Ruth 2:5
Then said Boaz to his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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).

5. his servant that was set over the reapers—an overseer whose special duty was to superintend the operations in the field, to supply provision to the reapers, and pay them for their labor in the evening. No text from Poole on this verse. Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers,.... To direct them their work, what part each was to do, and to see that they did it well; to take care for provisions for them, and to pay them their wages when their work was done. Josephus (t) calls him that had the care of the field, and all things relative to it; the Jews (u) say, he was set over two and forty persons, whom he had the command of:

whose damsel is this? to whom does she belong? of what family is she? whose daughter is she? or whose wife? for he thought, as Aben Ezra notes, that she was another man's wife; the Targum is, of what nation is she? perhaps her dress might be somewhat different from that of the Israelitish women.

(t) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 9. sect. 2.((u) Midrash Ruth, fol. 32. 1.

Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 5. - And Boaz said to the young man who was set over the reapers, Whose is that young woman! His eye had been instantaneously arrested by the handsome stranger. Perhaps, as Jarchi remarks, he took note of the modest and graceful carriage of her person while she picked up industriously the straggled stalks. It is too Rabbinic, however, and artificial, finical, bizarre, to suppose with the same Jewish annotator that Boaz would notice with admiration that, while she picked up zealously all available couples of stalks, she left the triplets in the field unappropriated! The question which he put to the overseer is not who but whose is that young woman! She had not the gait or air of an ordinary pauper, and hence he wondered if she could belong to any of the families in Bethlehem. 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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