Dave Burnette's Commentary

Ruth Chapter 2

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Samuel 
Date Penned: (1375-1050 BC)
Overview: To Show Israel to Have Character in Hard Times  (c 1-4)
Theme: Ruth Glean in Boaz's Field (c 2)
Message: Naomi Has A Kinsman of Her Husband (v 1-23)

Ruth 2 Commentary

(2:1) God's Provision for the Needy - When the wheat and barley were ready to be harvested, reapers were hired to cut down the stalks and tie them into bundles. God's law necessitated that the corners of the fields not be harvested. In addition, any grain that was dropped was to be left for widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor, who would gather (glean) it and use it for food (Leviticus 19:9; 23:22; Deuteronomy 24:19. The purpose of this law was to feed the poor and to prevent the landowners from hoarding. This law taught the people of Israel how to care for the marginalized in their midst, as God had cared for all of them when they were slaves in Egypt. Because Ruth was a widow and a foreigner with no means of providing for herself, she went into the fields to glean the grain.

(2:2-3) Ruth Takes Initiative - Ruth made her home in a foreign land. Instead of depending on Naomi or waiting for good fortune to happen, she took initiative. She went to work. She was not afraid of admitting what she needed or working hard to get it. When Ruth went out to the fields, God provided for her. If you are waiting for God to provide, consider this: He may be waiting for you to humbly take the first step, trusting him to lead from there. How can you take action in your circumstances with a faith-filled and trusting heart?

(2:7) Being Faithful in the Small Things - Ruth's task, though menial, tiring, and perhaps degrading, was done faithfully. What is your attitude when the task you have been given feels below your station? The task at hand may be all you can do, or it may be the work God wants you to do. Or, as in Ruth's case, it may be a test of your character that will open new doors of opportunity.

(2:8-9) Ruth's Tenasity is Noticed - Ruth took the initiative to provide for herself and Naomi, even though the situation could have been dangerous. There are times when tough work with little rest is our only option. Boaz noticed Ruth's tenacity. In fact, he was so impressed with Ruth that he let her follow directly behind his reapers in order to pick up the choicest grain that they dropped. Ruth probably chose this field to gather grain randomly, but God knew exactly which field would lead her to cross paths with Boaz. And Ruth had to do her part as well. Had she considered herself too proud or embarrassed to work in the fields, accepting the charity of someone else, she would have missed the opportunity to meet Boaz, which would change her life and give her the honor of becoming the ancestor of a king and the Messiah.

(2:10-12) Ruth Gaines a Good Reputation - Ruth's life exhibited admirable qualities: She was hardworking, loving, kind, faithful, and brave. These qualities gained her a good reputation because she displayed them consistently in all areas of her life. Her past actions were a report card by which others judged her. Wherever Ruth went or whatever she did, her character remained the same. Ruth's reputation was one of her most valuable assets. Our reputations are formed by our actions--and particularly by how we treat other people. Those who watch you at work, in public, at home, and at church will notice the nature of your true character. Good character comes by consistently living out the truth God reveals in his Word- no matter who we are with or where we are. As your character goes, so goes your reputation for being a person of trust, of truth, and of commitment to honor God in all you do.

(2:15-16) God in Action - The people in the book of Ruth are classic examples of the godly in action. Boaz went far beyond the intent of the gleaners' law in demonstrating his kindness and generosity. He not only let Ruth glean in his field but also told his workers to purposely let some of the grain fall in her path. Out of his abundance, he provided for Ruth and Naomi's need. How often do you go beyond the accepted patterns of providing for those who are in need? We should all follow Boaz's example and do more than the minimum for others.

(2:19-20) In Ruth's Sorrow, She Trusted the Lord - Naomi had felt bitter about her predicament (1:20-21), but her faith in God was still alive, and she praised God for Boaz's kindness to Ruth. In her sorrow, she still trusted God and acknowledged his goodness. We may feel bitter about a situation, but we must never despair. Choose to be hopeful. Each day is a new opportunity to experience God's gracious provision. (For more on the "next kinsman", see the note on 3:1-9.)

(2:20) God Direct Ruth's Path - Though Ruth may not have always recognized God's guidance, he had been with her every step of the way. She went to glean and "just happened" to end up in the field owned by Boaz, who "just happened" to be a close relative. This was more than mere coincidence. As you go about your daily tasks, God is working in your life in ways you may not even notice. We must not close the door of hope to what God is presently doing in our lives that we may not be noticing. Events do not occur by luck or coincidence. We should have faith that God is directing our lives for his purposes.


Dave Burnette's Life Application

Our Need to Labor


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Today we continue in the book of Ruth with Chapter 2, and we see the story of Ruth who gleans in Boaz's field, and what catches my eye is the initiative of Ruth to work. She could have been proud and not worked, but she would not have eaten if she had. The Bible says we are to work if we want to eat. We are to labor where the Lord places us, and he will move us in and out of situations due to our obedience. In applying, we see our need to labor where the Lord places us. If we are faithful, the Lord will increase and bless us. The Lord controls and directs our steps, but labor is a part of our obedience. Many feel that their labor is in vain, so they see no need to labor and are content with living off of charity. Still, even in charity, there is labor to be done, as Ruth shows us in our text today. How about you? Do you see the truth in our text today? God is in control and will take care of our needs. Still, we must do what we can to follow the Lord in obedience and laboring, even within the charity we receive.  


Ruth 2

Ruth 2

 1And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz.

 2And 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.

 3And 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.

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

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

 6And 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:

 7And 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.

 8Then 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:

 9Let 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.

 10Then 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?

 11And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed 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.

 12The 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.

 13Then 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.

 14And 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.

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

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

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

 18And 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.

 19And her mother in law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned to day? and where wroughtest thou? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee. And she shewed her mother in law with whom she had wrought, and said, The man's name with whom I wrought to day is Boaz.

 20And 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.

 21And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said unto me also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest.

 22And 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.

 23So 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.