Amplified: And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem and said to the reapers, "The Lord be with you!" And they answered him, The Lord bless you! (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
GWT: Just then, Boaz was coming from Bethlehem, and he said to his reapers, "May the LORD be with all of you!" They answered him, "May the LORD bless you!" (GWT)
KJV: And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.
Young's Literal: And lo, Boaz hath come from Beth-Lehem, and saith to the reapers, 'Jehovah is with you;' and they say to him, 'Jehovah doth bless thee.'
English of Septuagint: And, behold (pay attention), Booz came from Bethleem, and said to the reapers, The Lord be with you: and they said to him, The Lord bless thee
|NOW BEHOLD BOAZ CAME FROM BETHLEHEM AND SAID TO THE REAPERS "MAY THE LORD BE WITH YOU": (Ps 118:26; 129:7 129:8; Lk 1:28; 2Th 3:16; 2Ti 4:22; 2Jn 1:10 11)
Behold (02009) (hinneh) (translated "just then", "and lo", "now behold", "presently") is a marker used to enliven a narrative, to change a scene, to emphasize an idea or to draw attention to an important fact, detail or action that follows (eg, Ge 6:13, Isa 65:17). It's an exclamation that demands the reader's attention and so it is variously translated with words such as Here!, There!, Look!, Behold! Now!
The Septuagint (LXX) translates "hinneh" with the Greek verb idou which is in the aorist tense, imperative mood (aorist imperative), calling for an urgent attention. Do this now. Don't delay. It could be loosely paraphrased "Pay attention!" or "Listen up!" to arouse attention and introduce a new and extraordinary fact of considerable importance.
Now with an understanding of this interjection "behold", you can see that the narrator is drawing the reader into the scene that gives us our first "personal" introduction to Boaz. It is also worth nothing that often when one encounters the word "behold" in the book of Ruth there is a sense that the hand of God is controlling and directing the scene (Ru 3:8, 4:1-see note Ru 3:8; 4:1). In other words it was no "accident" that Boaz had come out from the city at the same time Ruth was gleaning in his field!
So dear reader, "Behold!" the sovereign working of your God and stand in awe and assurance that He is likewise involved in every detail of your life even though you may not always see His hand, sense His presence or "feel" like He is aware of what you are currently going through.
Mark it down - Jehovah is aware and He does care! Our Kinsman-Redeemer Himself reminds us
A SET OF PROVIDENTIAL
And so we find that the wealthy landowner Boaz just ‘happened’ to come to that particular field that same day, and then ‘happened’ to notice the young woman Ruth, who ‘happened’ to be in the shelter at the time of his visit (Ru 2:7-note).
In summary, ‘behold’ draws our attention to this chain of circumstances and directs the perceptive reader to the activity of the Almighty God behind the scene. Behold, God has just introduced two of the progenitors (ancestors in the direct line) of Jesus Christ to each other!
Matthew Henry comments that on the fact that Boaz visits his own fields, writing that
May the LORD be with you - These are the very first words Boaz speaks. The point is that Boaz brought the Lord into his daily life, here in the form of a blessing from a master to workers. This observation gives us an insight into the character of this man who would be eventually prove to be Ruth and Naomi's kinsman-redeemer.
If you want to know a man's relation to God you need to find out how far God has saturated to the details of his everyday life. And you can discern a great deal about an individual from their manner of greeting. He greeted his workers with GOD. (friendly?, sympathetic?, critical?, proud?, boisterous?, etc). Even the tone (and inflection) of our voice and our mannerisms in which we speak communicate much about our disposition.
How do you greet others? Glibly with a "Hi, how are you?" (not really expecting an answer) Or do you bless others when you greet them? When you shake hands, are you just going through the motions or do you genuinely have interest in the other person?
The psalmist declares
This verse was quoted by the Jewish multitudes in Jerusalem announcing the arrival of the Messiah, the one who fulfilled His role as mankind's Kinsman-Redeemer (see Mt 21:9).
Parenthetically, it is sad that often pious expressions become part of the language and gradually lose their original meaning. For example “Good-bye” originally meant “God be with you” but one can hardly deduce piety from a person’s use of “good-bye” today! In Boaz’s case we perhaps can. Though the greeting may have been conventional, it is not recorded elsewhere in Scripture nor attested in archeological finds.
Solomon instructs us that
The psalmist adds…
From these observations and those that follow, it is reasonable to conclude that Boaz was a "God-saturated", God fearing man and his farming business and relationship to his employees was permeated with a God-consciousness. Not only is Boaz a man of great wealth but a great man of God.
The prince of preachers, C H Spurgeon, addressed his congregation in a similar way declaring:
A devotional in Our Daily Bread draws a practical application from this exchange of greetings:
Taylor has an interesting note…
AND THEY SAID TO HIM "MAY THE LORD BLESS YOU: (Ru 4:11-note; Ge 18:19; Josh 24:15; Ps 133:1, 2, 3; 1Ti 6:2)
This pious, considerate interchange shows that even in the days of the Judges there were godly individuals in Israel. The book of Ruth is an oasis of fidelity in a time of Israel’s idolatry, sin, and infidelity. When Boaz came to his workers, he prayed a blessing over them. They expressed their kindness by praying a blessing over him. As Paul declared
Boaz shows interest in people and we should emulate him, for people are more important than projects in God's eyes.
People don't care how much you know
Until they know how much you care.
Taylor adds that Boaz's…
Matthew Henry comments that their mutual blessings show
McGee adds a pithy comment
What about us? Are we in such close fellowship with God, that His Name is a part of our everyday conversation? Or do we reserve His Name for Sundays and class socials?
Many today do indeed use God's holy Name but sadly more often for profanity than for praise.
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Do We Truly Care - When I first became a Christian, my friends and I had a way of helping each other memorize portions of the Bible. We would greet one another by asking the other person to quote a verse. Knowing of my poor memory, one friend used to humorously say to me, "Quote John 11:35!" He knew that it would be easy for me to remember this two-word verse.
Although it was a game, we didn't do this just for fun. These greetings reflected our desire to be people of God's Word.
In the book of Ruth, we read that Boaz greeted his workers by saying, "The Lord be with you!" and they responded, "The Lord bless you!" (Ru 2:4-note). It is clear from what we know about Boaz that he was not a harsh landowner, but a man who genuinely cared for others. The response of his workers revealed their goodwill toward him and their desire for God's blessing to be upon him as well.
As we think about our relationship with Christ and the people God has placed around us, we would do well to consider the importance of our greetings. Are "good morning" and "God bless you" just empty, insincere phrases? Or do our words show that we truly care for those whom we are addressing? —Albert Lee (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Thinking It Over - What is the difference between an empty greeting and a meaningful one? When you talk to someone, how can you communicate genuine love, interest, and concern?
A heartfelt greeting can
F B Meyer has the following notes on …
Amplified: Then Boaz said to his servant who was set over the reapers, Whose maiden is this? (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
GWT: Boaz asked the young man in charge of his reapers, "Who is this young woman?" (GWT)
KJV: Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this?
NET: Boaz asked his servant, the one in charge of the harvesters, “To whom does this young woman belong?” (NET Bible)
Young's Literal: And Boaz saith to his young man who is set over the reapers, 'Whose is this young person?'
|Septuagint (LXX): kai eipen (3SAAI) Boos to paidario autou to ephestoti (RAPNSD) epi tous therizontas (PAPMPA) tinos e neanis aute
English of Septuagint: And Booz said to his servant who was set over the reapers, Whose is this damsel
|THEN BOAZ SAID TO HIS SERVANT WHO WAS IN CHARGE: (Ru 4:21-note; 1Chr 2:11 12)
The Hebrew is abrupt without a transition that would be expected in good English literary style. It is not necessary to conclude that Boaz's next words after his greeting were a question about Ruth.
Servant who was in charge - This refers to an overseer whose special duty was to superintend the operations in the field, to supply provision to the reapers, and pay them for their labor in the evening. The Jewish Midrash (Jewish commentaries on Scripture written between 400 -1200AD and based on Hebrew word = “to search out” with implication of discovering a thought or truth not seen on the surface - be very cautious with this type of study! Let the text speak for itself and do not seek to add to it) says that an overseer was in charge of forty-two workers but the present text does not specify the number of workers.
WHOSE YOUNG WOMAN IS THIS?:
From this point on, Boaz focuses his interest more on Ruth than on the harvest. We must marvel at the overruling providence of the Lord Who led Ruth to the field of Boaz and then led Boaz to visit his field while Ruth was there. When Boaz arrived, Ruth might have been resting in the shelter house that Boaz provided for his workers or she might have grown weary and gone home to Naomi. When we commit our lives to the Lord, what happens to us happens by way of appointment and not by accident.
The heart of love is thoughtful and inquisitive. It seeks to know as much about the object of its desire as possible.
Young woman (05291) (na'arah) usually refers to a marriageable but unmarried girl, emphasizing the youthfulness of the girl.
He could not but have known “all the poor” in Bethlehem, and Ruth must have led a very retired life, never seeking company or compassion, since Boaz requires to be informed who the Moabite damsel was. But though a stranger to her personally, the story of Ruth was well known to Boaz. Seen in the light of her conduct and bearing, its spiritual meaning and her motives would at once become luminous to Boaz.
McGee has a humorous comment
Amplified: And the servant set over the reapers answered, She is the Moabitish girl who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
GWT: The young man answered, "She's a young Moabite woman who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. (GWT)
KJV: And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab:
Young's Literal: And the young man who is set over the reapers answereth and saith, 'A young woman -- Moabitess -- she is, who came back with Naomi from the fields of Moab,
Septuagint (LXX): kai apekrithe (3SAPI) to paidarion to ephestos (RAPNSN) epi tous therizontas (PAPMPA) kai eipen (3SAAI) e pais e Moabitis estin (3SPAI) e apostrapheisa (APPFSN) meta Noemin ex agrou Moab
English of Septuagint: And his servant who was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel who returned with Noemin out of the land of Moab
|The servant in charge of the reapers replied: (Ge 15:2; 24:2; 39:4; Mt 20:8; 24:45)
This man who had the responsibility over the workers and work doubtless had carefully observed Ruth and was fully qualified in giving an accurate response to his master's question.
The literal order is interesting:
The literal Hebrew first stresses the fact of her Moabite ancestry and only then is her presence explained, but even then the land of her origin (Moab) is reiterated to draw attention to Ruth’s different nationality and thereby stress that she is from a nation despised by the Jews. The point is clearly made that nothing, not even being a member of a hated nation
Young (05291) is the same Hebrew word used to describe Boaz's young maidens in see Ru 1:22-note): . Interestingly he only describes her by her country of origin. The Targum adds that the servant stated that Ruth had become a Jewish proselyte but neither the Hebrew or the Septuagint make that declaration. Ruth's affirmation in chapter 1 that "your God, my God" see Ru 1:!6-note): would however be consistent with the Targums commentary
Ruth 2:7: And she said, 'Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.' Thus she came and has remained from the morning until now; she has been sitting in the house for a little while." (NASB: Lockman)
Amplified: And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves. So she came and has continued from early morning until now, except when she rested a little in the house. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
GWT: She said, 'Please let me gather grain. I will only gather among the bundles behind the reapers.' So she came here and has been on her feet from daybreak until now. She just sat down this minute in the shelter." (GWT)
KJV: And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house.
NIV: She said, 'Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.' She went into the field and has worked steadily from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter." (NIV - IBS)
Young's Literal: and she saith, Let me glean, I pray thee -- and I have gathered among the sheaves after the reapers; and she cometh and remaineth since the morning and till now; she sat in the house a little.
Septuagint (LXX): kai eipen (3SAAI) sullecho (1SFAI) de kai sunaxo (1SFAI) en tois dragmasin opisthen ton therizonton (PAPMPG) kai elthen (3SAAI) kai este (3SAAI) apo proithen kai eos esperas ou katepausen (3SAAI) en to agro mikron
English of Septuagint: And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers: and she came and stood from morning till evening, and rested not even a little in the field
|AND SHE SAID PLEASE LET ME GLEAN AND GATHER AFTER THE REAPERS AMONG THE SHEAVES: (Pr 15:33; 18:23; Mt 5:3; Eph 5:21; 1Pe 5:5, 5:6)
The foreman further told of Ruth's courteous request for permission to glean after the reapers had completed their work. Note that Ruth does not demand a handout, nor does she presume upon her right to glean. All Ruth was asking was to gather leftovers behind the reapers and she asks permission even to do that. Ruth is a woman of excellence, not unlike another foreign woman who came to Jesus saying
In this section we find Ruth gleans after the reapers among the sheaves but a few verses later (Ru 2:15-note), we find Ruth now is gleaning among the sheaves. This observation is another indication that Ruth has received "favor" (grace upon grace) from Boaz.
Sheaves (06016) (omer) refers to stalks of grain gathered and tied into a bundle after harvesting. The reapers either gathered the cut grain into sheaves themselves or left it to be collected by the sheaf binder. The sheaves were then gathered into stacks and loaded into carts. As discussed earlier the law directed that some stray stalks and sheaves should be left in the field for the poor and hungry to glean (Dt 24:19).
William Taylor comments that…
SHE CAME AND HAS REMAINED FROM THE MORNING UNTIL NOW SHE HAS BEEN SITTING IN THE HOUSE FOR A LITTLE WHILE: (Pr 13:4; 22:29; Eccl 9:10; Ro 12:11; Gal 6:9)
"Morning" (01242) indicates the point of time at which night is changing to day or that time at the end of night: can represent the time just before the rising of the sun. In the ancient Near East the night was divided into three watches. The last period of the night was called the morning watch (Ex 14:24). It lasted from 2:00 A.M.- sunrise.
"In the house" (01004) is the Hebrew word for a tent, hut, dwelling–place or shelter. Most of the translations convey the thought that this was a shelter apparently near the barley field where the workers could have shade from the intense Palestine sun and a brief respite from their labors. Temporary shelters, made of upright poles and covered with leafy branches or straw, were quite common in the ancient Near East.
"For a little while" (04592) (tarried a little, short rest, brief rest, a few moments of rest, she rested but little, a few minutes rest). The foreman himself has been keeping her under observation, and has noted the quality of her work. Even under the hot sun she takes only a brief rest interval.
The Septuagint (LXX) translation of the Hebrew is she came and stood from morning until evening and rested not even a little in the field" which makes if very clear that she was not loafing.
And so we observe that even this woman of excellence and diligence needed rest. What about you? Do you take time to "rest" in the Lord (in His Word) or do you feel pressured to speed read 6 chapters a day to make sure you accomplish your goal of reading through the Bible in a year? Remember it's not how many times you go through the Bible, but do you humbly submit to allow the Scriptures to go through you? Take time like Mary did to rest and to listen "to the Lord's word, seated (at the) feet" (Luke 10:39) of your Kinsman-Redeemer. You will be refreshed as you tarry in His word and then you will be revived to go out and labor diligently for fruit in the Master's field (cf Mt 11:28, 29 30).
Monty Mills sums up this first scene of this divine drama: