Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Booz. The Scripture does not specify how nearly they were related. R. Josue says Elimelech, Salmon, and Tob (chap. iii. 13,) were brothers, and Booz was the son of Salmon, which cannot be refuted, (Serarius, q. 1.; Menochius) though the authority and proofs be very weak. It is not, however, more probable that Booz was the brother of Elimelech. Some think that he was not the immediate son of Salmon, as four persons seem too few to fill up the space of 366 years, from the marriage of Rahab till the birth of David. But this is not impossible. (Calmet) See chap. iv. 20.
To me. It was the privilege of the poor and of strangers to glean, Deuteronomy xxiv. 19., and Leviticus xix. 9. Yet Ruth asks leave, through civility. (Calmet) --- This law is no longer in force, but it would be inhuman for the rich to deny this liberty to those who are in distress, and willing rather to work than to beg. (Tirinus)
With you. This blessing the Church still adopts in her service. (Worthington) --- It was customary to bless one another during harvest, Psalm cxxviii. 5, 8. (Calmet) --- Booz did, as Cato advises, Ne opera parcas visere; "See what is going forward." The master's eye makes the servants diligent. (Haydock).
Man. Heb. nahar, a man in the prime of life. He had the care of all in the field, during the absence of his master; whence Josephus styles him agrocomos, or agronomos. (Menochius) --- Homer mentions an officer or king, standing with his sceptre in the midst of the reapers, and silently rejoicing at the rich profusion of the field. (Iliad) --- Thus we see the taste of the ancients, while agriculture was honourable.
Moment. Hebrew, "her tarrying in the house is but small, or till now, that she remains a little in the house." She entered the house with the reapers, during the excessive heat of the day, and to avoid the suspicion of taking more than was allowed, during their absence. (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "she hath not discontinued to work in the field even a little." Her diligence and modesty attracted the notice of Booz. (Haydock).
Thee. The men tied the corn after the female reapers, (Calmet) and Ruth was authorized to follow, close at their heels, without fear. (Haydock) --- The waters. This is not expressed in Hebrew but it is in the Septuagint and the Chaldean. (Calmet) --- The privilege of having water in those countries was very considerable. (Menochius)
Country. St. Elizabeth was impressed with similar sentiments, when she was visited by the blessed Virgin; (Haydock) and so was David, when he considered the wonderful condescension of God, Psalm viii. 5., cxliii. 3., and Job vii. 17. (Calmet) --- Frequent instances occur in Scripture of people worshipping, or shewing their gratitude to their fellow creatures, by this posture of the body. (Menochius) --- Yet no suspicion of idolatry attaches to them, Genesis xxiii. '7., &c. (Haydock)
Heretofore, to embrace the same religion. (Menochius)
Work. Booz doubted not but a full and eternal reward was due to good works. (Worthington) --- Fled. This similitude frequently occurs, (Psalm xxxv. 8., and Matthew xxiii. 37,) to denote protection. (Calmet). --- Chaldean, "Thou art come to be a proselyte, and to hide thyself under the shade of the majesty of his glory." (Menochius)
Heart. This has the same meaning as the former part of the sentence. (Calmet) See Osee ii. 14. (Haydock) --- Maids, but more lowly and mean. (Menochius)
Vinegar, or small wine, made on purpose for working people. Some think that such was presented to our Saviour. Yet vinegar was very frequently mixed with other things, and was esteemed particularly refreshing. (Pliny, [Natural History?] xxiii. 1.) (Calmet) --- Side. Not in front, that they might not stare at her. (Menochius) --- And she, &c. Hebrew, "and he gave her frumenty, or parched corn." A little oil might be poured upon it. See Leviticus ii. 14., and 2 Kings xxvi. 28. (Haydock) --- Travellers in Ethiopia only take parched barley with them. (Calmet) --- The leavings, to Noemi. "Learn, says Seneca, (ep. 110,) to be content with a little." Septuagint, "and Booz heaped up food before her, and she ate and was filled, and left a part." (Haydock) --- But it appears that she afterwards took it home, ver. 18. (Menochius) --- The vinegar and corn which were given to Ruth were very refreshing. The Spaniards still drink posca, or water and vinegar. (Tirinus)
Reap. Hebrew, "if she will glean, even among the sheaves, do not cover her with confusion," (Haydock) or hinder her, Psalm xliii. 10. (Calmet)
Rod, as Gedeon had done, Judges vi. 11. --- That is, &c., an explanation of the Vulgate. (Calmet)-The ephi contained three pecks and three pints. (Arbuthnot) --- Alcazar and Cornelius a Lapide say 960 ounces. (Menochius)
Dead. He hath not forgotten Elimelech, his friend, for whose sake he treats his daughter-in-law with kindness. (Haydock) --- Kinsman. Hebrew adds, "one of our redeemers, (Calmet) or next kinsmen." (Haydock) --- To such the right of avenging the slain, of marrying the widow of the deceased, and entering upon his property, belonged. The best interpreters suppose that Booz was the nephew of Elimelech. (Calmet) (Leviticus xxv. 25., and Deuteronomy xxv. 5.) (Menochius)
And the wheat. Hebrew, Syriac and Arabic, "It is good that thou keep close to the maidens of Booz, and continue to glean with them till," &c. This was the advice of Noemi: but Providence ordered that Ruth should be married to Booz before the commencement of the wheat harvest. (Calmet) --- The Protestant agree with the Vulgate and Septuagint. "So she kept fast by, &c., unto the end of the barley harvest, and of the wheat harvest, and dwelt with her mother-in-law." These last words are expressed by the Vulgate in the following chapter. (Haydock).