And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens you were? Behold, he winnows barley to night in the threshing floor.
Behold, he winnoweth barley tonight. A world-old process this, the winnowing of the chaff from the wheat. Customs change, and commercial life increases and creates ever new demands; but the agricultural life is still the basis of all. You may make new threshing-machines, but you must still have bread. It may be winnowed by steam or hand, but it must be winnowed. A pleasant Eastern sight: work done in the cool of the evening - "tonight."
I. WORK IS EVER ASSOCIATED BY GOD WITH HIS BLESSINGS TO MAN. We must plant and dig and reap. God sends the sunshine, the sweet air, and the shower. If a man will not work, neither shall he eat. A paradise of idlers would soon be a Gehenna indeed. No curse can come to a nation so sad as this: "Abundance of idleness was in her sons and her daughters."
II. WORK IS NEVER UNDIGNIFIED OR TO BE DISDAINED. A gentleman is gentle in his work - not because he does no work. It is a false pride that dislikes handiwork. Many of the diseases which darken the brain come from the unwise neglect of physical exercise. What is sweeter than the fragrance of the upturned soil? What is more beneficent than the law of labor, which calls forth the exercise of body, mind, and spirit?
III. WORK OF WINNOWING IS A DIVINE WORK ALSO. God uses his tribulum in our history, and the tribulation-work produces experience, patience, hope. When we are mourning over some sorrow or loss, it is the bruising flail of God's correction. And this comes at all seasons of life, even in the evening of the day. For we shall need chastisement even unto the end. What a doom is that "without chastisement." - W.M.S.
Parallel VersesKJV: And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.