Ruth the Gleaner
Ruth the Gleaner
Ruth 2:1-8 1 And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz. 2 And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter. 3 And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech. 4 And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee. 5 Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this? 6 And 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: 7 And 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. 8 Then 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:
Verse 1 Naomi’s husband Elimelech had a near relative, a kinsman redeemer named Boaz. Who and what is a kinsman redeemer is and what can the kinsmen redeemer do?
Leviticus 25:25 If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold.
Enter Boaz – a near relative of Elimelech. Boaz as a kinsman redeemer was entitled to buy the land and possession in the event that one of his relatives had fallen on hard times – this means that if his relative owed a debt that they could not pay back, then the kinsman redeemer could redeem them by purchasing it or redeeming it for them and instead of them, In typology, a kinsman redeemer points to the person of Jesus Christ who is our Kinsman Redeemer.
Verses 2-3 – Deuteronomy 25:5-10 5 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go into her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband’s brother unto her. 6 And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel. 7 And if the man like not to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband’s brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother. 8 Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her. 9 Then shall his brother’s wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from his foot, and spit in his face, and shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother’s house. 10 And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.
Leviticus 25:25 allows Boaz to fulfil the kinsman law; the land that Elimelech and Naomi sold during the famine more than ten years earlier could be purchased and redeemed.
Deuteronomy 25:5-10 By redeeming the land, Boaz a Jew is thus granted automatic license to marry Ruth his Gentile bride – Elimelech’s daughter-in-law, ensuring the family name to carry on.
Matthew 13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath and buyeth that field.
In the Parable above, Jesus taught that the field is a type of the world. The world – the field is bought by the next of kin. Jesus Christ purchased the world with His blood as a Kinsman Redeemer. Jesus became Man next to us – a Kinsman – a Man of kin. Why did Jesus do this?
John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. That is why.
Do you think it was a coincidence that Ruth so happened to find herself gleaning in the field that belonged to Boaz? I think not. I believe it is God’s providence at work. God’s timing was perfect in Ruth being there at the perfect place and at the perfect time. God is never too late. God is never too early.
I believe that it was God who impressed in Ruth’s heart to ask Naomi to go to the fields at this time to glean from the harvest so that they do not starve to death and for Ruth to glean from the harvest was perfectly in accordance with what is written in Leviticus 19:9-10.
Leviticus 19:9-10 9 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. 10 And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God.
The gleanings that fell were left for the poor intentionally, but it was not intended as a hand-out. They still had to work for it. They had to toil in the hot sun to gather up the gleanings that were left behind. They worked for their food, yet they would do it in such a manner that would allow them to keep their dignity. Work was not cursed until after the fall. Work was bliss before the fall.
Ruth did not expect something for nothing. She wanted to work for her keep. It is worth bearing in mind the heart that Boaz had. Boaz still follows the law as prescribed by the LORD in Leviticus 19:9-10. Boaz instructs his reapers despite the fact that there has been a famine in the land for over ten years, he explicitly tells them not to glean all. He could easily have ignored what he knew was in the law, and command his reapers to glean all.
Ruth coming to the field that belonged to Boaz may indicate that the other fields may have had nothing left, because the owners of those fields – unlike Boaz in disobedience to God’s Word have harvested all of the crops leaving nothing for the reapers. This would explain how it is and why it is that Ruth may have by God’s providence ended up in his field, because he may have been the only one in that particular area or district to obey God’s Word and God’s command. Boaz was willing to obey.
Verses 4-7 – This is further evidence of the Godly character of Boaz. As soon as he sees his employees, he greets them first. Boaz is a wealthy land owner. He is not proud, pompous or arrogant. His greeting is a blessing. Boaz blesses his employees first thing in the morning when he sees them, and they return the blessing and said unto the reapers, “The LORD be with you”. And they answered him. “The LORD bless thee”…………….Can you imagine your Boss greeting and blessing you first thing in the morning???? I wonder.
It is also evidence of Ruth’s Godly character because she responds to Boaz by pleading with him to let her glean in his field. Legally, Ruth had every right to glean in his field – even as a Moabitess according to Leviticus 19:9-10. Ruth is ever so graceful and she humbly asks if it is okay for her to glean there.
Verse 8 this is a picture of our greater than Boaz – Jesus Christ. Boaz tells Ruth not to go to another field – stay here. Jesus also tells us to stay.