Ruth 2:3
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 to Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) Her hap was to light on.—Literally, her hap happened. A chance in outward seeming, yet a clear shaping of her course by unseen hands. Her steps were divinely guided to a certain field, that God’s good purposes should be worked out.

Ruth 2:3. Her hap was, &c. — It was a chance in appearance, and in reference to second causes, but ordered by God’s providence. God wisely orders small events, even those that seem altogether contingent. Many a great affair is brought about by a little turn, fortuitous as to men, but designed by God.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).

3. her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz—Fields in Palestine being unenclosed, the phrase signifies that portion of the open ground which lay within the landmarks of Boaz. Her hap was; for it was indeed a chance in reference to second causes, but ordered and designed by God’s providence. And she went, and came,.... That is, she went out of the house where she was, and out of the city, and came into the field; though, according to the Midrash (p), she marked the ways as she went, before she entered into the field, and then came back to the city to observe the marks and signs she made, that she might not mistake the way, and might know how to come back again:

and gleaned in the field after the reapers; when they had cut down and bound up the corn, what fell and was left she picked up, having first asked leave so to do:

and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech; the providence of God so ordering and directing it; for though it was hap and chance to her, and what some people call good luck, it was according to the purpose, and by the providence and direction of God that she came to the reapers in that part of the field Boaz, a near kinsman of her father-in-law, was owner of, and asked leave of them to glean and follow them.

(p) Midrash Ruth, fol. 31. 4. Vid. Jarchi & Alshech in loc.

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 Elimelech.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. her hap … Boaz] The word for hap occurs in 1 Samuel 6:9 (‘a chance’), 1 Samuel 20:26. Throughout the story the writer intends us to share his strong belief in Providence, over-ruling unpremeditated actions and words (cf. Ruth 2:12; Ruth 2:19 f.), and rewarding those who trust it (Ruth 3:4; Ruth 3:9; Ruth 3:11, Ruth 4:6; Ruth 4:14). ‘The cosmos is a fighter for the righteous,’ says the Jewish sage, Wis 16:17Verse 3. - Ruth, having obtained the con. sent of her mother-in-law, went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers. That is, she "went forth," viz., from the city, "and came to the cornfields, and gleaned." "There are some," says Lawson, "whose virtue and industry lie only in their tongues. They say, and do not. But Ruth was no less diligent in business than wise in resolution." The later Jews had a set of fantastic bylaws concerning gleaning, detailed by Maimonides. One of them was, that if only one or two stalks fell from the sickle or hand of the reaper, these should be left lying for the gleaners; but if three stalks fell, then the whole of them belonged to the proprietor (see Carpzov's 'Collegium Rabbinico-Biblicum,' p. 242). Happily for Ruth, her steps were so ordered that the field which she entered as a gleaner belonged to Elimelech's kinsman, Boaz. And it so happened, runs the story, that it was the portion of the fields that belonged to Boas, who was of the kindred of Elimelech. So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived, the whole town was in commotion on their account (תּהם, imperf. Niph. of הוּם, as in 1 Samuel 4:5; 1 Kings 1:45). They said, "Is this Naomi?" The subject to תּאמרנה is the inhabitants of the town, but chiefly the female portion of the inhabitants, who were the most excited at Naomi's return. This is the simplest way of explaining the use of the feminine in the verbs תּאמרנה and תּקראנה. In these words there was an expression of amazement, not so much at the fact that Naomi was still alive, and had come back again, as at her returning in so mournful a condition, as a solitary widow, without either husband or sons; for she replied (Ruth 1:20), "Call me not Naomi (i.e., gracious), but Marah" (the bitter one), i.e., one who has experienced bitterness, "for the Almighty has made it very bitter to me. I, I went away full, and Jehovah has made me come back again empty. Why do ye call me Naomi, since Jehovah testifies against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me? "Full," i.e., rich, not in money and property, but in the possession of a husband and two sons; a rich mother, but now deprived of all that makes a mother's heart rich, bereft of both husband and sons. "Testified against me," by word and deed (as in Exodus 20:16; 2 Samuel 1:16). The rendering "He hath humbled me" (lxx, Vulg., Bertheau, etc.) is incorrect, as ענה with בּ and the construct state simply means to trouble one's self with anything (Ecclesiastes 1:13), which is altogether unsuitable here. - With Ruth 1:22 the account of the return of Naomi and her daughter-in-law is brought to a close, and the statement that "they came to Bethlehem in the time of the barley harvest" opens at the same time the way for the further course of the history. השּׁבה is pointed as a third pers. perf. with the article in a relative sense, as in Ruth 2:6 and Ruth 4:3. Here and at Ruth 2:6 it applies to Ruth; but in Ruth 4:3 to Naomi. המּה, the masculine, is used here, as it frequently is, for the feminine הנּה, as being the more common gender. The harvest, as a whole, commenced with the barley harvest (see at Leviticus 23:10-11).
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