as stressed many times, with different cultural background and whom did not follow Yahweh. She had pagan perspectives concerning fate and fortune.
In the next section we will see Ruth luck, and chance of landing on field of Boaz’s field was providence from God.

The Grace of Boaz

Verses 4-16 can be divided in to three different dialogues between characters.
Boaz and the harvesters (v4-7)
Boaz and Ruth (v8-14)
Boaz and the harvesters (v15-16)

Boaz and the Harvesters

Ruth 2:4–7 ESV
4 And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!” And they answered, “The Lord bless you.” 5 Then Boaz said to his young man who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?” 6 And the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, “She is the young Moabite woman, who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. 7 She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.’ So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest.”
And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the reapers,
“The Lord be with you!”
And they answered,
“The Lord bless you.”
Then Boaz said to his young man who was in charge of the reapers,
“Whose young woman is this?”
And the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered,
“She is the young Moabite woman, who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab, She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.’ So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest.”

Boaz and Ruth

Then Boaz said to Ruth
“Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.”
Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him,
“Why have I found favour in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”
But Boaz answered her
“All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!”
Then she said,
“I have found favour in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.”
And at mealtime Boaz said to her,
“Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.”
So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over.
When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying,
“Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16 And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”
Boaz was a gracious man and he was from the same clan as Ruth’s deceased father in law.

The Results

Ruth 2:17–23 ESV
17 So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. 18 And she took it up and went into the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also brought out and gave her what food she had left over after being satisfied. 19 And her mother-in-law said to her, “Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, “The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.” 20 And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi also said to her, “The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.” 21 And Ruth the Moabite said, “Besides, he said to me, ‘You shall keep close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.’ ” 22 And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you be assaulted.” 23 So she kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests. And she lived with her mother-in-law.
Like the earlier section, this last section is also filled with dialogue, dialogue between Naomi and Ruth.
Before the long dialogue between Naomi and Ruth, narrator mentions amount of grain Ruth brought back from the field. And because of what Ruth had showed Naomi, amount Ruth brought back had sparked conversation between the two.
The result of day’s work in the field was quite amazing. I mean, the amount of grain Ruth was permitted to glean by Boaz was extremely generous.
It says in verse 17 that Ruth collected about 1 ephah of barley. 1 ephah could weigh anything from 13kg~22kg.
Although the conversation was between Ruth and Naomi recounting Ruth’s experience in the field, writer of Ruth was more interested in portraying BOAZ’s GENEROSITY and GRACE.
Narrator is not underplaying the importance of Ruth’s actions of collecting food for her self and Naomi as Ruth’s work, most probably, was a whole day worth of labouring in the sun.
What can be noticed in this chapter is the change of tone and attitude of Naomi. Naomi who came back to her home country, wishing to be called Mara, who was as good as dead inside, is now beginning to see hope. Naomi is coming back to life.
The source of the hope and life came about by close relative of her dead husband, Boaz. Naomi’s hope and life is expressed and revealed through her cry of blessings for Boaz
“Blessed be the man who took notice of you” (v19)
“May he be blessed by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead” (v20)
Something else we should notice here in verse 20, is that in minds of Naomi she’s probably thinking that Yahweh has been gracious to her deceased husband and her sons by sending POTENTIAL REDEEMER-KINSMAN = Boaz (a conclusion that is confirmed in the next chapter).
Because, by the Israeli tradition, kinship denotes the bear relative who is responsible for the economic well-being of a relative, and he comes into play especially when the relative is in distress and cannot get out of the crisis. Scripturally speaking, there’s 5 different areas kinship are responsible of:
To ensure that the hereditary property of the clan never passes out of the clan (Lev 25:25-30)
To maintain the freedom of individuals within the clan by buying back those who have sold themselves into slavery (Lev 25:47-55)
To track down and execute murderers of near relative (Num 35:12, 19-27)
To receive restitution money on behalf of a deceased victim of a crime (Num 5:8)
To ensure that justice is served in a lawsuit involving a relative (Job 19:25)
The New American Commentary: Judges, Ruth
And one other important Israeli tradition is what is written in Deut 25:5-10, levirate (리버렛) marriage.
Condition: Deceased man’s brother is UNMARRIED.
But Ruth and Boaz’s situation is different as Boaz is relative, not a brother of deceased husband of Ruth.
Anyhow, the main point to note here is that Boaz has been introduced as extremely kind and gracious man. And through this one man Naomi sees, or finds hope and life.


Biblical Context: The Poor in Biblical Tradition

In many parts of biblical narratives, both OT and NT all recognise the unfortunate/difficulty of the poor.
The poor in bible is general term for individuals or groups or country that lack ability or opportunity to obtain a secure life. And nowhere in the bible or biblical tradition does not teach or indicate or assume economic levelling.
However, bible tradition leaves the responsibility to the community to ensure that the poor were not left without adequate provisions for life.
God with special concerns for the poor, He inscribed several practices/law intended to assist the poor and needy. Like the leaving the portion of the land for the travellers or the needy (Deuteronomy & Leviticus). Like the Israelite tradition of kinship responsibilities displayed by Boaz.
We are unsure how consistently and for how long these procedures were followed nor how effectively they functioned. Nonetheless, these practices have been taught and encouraged to follow in the NT scripture too.
Romans 15:26 ESV
26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem.
Galatians 2:10 ESV
10 Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.
As shared and taught through Corinthians sermons recognising the needs of others is the very nature of God and LOVE of God.
Let us not forget that the importance of looking out for and looking after the needy and the poor.

Church Context: God, who BLESSES

How do we define blessings of God? When do we experience them the most?
God’s blessings come in the quiet. Continues provision of place to work and food on the table. Just getting through another day. Day to day where nothing particular happens.
We should expect to find God and his blessings in the background hidden from view. That it is always there. The fact that we can live day by day knowing that we ARE HIS CHILD.
But cannot avoid the fact greatest blessings are often experienced when we experience extraordinary provision of God like how Ruth and Naomi had experienced.
Do not forget that the fact we’re here worshiping is also a blessings from God.
Do not forget that the times when we could not meet to worship together.
Do not forget the times when we couldn’t even see our friends or even our families.
Even those times we were locked up at home is also blessings from God.
But greater blessings we experience as we gather to worship him now.
Greatest warning to all Christians.
To rid of mind/heart of TRANSACTIONAL FAITH (Shopper).
Why? Because too many seek God only when they in desperate need of blessings and grace. Because too many are seeking great EXPERIENTIAL blessings and faith rather than SEEING GOD in our ORDINARY.
No matter how often people are encouraged to live by faith, many still resort to doing the bare minimum to avoid criticism or at least to be seen as faithful Christian.
Encourage people to live by faith.
For those who are living accordance to faith, pray and encourage that you would find and experience more of God’s blessings in your ordinary and to further the kingdom of God by caring for the needy and the poor.
For those who find it difficult to live in faith, pray and encourage that God will show more of himself to you so that your faith will grow and mature, and that you would not become shoppers of God’s grace and blessings.


Let us not forget all the blessings we have received from God, the quietness of our daily, weekly, monthly routine. And let us be the sources of blessing to people in need. Actively look for opportunities to serve and help.
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