Ruth 2:10 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ruth 2:10, NIV: At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, 'Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me--a foreigner?'

Ruth 2:10, ESV: Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”

Ruth 2:10, KJV: 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?

Ruth 2:10, NASB: Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, 'Why have I found favor in your sight that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?'

Ruth 2:10, NLT: Ruth fell at his feet and thanked him warmly. 'What have I done to deserve such kindness?' she asked. 'I am only a foreigner.'

Ruth 2:10, CSB: She fell facedown, bowed to the ground, and said to him, "Why have I found favor with you, so that you notice me, although I am a foreigner? "

What does Ruth 2:10 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Ruth left that morning determined to find a field manager who would allow her to glean after his barley harvesters (Ruth 2:2). Her idea of "favor" is undefined; considering she is a foreign widow from a country often at war with Israel, her expectations are probably low.

She happens upon the field of Boaz, a well-respected man in Bethlehem. When Boaz realizes who she is—the same young woman he had heard brought Naomi home from Moab—he gives her more than she could have hoped. He promises her every advantage of being his employee, including access, safety, and even water, but she can keep everything she collects (Ruth 2:5–9).

Ruth is overwhelmed. By bowing, she acknowledges that her social position is far below that of Boaz. In western fairy tales, this is the equivalent of a scullery maid to the lord of the manor. From her perspective, she has done nothing to deserve such kind treatment.

"In your eyes" has two implications. The first is that Boaz doesn't glance over her, unseeing; he stops and personally addresses her presence and her concerns. The second is that the term infers that Boaz treated Ruth as if he knows her. He does, in a way; he had heard what she had done, but he hadn't seen her before.

Ruth's words are also clever. "Take notice" and "foreigner" sound similar in Hebrew. We might say, "You have noticed the unnoticed" or "recognized the unrecognized." Ruth assumes she is such a low status she is beneath Boaz's notice. He disagrees. Her sacrifice deserves not only his attention and aid, but it also deserves God's blessings (Ruth 2:11–12).