So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab…
Bethlehem, "the house of bread" was famous Lethe pastures of its hills, and for the rich cornfields in its fertile valleys. The barley-harvest usually happened in April, and it was then that Naomi and Ruth returned to the village of Judah with which their names are associated. The Mosaic law sanctioned the practice of gleaning, commanded that the produce of the fields and vineyards should not be wholly removed, but that a portion should be left " for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow." Ruth had, therefore, a right to glean.
I. Ruth's gleaning indicates THE POVERTY OF HER CONDITION'. None but the in-necessitous would undertake such an occupation. Naomi and she must indeed have returned empty. In our land, and in our days, happily for the poor, there is always more remunerative work to be had by the industrious poor than this, which accordingly has, with the growing prosperity of the country, almost dropped out of use.
II. Ruth's ABSENCE OF PRIDE is very apparent. The family into which she had married had owned some of the adjoining land; but in changed circumstances she was not too proud to mingle with the gleaners, and in lowly guise to gather ears of corn.
III. We cannot but admire Ruth's VIRTUOUS INDUSTRY. Boaz afterwards said, in praise of her conduct "Thou followedst not young men." She chose a blameless, though laborious, life. An example to all to avoid dependence, and to cultivate the habit of self-reliance and diligence.
IV. Remark Ruth's FILIAL LOVE. She worked not only for herself, but for her mother-in-law, and found a, pleasure in supporting her.
V. SUCCESS attends Ruth's honest toil. She gathered barley with her hands; special favor was shown to her; a friend was raised up to assist her; prosperity crowned her efforts. "Thy bread shall be given thee, and thy water shall be sure." - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.