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Ruth chapter 2

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4And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee. 5Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this? 6And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab: 7And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house. 8Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens: 9Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn. 10Then 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? 11And 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. 12The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust. 13Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens. 14And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left. 15And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not: 16And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.

What does Ruth chapter 2 mean?

Ten years prior, an Israelite family fled a famine in Judah and settled in Moab. The father died, and the mother, Naomi, found local wives for her sons. Not long later, the sons died. When Naomi heard that the famine had ended, she resolved to return to Bethlehem. Her daughters-in-law insisted on accompanying her. When Naomi explained how much easier their lives would be if they stayed, Orpah agreed. Ruth didn't. Naomi's friends were glad to see her again, but her bitterness dragged her into despair (Ruth 1). In this chapter, Naomi finds hope again.

Ruth 2 begins with an introduction that sets the stage. The narrator reveals the presence of a man named Boaz who is of the same clan as Naomi's husband. Back at home, Ruth requests Naomi's permission to glean barley behind the harvesters. As Ruth seeks an owner who will show her favor in her work, she happens upon a field owned by Boaz (Ruth 2:1–3).

Sometime during the day, Boaz appears to check on the harvest. He sees Ruth and asks his foreman who she is. Word has gotten around the small town, and when the servant mentions that Ruth came with Naomi, Boaz realizes she is the Moabite woman who abandoned her country, people, and gods for an Israelite widow (Ruth 2:4–7).

Boaz determines that such a sacrifice deserves a response. He insists that Ruth glean only from his fields, so she will be safe. He orders his harvesters to intentionally leave out stalks from the bundles so she can gather more. And he invites her to lunch as if she were one of his servants. Ruth is overwhelmed by his kindness (Ruth 2:8–16).

At day's end, Ruth has harvested and threshed nearly six gallons—about twenty-four liters—of barley grain. Naomi is shocked at the amount and realizes Ruth must have had a benefactor. When Ruth mentions the man's name, Naomi reveals that Boaz is one of her husband's kinsman-redeemers. Beyond the provision of food, Naomi is even more grateful that Boaz has taken precautions to protect Ruth. Foreign widows working in the field face more dangers than just starvation (Ruth 2:17–22).

The last verse provides a summary statement of the following weeks. Ruth not only gleans for barley, but she also stays for the wheat harvest, as well. At night, she returns to Naomi in Bethlehem. Meanwhile, her continued lovingkindness toward Naomi is not going unnoticed (Ruth 2:23).

By the end of the harvest, the women likely have enough to live on for a year. Even so, they realize that Boaz can provide more than grain, if he's willing. Naomi is thinking about Ruth's future. She suggests that Ruth go to Boaz in a way that essentially asks him to care for her (Ruth 3:1–5). Naomi has also told Ruth that Boaz is a kinsman-redeemer. That means he can buy Naomi's husband's land and give Naomi the money to live for the rest of her life. He could also provide a son to carry on her husband's name. Ruth asks Boaz to fulfill this role (Ruth 3:9).

Commentors such as those at The Bible Project point out that chapters 2 and 3 have the same organization. They start with Ruth and Naomi planning, progress to an interaction with Ruth and Boaz, and finish with Ruth and Naomi waiting to see what will happen next. Chapter 2 sets the stage. In chapter 3, Ruth will invite Boaz to provide more than just grain. In chapter 4, Boaz will accept his role as the vessel through which God has chosen to bless the women. In the process, he becomes the great-grandfather of King David.
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