Ruth 2:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ruth 2:11, NIV: Boaz replied, 'I've been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband--how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before.

Ruth 2:11, ESV: 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.

Ruth 2:11, KJV: And 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.

Ruth 2:11, NASB: Boaz replied to her, 'All that you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband has been fully reported to me, and how you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and came to a people that you did not previously know.

Ruth 2:11, NLT: 'Yes, I know,' Boaz replied. 'But I also know about everything you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband. I have heard how you left your father and mother and your own land to live here among complete strangers.

Ruth 2:11, CSB: Boaz answered her, "Everything you have done for your mother-in-law since your husband's death has been fully reported to me: how you left your father and mother and your native land, and how you came to a people you didn't previously know.

What does Ruth 2:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Boaz doesn't say who told him about Ruth. It's possible it was his harvest manager (Ruth 2:5–7), but more likely he heard the fuller story in town (Ruth 1:19). He may be a "worthy man" (Ruth 2:1), but he is in awe of Ruth's self-sacrifice and lovingkindness toward her mother-in-law. He proceeds to explain exactly how much notice he has taken of her. As he recounts her deeds, he's not condescending to tell her things she already knows. He is showing her that he understands the magnitude of what she's done.

The phrase "left your father and mother" calls back to Genesis where it is used as a description of what is expected of men when they marry (Genesis 2:24). If Ruth's husband had returned to Israel, the culture would have expected Ruth to follow him. But her husband is dead, and she still followed her mother-in-law.

Boaz's reference to her "native land" is also poignant. The Moabites are descended from Lot's son (Genesis 19:30–38). They have lived in the land for nearly a thousand years. Meanwhile, the Israelites wandered around Canaan under Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, moved to Egypt where they were enslaved for four hundred years, wandered around the wilderness for another forty years, and have spent the last few hundred years trying to drive out the Canaanites. Ruth's people are settled in their place; the Israelites still haven't fully taken possession of the land God promised them.

The "people" are the real danger. When the Israelites moved north toward the Jordan crossing, the Moabites feared for their lives and tried to stop them with curses and destroy them with idolatry (Numbers 22:1—31:54). In response, God ordered that Moabites were banned from "the assembly of the LORD forever" (Deuteronomy 23:3) and told the Israelites, "You shall not seek their peace or their prosperity all your days forever" (Deuteronomy 23:6).

Boaz and the people of Bethlehem recognize Ruth is not meant to be held under that ban, since she is no longer living with or identifying as one of the people of Moab. She disavowed her land, her people, and her god, Chemosh (Ruth 1:16). Most importantly, after all the care she has given Naomi, they know God will want to bless her.