Ruth 2:4
And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) The Lord be with you.—There is a trace here of the good feeling prevailing between Boaz and his servants. Though he has come to his field to supervise the work, it is not in a fault-finding spirit, but with true courtesy and friendliness; nor is it a frivolous jesting manner that he displays, but with gravity and soberness he presents a true gentleman in his intercourse with his inferiors.

Ruth 2:4. And said unto the reapers, The Lord be with you, &c. — Such was the piety of ancient times, that it manifested itself even in men’s civil conversation and worldly transactions, and induced them to pray to God for a blessing on the labours of those whom they saw to be honestly and usefully employed, who were wont in return to pray in a similar manner for them. The Lord be with you; and the Lord bless you — This was the beautiful language of religion in those days; too little known, alas! in ours.

2:4-16 The pious and kind language between Boaz and his reapers shows that there were godly persons in Israel. Such language as this is seldom heard in our field; too often, on the contrary, what is immoral and corrupt. A stranger would form a very different opinion of our land, from that which Ruth would form of Israel from the converse and conduct of Boaz and his reapers. But true religion will teach a man to behave aright in all states and conditions; it will form kind masters and faithful servants, and cause harmony in families. True religion will cause mutual love and kindness among persons of different ranks. It had these effects on Boaz and his men. When he came to them he prayed for them. They did not, as soon as he was out of hearing curse him, as some ill-natured servants that hate their master's eye, but they returned his courtesy. Things are likely to go on well where there is such good-will as this between masters and servants. They expressed their kindness to each other by praying one for another. Boaz inquired concerning the stranger he saw, and ordered her to be well treated. Masters must take care, not only that they do no hurt themselves, but that they suffer not their servants and those under them to do wrong. Ruth humbly owned herself unworthy of favours, seeing she was born and brought up a heathen. It well becomes us all to think humbly of ourselves, esteeming others better than ourselves. And let us, in the kindness of Boaz to Ruth, note the kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ to poor sinners.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).

Ru 2:4-23. He Takes Knowledge of Her, and Shows Her Favor.

4. Boaz came from Beth-lehem, and said unto the reapers, The Lord be with you—This pious salutation between the master and his laborers strongly indicates the state of religious feeling among the rural population of Israel at that time, as well as the artless, happy, and unsuspecting simplicity which characterized the manners of the people. The same patriarchal style of speaking is still preserved in the East.

They expressed and professed their piety, even in their civil conversation and worldly transactions; which now so many are ashamed of, and call it hypocrisy or vain ostentation thus to do.

And, behold, Boaz came to Bethlehem,.... Into the field, to see how his workmen went on, and performed their service, and to encourage them in it by his presence, and by his courteous language and behaviour, and to see what provisions were wanting, that he might take care and give orders for the sending of them, it being now near noon, as it may be supposed; and though he was a man of great wealth, he did not think it below him to go into his field, and look after his servants, which was highly commendable in him, and which showed his diligence and industry, as well as his humility. So a king in Homer (q) is represented as among his reapers, with his sceptre in his hand, and cheerful. Pliny (r) relates it, as a saying of the ancients, that the eye of the master is the most fruitful thing in the field; and Aristotle (s) reports, that a Persian being asked what fattened a horse most, replied, the eye of the master; and an African being asked what was the best dung for land, answered, the steps of his master:

and said unto the reapers, the Lord be with you; to give them health, and strength, and industry in their work; the Targum is,"may the Word of the Lord be your help:"

and they answered him, the Lord bless you; with a good harvest, and good weather to gather it in; and though these salutations were of a civil kind, yet they breathe the true spirit of sincere and undissembled piety, and show the sense that both master and servants had of the providence of God attending the civil affairs of life, without whose help, assistance, and blessing, nothing succeeds well.

(q) Iliad. 18. ver. 556, 557. (r) Nat. Hist. l. 18. c. 6. (s) De Administrat. Domestic. l. 1. c. 6.

And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. The Lord be with you] Cf. Jdg 6:12, Psalm 129:8. A religious spirit governs the relations between employer and employed on this estate.

Verse 4. - On the very day that the Moabitess entered on her gleaning, Boaz, in accordance with his wont, as a good and wise master, visited his harvest-field. And, behold, Boas came from Bethlehem. The law of kindness was on his lips; and while benevolence was beaming from his countenance, piety was ruling within his heart. He said to the reapers, Yahveh be with you! And they said to him, Yahveh bless thee! Courtesy met courtesy. It is a charming scene, and we may reasonably assume that there was reality in the salutations. Such civilities of intercourse between proprietors and their laborers are still, says Dr. W. M. Thomson, common in the East. "The Lord be with you is merely the Allah makum! of ordinary parlance; and so too the response, The Lord bless thee" ('The Land and the Book,' p. 648). Modern Moslems are particular in the matter of salutations. "Abuhurairah reports that he heard Mohammed say, You will not enter into paradise until you have faith, and you will not complete your faith until you love one another, and that is shown by. making salaam to friends and strangers" (Kitto's 'Bible Illustrations,' in loc.). Ruth 2:4When Boaz came from the town to the field, and had greeted his reapers with the blessing of a genuine Israelites, "Jehovah be with you," and had received from them a corresponding greeting in return, he said to the overseer of the reapers, "Whose damsel is this?" to which he replied, "It is the Moabitish damsel who came back with Naomi from the fields of Moab, and she has said (asked), Pray, I will glean (i.e., pray allow me to glean) and gather among the sheaves after the reapers, and has come and stays (here) from morning till now; her sitting in the house that is little." מאז, lit. a conjunction, here used as a preposition, is stronger than מן, "from then," from the time of the morning onwards (see Ewald, 222, c.). It is evident from this answer of the servant who was placed over the reapers, (1) that Boaz did not prohibit any poor person from gleaning in his field; (2) that Ruth asked permission of the overseer of the reapers, and availed herself of this permission with untiring zeal from the first thing in the morning, that she might get the necessary support for her mother-in-law and herself; and (3) that her history was well known to the overseer, and also to Boaz, although Boaz saw her now for the first time.
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