Ruth 2:16 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ruth 2:16, NIV: Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don't rebuke her.'

Ruth 2:16, ESV: And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”

Ruth 2:16, KJV: 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 2:16, NASB: Also you are to purposely slip out for her some grain from the bundles and leave it so that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.'

Ruth 2:16, NLT: And pull out some heads of barley from the bundles and drop them on purpose for her. Let her pick them up, and don't give her a hard time!'

Ruth 2:16, CSB: Pull out some stalks from the bundles for her and leave them for her to gather. Don't rebuke her."

What does Ruth 2:16 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Ruth's story is known to Boaz. He's aware that she is from Moab, one of Israel's enemies. After her husband and father-in-law died, she accompanied her mother-in-law back to Bethlehem, abandoning her god for Yahweh. He is grateful that when she came to glean, she found his field. He is going to use every power he has as a landowner to make sure she can support herself and Naomi (Ruth 2:5–12).

The law states that when reapers harvest a field, they may not go over it a second time and they may not harvest all the way to the edges; they are to leave the loose stalks to "the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow" (Deuteronomy 24:19; Leviticus 23:22). Carolyn Custis James, a Bible commentator, says, "The letter of the law says, 'Let them glean.' The spirit of the law says, 'Feed them.'" Boaz knows that the few bits his team of harvesters miss will not feed Ruth and Naomi. They need more.

"Pull out" is related to the Hebrew for "plunder, pillage" (Isaiah 10:6; Ezekiel 26:12). Boaz is telling his reapers to pillage their own harvest and leave the spoils for Ruth. They will obey so well that by the time Ruth is finished she will bring home almost six gallons of grain, fifteen to thirty times more than the reapers themselves! Boaz has already told his men they are not to harass or attack Ruth in any way (Ruth 2:15). Now he tells them not to "rebuke" her. They are not to insult her or discourage her from her work (Genesis 37:10; Jeremiah 29:27).

As a landowner, Boaz has provided materially for Naomi and Ruth and asked God to bless Ruth (Ruth 2:12). By the end of the harvest, he will realize God has a much bigger role planned for him.