Ruth 2:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ruth 2:5, NIV: Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, 'Who does that young woman belong to?'

Ruth 2:5, ESV: Then Boaz said to his young man who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?”

Ruth 2:5, KJV: Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this?

Ruth 2:5, NASB: Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, 'Whose young woman is this?'

Ruth 2:5, NLT: Then Boaz asked his foreman, 'Who is that young woman over there? Who does she belong to?'

Ruth 2:5, CSB: Boaz asked his servant who was in charge of the harvesters, "Whose young woman is this? "

What does Ruth 2:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Boaz has come out of Bethlehem to check on the harvest of his barley fields. He has hired young men to cut the stalks and lay them in piles, and young women to gather the stalks and tie them into bundles. As he approaches his supervisor, he notices a young woman nearby whom he does not know.

In this extremely patriarchal country, a woman's identity is based on her father, husband, or son. The Proverbs 31 woman who can buy and tend her own land is rare. When Boaz asks, "Whose young woman is this?" he means who is her father or husband. The answer will place her on the appropriate rung of the social ladder.

As a landed and "worthy man" (Ruth 2:1) in a small town, it's likely that Boaz knows all the local families and their daughters. He may have even hired the female bundlers himself. He has heard of the young Moabite woman who accompanied Naomi into town, forsaking her family, culture, religion—everything familiar to her (Ruth 1:19). But he has apparently never seen Ruth. All he knows is that a young woman is waiting to the side next to his harvest supervisor.

The supervisor explains. She is the Moabite woman who came back with Naomi. It is uncertain whether it would have technically been required to permit Ruth to glean as she may not have fit the requirements of a "sojourner" (Leviticus 23:22; Deuteronomy 23:3–6), but she was certainly poor and Boaz understands the spirit of the law. Ruth's reputation has preceded her, and Boaz honors her sacrifice by making extraordinary concessions (Ruth 2:6–16).