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Ruth 2:1 Now
Naomi had a
kinsman of her
wealth, of the
Amplified: NOW NAOMI had a kinsman of her husband’s, a
man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. (Amplified
Bible - Lockman)
GWT: Naomi had a relative. He was from
Elimelech's side of the family. He was a man of outstanding character
named Boaz. (GWT)
KJV: And Naomi had a kinsman of
her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and
his name was Boaz.
Young's Literal: And Naomi hath an acquaintance of her husband's, a
man mighty in wealth, of the family of Elimelech, and his name is
Click here for explanation of verb
abbreviations in parentheses after each verb
Septuagint: And Noemin had
a friend an acquaintance of her husband, and the man was a
mighty man of the kindred of Elimelech, and his name was Booz
REFERENCES ON RUTH
Art in the Bible
Jamieson, F, B
S Lewis Johnson
Keil and Delitzsch
J Vernon McGee
G Campbell Morgan
C H Spurgeon
C H Spurgeon
T De Witt Talmadge
Today in Word
Ruth 2 Art - excellent visual aids for
Ruth: Kinsman Redeemer, Part 1;
Ruth Notes 62 page Pdf
Ruth and Boaz
Ruth 2 Commentary
Ruth 2 Sermon Notes
Ruth 2 Various Articles that mention
Ruth 2 - 23 pages of material
Ruth 2 Israel And The Church
Foreordained By God
Ruth 2:1-14 The Damsel and the Relationship
Ruth 2:15-23 The Demand and the Revelation
Ruth 2:1-3 Searching For Grace
Ruth 1-2 Notes
Ruth Obeys God and Finds Love
Ruth 2 Expositional
Ruth 2 Commentary
God Moves In A Mysterious Way
Ruth 2 Notes
Ruth: A Light in Dark Days
Ruth 2 Can eHarmony Beat This?
Ruth 2:1-12 Seek And Ye Shall Find
Ruth 2 Commentary
Ruth 2: God's Providential
Ruth 2 Commentary
Ruth 2:1-17 The Harvest Field
Ruth 2 Commentary
Christ, Our Kinsman-Redeemer
Ruth 2:1 Real Riches
Ruth 2:2 Finding Favor
Ruth The Kinsman Redeemer
Ruth 2:1-2 Commentary -
Ruth 2:3 - Her hap was to light on the
portion of the field belonging unto Boaz.
Ruth 2: Net
Goel - Our Kinsman Redeemer -
In Shadow (Type) & Substance
Ruth 2: Under the Wings of God
Ruth 2:1-3 Critical and
Ruth 2:1 The Claims of the Weak
Upon the Strong
Ruth 2:2 Humble Toil...
Ruth 2:3 Seeming Chances, Real
Ruth 2:3 The Gleaner
Goel - Our Kinsman
Redeemer - In Shadow (Type) & Substance
Blood Avenger -
Avenges Man's "Murder", Reclaims Title Deed of Earth
Ruth 2:1-9 Exposition
Ruth 2:1-9 The Harvest Field
Ruth 2:3, 1:22 The Gleaner
Ruth 2:3 Her Hap
Ruth & Hannah: Learning To Walk By Faith
Ruth 2:1-7: Audio
Ruth 9 Page Summary with nice outline
The Book of Ruth
Ruth 2:1-6 Commentary
Ruth 2:2: Gleaning God's Riches
Ruth 2:3: Not By Accident (Devotional)
Ruth: The Romance of
Ruth: Two to Get Ready: Story
of Boaz & Ruth
Ruth 2:3 - The Insignificant
Ruth: Kinsman Redeemer Pt 1;
Ruth: The Ability to Redeem - Pt 1;
Ruth 2: Models of Love
Ruth 2 (Expositor's) Commentary - In the
Field of Boaz
Ruth 2:1-16: One Fine Day
Ruth 2:1-3:13: Lover's Language
Ruth 1-4 - Kinsman Redeemer - Download
My Redeemer Lives - Nicole
Recommended! A must see!
There Is A Redeemer -
NOW NAOMI HAD A
KINSMAN: (Ru 2:20, 3:2, 12, 4:3-see notes
I. A Famine -
A. A Disturbed Family -
B. A Decided Future -
C. A Declared Faith Ruth 1:15-22
II. A Field -
A. Expecting Grace
B. Experiencing grace
C. Expressing grace Ruth 2:18-23
III. A Floor -
C. Proclamation Ruth 3:14-18
IV. A Family -
A. Arrangements (redeemed) Ruth 4:1-8
B. Announcements (respected)
C. Accomplishments (related)
A few chapter
titles for Ruth 2:
Ruth Gleaning in the Redeemer's Field
The Character of Two Characters!
Ruth Gleans for Grace ("Favor" - Ru 2:2, 10, 13)
A Chance Romance - It "Happened" One Fine Spring Day
Ruth's Resolve, Boaz's Reputation, Naomi's Revival
A "Grace Full" Chapter - The
Greek word for grace (charis
- word study) is used only 3 times in the
translation of Ruth, all in chapter 2 - Ru 2:2, 10, 13 (= "favor"
Favor is defined as -- Kind regard; kindness; countenance; propitious
aspect; friendly disposition).
1. Days of the judges (Ru 1:1)
Salmon to Jesse (Ru 4:20–22)
2. Famine (Ru 1:1)
Reason to go to Egypt: Perez,
3. Bethlehem in Judah (Ru 1:1)
Boaz to David (home of family;
4. Leaving the land (Ru 1:1)
Perez, Hezron (Ru 4:18)
5. Returning to the land (Ru
Exodus & conquest: Nahshon
Salmon (Ru 4:20-21)
6. Emphasis on Boaz in central
chiastic layer (Ru 2–3)
Boaz in honored seventh
family tree (Ru 4:21)
7. Child by levirate
after kinsman’s reneging (Ru 4:6, 13)
Birth of Perez (4:18) after
reneging (see Genesis 38)
8. Become famous in Bethlehem
Boaz and David (Ru 4:21–22)
9. Fame in Israel (Ru 4:14)
Obed and David (Ru 4:21–22)
10. Obed, Jesse, David (Ru
Obed, Jesse, David (Ru 4:21–22)
From paper -
An Adjusted Symmetrical Structuring
Of Ruth - A Boyd Luter
Summary - Ruth 2 takes
place predominantly in the backdrop of a Bethlehem barley field and
masterfully weaves together the lives of 3 ordinary people (Naomi, Ruth
and Boaz) and one extraordinary God, Who is purposefully, providentially
working out His redemptive plan for all of mankind in the ordinary
events of life. The events that occur during what otherwise seems to be
just another humdrum 24 hour day would prove to have eternal,
extraordinary consequences! (cp Ru 4:21, 22, Mt 1:1, 5, 6) Although you
may not concur with all of Boaz's character traits listed below (or you
may have additional traits), certainly it is clear that the writer in
Ruth 2 is painting a poignant picture of a passionate pursuer of Jehovah
and one that all men whether single (and dating/courting) or married,
would do well to emulate and imitate (cp He 6:12-note) in their interpersonal relationship
with the "Ruth" God has brought into their life. And notice how Ruth
responds to Boaz's gracious (grace-filled) words and actions (Ru 2:10,
13 - although do not expect your "Ruth" to literally fall down at your
feet!). Men, women are by nature responders ("incubators") and they will
give us back what we give them in our words and actions... only later
and fully "baked"! As wise, godly men we need to continually seek
(enabled by the Spirit) to speak and act with grace toward the "Ruth"
God has given us (1Pe 3:7-note).
Are you experiencing just another "ordinary" day? Remember, you serve a
God Who takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary. So be encouraged
and motivated to redeem the time (Eph 5:16-note,
Ro 13:13, 14-note)
which He has graciously given you, living it out with wisdom (Ps 90:12-note)
and godliness (1Ti 4:7, 4:8-note,
1Ti 4:9, 4:10-note)
as did Boaz, Ruth and Naomi, for you do not know what extraordinary
consequences this ordinary day might have in the eternal plan of our
extraordinary God! As you review these characteristics of Boaz, who
would soon prove to be Ruth and Naomi's kinsman-redeemer, let your mind
project ahead and ponder how each of this traits is perfectly fulfilled
in our own Kinsman-Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ (Mk 10:45).
THE CHARACTER OF
in Ruth 2
God "saturated" and focused, prayerful, kind,
respectful, not arrogant
cp Eccl 10:12 = wise
Listen carefully my daughter
Spoke gently, with tender concern
Ruth 2:8, 9-note
Glean in my field, after the maids
Protects her physically
Commanded servants not to touch [sexually]
(Cp to love
bears [see note]
Thirsty? Drink - No need to draw
Exceeds the letter of the law
(Favor = Grace)
Speaks well of her
was the last time you praised (not patronized) your wife?
Do you pray audibly
for your wife?...with your wife?
Literally = Spoke to her heart!
His words comforted Ruth - cp Ep 4:29-note
Served Ruth. Met her needs
even above what she could ask or think
how have served
your wife recently?
Glean even among the sheaves!
Far above what the law required.
Ruth 2:15, 16-note
Protects her emotionally
"Don't embarrass her"
"Don't rebuke her"
you speak to your wife in the presence of others (children,
Hebrew literally reads
and [there was] to Naomi a relative, to her husband, a man mighty in
substance, from the clan of Elimelech, and his name [was] Boaz.
Note that in this chapter the
first and last verses are the comments of the narrator who is giving us
context so that we can understand the significance of the events in the
next few verses. The story really begins to unfold in verse 2.
that chapter 2 is the story of just one twenty-four hour period. In the
first five verses of the book, ten years whizzed by. A famine started
and ended, a family migrated, two marriages were made, and three men
died. Now we have an entire chapter that covers just one day. That also
ought to persuade us to listen very carefully to the details, to observe
the scene, to wonder and enter into what these people experienced. For
three thousand years people have been blessed by reading what took place
on this particular day when Ruth and Boaz began their relationship. (Ruth
2:1-16: One Fine Day)
is not the Hebrew word
Goel (word study)
(kinsman redeemer) but the Hebrew
noun moda or "mowda" which means simply a
relative (used of Boaz once more in Ruth 3:2) and is derived from the Hebrew verb yada
which means to know. Young's Literal translation conveys the
meaning of the root word (to know someone) referring to Boaz as merely an "acquaintance."
It denotes the person with whom one is intimately acquainted and thus
one’s near relation. Solomon has the only other OT use of moda
in Proverbs instructing us to
call understanding your intimate friend (moda)" (Pr
7:4) (Good advice!)
The narrator is carefully holding back the key information that
far more than just a family acquaintance and a relative until near the
end of this chapter when he is unveiled as one of their
kinsman-redeemers (Gaal = Ru 2:20NIV-note)
(Note kinsman-redeemers is plural so clearly Naomi knew there was more
than one "candidate"!).
For now we know that Boaz was Naomi's kin on her husband's side
and yet it is interesting that she does not appear to make any appeal to
him for assistance even though the term used here (moda)
indicates Boaz was well known to her. Conversely, it is also intriguing
that this very generous kinsman had not sent for Naomi although he too
was clearly aware of her arrival
The Greek word (Septuagint
- LXX) used to
is gnorimos (4x in Scripture = Ruth 2:1; 3:2; 2Sa 3:8
[translates Hebrew merea = friend or companion]; Pr 7:4) which means
acquainted with and when speaking of persons describes one who is well
known sometimes with the meaning of known to all, notable,
distinguished. In some contexts gnorimos means notables or wealthy class
There was a relative in town but
why hadn’t Naomi remembered that earlier? Could it be that her bitter
circumstances blinded her perspective.
MAN OF GREAT WEALTH: (Dt 8:17, Dt 8:18; Job 1:3; 31:25)
a rich and influential man (TEV)
a rich relative (NCV)
a prominent kinsman (NAB)
He was a wealthy, prominent man (NET)
a man of standing (NIV)
The Chaldee reads "mighty
in the law."
Translation renders it "a man of outstanding character". I
especially like the last translation because reputation is what
others think about you, but character is what those really know
you, know you to be.
Boaz is prominent (influential)
and wealthy which well suits him for his role as a "redeemer" and
The Hebrew for great
wealth is a combination
two Hebrew words:
Great (01368) (gibbor)
is an adjective which means brave, strong, might and is commonly associated with warfare and has to do with the
strength and vitality of the successful warrior. In some context gibbor
Gibbor is used to describe God
in 2 contexts ("mighty God" Isa 10:21, Jer 32:18) and also describes the
Messiah who will rule God's kingdom (Isa 9:6). Gibbor describes God in
Deut. 10:17, Ps 24:8, Zeph 3:17.
Gibbor - 150v in OT - Gen. 6:4;
10:8f; Dt 10:17; Jos 1:14; 6:2; 8:3; 10:2, 7; Jdg 5:13, 23; 6:12;
11:1; Ru 2:1; 1Sa 2:4; 9:1; 14:52; 16:18; 17:51; 2Sa 1:19, 21, 22,
25, 27; 10:7; 16:6; 17:8, 10; 20:7; 23:8, 9, 16, 17, 22; 1Ki 1:8, 10;
11:28; 2Ki 5:1; 15:20; 24:14, 16; 1Chr 1:10; 5:24; 7:2, 5, 7, 9, 11,
40; 8:40; 9:13; 11:10, 11, 12, 19, 24, 26; 12:1, 4, 8, 21, 25, 28, 30; 19:8;
26:6, 31; 27:6; 28:1; 29:24; 2Chr 13:3; 14:8; 17:13, 14, 16, 17; 25:6;
26:12; 28:7; 32:3, 21; Ezra 7:28; Neh 3:16; 9:32; 11:14; Job 16:14; Ps
19:5; 24:8; 33:16; 45:3; 52:1; 78:65; 89:19; 103:20; 112:2; 120:4;
127:4; Pr 16:32; 21:22; 30:30; Eccl 9:11; Song 3:7; 4:4; Isa 3:2;
5:22; 9:6; 10:21; 13:3; 21:17; 42:13; 49:24, 25; Je 5:16; 9:23; 14:9;
20:11; 26:21; 32:18; 46:5, 6, 9, 12; 48:14, 41; 49:22; 50:9, 36; 51:30,
56, 57; Ezek 32:12, 21, 27; 39:18, 20; Da 11:3; Ho 10:13; Joel 2:7;
3:9, 10, 11; Amos 2:14, 16; Obad 1:9; Nah 2:3; Zeph 1:14; 3:17; Zech 9:13;
The NAS renders gibbor
as - another(1), champion(2), great(1), helpers(1), heroes(3), men(2),
mighty(26), Mighty(1), mighty man(15), mighty men(57), mighty one(2),
Mighty One(1), mighty ones(3), mighty warrior(1), mighty warriors(2),
outstanding men(1), strong(1), strong man(1), valiant(1), valiant
men*(1), warrior(15), warrior's(1), warriors(18), who is mighty(1).
Wealth (02428) (hayil or chayil)
which means might, strength, power, valiant, virtuous, riches, wealth
and is the same word used in the next chapter to describe Ruth as a
woman of excellence
This same Hebrew phrase (gibbor
hayil) is used to refer to Gideon (Jdg 6:12-note)
and Jephthah (Jdg 11:1-note)
and is variously translated as valiant warrior, mighty man of
valor, mighty hero and mighty warrior.
One gets the picture of an man of renown who in Medieval England would
have been called a "knight" -- indeed Boaz would soon prove to be Ruth's "knight
in shining armor".
The two Greek words the
Septuagint (LXX) uses
to translate great
dunatos (an ischus - see below) which has several meanings that might apply to the man
Boaz, including one who possesses power, who has the ability to
perform some function, and thus who is able, strong or "influential"
(this latter meaning found in Acts 25:5).
The other Greek word is ischus meaning strength or ability and discussed in the section below. It's great to have a
rich and influential relative isn't it? And indeed every believer has
such a Kinsman in Christ Jesus, who quite clearly is pictured in
the character of godly Boaz.
Gill sums up the description of
man of great wealth and riches, and of great power and
authority, which riches give and raise a man to, and also of great
virtue and honour, all which the word "wealth" signifies; to which may
be added the paraphrase the Targumist gives, that he was mighty in the
law; in the Scriptures, in the word of God, a truly religious man, which
completes his character
OF THE FAMILY OF ELIMELECH
WHOSE NAME WAS
BOAZ: (Ru 4:21, 22-note;
1Chr 2:10, 11, 12; Mt 1:1, 4,
5, 6; Lk
Of the family of Elimelech -
We have almost forgotten about him, but the author deftly brings him
back into the storyline as he lays the foundation for the revelation of
the kinsman-redeemer, who has to be a near relative in order to function
in the capacity of kinsman redeemer.
Whose name is Boaz - Remember
that in Scripture, an individual's name often conveyed something about
their character. So let us study the meaning of Boaz. First,
let's briefly study Boaz's family tree. Notice that his mother was a
Gentile harlot from Jericho, who became a believer (justified by works =
shown to be righteous by her good works which demonstrated
that her faith was alive!) in Jehovah (Jas 2:25-note).
Rahab the Harlot
Ruth the Moabitess
2:2, 21, 4:4, 10)
22:42, Mk 10:47, 12:35)
Articles) means In Him
(the Lord) is strength", Come in strength, strength,
Boaz appears like a bright ray of light piercing through the dark cloud of
bitterness hanging over Naomi and this little ray of sunshine is going to grow
bigger and bigger as the story unfolds. In this chapter the mercy of God
becomes so obvious that even Naomi will recognize it. From the first
verse we recognize that the situation is not as bleak as Naomi suggested
back in Ru 1:11, 12, 13 (see notes
where she gave the impression that there was no one for Ruth and Orpah
to marry to carry on the line of their husbands. Had she simply
forgotten about the kinsman-redeemers in Bethlehem or had she forgotten
the law of Levirate marriage? We can only speculate for God has not
revealed this to us.
Boaz - 22v in OT - Ruth 2:1,
3, 4, 5, 8, 11, 14, 15, 19, 23; 3:2, 7; 4:1, 5, 8f, 13, 21; 1Ki. 7:21;
1Chr. 2:11, 12; 2Chr. 3:17
The meaning of Boaz depends on
which source you consult. Nelsons' New Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Thomas
Nelson Publishers) records that Boaz
means in him is strength but The New Unger's Bible Dictionary
Moody Press) says that Boaz
possibly means fleetness possibly being derived from the
Arab word baaza which means to be nimble and most
other references record similar meanings such as alacrity
(promptness in response or cheerful readiness) or quickness.
As King Solomon was building God's Temple in Jerusalem, he
the pillars in front of the temple, one on the right and the
other on the left, and named the one on the right Jachin and the one on
the left Boaz.
(2Chr 3:17, 1Ki 7:21)
translation of this passage in Second
Chronicles is intriguing and gives a possible clue to the meaning of Boaz,
the English translation of the Septuagint reading that Solomon
set up the pillars in front of the
temple, one on the right hand and the other on the left: and he called
the name of the one on the right hand 'Stability,' and the name of the
one on the left Strength (Greek word ischus is used here to translate
the Hebrew word
(see note by Wayne Barber
refers to “power as an enduement.” Ischus is the inherent ability
which stresses the factuality of the ability, not necessarily the
accomplishment. Ischus is inherent power or force. A muscular
man’s big muscles display his might, even if he doesn’t use them. It is
the reserve of strength. Ischus therefore conveys the sense of endowed
power or ability. The idea is that it is the active efficacy of the
might that is inherent in God, His indwelling strength. Ischus is that
strength which one has in possession or ability. One might think of
ischus as God's latent power. It is His capability to function
effectively. He is able!
of the ability of human beings in
AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD
WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND
WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.' (Mark 12.30)
of angelic power in 2 Peter...
whereas angels who are greater in
might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the
Lord. (2Pe 2:11-note)
as an attribute of Christ in the
saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is
the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing." (Re 5:12-note)
One needs to avoid being too
fanciful in the interpretation of the significance of the pillar
but it is worth noting that a pillar was an ancient
symbol of security and strength. When all else has fallen, the pillar
remained standing strong and erect (we see this in some of the
archaeological remains ancient empires). In ancient times, a distinguished citizen would
in fact have a pillar erected in his honor and his name would be
inscribed upon the massive pillar to document his contribution for future
generations to come. In Revelation Jesus says that "He who overcomes,
I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God..." (Rev
3:12-note) So the faithful service of a believer on earth
will not be forgotten.
In summary, although we can speculate with some
support about the meaning of his name, Boaz's character and conduct
shine though in the remainder of this story and clearly demonstrate his
moral strength as well as his alacrity or promptness to
McGee adds that...
canvas of God’s Word, Boaz is drawn with noble features. He fulfilled in
his life all that the Latin suggests in the great word virtus . Boaz was
a man of virtue in the literal sense of that word. There is not a more
winsome character presented in the Old Testament than Boaz, and there is
not a more lovely woman in the Bible than Ruth. She compares favorably
with her descendant Mary, the mother of Jesus. These two, Ruth and Boaz,
stand out like stars on the black background of that corrupt day. Boaz
was a wealthy kinsman of Naomi. The first verse uses a word that does
not convey that strong meaning, but a word used later, which we will
consider, does so. We shall reserve for a succeeding chapter the
consideration of Boaz as the kinsman-redeemer. His position of wealth
made it possible for him to redeem the estate of Elimelech. (McGee,
J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
IN A MYSTERIOUS WAY
William Cowper (bio by John
Pictures w/ lyrics & guitar vocal-watch
it in full screen)
w/ pictures & piano)
vocal by Lori Sealy-A
MUST listen! Close your eyes. Ponder, even pray Cowper's profound
God moves in a
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.
Here is a story that is said to be
behind these incredibly insightful and beautiful words of Cowper's hymn.
Reportedly this is the last hymn William Cowper ever wrote, and
here is the story that is said to be behind it.
Cowper often struggled with depression and doubt. One night he decided
to commit suicide by drowning himself. He called a cab and told the
driver to take him to the Thames River. However, thick fog came down and
prevented them from finding the river (another version of the story has
the driver getting lost deliberately). After driving around lost for a
while, the cabby finally stopped and let Cowper out. To Cowper’s
surprise, he found himself on his own doorstep: God had sent the fog to
keep him from killing himself. Even in our blackest moments, God watches
over us. Yes, whether this
story is true or not, in either case we can rest assured that our God
ever watches over us dear tried and afflicted saints.
Here is another version of the story
of Cowper's last hymn "God Moves in a Mysterious Way..."
Whatever form the pressures toward
matrimony were taking, they were obviously causing deep psychological
problems for Cowper, for on Friday, January 1, 1773, an hour or two
after hearing Newton preach at the morning service in church, Cowper was
walking in the fields around Olney when he was struck by a terrible
premonition that the curse of madness was about to fall on him again.
Struggling to make a declaration of his faith in poetic form before his
mind was enclosed in the darkness of depression, he struggled home,
picked up his pen, and wrote a hymn that many regard as a literary and
spiritual masterpiece....Soon after writing these memorable lines, the
“dreaded clouds” arrived, and Cowper’s mind plunged into an abyss of
madness. During the night of January 1–2, he had terrible dreams and
hallucinations. In the middle of these nocturnal terrors he came to the
insane conclusion that God had commanded him to take his own life in the
manner of Abraham wielding his knife against his son Isaac. Apparently
ignoring the point that in the Bible God intervened to prevent the fatal
blow from being struck, Cowper attempted to obey this imaginary command.
His suicide was thwarted by the action of Mary Unwin. She sent for
Newton in the small hours of the morning. On arrival at Orchard Side,
Newton was appalled by his friend’s condition. (John
Newton From Disgrace to Amazing Grace by Jonathan Aitken and Philip
Yancey - a book that is difficult to put down and one I
"Please let me
go to the
glean among the
after one in
sight I may
favor." And she
said to her,
Amplified: And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, Let me
go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose
sight I shall find favor. Naomi said to her, Go, my daughter.
Bible - Lockman)
BBE: And Ruth the Moabitess
said to Naomi, Now let me go into the field and take up the heads of
grain after him in whose eyes I may have grace. And she said to her,
Go, my daughter
Ruth, who was from Moab, said to Naomi, "Please let me go to the field
of anyone who will be kind to me. There I will gather the grain left
behind by the reapers." Naomi told her, "Go, my daughter." (GWT)
One day Ruth, the woman from Moab, said to Naomi, "Let me go to the
fields. Maybe someone will be kind and let me gather the grain he
leaves in his field." Naomi said, "Go, my daughter." (ICB:
KJV: 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
Young's Lit: And
Ruth the Moabitess saith unto Naomi, 'Let me go, I pray thee, into the
field, and I gather among the ears of corn after him in whose eyes I
find grace;' and she saith to her, 'Go, my daughter.'
eipen (3SAAI) Routh
tois stachusin katopisthen
Septuagint: And Ruth the
Moabitess said to Noemin, Let me go now to the field, and I will
glean among the ears behind the man with whomsoever I shall find
favor (grace -charis): and she said to her, Go, daughter
"RUTH THE MOABITESS" SAID TO NAOMI
PLEASE LET ME GO TO THE FIELD AND GLEAN AMONG THE EARS OF
GRAIN: (Lv 19:9; 23:22; Dt 24:19, 20, 21, 22) (See ISBE
article on Gleaning)
to gather leftover grain behind anyone who will let me do it (NLT)
pick up the leftover grain (NIV).
Ruth the Moabitess -The author makes a point to use the descriptive phrase "Ruth
the Moabitess" 5
times (out of a total of 12 uses of the name "Ruth") in
this short drama (Ruth 1:22; 2:2, 21; 4:5, 10) which clearly serves to remind the reader of Ruth's status
as a foreigner and a Gentile, one outside of the
covenant promises of Israel and a stranger to Israel's God, Jehovah.
So every time we see Ruth's designation it reminds us that it was
Ruth, the one who did not belong, a Gentile who the Jews often
despised as in the same category as dogs, a misfit, an outcast, etc,
etc. Do we not see God's amazing accepting grace even in the
repetition and reminders of her name as Ruth the Moabitess!
As a side note it is intriguing
that one of the definitions of the noun "ruth" (did you realize it was
a word in our English language?) in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate
Dictionary is "compassion for the misery of another". Interesting!
Most believers today are
Gentiles and thus we should be able to closely identify with
Ruth and her predicament as a Moabitess. It is good to
remember how hopeless our situation was as Gentiles. As the apostle
Paul exhorted the church at Ephesus we would should all...
= command to keep this memory fresh. Don't forget where you came from
and how great are the mercies of God)
that formerly you the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called
"Uncircumcision" (Gentiles) by the so-called "Circumcision,"
(Jews) which is performed in the flesh by human hands...were at
that time separate from Messiah, excluded from the
commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of
promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Messiah Jesus you who formerly
were far off have been brought near by the blood of Messiah."
(Ep 2:11, 12-see note
As Ruth enters into this Bethlehem field, she is being brought not
only near to the Messiah but into the
actual blood line of the coming Messiah.
Please let me go - It is
easy to overlook this phrase but as explained below Ruth was not just
making a casual request. She was completely committed to carry out
what she was asking of Naomi! This introductory phrase then speaks
volumes about Ruth's heart and her desire to obey the fifth
commandment to honor your father and mother (Ex 20:12, Dt 5:16).
what was the promise for obedience?
Deuteronomy 5:16 ‘Honor your father
and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, (Promise
#1) that your days may
be prolonged and (Promise
#2) that it may go well
with you on the land which the Lord your God gives you.
Or as Paul writes...
Honor your father and mother (which
is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND
THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH (NB: all caps in the NT of the NAS
always signifies a direct quotation from the OT). (Ep 6:2, 3-note)
Did things go well with Ruth?
If you don't know the answer stop and read through all four chapters
of Ruth which will only take you about 30 minutes.
(na') is a marker of emphasis with a focus on the desire of the
speaker to heighten the sense of urgency or to add intensity to what
follows. Here the idea is something like
"I beg you"
"I beseech thee"
"I pray thee"
Was Ruth under obligation to supply food
for the family? Not by any Biblical regulation or law. But
Ruth has committed herself to Naomi with amazing devotion and she
takes the initiative to work and provide for them both. Ruth took
advantage of the gleaning laws (Lv 19:9, Dt 24:19) which she
undoubtedly had learned from Naomi. The Scripture repeated appeals to
the importance which God places on work, e.g., Paul writing to the
saints at Thessalonica says
For even when we were with you, we
used to give you this order: if anyone will not work, neither let him
eat. (2Th 3:10, 1Th 4:11-note,
cp Ge 2:15, 3:19, Pr 13:4, 20:4, 21:25, 26, 24:30, 31, 32, 33, 34)
Guzik adds that
Ruth, on her own initiative, sets out to glean fields to support her
and her mother-in-law Naomi. This shows a wonderfully hard-working
spirit in Ruth, and spiritual also - she would not have been more
spiritual to sit back at home and pray for food.
has an interesting comment on Ruth's initiative writing that...
Ruth had to say, "Naomi, there is one open door for people like us. Do
you know what we are? We're poor. The law says that poor people may go
into the field and pick up enough grain to eat. I'm going to trust
that the one door that God has opened is the door we ought to go
through. I'm going to trust that He loves us enough that this is the
right thing to do."
It was actually dangerous to do so, because the
time of the judges was a lawless time (Jdg 21:25). Poor people would take some
risks to access even something that was rightfully theirs (Lv 19:9, Dt
24:19). But Ruth
believed that she lived in her Father's world, the Scriptures were
trustworthy, and God would be faithful to His promises. (Ruth
2:1-16: One Fine Day)
Two widows with no visible means of support (but one invisible
EL Shaddai - God Almighty
- Shaddai used by Naomi in Ru 1:20, 21-note) still
need the basics of life and so Ruth volunteers (and as explained
earlier, essentially begs Naomi) for
permission to glean, which reflects her willingness to submit her will
to the will of the one in authority, even in this small detail
demonstrating her submission to God's authority as specified in the
fifth of the ten commandments...
(imperative mood = a command to be obeyed, not a suggestion to be
side-stepped - and it is still in force - a good reminder for
all young persons!) your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in
the land which the LORD your God gives you. (Ex 20:12)
desire to glean reflects her commitment to Naomi and to true worship
of Jehovah, for as James explained over one thousand years later...
This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and
Father, to visit (to care for - same Greek word,
episkeptomai [word study],
used in the
translation of Ru 1:6
= "Jehovah had visited His people" - episkeptomai is
not simply a casual visit but a visit with the aim of relieving one's distress!)
orphans and widows in their distress (external acts of
and to keep oneself unstained by the world (internal acts of holiness). (Jas 1:27-note).
Note that Ruth is not seeking
permission to go to a "picnic", because in ancient times a hard day's work under the hot Palestinian sun (and
here even during a dangerous time of Jdg 21:25-note)
frequently netted only a small amount of grain. We learn later that
Ruth's gleaning in the barley field of Boaz (her kinsman-redeemer "in
waiting"), was productive of an
ephah of grain (Ru 2:17-note)
after it had been beaten out (separating the worthless husks from the
How much was an ephah?
Probably somewhere between 20 and 40 pounds or
enough to sustain the two widows for up to ten days! Yes, gleaning the
corners of the fields (Lev 19:9) usually netted only a pittance, but
gleaning in the fields of the benevolent, generous and wealthy
Goel (kinsman redeemer) Boaz, yielded "exceeding abundantly above all that
we ask or think" (Eph 3:20-note).
By way of application, dear
child of the King, when we like Ruth choose to obediently glean in the
fields of our Beloved Kinsman Redeemer, Christ Jesus, we like Ruth
Goel's abundant provision (and of course, we as NT
believers are speaking primarily of spiritual blessednesses). Why then
do we so often wander into other fields to glean for that which can
never nourish nor satisfy our hungry souls? (cp Mt 5:6-note)
Let us learn from Ruth's simple but deep trust in Jehovah, under Whose
wings she had fled for refuge.
Ruth the Moabitess
(an alien) had every right to look to God for His help and
provision, for our trustworthy God
executes justice for the orphan and the widow
and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and
clothing. (Dt 10:18) (see
Torrey's Topic "Widows")
- This field turns out to be not just any field but
belonging to Boaz (Ru 2:3). In this same area David would tend his
father’s sheep (1Sa 17:12, 15), and Joseph would bring a young wife named Mary, to
deliver her baby, the Messiah, born in the line of Boaz and Ruth (Lk
2:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, see esp Lk 2:4) And it is most likely in the hills above
these fields shepherds were tending to their flocks on the night the
Messiah was born (Lk 2:8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19,
20). God's providential outworking of events in this "little town of
Bethlehem" (Micah 5:2) over the years that followed this fateful
day in Ruth 2
should be a source of awe and wonder to us all.
If our great God can orchestrate
such monumental events on the stage of a simple field, what can He do
with the seemingly mundane circumstances or events in my life?
Glean after the reapers -
This phrase even suggests the meaning of gleaning which is picking up
the leftovers, including the grain in the corners of the fields (Lv
19:9) and sheaves (stalks tied together) that had been forgotten (Dt
At the outset it is worth noting
that in all the descriptions of Ruth, there is not one description
of external beauty, but all descriptions deal with her internal
beauty. God sees not as man who looks as the external appearance but
He looks at the heart (1Sa 16:7). The writer of proverbs summed it up
Charm (a pleasing manner
developed by painstaking drill and discipline which invites the favor
of family and friends) is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a
woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. (Pr 31:30)
And thus we see that the key to
Ruth is not her external beauty (which she may well have had) but her
beautiful character. Physical beauty quickly fades and is transitory.
Ruth's praise from Boaz (Ru 2:11) as we shall see come from her godly
character rather than from such external appearance. Although the
author does not specifically state it, Ruth's attitude and actions
indicate that she clearly possesses the "fear of the Lord," which is
the foundation of all wisdom and the principle (Pr 1:7, 9:10, cp Eccl.
12:13, Ps 25:14-note)
Centuries later Peter
summed up the godly woman (and wife) writing...
In the same way, you wives, be
submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are
disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the
behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful
behavior. And let not your adornment be merely external-- braiding the
hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be
the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a
gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. (1Pe
3:1, 2, 3,4-notes)
Glean (03950) (laqat)
is a key word in Ruth 2 (used 12x in 10 verses - Ru 2:2, 3, 7, 8, 15,
16, 17, 18, 19, 23) and describes the process of gathering grain or
other produce left in the fields by the reapers. The basis for this
practice in Israel is found in Leviticus where Moses records God's
"when you reap the harvest of
your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field,
neither shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest... you shall
leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the LORD your God." (Lev
19:9, 10, cp Lv 19:34)
Laqat - 34v in OT - Ge
31:46; 47:14; Exod. 16:4f, 16, 17, 18, , 21f, 26f; Lev. 19:9f; 23:22;
Nu. 11:8; Jdg. 1:7; 11:3; Ruth 2:2, 3, 7, 8, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23;
1Sa 20:38; 2 Ki. 4:39; Ps. 104:28; Song. 6:2; Isa. 17:5; 27:12; Jer.
Most business owners instruct
their employees not to cut corners. God however had instructed Jewish landowners
in fact to “cut corners” in harvesting, and
always leave some behind (Lv 19:9)! Deuteronomy adds that
"When you reap your harvest in your field and
have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it;
it shall be for the alien (foreigner, stranger), for the
orphan, and for the widow, in order that the LORD your God may
bless you in all the work of your hands." (Dt 24:19)
These benevolent laws provided a divinely initiated “welfare” program
for Israel, and were an efficient and positive way of helping the poor
(Lv 19:9, 10, Dt 24:19, 20, 21, 22 - John Newton had Dt 24:22
printed in large letters and hung over his mantle piece so that he
would not forget God's amazing grace to save a wretched slave trader
such as he! We would all do well to remember our wretched state before
Christ, our Kinsman Redeemer showed us favor [grace]) (As previously
noted Ep 2:11, 12-see note
also Torrey's Topic "The
Poor"). On the one hand this practice encouraged the
landowners to have a generous heart and on the other, it encouraged
the poor to be active in laboring for their food and thus providing
for their own needs without loosing their dignity. What a far cry from
many modern day man initiated welfare programs! Sadly the Jewish
religious leaders fell out of step with God's heart and began to tie
heavy burdens upon the people by specifically designating
gleaning as one of thirty-nine kinds of work that was
forbidden on the Sabbath! God's will and way is always the best way!
One English dictionary defines "glean"
as to gather something slowly and carefully in small pieces. What a
wonderful harvest would we each receive if we always approached God's
Word with the definite intention to "glean"
in the "fields" of His precious truth.
Ruth had the desire and the
initiative to take full advantage of God's provision in Leviticus and
Deuteronomy, indicating that she knew this truth and that she was willing to
step out in faith and act upon it. What
a challenging example she presents for all believers who have access
to the gleanings, yea, even the bountiful harvest of God, having been
"granted...everything pertaining to life and godliness" and
having access to the "fields" of all of God's "precious
and magnificent promises". (2Pe 1:3, 4 -notes)
Yet there they lie, untouched and of no value to the believer who does
not reach out and lay hold of these precious provisions and promises
from the very mouth and hand of God Himself! Unlike God's "fields",
human owners could still refuse gleaning on his land. In the days of
the Judges one would not be surprised if more than one landowner
refused to allowed gleaning. Would Ruth be refused this privilege?
Today in the
A 1980s British sitcom called To
the Manor Born told the story of a woman living on an estate that had
been in her family for generations. The problem was that the lady of
the manor was basically penniless, although her financial condition
wasn’t widely known. Many of the show’s episodes dealt with the
woman’s attempts to keep the manor running and to hold on to her
estate on a shoestring budget. This could have been Naomi’s story upon
her return to Bethlehem with Ruth. Naomi was penniless, although
apparently she was able to move back onto the family property in
Bethlehem. That may have included a house and some land, but judging
from the women’s financial condition, they had no way to make a real
The Handbook on the Book of Ruth
It is also important that the theme
of restoration and “filling” be brought about by the event of harvest,
which, in a sense, is a kind of celebration of the fertility of the
earth and therefore an implied abundance. (Waard, J. d., & Nida, E. A. A translator's Handbook on the Book of Ruth. New York: United
AFTER ONE IN WHOSE SIGHT I
FAVOR = GRACE in Ru 2:2KJV)
"to gather leftover grain behind
anyone who will let me do it" (NLT)
the field of anyone who will allow me that favor"
someone who permits me to do so"
the footsteps of some man who will look on me with favor"
him in whose eyes I may have grace"
I might find favor - For
what is Ruth seeking? Is it not what all Gentile (as well as Jewish) sinners need to seek
for desperately? Indeed, she went out looking for grace
("favor"), and encountered her earthly "lord" (Ru 2:13) and in his
words and deeds found abundant, amazing undeserved grace
("favor", Ru 2:10).
Do we not see the clear portrayal of a greater
Lord of the Harvest here? Indeed, the Lord of grace (2Ti 2:1-note),
is He Whom we seek, in order that we too like Ruth might come into the
fruitful fields and the experiential knowledge (not just head
knowledge) of His abundant provision of amazing, transforming,
energizing grace (e.g., notice the practical effect of "grace" as
"instructor" to energize and lead us to live a different
life in Christ - see Titus 2:11-note,
(chen/hen) means favor (acts which display one’s
fondness or compassion for another), grace (acts of kindness
displaying one’s pleasure with an object, which benefit the object of
pleasure), acceptance. The basic meaning of chen is “favor.” Whatever
is “pleasant and agreeable” can be described by this word.
Chen conveys a sense of acceptance or preference. The related verb
chanan depicts a heartfelt response by someone who has
something to give to one who has a need.
Chen - Forty-three of the 68 uses of
chen are found in the phrase “to find favor in the sight of" as in
our current verse - Gen. 6:8; 18:3; 19:19; 30:27; 32:5; 33:8, 10, 15;
34:11; 39:4, 21; 47:25, 29; 50:4; Exod. 3:21; 11:3; 12:36; 33:12f,
16f; 34:9; Num. 11:11, 15; 32:5; Deut. 24:1; Jdg. 6:17; Ruth 2:2, 10,
13; 1 Sam. 1:18; 16:22; 20:3, 29; 25:8; 27:5; 2 Sam. 14:22; 15:25;
16:4; 1 Ki. 11:19; Esther 2:15, 17; 5:2, 8; 7:3; 8:5; Ps. 45:2; 84:11;
Prov. 1:9; 3:4, 22, 34; 4:9; 5:19; 11:16; 13:15; 17:8; 22:1, 11;
28:23; 31:30; Eccl. 9:11; 10:12; Jer. 31:2; Nah. 3:4; Zech. 4:7; 12:10.
The NAS renders chen as -
adornment(1), charm (1), charm(1), charming (1), favor(51), grace(8),
graceful(2), gracious(3), pleases(1).
The KJV renders chen
far more often as grace than the NAS - grace 38, favour
26, gracious 2, pleasant 1, precious 1, well favoured
Chen is translated in the
Septuagint by the Greek word
word study) which is usually translated grace in the
The first use
of chen was in Noah's day which was like "the days
of the judges" for God saw that
the wickedness of man was great
on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was
only evil continually. But Noah found favor (chen,
charis = grace) in the eyes of the LORD. (Ge
6:5,6:8, cp Noah's righteousness by faith He 11:7-note,
a preacher of righteousness 2Pe 2:5-note,
mentioned with Daniel and Job, Ezek 14:14, 20)
Chen is used three times in Ruth
(Ruth 2:2, 10, 13) all three in
Ruth 2 (here, verse 10 - "Why have
I found favor in your sight" and in verse 13 -"I have
found favor in your sight") Grace is favor bestowed on someone who doesn’t deserve it and
can’t earn it.
As a woman, a poor widow, and an alien, Ruth was in
need of grace and she sought it in the form of a field in which she
could glean. This was completely an act of faith (cp 2Co 5:7) because, being a
stranger, she didn’t know who owned the various parcels of ground that
made up the fields. There were boundary markers for each parcel, but
no fences or family name signs as seen on our farms today. Her great
faith reminds us that
"without faith it is impossible to please
Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a
rewarder of those who seek Him." (Heb 11:6-note)
in the broad field of promise...
C H Spurgeon (From
"Morning and Evening - Morning, Aug 1) draws a
wonderful personal application from Ruth's appeal to Naomi...
Downcast and troubled Christian, come and glean
today in the broad field of promise. Here are
abundance of precious promises (2Pe 1:4-note,
Col 2:3-note), which exactly meet thy wants
Take this one: “He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench
the smoking flax.” (Mt 12:20KJV) Doth not that suit thy case? A
helpless, insignificant, and weak, a bruised reed, out of which
no music can come; weaker than weakness itself; a reed, and that
reed bruised, yet, He will not break thee; but on the contrary,
will restore and strengthen thee. Thou art like the smoking
flax: no light, no warmth, can come from thee; but He will not
quench thee; He will blow with His sweet breath of mercy till He
fans thee to a flame. (cp 2Ti 1:6-note)
Wouldst thou glean another ear?
“Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will
give you rest.” (Mt 11:28, 29, 30) What soft words! Thy heart is tender, and the
Master knows it, and therefore He speaketh so gently to thee.
Wilt thou not obey Him, and come to Him even now? Take
another ear of corn: “Fear not, thou worm Jacob, I will help
thee, saith the Lord and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”
How canst thou fear with such a wonderful assurance as this?
Thou mayest gather ten thousand such golden ears as these!
“I have blotted out thy sins like a cloud, and like a thick
cloud thy transgressions.” (Isa 44:22KJV, cp Mic 7:19, Ps
103:12, Isa 38:17, 43:25, Jer 31:34, 50:20, Da 9:24, He 8:12,
10:17)) Or this, “Though your sins be as
scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like
crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isa 1:18) Or this, “The Spirit and the
Bride say, Come, and let him that is athirst come, and whosoever
will let him take the water of life freely.” (Re 22:17KJV-note)
Our Master’s field is very rich; behold the handfuls.
See, there they lie before thee, poor timid believer! Gather
them up, make them thine own, for Jesus bids thee take them. Be
not afraid, only believe!
Grasp these sweet promises,
them out by meditation and
Feed on them with joy.
AND SHE SAID TO HER "GO MY DAUGHTER":
Naomi granted Ruth's request and instead of referring to Ruth as her
daughter-in-law, she added an affectionate my
daughter (8X - Ru 2:2;
2:8; 2:22; 3:1; 3:10; 3:11; 3:16; 3:18). There is no reason given for
Naomi not joining Ruth in the fields as might have been expected of
one who was in such her dire circumstances but notice that Ruth
does not grumble, murmur or complain...
got to stoop over in the hot sun all day. Why aren't you going?"
Ruth did all things without
grumbling or disputing and proved herself blameless and
innocent, a child of God above reproach in the midst of a
crooked and perverse generation (the days of the judges), among
whom she appeared as a light. (Php 2:14, 15-notes)
And one man certainly noticed her "light"!
Christ-like non-grumbling attitude make you a lighthouse like
Ruth in your home, your family, your neighborhood, your workplace,
your school, your church?
2:3 So she
gleaned in the
reapers; and she
come to the
portion of the
field belonging to
who was of the
Amplified: And [Ruth] went and gleaned in a field after
the reapers; and she happened to stop at the part of the field
belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.(Amplified
Bible - Lockman)
So Ruth went. She entered a field and gathered the grain left behind
by the reapers. Now it happened that she ended up in the part of the
field that belonged to Boaz, who was from Elimelech's family. (GWT)
KJV: 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
NAB: and she went. The field
she entered to glean after the harvesters happened to be the section
belonging to Boaz of the clan of Elimelech.
Young's Literal: And
she goeth and cometh and gathereth in a field after the reapers, and
her chance happeneth -- the portion of the field is Boaz's who is of
the family of Elimelech.
periepesen (3SAAI) periptomati
Septuagint: And she went;
and came and gleaned in the field behind the reapers; and she
happened by chance to come on a portion of the land of Booz, of
the kindred of Elimelech
SO SHE DEPARTED AND WENT AND GLEANED
IN THE FIELD AFTER THE REAPERS: (1Th 4:11, 4:12; 2Th 3:12)
So Ruth went. She entered a field and gathered the grain left behind
by the reapers (GWT)
And she went, and came and took up the heads of grain in the field
after the cutters (BBE)
So Ruth went to the fields. She followed the workers who were cutting
the grain. And she gathered the grain that they had left (ICB)
A "Chance" Romance
(It Happened One Spring)
When did these events take
place? beginning of barley harvest (April/May ~ fruitful
Charles West spoke what
Naomi needed to remember when he said that...
We turn to God when our foundations
are shaking, only to learn that it is God who is shaking them.
Spurgeon applies this truth
When Ruth went to glean in the fields of Boaz, it was the most
gracious circumstance in her life that Boaz turned out to be her next
of kin; and we who have gleaned in the fields of mercy praise the Lord
that his only begotten Son is the next of kin to us, our brother, born
for adversity. (from his sermon
The Man of Sorrows,
March 2, 1873).
In another comment on this verse
I have now to invite you to other
fields than these. I would bring you to the field of gospel truth. My
Master is the Boaz. See here, in this precious Book is a field of
truthful promises, of blessings rich and ripe. The Master stands at
the gate and affords us welcome. Strong men full of faith, like
reapers, reap their sheaves and gather in their armfuls. O that you
were all reapers, for the harvest truly is plenteous! But if not
reapers, may you be as the maidens of Boaz. I see some servants who do
not so much reap themselves as partake of that which others have
AND HAPPENED TO COME TO THE
PORTION OF THE FIELD BELONGING TO BOAZ, WHO WAS OF THE FAMILY OF
ELIMELECH: (2Ki 8:5; Esther 6:1;6:2 Mt 10:29; Lk 10:31)
her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz (KJV)
As it turned out, she found herself working in a field belonging to
It just so happened that the field belonged to Boaz. He was a close
relative from Elimelech's family (ICB)
Now it happened that she ended up in the part of the field that
belonged to Boaz (GWT)
It just so happened that the field belonged to Boaz (NCV)
She just happened to end up in the portion of the field that belonged
to Boaz (NET)
she happened to stop at the part of the field belonging to Boaz (AMP)
Chance led her to a plot of land belonging to Boaz of
Elimelech’s clan. (NJB)
by chance she went into that part of the field which was the
property of Boaz (BBE)
as luck would have it, it was the piece of land belonging to
Keil & Delitzsch translate it as "her
chance chanced to
hit upon the field" (not the best translation for there
was no element of "chance" [as used in modern vernacular]
involved in this event!)
Chance, Luck, Fate?
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
George Muller could well
have been referring to the superintendence of Jehovah on every line of
the book of Ruth writing...
If our circumstances find us in
God, we shall find God in our circumstances.
discussion in his book on Proverbs -
Laws from heaven for life on earth
Indeed to recognize the hand of
God in our life does require the exercise of faith, for as Thomas
God is to be trusted when his
providences seem to run contrary to his promises.
She happened to come -
Just a coincidence, right? Not if God is sovereign and
providentially in control of even the numbers of hairs on our head or
the demise of a lowly sparrow. The English dictionary says that
coincidence is the occurrence of events that happen at the same time
by accident but seem to have some connection. Or a chance
occurrence of events remarkable either for being simultaneous or for
apparently being connected. Or a remarkable concurrence of events or
circumstances without apparent causal connection. And as you might
surmise, there is not a single use of the word coincidence in all of
Scripture! This happening did not happen by accident, chance, luck,
good fortune or any other similar term the unbelieving world might
Listen to, watch and be encouraged
by the great truth that
Our God Reigns.
Great things can come from small
beginnings when you have a great God. And in this first scene of Ruth
2 we see 2 divine providences - Ruth's happening on Boaz's field (no
signs, no fences) and Boaz happening upon Ruth in his field.
(qarah) in this context refers to something that happens out of
human or self control. This does not express the modern
idea of “chance” or “luck,” for that is foreign to OT
thought. (See booklet
How Much Does God Control?) The verb qarah is used in
cases where divine providence is the cause (Ge 24:12, cp Ge 27:20),
expressing the thought that the event in question is beyond human control. It is
clear that Ruth was providentially led by God for there were at least
two men in Bethlehem who could permanently deliver Ruth and Naomi from
their poverty and loneliness, and Ruth was specifically led to the
field belonging to Boaz. Thus Ruth, without any intention to
do so, ended up gleaning in the field that belonged to Boaz. The
translation “as it happened she came upon” expresses nicely the
absence of volition on Ruth’s part. Truly God...
works all things (how many?) after
the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11-note)
Sovereignty is defined by Webster's
as supreme power especially over a body politic. It describes freedom
from external control or of other controlling influences.
God is the ultimate authority in every sphere and place. It
follows that all creation is subject to Him and that all creation is
answerable to Him. As an aside, what verb do you see in the word
sovereign? "Reign" of course, and this verb captures the essence
of this divine attribute. Our God Reigns! (Play
Easton's Bible Dictionary
says Sovereignty is God's
absolute right to do all things
according to His own good pleasure
35; Ro 9:15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23; 1Ti 6:15; Re 4:11).
tells a humorous story related to sovereignty noting that ...
this is a clarifying doctrine. It
teaches us that there is no such thing as luck, chance, fate or
coincidence. You can have God or chance, but you can’t have both. When
a cowboy applied for health insurance, the agent routinely asked if he
had had any accidents during the previous year. The cowboy replied,
“No. But I was bitten by a rattlesnake, and a horse kicked me in the
ribs. That laid me up for a while.” The agent said, “Weren’t those
accidents?” “No,” replied the cowboy, “They did it on purpose.” The
cowboy realized that there are no such things as “accidents.” How
about you, Christian? Do you believe that some things catch God by
surprise? In the words of a good friend, “God is too sovereign to be
(Read Pastor Pritchard's entire
message and see also his series of 16 messages on
Our Awesome God)
list of sermons by Dr Pritchard
that also relate to God's sovereignty)
Spurgeon said that...
There is no
attribute more comforting to His children than that of God’s
Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe
trials, they believe that Sovereignty has ordained their afflictions,
that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify
them all. There is nothing for which the children ought more earnestly
to contend than the doctrine of their Master
over all creation—the Kingship of God over all the works of His own
hands—the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that Throne. On the
other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by worldings, no truth of
which they have made such a football, as the great, stupendous, but
yet most certain doctrine of the Sovereignty of the infinite Jehovah.
Men will allow God to be everywhere except on His throne. They will
allow Him to be in His workshop to fashion worlds and make stars. They
will allow Him to be in His almonry to dispense His alms and bestow
His bounties. They will allow Him to sustain the earth and bear up the
pillars thereof, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule the waves of
the ever-moving ocean; but when God ascends His throne, His creatures
then gnash their teeth. And we proclaim an enthroned God, and His
right to do as He wills with His own, to dispose of His creatures as
He thinks well, without consulting them in the matter; then it is that
we are hissed and execrated, and then it is that men turn a deaf ear
to us, for God on His throne is not the God they love. But it is God
upon the throne that we love to preach. It is God upon His throne whom
we trust. (Divine
sovereignty overrules every calamity. Let's take a brief look at
His sovereignty over historical events. Did you know that two great
leaders, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin
Roosevelt, almost died before the World War II began? In December
1931, Churchill was struck by a car as he crossed Fifth Avenue in New
York City. In Miami in December 1933, an assassin's bullet barely
missed Roosevelt and killed the man standing beside him. Both leaders
survived and contributed mightily to the defeat of Hitler. Why did
they survive to lead their nations in this time of crisis? Because God
was in control back then and He is still in control. God is sovereign
over nations causing their leaders to rise and to fall (Da 2:21; 4:32,
33, 34, 35; 5:21). The prophet Habakkuk complained that it didn't seem
right for God to use wicked Babylon to discipline Israel, but God
assured him that this did not mean evil would triumph. God was in
control and would one day bring about perfect justice
"Is it not indeed from the LORD of
hosts That peoples toil for fire, And nations grow weary for nothing?
For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the
LORD, As the waters cover the sea. (Hab
Dear brother or
sister in Christ, rest assured that your times are also in the
omnipotent, omniscient God's hands. No matter what may happen in this
world, He is always in control!
This Is My Father’s World—
Oh, let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet.
--M D Babcock
Matthew Henry wrote that...
Either directly or indirectly,
every providence has a tendency to the spiritual good of those who
love God (cp Ro 8:28-note,
Job spoke of God's
sovereignty (and omnipotence) when he declared...
Job 42:2 “I know that you can do
all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
David wrote that...
Psalm 103:19 The LORD has
established His throne in the heavens; and His sovereignty
rules over all.
William Cowper wisely said
Happy the man who sees a God
employed in all the good and ill that chequers (Ed:
a pattern of alternately coloured squares) life.
Given the fact that Ruth could little have understood the
significance of the truth that "her hap was to light" (KJV),
what John Flavel said is such an apt commentary...
Sometimes providences, like Hebrew
letters, must be read backwards.
A J Gordon must have read John Flavel and phrased it this
God's providence is like the Hebrew
Bible; we must begin at the end and read backward in order to
Luther had as similar insight noting that...
Our Lord God doeth work like a
printer, who setteth the letters backwards; we see and feel well his
setting, but we shall see the print yonder—in the life to come.
is translated in the
(LXX) with the verb parapipto (para
= beside + pipto = to fall) which describes coming onto
a situation accidentally and becoming innocently involved. The Greek
historian Herodotus uses parapipto to describe ships
meeting by chance at sea! Now imagine two people (Ruth and Boaz) from such different
backgrounds, being directed and drawn irrevocably like two ships into the same
Providence - Study of the Doctrine of Divine Providence
Taylor notes that...
the historian (writer of Ruth)
would not have us to believe that it was all by chance. On the
contrary, the great lesson of the book is that "the Lord is mindful of
His own," and that He leads them through ways that they know not, to
the end which He has designed for them. But the writer speaks here
after the manner of men. He describes all that men see. They cannot
trace the workings of the divine hand; they perceive only what takes
place before their eyes; and so he says here of Ruth that "her hap
happened," "her lot met her," "her hap was to light" on the part of
the field belonging to Boaz, but he means every reader to infer that
God had turned her steps thither. (William M. Taylor. Ruth The
In Matthew Jesus reminds His
audience of the providential watchcare of the Father for His children
asking and answering a rhetorical question...
Are not two sparrows sold for a
cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your
Father. (Matthew 10:29)
I like the way John Blanchard
God's providence will fulfil all
may have been correct when he uttered the following statement but
the men he describes never read (understood) the book of Ruth...
There is nothing of which it is
more difficult to convince men than that the providence of God governs
Ruth would both agree with Stephen Charnock who said
Providence is crowned by the end of
Providence is derived from
the Latin word providere meaning to foresee or to attend to.
The English word providence according to Noah Webster's 1828
dictionary entry means...
Foresight; timely care;
particularly active foresight or foresight accompanied with the
procurement of what is necessary for future use, or with suitable
In theology, the care and
superintendence which God exercise over His creatures. He that
acknowledges a creation and denies a providence, involves himself in a
palpable contradiction; for the same power which caused a thing to
exist is necessary to continue its existence. Some persons admit a
general providence, but deny a particular providence, not considering
that a general providence consists of particulars. A belief in
divine providence, is a source of great consolation to good men.
By divine providence is often understood God himself
The Puritan writer Thomas
Watson has the following notes on providence writing that...
There is no such thing as chance or
blind fate—but there is a providence which guides and governs the
world. (see Pr 16:33) Providence is God's ordering all outcomes
and events of things, after the counsel of his will, to his own glory.
 I call providence—God's ordering things, to distinguish it from
his decrees. God's decree ordains things that shall happens, God's
providence orders them.
 I call providence the ordering of things after the counsel of
 God orders all events of things, after the counsel of his will, to
his own glory; his glory being the ultimate end of all his actings,
and the center where all the lines of providence meet. The providence
of God is "the queen and governess of the world." It is the eye which
sees, and the hand which turns all the wheels in the universe. God is
not like an artificer who builds a house, and then leaves it—but like
a pilot, he steers the ship of the whole creation...
God's providence reaches to all
places, persons, and affairs...providences, which are casual and
accidental to us, are pre-determined by the Lord...providence is
greatly to be observed—but we are not to make it the rule of our
actions...Divine providence is irresistible...God is to be trusted
when his providences seem to run contrary to his promises...The
providences of God are chequer-work, they are intermingled...The same
action, as it comes from God's providence, may be good; and as it
comes from men, may be evil...ADMIRE God's providence...Learn quietly
to SUBMIT to divine providence...You who are Christians, believe that
all God's providence shall conspire for your good at last...Let it be
an antidote against immoderate FEAR, that nothing comes to pass but
what is ordained by God's decree, and ordered by his providence... Let
the merciful providence of God cause THANKFULNESS... (For more
detailed discussion see -
Body of Divinity - Scroll Down to
"14. The PROVIDENCE of God")
Nelson's New Illustrated Bible
Dictionary explains that providence is...
the continuous activity of God in
His creation by which He preserves and governs. The doctrine of
providence affirms God’s absolute lordship over His creation and
confirms the dependence of all creation on the Creator. It is the
denial of the idea that the universe is governed by chance or fate.
Through His providence God controls the universe (Ps 103:19); the
physical world (Mt 5:45); the affairs of nations (Ps 66:7); human
birth and destiny (Gal 1:15); human successes and failures (Lk 1:52);
and the protection of His people (Ps 4:8).
God preserves all things through His providence (1Sa 2:9; Acts
17:28). Without His continual care and activity the world would not
exist. God also preserves His people through His providence (Ge 28:15;
Lk 21:18; 1Cor. 10:13; 1Pe 3:12).
Divine government is the continued activity of God by which He directs
all things to the ends He has chosen in His eternal plan. God is King
of the universe who has given Christ all power and authority to reign
(Matt. 28:18, 19 20; Acts 2:36; Eph. 1:20–23). He governs insignificant
things (Matt. 10:29–31), apparent accidents (Prov. 16:33), and good
(Phil. 2:13) and evil deeds (Acts 14:16).
God acts in accordance with the laws and principles that He has
established in the world. The laws of nature are nothing more than our
description of how we perceive God at work in the world. They neither
have inherent power nor work by themselves.
We are not free to choose and act independently of God’s will and
plan; we choose and act in accordance with them. In His sovereignty,
God controls people’s choices and actions (Gen. 45:5; Deut. 8:18;
Prov. 21:1). God’s actions, however, do not violate the reality of
human choice or negate our responsibility as moral beings.
God permits sinful acts to occur, but He does not cause us to sin
(Gen. 45:5; Rom. 9:22). He often overrules evil for good (Gen. 50:20,
R. F., Bruce, F. F., Harrison, R. K., & Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
(Easton's Bible Dictionary)...
Literally means foresight, but is
generally used to denote God's preserving and governing all things by
means of second causes (Ps. 18:35; 63:8; Acts 17:28; Col. 1:17; Heb.
1:3). God's providence extends to the natural world (Ps. 104:14;
135:5, 6, 7; Acts 14:17), the brute creation (Ps 104:21, 22, 23, 24,
25, 26, 27, 28, 29; Mt. 6:26; 10:29), and the affairs of men (1Chr.
16:31; Ps. 47:7; Pr 21:1; Job 12:23; Da 2:21; 4:25), and of
individuals (1Sa 2:6; Ps 18:30; Luke 1:53; James 4:13, 14, 15). It
extends also to the free actions of men (Ex. 12:36; 1Sa 24:9, 10, 11,
12, 13, 14, 15; Ps.
33:14, 15; Pr 16:1; 19:21; 20:24; 21:1), and things sinful (2Sa 16:10;
24:1; Ro 11:32; Acts 4:27, 28), as well as to their good actions
(Phil. 2:13; 4:13; 2Cor. 12:9, 10; Eph. 2:10; Gal. 5:22, 23, 24, 25).
As regards sinful actions of men, they are represented as occurring by
God's permission (Gen. 45:5; 50:20. Comp. 1Sa 6:6; Ex. 7:13; 14:17;
Acts 2:3; 3:18; 4:27, 28), and as controlled (Ps. 76:10) and overruled
for good (Ge 50:20; Acts 3:13). God does not cause or approve of sin,
but only limits, restrains, overrules it for good.
The mode of God's providential government is altogether unexplained.
We only know that it is a fact that God does govern all his creatures
and all their actions; that this government is universal (Ps. 103:17,
18, 19), particular (Matt. 10:29, 30, 31), efficacious (Ps. 33:11; Job
23:13), embraces events apparently contingent (Pr 16:9, 33; 19:21;
21:1), is consistent with his own perfection (2Ti 2:13), and to his
own glory (Ro 9:17; 11:36).
A MERE HAPPENING? -
Huang, a nonbeliever, was a visiting scientist at the University of
Minnesota in 1994. While there, he met some Christians and enjoyed
their fellowship. So when they learned he would be returning to
Beijing, they gave him the name of a Christian to contact who was also
On the flight back to Beijing, the plane encountered engine trouble
and stopped in Seattle overnight. The airline placed Huang in the same
room with the very person he was to contact! Once they arrived in
Beijing, the two began meeting weekly for a Bible study, and a year
later Huang gave his life to Christ. This was not just a mere
happening; it was by God’s arrangement.
In Ruth 2, we read that Ruth came “to the part of the field belonging
to Boaz” (Ru 2:3). Boaz asked his servants who she was (v.5), which
prompted his special consideration toward her. When Ruth asked him the
reason for such kindness, Boaz replied, “It has been fully reported to
me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law . . . . The Lord
repay your work, and a full reward be given you” (Ru 2:11, 12).
Did the events in the lives of Ruth and Huang just happen? No, for
none of God’s people can escape God’s plans to guide and to provide.
I know who holds the future,
And I know who holds my hand;
With God things don’t just happen—
Everything by Him is planned. —Smith
A “mere happening” may be God’s design.
I. Providence Defined. --
The word "provide" (from Latin
providere) means etymologically "to
foresee." The corresponding Greek word, pronoia, means "forethought."
Forethought and foresight imply a future end, a goal and a definite
purpose and plan for attaining that end. The doctrine of final ends is
a doctrine of final causes, and means that that which is last in
realization and attainment is first in mind and thought. The most
essential attribute of rational beings is that they act with reference
to an end; that they act not only with thought but with forethought.
As, therefore, it is characteristic of rational beings to make
preparation for every event that is foreseen or anticipated, the word
"providence" has come to be used less in its original etymological
meaning of foresight than to signify that preparation care and
supervision which are necessary to secure a desired future result.
While all rational beings exercise a providence proportioned to their
powers, yet it is only when the word is used with reference to the
Divine Being who is possessed of infinite knowledge and power that it
takes on its real and true significance.
The doctrine of divine
providence, therefore, has reference to that preservation care and
government which God exercises over all things that He has created in
order they may accomplish the ends for which they were created.
"Providence is the most comprehensive term in the language of
theology. It is the background of all the several departments of
religious truth, a background mysterious in its commingled brightness
and darkness. It penetrates and fills the whole compass of the
relations of man with his Maker. It connects the unseen God with the
visible creation, and the visible creation with the work of
redemption, and redemption with personal salvation, and personal
salvation with the end of all things. It carries our thoughts back to
the supreme purpose which was in the beginning with God, and forward
to the foreseen end and consummation of all things, while it includes
between these the whole infinite variety of the dealings of God with
man" (W. B. Pope, Compendium of Christian Theology, I, 456).
II. Different Spheres of
Providential Activity Distinguished.
The created universe may be conveniently divided, with reference
divine providence, into three departments: first, the inanimate or
physical universe, which is conserved or governed by God according to
certain uniform principles called the laws of Nature; secondly,
animate existence, embracing the vegetable and animal world, over
which God exercises that providential care which is necessary to
sustain the life that He created; and thirdly, the rational world,
composed of beings who, in addition to animate life, are possessed of
reason and moral free agency, and are governed by God, not
necessitatively, but through an appeal to reason, they having the
power to obey or disobey the laws of God according to the decision of
their own free wills. This widespread care and supervision which God
exercises over His created universe is commonly designated as His
general providence which embraces alike the evil and the good, in
addition to which there is a more special and particular providence
which He exercises over and in behalf of the good, those whose wills
are in harmony with the divine will.
III. Biblical Presentation of the Doctrine of Providence.
The word "providence" is used only once in the Scriptures (Acts 24:2),
and here it refers, not to God, but to the forethought and work of
man, in which sense it is now seldom used. (See also Rom 13:14, where
the same Greek word is translated "provision.") While, however, the
Biblical use of the word calls for little consideration, the doctrine
indicated by the term "providence" is one of the most significant in
the Christian system, and is either distinctly stated or plainly
assumed by every Biblical writer. The Old Testament Scriptures are
best understood when interpreted as a progressive revelation of God's
providential purpose for Israel and the world. Messianic expectations
pervade the entire life and literature of the Hebrew people, and the
entire Old Testament dispensation may not improperly be regarded as
the moral training and providential preparation of the world, and
especially of the chosen people, for the coming Messiah. In the
apocryphal "Book of Wisdom" the word "providence" is twice used (Wisd
14:3; 17:2) in reference to God's government of the World. Rabbinical
Judaism, according to Josephus, was much occupied with discussing the
relation of divine providence to human free will. The Sadducees, he
tells us, held an extreme view of human freedom, while the Essenes
were believers in absolute fate; the Pharisees, avoiding these
extremes, believed in both the overruling providence of God and in the
freedom and responsibility of man (Ant., XIII, v, 9; XVIII, i, 3; BJ,
II, viii, 14). See PHARISEES. The New Testament begins with the
announcement that the "kingdom of heaven is at hand," which
declaration carries along with it the idea of a providential purpose
and design running through the preceding dispensation that prepared
for the Messiah's coming. But the work of Christ is set forth in the
New Testament, not only as the culmination of a divine providence that
preceded it, but as the beginning of a new providential order, a
definite and far-reaching plan, for the redemption of the world, a
forethought and plan so comprehensive that it gives to the very idea
of divine providence a new, larger and richer meaning, both
intensively and extensively, than it ever had before. The minutest
want of the humblest individual and the largest interests of the
world-wide kingdom of God are alike embraced within the scope of
divine providence as it is set forth by Christ and the apostles.
Let saints securely dwell;
That hand which bears all nature up
Shall guide his children well.
-- Philip Doddridge
Samuel Ridout observes
We see how everything is ordered of
God, not by Ruth. She does not know in whose field she is gleaning:
“Her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto
Boaz.” Humanly speaking, it was Rebekah’s hap to be at the well
when Abraham’s servant came in search for a bride for his master’s
son; it was the hap of the woman of Samaria to meet the
Stranger from Judea, who had such words of life and grace to tell her.
But we know that what is man’s “hap” is God’s purpose, the
purpose of love of Him who sees the end from the beginning and plans
it all. His eye was upon Rebekah, and He made her go out to the well
the first to meet the servant of Abraham. He constrained the woman of
Samaria to go where she would meet the Son of God, and have her life
transformed by the message He brought her. He knows and He draws each
of us, at the appointed time and in the appointed way, to the place of
blessing. How wonderful are His ways, and what love there is behind
what seem to be the merest incidents. God is absolutely sovereign. All
our blessings are from Him alone. The work of grace, from beginning to
end, is His. Therefore to Him alone is all the praise. (Ridout, S.
Gleanings from the Book of Ruth. Pleasant Places Press)
In Control (Our
Daily Bread) - The lot
is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.
--Pr 16:33 (Ed: Casting lots was a method often used to
reveal God’s purposes in a matter -- Jos 14:1,2 1Sa 14:38, 39, 40, 41,
42, 43 1Chr 25:8-31 Jonah 1:7 Acts 1:26)
Flipping a coin, drawing
straws, or taking a number out of a hat have long been ways of
resolving disputes. I once read of an election in an Oklahoma
town where the two leading candidates each received 140 votes.
Rather than go through the expense of another election, city
officials used a chance method to decide the winner, and
everyone accepted the outcome. What the writer of Proverbs said
proved to be true:
Casting lots causes contentions to cease,
and keeps the mighty apart (Pr 18:18).
Many people view all of
this as nothing more than a matter of chance. But the amazing
thing about what the Word of God calls "casting lots" is that
the Lord is ultimately the One who controls the outcome. This
was true in the story of Jonah, where God showed Himself to be
Lord even through the actions of superstitious, unbelieving
So, what does all of this
say to us as believers?
From the Christian's perspective, there
is no such thing as chance. God is either directly or indirectly
involved in everything that happens to us. He can therefore be
trusted and obeyed in any circumstance, because even the
smallest details are under His control. --M R De Haan II
Things don't just
happen to those who love God,
They're planned by His own dear hand,
Then molded and shaped, and timed by His clock;
Things don't just happen--they're planned.
God is behind the
controls the scenes He is behind.
God not only orders our
He orders our stops.
Solomon eloquently sums up what
"happened" to Ruth explaining that
The mind of man (woman) plans his (her) way, but the LORD directs his
(her) steps. (Pr 16:9)
This proverb is a magnificent expression of the sovereignty of
God (see discussion of
God's Sovereignty), whereby Jehovah inevitably and without exception accomplishes His
will and purpose through free-willed agents acting freely but
responsibly. Permitting or overruling the acts of man or woman without
infringing upon his or her freedom or interrupting his or her
responsibility is an awesome expression of God's providence.
(cf, free will of Joseph's brothers and God's providence in Ge 37:26,
27, 28 and His sovereign purpose in Ge 45:5)
Dear brother or sister in Christ, this great truth can be like a balm
of Gilead for your soul when the winds of adversity
begin to blow, for you can be certain that God even "makes the
winds His messengers"! (Ps 104:4)
God is altogether sovereign. He is not a God of chance. A faithful
believer, seeking honestly to know and do the will of God, especially
in relation to His already revealed will in Scripture, can be
confident that the circumstances around him are not dictated by the
laws of probability but by the will and purpose of God.
(7704) in Palestine
was not enclosed and signifies that portion of the open ground which
lay within the landmarks of the owner, but remember that there were no signs saying
"This way to
God moves in a mysterious
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
is that Ruth was thoughtful and obedient to take care of her widowed
mother, Naomi, and Jehovah was going to bless her unselfish obedience!
One wonders what would have "happened" had she chosen instead to sit
with Naomi but that is speculation because either way God was in
control and what He purposed would come to pass.
The IVP Bible Background
Commentary explains that...
Since land was apportioned by tribe
and clan and family, what would have looked like a single field may
have had delineated tracts that belonged to various clan or family
members. Stone markers would have identified the boundaries, and it
would be very easy to pass from one family holding to another in what
looked like one field. Indeed, it would have been easiest for the
poor to roam over the whole field to improve their chances of adequate
returns. In contrast, Boaz has intentions that Ruth be more than
adequately provided for. (Matthews, V. H., Chavalas, M. W., & Walton,
J. H. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament . Downers
Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press)
William M. Taylor adds
The field to which Ruth went,
though apparently one large and undivided area, was really made up of
the aggregate portions of land possessed by those who dwelt in
Bethlehem. Just as, even at the present day, in some parts of
Switzerland, the agricultural population live in villages round which
their several patches of land lie--not cut up by hedges or fenced off
by stone walls but forming what appears to be one immense field,
though it is actually very carefully mapped out and divided by
landmarks which are perfectly recognizable by the inhabitants
themselves; so it was, long ago, in Bethlehem. To a casual visitor
there would seem to be but one field, but yet the portion of each
proprietor was marked sometimes by heaps of small stones, and
sometimes by single upright stones placed at short but regular
intervals from each other. This enables us to understand the precept
against the removal of a neighbor's landmark (Dt 19:18, 27:17, Pr
22:28, 23:10, Ho 5:10), and explains why in the
narrative before us the word "field" is in the singular, and why it is
said that Ruth found her place of privilege in the "part of the field
which belonged to Boaz." (Ruth The Gleaner)
This scene is very practical in
understanding how we are to discern God's will.
A faithful believer, seeking honestly to know and do the will of God,
especially in relation to God's will revealed in Scripture, can
be confident that the circumstances and events that transpire are not dictated by the
laws of probability but by the will and purpose of God who truly is
causing "all things to work together for good to those who love
God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Ro 8:28-note). And so
circumstances although not the primary factor, are nevertheless, valid
aids in discerning the will of God in our life. The point is that there is no such thing as "chance" or "fate."
McGee adds some very practical
comments on discerning the will of God in one's life writing that
It’s amazing today how many people interpret God’s will as being the
easy way. Well, it’s not always the easy way. It certainly wasn’t for
Ruth." He goes on to add that "One of the glorious things, as we go
through this world today, is to know that our times are in His hands;
to know that He is ordering the events of this universe; and to know
that God has said that nothing can come to a child of His without His
permission. You must remember that there was a hedge around Job, and
even Satan couldn’t touch him until God gave permission. God will not
give permission unless it serves some lofty and worthy purpose. It did
serve a lofty and worthy purpose in the life of Job...For the child of
God today who is frustrated because he’s looking for some sign, some
experience, some light, some voice, some vision, some dream, he must
realize that God is not speaking to us in that way today. God today is
speaking to us through His Word. And the child of God who walks in
fellowship with God, with no unconfessed sin in his life, and has not
grieved the Holy Spirit, can commit his life to God. And when he gets
to a place where he isn’t clear just what God’s will is for him, he
can make a decision and move into the situation. Now maybe he makes a
wrong decision, but God has permitted it for a purpose. As I look back
on my life, there is one instance where I expected God to open up a
door for me, and He didn’t open up that door. In fact He slammed the
door, as it were, in my face, and I felt very bad about it. But I
thank God that He did it, because now I can look back and see that it
was best. It’s like what Joseph said to his brethren when they came to
him after the death of old Jacob, their father. He said in Genesis
50:20 , “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it
unto good.” How wonderful that is, and may it be an encouragement to
you today. Perhaps you are actually biting your fingernails and are
wondering why you don’t get clear leading. You know Christians who act
like they have a hotline to heaven. Now it’s wonderful that all of us
have access to God, but I’m not sure that He always talks right back
to us. So let’s be very careful today about the way we banter about
the statement, “I know this is the Lord’s will.” We just can’t always
be sure. But we can commit our way to Him, have no unconfessed sin in
our lives, not grieve the Holy Spirit, and be in the center of the
Lord’s will as best we know. Yes, my friend, you can commit yourself
to Him in a wonderful way. And even if you got into the same
predicament that Joseph did, or even that Job did, say with him,
“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15). My friend,
that’s the glorious truth that brings a joy and an expectancy to life.
The providence of God makes every day a thrill for the child of God.
I’m glad that He didn’t give me a blueprint because, frankly, I like
to take a trip over a new road, going into an area I’ve never been
before. I did that one autumn when we were in the Ozarks. My, how that
road twisted and turned. And every twist and turn was a thrill—the
autumn leaves were a riot of color. Nature seemed lavish, covering
every hillside with polychrome pictures. And I’m so glad that God
didn’t send me pictures of it all ahead of time. What a thrill life
can become for us! " A proper understanding of the Lord's will can
truly set you free to be all He desires you to be, without worrying
over every detail or everything you perceive as a mistake. Someone
might say it was a mistake for Joseph to have told his brothers about
the dream he had of ruling over them because that just served to
insight their envy into action. Let the truth of Genesis 50:20 and
Romans 8:28 (note) and of
the real events in Ruth's life encourage you to walk out in full
assurance that your God is bigger than any circumstance and so you can
be confident that "confident of this very thing, that He who began a
good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."
to J Vernon McGee's Mp3
on Ruth 2:3)
God was the Matchmaker
exercising divine providence, even as He had "guided (Eliezar) in the way to the house of (Abraham's) brothers" (Ge
find Rebekah, the wife prepared for Abraham's son, Isaac. God was
moving all events in the life of Ruth that she might occupy a
strategic position and be an important link in the scarlet chain
running through Scripture.
Of the family of
Elimelech - This phrase is
repeated by the writer to remind the reader that Boaz was from
the family of Elimelech and thus was "eligible" to be a
G Campbell Morgan writes the
following note regarding Ruth's "hap to light on the portion of the
field belonging to Boaz"...
The home-coming of Naomi and Ruth
was to poverty, and they were faced by very practical problems. These
were rendered more difficult by the fact that Ruth was a Moabitess.
Yet, she it was who faced the fight, and went forth as a gleaner to
gather what would suffice for immediate sustenance. The human side of
things is expressed in these words. But the statement is by no means a
pagan one. The Hebrew word rendered "hap" does not necessarily mean
that the thing that occurred was accidental, although often used in
that way. It literally means, that which she met with, and the
statement is that it was that portion of the field which belonged to
Boaz. All the issues reveal the Divine overruling. That which she met
with, was that to which she was guided by God—if all unconsciously,
yet none the less definitely. God led this woman, who had given up
everything on the principle of faith, to a man, completely actuated by
the same faith. The lines of his portrait are few, but they are
strong, and a man of the finest quality is revealed. It is a radiant
illustration of the truth that God does guide those who confide in Him
and in the most definite way. Some experience is often so simple that
we are tempted to say it happened, and to mean that it was a sort of
accident. Yet the long issues make it certain that it was no accident,
but part of a covenant, ordered in all things and sure. When in
loyalty we make the venture of faith in God, we are ever choosing the
path that is safe and sure. There are no accidents in the life of
faith. In its music, the accidentals perfect the harmony. (Morgan, G.
C.: Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible. Revell. 1994)
F B Meyer has the
following notes on ...
RUTH 2 RUTH, THE GLEANER
- Our first experiences when we have chosen Christ are not
always sunny ones. We have to glean in the fields of strangers.
Testing times like these develop our nobler qualities, and make
it clear that we have chosen God for Himself, and not for the
wages that He pays.
Ruth 2:1, 2, 3 Ruth, the
gleaner. -- The noblest natures are noble in the simplest of
things. Those who are faithful in least, approve themselves
worthy of being promoted to be faithful in much. Imitate Ruth,
by doing the thing that lies next to your hand, and you will be
probably promoted to a wider sphere. We must die in little acts
of self-denial before we can bring forth much fruit. It is not
in seeking great things for ourselves, but in doing little acts
of service for those near to us, that we commend ourselves for
usefulness and blessedness.
Those who glean in the fields
of the Land of Promise will have enough and to spare, will meet
their great Kinsman, and will become prepared to enter upon the
higher experience of that union with Him, of which marriage is a
shadow. Glean on, oh my soul! and gather after the reapers among
the sheaves! Beat out what you glean with patient care! Do not
hesitate to bring forth and give to those who need to abide at
home! The time will come when those fair fields of Bible truth
shall become your own, by union with their owner.
Ruth 2:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,
10, 11, 12, 13 14, 15, 16, 17 Boaz, the master. -- Would
that language like this was more frequently heard in harvest
fields and factories! The speech of the employed is generally an
echo of that of the employer (4). We should beware, however, of
degenerating into a formality which speaks God's name
thoughtlessly. How much good might we do if we were more careful
to notice those who serve us, and speak kindly to servant-girls.
Little acts and words of kindness do not cost much, but they
mean much to a lonely soul (Matt. 25:40). Note the significant
synonym for trust (Ruth 2:12; Ps. 63:7; Matt. 23:37).
Boaz (strength) the near
kinsman, is a glimpse of Him who, centuries later, was born in
this same Bethlehem, and who appeals to each who does the will
of His Father, as brother, sister, or mother. He takes knowledge
of strangers; He is quick to see every trait of natural grace,
and all kindly actions done to the least that belong to Him; He
provides bread and wine; He causes handfuls to be dropped on
purpose; He screens from annoyance and harm; He comforts and
speaks to the heart; He blesses, and the humble, stooping spirit
is blessed forever.
Ruth 2:18-23 Naomi, the
anxious mother. -- How gladdened were those aged eyes with
ephah (between three and four pecks) of barley, and with the
reserves from the mid-day meal. We ought to bring home from
every service the reserves of what we have heard (Ruth 2:18).
Man's kindness will sometimes soften a hard and weary heart, and
enable it again to believe in the love of God (Ruth 2:20). An
over-ruling Providence had guided the young stranger to the
field of a kinsman, though she knew it not (Ruth 2:19). God
remembers the prayers of the dead long after they have been
offered, and answers them by mysterious providences, which show
the eternal permanence and steadfastness of His love (Isa.
54:8-10; Rom. 8:28). (F. B. Meyer. CHOICE NOTES ON JOSHUA
THROUGH 2 KINGS)
Read and consider
putting into practice some of the principles set forth in C H
Her hap was
(Ruth "happened to come") -
Yes, it seemed nothing but
an accident, but how divinely was it overruled! Ruth had gone
forth with her mother’s blessing, under the care of her mother’s
God, to humble but honourable toil, and the providence of God
was guiding her every step. Little did she know that amid the
sheaves she would find a husband, that he should make her the
joint owner of all those broad acres, and that she a poor
foreigner should become one of the progenitors of the great
God is very good to those who trust in
Him, and often surprises them with unlooked for blessings.
Little do we know what may happen to us tomorrow, but this
sweet fact may cheer us, that no good thing shall be withheld.
Chance is banished from the faith of Christians, for they see
the hand of God in everything. The trivial events of today or
tomorrow may involve consequences of the highest importance.
Lord, deal as graciously with thy servants as thou didst with
Ruth. How blessed would it be, if, in wandering in the field of
meditation tonight, our hap should be to light upon the place
where our next Kinsman will reveal Himself to us!
O Spirit of
God, guide us to Him. We would sooner glean in His field than
bear away the whole harvest from any other.
O for the footsteps
of His flock, which may conduct us to the green pastures where He dwells!
This is a weary world when Jesus is away—we could
better do without sun and moon that without Him—but how divinely
fair all things become in the glory of His
presence! Our souls know the virtue which dwells in Jesus,
and can never be content without Him.
We will wait in prayer this night until our hap shall be to
light on a part of the field belonging to Jesus
will manifest Himself to us."
(Spurgeon Morning and evening October 25 PM)
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