Ruth 2:2
And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.
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(2) Let me now go.—The character of Ruth comes out strongly here. She does not hesitate to face the hard work necessary on her mother-in-law’s account; nor is she too proud to condescend to a work which might perhaps seem humiliating. Nor does one hanker after her old home in the land of Moab and the plenty there. Energy, honesty of purpose, and loyalty are alike evinced here.

Ruth 2:2. Let me go to the field and glean — Which was permitted to the poor and the stranger, Leviticus 19:9; Deuteronomy 24:19. And Ruth was neither ashamed to confess her poverty, nor would she eat the bread of idleness. After him in whose sight I shall find grace — Perhaps she did not know that poor strangers had a right to glean as well as the poor of Israel; or rather, out of her great modesty, she would not claim it as a right, but as a favour, which she would humbly and thankfully acknowledge. And she said, Go, my daughter — This shows, that Naomi was in a very poor and low condition as to temporal things; for had she been otherwise, it is not likely that she would have suffered her daughter- in-law to go and glean among the lowest of the people.

2:1-3 Observe Ruth's humility. When Providence had made her poor, she cheerfully stoops to her lot. High spirits will rather starve than stoop; not so Ruth. Nay, it is her own proposal. She speaks humbly in her expectation of leave to glean. We may not demand kindness as a debt, but ask, and take it as a favour, though in a small matter. Ruth also was an example of industry. She loved not to eat the bread of idleness. This is an example to young people. Diligence promises well, both for this world and the other. We must not be shy of any honest employment. No labour is a reproach. Sin is a thing below us, but we must not think any thing else so, to which Providence call us. She was an example of regard to her mother, and of trust in Providence. God wisely orders what seem to us small events; and those that appear altogether uncertain, still are directed to serve his own glory, and the good of his people.A kinsman - More literally "an acquaintance"; here (and in the feminine, Ruth 3:2) denoting the person with whom one is intimately acquainted, one's near relation. The next kinsman of Ruth 2:20, etc. גאל gā'al, is a wholly different word.

Boaz - Commonly taken to mean, "strength is in him" (compare 1 Kings 7:21).

2. Ruth … said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean—The right of gleaning was conferred by a positive law on the widow, the poor, and the stranger (see on [227]Le 19:9 and [228]De 24:19). But liberty to glean behind the reapers [Ru 2:3] was not a right that could be claimed; it was a privilege granted or refused according to the good will or favor of the owner. Gleaning was permitted to the poor and the stranger, Deu 24:19, both which she was; nor was she ashamed to confess her poverty, nor would she eat the bread of idleness; whereby she showeth herself to be a prudent, and diligent, and virtuous woman, as she is called, Ruth 3:11.

In whose sight I shall find grace; for though it was their duty to permit this, Leviticus 19:9 23:22, yet either she was ignorant thereof, or thought that, being a stranger, it might be grudged or denied to her; or, at least, that it became her modestly and humbly to acknowledge their kindness herein.

And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi,.... After they had been some little time at Bethlehem, and not long; for they came at the beginning of barley harvest, and as yet it was not over, nor perhaps for some time after this; and knowing and considering the circumstances they were in, and unwilling to live an idle life, and ready to do any thing for the support of her life, and of her ancient mother-in-law; which was very commendable, and showed her to be an industrious virtuous woman: she addressed her, and said:

let me now go to the field; she did not choose to go any where, nor do anything, without her advice and consent; so dutiful and obedient was she to her, and so high an opinion had she of her wisdom and goodness; she desired to go to the field which belonged to Bethlehem, which seems to have been an open field, not enclosed, where each inhabitant had his part, as Boaz, Ruth 2:3 though Jarchi interprets it of one of the fields of the men of the city; hither she asked leave to go, not with any ill intent, nor was she in any danger of being exposed, since it being harvest time the field was full of people: her end in going thither is expressed in the next clause:

and glean ears of corn after him, in whose sight I shall find grace; or "in" or "among the ears of corn" (o); between the ears of corn bound up into sheaves, and there pick up the loose ears that were dropped and left. This she proposed to do with the leave of the owner of the field, or of the reapers, whom she followed; she might be ignorant that it was allowed by the law of God that widows and strangers might glean in the field, Leviticus 19:9 or if she had been acquainted with it by Naomi, which is not improbable, such was her modesty and humility, that she did not choose to make use of this privilege without leave; lest, as Jarchi says, she should be chided or reproved, and it is certain she did entreat the favour to glean, Ruth 2:7.

and she said unto her, go, my daughter; which shows the necessitous circumstances Naomi was in; though perhaps she might give this leave and direction under an impulse of the Spirit of God, in order to bring about an event of the greatest moment and importance, whereby she became the ancestor of our blessed Lord.

(o) , Sept. "in spicis", Montanus, Drusius, Piscator; "inter spicas", De Dieu, Rambachius.

And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and {b} glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.

(b) Her humility declares her great love for her mother in law, for she spared no hardship to get both their livings.

2. Permission to glean in the harvest field was allowed to the poor, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow; naturally it depended on the goodwill of the owner; see Deuteronomy 24:19, Leviticus 19:9 f., Leviticus 23:22.

Verse 2. - And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, Let me go, I pray thee, to the cornfields, that I may glean among the ears after whosoever shall show me favor. In modern style one would not, in referring, at this stage of the narrative, to Ruth, deem it in the least degree necessary or advantageous to repeat the designation "the Moabitess." The repetition is antique, and calls to mind the redundant particularization of legal phraseology - "the aforesaid Ruth, the Moabitess." She was willing and wishful to avail herself of an Israelitish privilege accorded to the poor, the privilege of gleaning after the reapers in the harvest-fields (see Leviticus 19:9; Leviticus 23:22: Deuteronomy 24:19). Such gleaning was a humiliation to those who had been accustomed to give rather than to get. But Ruth saw, in the pinched features of her mother-in-law, that there was now a serious difficulty in keeping the wolf outside the door. And hence, although there would be temptation in the step, as well as humiliation, she resolved to avail herself of the harvest season to gather as large a store as possible of those nutritious cereals which form the staff of life, and which they would grind for themselves in their little handmill or quern. She said, with beautiful courtesy. "Let me go I, pray, thee;" or, "I wish to go, if you will please to allow me." Such is the force of the peculiar Hebrew idiom. "There is no place," says Lawson, "where our tongues ought to be better governed than in our own houses." To the cornfields. Very literally, "to the field." It is the language of townspeople, when referring to the land round about the town that was kept under tillage. It was not customary to separate cornfield from cornfield by means of walls and hedges. A simple furrow, with perhaps a stone here and there, or a small collection of stones, sufficed, as in Switzerland at the present day, to distinguish the patches or portions that belonged to different proprietors. Hence the singular word field, as comprehending the sum-total of the adjoining unenclosed ground that had been laid down in grain. "Though the gardens and vineyards," says Horatio B. Hackett, "are usually surrounded by a stone wall or hedge of prickly pear, the grain-fields, on the contrary, though they belong to different proprietors, are not separated by any enclosure from each other. The boundary between them is indicated by heaps of small stones, or sometimes by single upright stones, placed at intervals of a rod or more from each other. This is the ancient landmark of which we read in the Old Testament" ('Illustrations of Scripture,' p. 110). The word field in Hebrew, שָׂדֶה, denotes radically, not so much plain, as ploughed land (see Raabe's 'Glosser'). In English there is a slightly varied though corresponding idiom lying at the base of the Teutonic term in use. A field (German Fold) is a clearance, a place where the trees of the original forest have been felled. The expression, that I may glean 'among' the ears, proceeds on the assumption that Ruth did not expect that she would "make a clean sweep" of all the straggled ears. There might likely be other gleaners besides herself, and even though there should not, she could not expect to gather all. After whosoever shall show me favor. A peculiarly antique kind of structure in the original: "after whom I shall find favor in his eyes." Ruth speaks as if she thought only of one reaper, and he the proprietor. She, as it were, instinctively conceives of the laborers as "hands." And she said to her, Go, my daughter. Naomi yielded; no doubt at first reluctantly, yet no doubt also in a spirit of grateful admiration of her daughter-in-law, who, when she could hot lift up her circumstances to her mind, brought down her mind to her circumstances Ruth 2:2Ruth wished to go to the field and glean at (among) the ears, i.e., whatever ears were left lying upon the harvest field (cf. Ruth 2:7), אשׁר אחר, behind him in whose eyes she should find favour. The Mosaic law (Leviticus 19:9; Leviticus 23:22, compared with Deuteronomy 24:19) did indeed expressly secure to the poor the right to glean in the harvest fields, and prohibited the owners from gleaning themselves; but hard-hearted farmers and reapers threw obstacles in the way of the poor, and even forbade their gleaning altogether. Hence Ruth proposed to glean after him who should generously allow it. She carried out this intention with the consent of Naomi, and chance led her to the portion of the field belonging to Boaz, a relation of Elimelech, without her knowing the owner of the field, or being at all aware of his connection with Elimelech. מקרה ויּקר, lit., "her chance chanced to hit upon the field."
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