Ruth Chapter 2: Naomi sends Ruth to Boaz’s field

Nov 9th, 2009 | By | Category: Ruth, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Ruth Chapter 2: Naomi sends Ruth to Boaz’s field

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.

With Boaz picturing Jesus, his being a “mighty man of wealth” fits the antitype. The name Boaz means “strength.” Solomon’s Temple had two pillars, and one was named Boaz (1 Kings 7:21).

Verse 1 was inserted as a general statement to provide information that will be needed later on. Boaz was related to Elimelech, Naomi’s deceased husband.

Ruth 2:2 And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.

“Him,” a supplied word, does not refer to Boaz at this point in time. Ruth simply wanted to glean in whatever field Divine Providence marked out for her where she would not meet opposition. There she would gather food for herself and Naomi. Naomi thought Ruth’s suggestion was a good idea.

Ruth 2:3 And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.

Ruth ended up in “a part of the field” that belonged to Boaz. At first glance, her being there seemed to be by chance, but she was providentially guided. The “field” was actually a valley or a plain, so the thought is that Ruth went to Boaz’s portion of the plain.

The Law required that corners of the field not be reaped in order to leave them for the poor. Therefore, the poor were at liberty to enter the corners and glean there. However, Ruth “gleaned … after the reapers”; that is, she gathered the “crumbs,” the residue, after the reapers had gone through. Whatever fell to the ground when the grain was bound in bundles was also to be left for the poor.

Ruth 2:4 And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.

What a wonderful relationship existed between Boaz, the employer, and his laborers! “The LORD be with you,” said Boaz. “The LORD bless thee,” they responded.

Ruth 2:5 Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this?

Ruth 2:6 And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab:

Boaz asked a servant who Ruth was. The servant answered, “The girl who accompanied Naomi home from Moab.”

Ruth 2:7 And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house.

Boaz entered the field when Ruth was gleaning. (The Greek Septuagint is more accurate than the King James.) Ruth had worked without rest from morning until the time Boaz arrived.

Ruth 2:8 Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens:

Ruth 2:9 Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.

Ruth 2:10 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?

As a foreigner, Ruth would have been more readily taken advantage of by men. “Why have I found grace in thine eyes … seeing I am a stranger?” was her question. As stated earlier, Ruth pictures the Gentile Church. Jewish converts to Christ were at first suspicious of Gentile converts, and friction resulted. In his Epistle to the Romans, the Apostle Paul tried to straighten out the matter. Jewish Christians felt superior because of their Law background, and Gentile Christians felt that God had cast the Jews off from favor. Paul put both in their proper place, showing that the wall of partition had been broken down so that all—Jew, Gentile, male, female, bond, and free—could come to God through Christ.

Comment: Boaz was solicitous for Ruth’s food and water. Again the type fits the antitype.

Reply: Boaz gave strict orders to the men not to molest Ruth. He wanted her to stay on his property where she would be protected. He gave her certain liberties such as, “When you are thirsty, take a drink of water.” The “maidens” were “maidservants.”

Comment: Boaz favored Ruth because he knew that she had been good to Naomi and that she loved God.

Reply: Apparently, he had no romantic interest initially, but no doubt he observed that she was unusual—certainly industrious and probably attractive. He had known of her, but now he saw her for the first time.

Ruth 2:11 And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shown me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother-in-law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.

Ruth 2:12 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.

Ruth 2:13 Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens.

As was proper, Ruth expressed appreciation and thankfulness for the kindness of Boaz. He was very gracious because Ruth had renounced Moabite worship and come to Israel to follow God. The terms “the God of Abraham” and “the God of Nahor” indicate two different perspectives in worshipping the unseen God (Gen. 31:53). The descendants of Ishmael and Keturah worship Allah today. Their worship is properly of one God, but the concept is different from that of the Hebrew El, Eloah, and Elohim.

Comment: All of this kindness shown to Ruth occurred in one day.

Ruth 2:14 And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.

Boaz “reached [passed to] her parched corn [grain].” Parched wheat germ is bruised so it can be chewed. The flavor lasts. “Vinegar,” the fruit of the vine, was like a sour wine that was mixed with oil. The blend made a nice dip for pita bread, and it was a staple, a food, with the bread. If we compare verses 14 and 18, we can see that Ruth retained a little of the food to take home to Naomi. The Revised Standard reads, “She ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over.” Incidentally, Numbers 6:2,3 proves that “vinegar” was of the vine.

“Corn” was the wheat germ, the kernel grain, of which there were several kinds. “Corn” was like the plural form of kernel.

Ruth 2:15 And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not:

Ruth 2:16 And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.

Ruth 2:17 So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley.

Boaz felt Ruth was deserving, and he thought of the aged Naomi too. An ephah is quite a quantity—like a bushel. Ruth had to work all day (and get special favors from Boaz) in order to collect this much barley. She was industrious and humble.

God thought highly of Ruth and honored her to have a book named after her. T he same is true of Joshua, Daniel, etc. The first five books, Genesis through Deuteronomy, are known as the “five books of Moses.”

Ruth 2:18 And she took it up, and went into the city: and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed.

Ruth 2:19 And her mother-in-law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned today? and where wroughtest thou? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee. 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.

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.

Deuteronomy 25:5-10, which gives the duty of a kinsman under the Law, reads as follows: “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.

“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.

“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.

“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;

“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.

“And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.”

When a brother or a near kinsman married the widow to raise up an heir in the dead brother’s name, the resulting marriage was called a Levirate marriage. If the living “brother” did not perform this duty on behalf of the widow, some shame was attached to the woman, who then had the liberty to publicly remove his shoe and spit in his face. This action would be a lasting insult to the one who refused because he would be referred to as “The house of the one that hath his shoe loosed.” Boaz was a near kinsman but not the nearest to Ruth’s dead husband.

Abraham and others had more than one wife. Under the “near kinsman” or Levirate law regarding a childless marriage relationship, the man was permitted to have more than one wife. Hagar was a concubine but was also called a “wife.” Sarah was the chief wife, but Hagar had certain privileges as a “concubine.”

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.

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.

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.

Notice that Ruth gleaned through two harvests: (1) the barley harvest and (2) the wheat harvest. The antitype brings in a fine-detail perspective. Revelation 14:16 says, “And the [harvest of the] earth was reaped”; that is, the Little Flock was gathered beyond the veil into the heavenly garner. The true Church was reaped. Next Revelation 14:17-19 tells of the reaping of the false Church. Thus in chapter 14, the first harvest is favorable, and the second harvest is unfavorable.

In Matthew 13, the wheat harvest is favorable. “Gather the wheat into my barn” (Matt. 13:30). The good seed, the wheat, are the children of the Kingdom (Matt. 13:38). The bundling of the tares to be burned is also a harvest but an unfavorable one.

The double harvests in both chapters are summarized below:

Favorable Unfavorable

Revelation 14 – Harvest of the earth Harvest of the vine of the earth

Matthew 13 – Harvest of the wheat Harvest of the tares

Ruth first went out in the field to glean at the “beginning of barley harvest” (Ruth 1:22). Hence barley was the first harvest, and wheat was the second harvest. On the 14th of Nisan, the Passover lamb was slain. On the 16th of Nisan (still at the time of Passover), the sheaf offering of barley was waved before the Lord.

Ruth was on the scene through both the barley and the wheat harvests to do a gleaning work. After the gleaning came the threshing, or beating, to get rid of excess stalks. The remainder was then repeatedly tossed in the air for the wind to blow the chaff away. The kernel, or wheat germ, remained. All of these functions were part of the harvest.

The Book of Ruth is a complete picture of the Harvest. Jesus said the Harvest was the end of the age, that is, a period of time. From one standpoint, the barley harvest represents the closing of the door.

In Judges 7:9-14, a dream was an encouragement for Gideon. In that dream, a barley cake rolled down the hill and flattened a tent in the Midianite camp. Then Gideon overheard two Midianite soldiers talking. One said, “The overturning of the tent is bad news, for it means that Gideon and his band will flatten (destroy) us.” The Midianite troops numbered more than 100,000, and Gideon had only 300 men. The barley cake represented Gideon and the 300, that is, Jesus and the Church, or more specifically, the feet members.

The wheat harvest was the larger, more prolific crop; hence it represents the Great Company.

There is only one calling in the Gospel Age, the calling to be of the Bride of Christ (Eph. 4:4). In the final analysis, only the Little Flock will comprise the Bride class, yet millions consecrate (and hundreds of millions profess to consecrate). The Apostle Paul tells us to run the race, giving all our energy, as if there is only one winner (1 Cor. 9:24). We are to run to win! We must not get careless and let things slip (Heb. 2:1).

The Great Company is the by-product of the one call. The Levites and the priests were both consecrated, but the priesthood was dedicated first (see Leviticus chapter 8). Neither the priests nor the Levites had any inheritance in the land; hence both represent spiritual classes, the priests being the Little Flock and the Levites being the Great Company.

In antitype, when the barley harvest ends, no more will be called to be of the Bride of Christ. There will be no more high calling, so there will be no more by-product either. Thus the end of the barley harvest will be the closing of the door from God’s standpoint. The consecrated down here (including the feet members) will not know when this occurs. Only later, as time and certain events transpire, will they know that the door did close previously.

Suppose, for example, that God determined next year to be the end of the Gospel Age calling. That time is coming, and it is coming soon. There is a definite time period, known to the Father, when He will stop looking for other members of the Bride. None down here will know that exact hour, day, or year. However, the Bride will not be immediately taken home at that point because time must be allowed for the last of the consecrated to either make their calling and election sure or demonstrate they will not make the top grade. They must have a little time period in which to run the race. The wise virgins will know the door has closed when they enter the marriage, but they will not know the exact time when it closed previously (Matt. 25:10).

The door will close from two standpoints:

1. The door will close from God’s standpoint when He no longer invites anyone to run the race for the high calling. This time will not be specifically known to those still in the flesh down here.

2. The door will close when the feet members go through that door and it closes behind them. Just as with Noah and his family on the Ark, God will close the door behind them. When Noah and family were on the Ark, they knew the door was closed, and the feet members will also know. Eventually the Great Company will know too, but they must first go to the marketplace and buy the oil. When they return and try to get in the door, they will find it closed.

The Book of Ruth breaks down the Harvest into sickling and bundling, but it also shows the threshing (in the next chapter). It is possible, then, for the Ruth class to be down here at the end of both harvests—for the sickling and the gathering—but not for the winnowing, or threshing. The third chapter of the Book of Ruth is enlightening in regard to the threshing.

Although Ruth 2:17 mentions beating, or threshing, the reference is to Ruth’s individual need. She gleaned just for herself and Naomi, whereas chapter 3 treats the threshing of the whole field. The Lord feeds us, but we must feed ourselves too. We get our food in God’s Word, but we have to search and study that Word as one would search for hid treasure (Prov. 2:1-5). We must be industrious like Ruth.

In gleaning, Ruth pictures our feeding on the daily manna. That feeding is based on our cooperation with God. If Boaz (Jesus) was not generous in feeding us, we would not get any nutriment. First, we are covered by the blood, and second, we need the Holy Spirit to understand the Word. Boaz did these things for Ruth in the type. Matthew 24:45-47 tells that at the end of the Gospel Age, on behalf of the returned invisible Lord, a servant would feed the household of faith in the beginning of the Harvest. And so the setting of Ruth is the beginning of the Harvest at the end of the Gospel Age. She pictures a Gentile class of called-out ones.

Note: Character lessons and principles in the Book of Ruth can be applied to the whole Gospel Age, but the prophetic setting starts in the time of Harvest. Chapter 3 will bring us to the end time of the time period of Harvest.

It is interesting that Revelation 14:15 regarding “the harvest of the earth” does not specify whether the harvest is barley or wheat. Because “the harvest of the earth” is sickled, we know it is grain, but what kind of grain? The harvest of “the vine of the earth” would be grapes (Rev. 14:18,19). The entire vine is cut and thrown into the winepress as a reject. Revelation 14 tells of two harvests: the true Church (favorable) and the false Church (unfavorable).

The wheat harvest of the Book of Ruth will not be complete until after the fall of the nominal system. (This detail is not in Revelation 14.) The Great Company are also a wheat (“virgin”) class, but they are unripe or immature (Matt. 25:2,3). The barley harvest is earlier, being the first of the firstfruits. The prophetic setting of the Book of Ruth starts with 1874.

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