Ruth meets Boaz
1-3 # Lev 19.9,10; Deut 24.19. One day, Ruth said to Naomi, “Let me see if I can find someone who will let me pick up the grain left in the fields by the harvest workers.”#2.1–3 grain left … workers: It was the custom at harvest time to leave some grain in the field for the poor to pick up (see Leviticus 19.10; 23.22).
Naomi answered, “Go ahead, my daughter.” So straight away, Ruth went out to pick up grain in a field owned by Boaz. He was a relative of Naomi's husband Elimelech, as well as a rich and important man.
4When Boaz left Bethlehem and went out to his field, he said to the harvest workers, “The LORD bless you!”
They replied, “And may the LORD bless you!”
5Then Boaz asked the man in charge of the harvest workers, “Who is that young woman?”
6The man answered, “She is the one who came back from Moab with Naomi. 7She asked if she could pick up grain left by the harvest workers, and she has been working all morning without a moment's rest.”#2.7 she has … rest: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
8Boaz went over to Ruth and said, “I think it would be best for you not to pick up grain in anyone else's field. Stay here with the women 9and follow along behind them, as they gather up what the men have cut. I have warned the men not to bother you, and whenever you are thirsty, you can drink from the water jars they have filled.”
10Ruth bowed down to the ground and said, “You know I come from another country. Why are you so good to me?”
11Boaz answered, “I've heard how you've helped your mother-in-law ever since your husband died. You even left your own father and mother to come and live in a foreign land among people you don't know. 12I pray that the LORD God of Israel will reward you for what you have done. And now that you have come to him for protection, I pray that he will bless you.”
13Ruth replied, “Sir, it's good of you to speak kindly to me and make me feel so welcome. I'm not even one of your servants.”
14At mealtime Boaz said to Ruth, “Come, eat with us. Have some bread and dip it in the sauce.” Straight away she sat down with the workers, and Boaz handed her some roasted grain. Ruth ate all she wanted and had some left over.
15When Ruth got up to start picking up grain, Boaz told his men, “Don't stop her, even if she picks up grain from where it is stacked. 16Be sure to pull out some stalks of grain from the bundles and leave them on the ground for her. And don't speak harshly to her!”
17Ruth worked in the field until evening. Then after she had pounded the grain off the stalks, she had a large basket full of grain. 18She took the grain to town and showed Naomi how much she had picked up. Ruth also gave her the food left over from her lunch.
19Naomi said, “Where did you work today? Whose field was it? God bless the man who treated you so well!” Then Ruth told her that she had worked in the field of a man named Boaz.
20 # Lev 25.25. “The LORD bless Boaz!” Naomi replied. “He#2.20 He: Or “The LORD”. has shown that he is still loyal to the living and to the dead. Boaz is a close relative, one of those who is supposed to look after us.”
21Ruth told her, “Boaz even said I could stay in the field with his workers until they had finished gathering all his grain.”
22Naomi replied, “My daughter, it's good that you can pick up grain beside the women who work in his field. Who knows what might happen to you in someone else's field!” 23And so, Ruth stayed close to the women, while picking up grain in his field.
Ruth worked in the fields until the barley and wheat were harvested. And all this time she lived with Naomi.