Sunday, 17 March 2019

Ruth & Boaz 1 - The Start of the Story


Although this is entitled Ruth and Boaz we could not look at this objectively if we did not take the character of Naomi into consideration.






Naomi

When looking at the book of Ruth the first chapter is all about the history and love of a family which seemed to have ended in sadness and hurt which was turning into bitterness.


Ch 1
20  But she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.  21  I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?”

It is with Naomi that this commentary of the whole situation begins and throughout the book she plays a very important role.



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Ruth

Ch 1


The verse below sums up the attitude of Ruth after all the heartache and unsettled circumstances she and Naomi found themselves in - she was not ready to give up and she was mindful of the responsibility she had towards her mother-in-law.


Ruth was in fact starting out in a new story of her life and had chosen who she was going to serve - God.







Boaz


Ch 2

To see what type of a man Boaz was we can look at some individual verses 

His Immediate Greeting  

The first thing Boaz did was to greet his workers  v 4


Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!”And they answered him, “The Lord bless you!”


and this greeting was one of blessing


Then he knew all his workers (long time ones and more recent ones obviously as some of these workers would come and go) well enough to notice a new person  v 5


Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?”


He is considerate to someone who is not used to what they are now doing  v 8


Then Boaz said to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women. 

He thinks of Ruth's safety  v 9


Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.”


He recognises the good qualities in Ruth and wants God to bless her  v 11-12


11  And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”


He comforts Ruth  v 13

He treats her kindly like a worker he is responsible for and not like a begger  v 13


13 Then she said, “Let me find favour in your sight, my lord; for you have comforted me, and have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants.”

He personally makes sure she gets the food at the mealtime  v 14


14 Now Boaz said to her at mealtime, “Come here, and eat of the bread, and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed parched grain to her; and she ate and was satisfied, and kept some back.


He provides easy access to the grain for gleaning  v 15


15 And when she rose up to [b]glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not [c]reproach her. 


He then makes the gleaning easier for her by providing extra grain to fall  v 16


16 Also let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.”


He is thoughtful not just for that one day but for the rest of the harvest time  v 23


23 So she stayed close by the young women of Boaz, to glean until the end of barley harvest and wheat harvest; and she dwelt with her mother-in-law.

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Ruth

Ch 2

Ruth knows she is a foreigner so she feels different and perhaps inferior  v 10


10 So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favour in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”


Obviously Ruth has been kind and others have noticed this so that it has been talked about  v 11


11 And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. 


Ruth had needed comforting and she was thankful to Boaz  v 13

She appreciated being treated like one of his servants even though she is only there to gain for herself and not work for him  v 13


13 Then she said, “Let me find favour in your sight, my lord; for you have comforted me, and have spoken [a]kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants.”


She worked hard  v 17  & 23

17 So she gleaned in the field until evening, and beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley.

23 So she stayed close by the young women of Boaz, to glean until the end of barley harvest and wheat harvest; and she dwelt with her mother-in-law.


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Naomi

Ch 2

Ruth shared all that happened to her in the fields with her mother-in-law.

Naomi pointed out to her this also was looking after her safety  v 22

22  And Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, and that people do not meet you in any other field.”



Naomi had the extra view and thought on the whole situation and was the wise counsel that Ruth in a strange land would need.



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Boaz

Ch 3

Boaz knew her situation and how it would not be easy for Ruth to look after herself and her mother-in-law when neither of them had a husband.  He clearly saw she was not rushing into finding a substitute for her first husband but was willing to work hard to take care of  herself and Naomi  v 10

10 Then he said, “Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich.



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Ruth

Ch 3


Ruth was respectful enough to listen to advice from Naomi even if she may not have understood the traditions of her new homeland  v 3-4


Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do.”


Ruth was wise enough to agree to take this advice from Naomi  v 5


And she said to her, “All that you say to me I will do.”

But I think she must have felt something for Boaz to agree to do something so intimate and risky.





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3 comments:

  1. The story of Ruth and Boaz is one of my all-time favorites. I love everything you pointed out here about the character of each person. Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz have a lot to teach us. (Visiting from Kingdom Bloggers)

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  2. I’ve actually been reading about Ruth and Boaz in my daily devotion! I love this story and your breakdown of the text.

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  3. I love the story of Ruth! She was not hoping that Naomi's family would provide a new husband for her, in fact, she was facing ridicule for being of a different nationality. Yet, she was obedient to her Mother in law, and ended up with a wonderful husband, because of her willingness to do what she needed to to help Naomi. God bless you!

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