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Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz.
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).
2And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.
3And 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.
4And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.
5Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this?
6And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab:
7And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house.
The house - The shed or booth where they took their meals, and were sheltered from the sun in the heat of the day (see Genesis 33:17).
8Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens:
The grammatical forms of the verbs "go hence" and "abide," are unique and Chaldaic. They are supposed to indicate the dialect used at Bethlehem in the time of Boaz.
9Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.
After them - i. e. "after my maidens." The fields not being divided by hedges, but only by unplowed ridges, it would be easy for her to pass off Boaz's land without being aware of it, and so find herself among strangers where Boaz could not protect her.
10Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?
She fell on her face - With Oriental reverence (compare Genesis 33:3, and the marginal reference).
11And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.
12The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.
The similarity of expression here to Genesis 15:1, and in Ruth 2:11 to Genesis 12:1, makes it probable that Boaz had the case of Abraham in his mind.
The Lord God of Israel - "Jehovah the God of Israel." Compare Joshua 14:14, where, as here, the force of the addition, the God of Israel, lies in the person spoken of being a foreigner (see Judges 11:21 note).
13Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens.
14And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.
To dip the morsel, or sop, whether it were bread or meat, in the dish containing the vinegar (compare Matthew 26:23; Mark 14:20 : Exodus 25:29; Numbers 7:13) was, and still is, the common custom in the East.
Parched or "roasted" corn - Grain was the common food of the country then (compare 1 Samuel 17:17; 1 Samuel 25:18; 2 Samuel 17:28) as it is now.
And left - Or "reserved" Ruth 2:18. Rather, "had some over" (compare Luke 15:17). Ruth 2:18 tells us that she took to her mother-in-law what she had left over.
15And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not:
16And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.
17So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley.
And beat out that she had gleaned - Namely, with a stick, as the word implies (compare Deuteronomy 24:20; Isaiah 27:12). This method is still commonly practiced. Ruth gleaned enough to support herself and her mother-in-law for five days Exodus 16:16.
18And she took it up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed.
19And her mother in law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned to day? and where wroughtest thou? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee. And she shewed her mother in law with whom she had wrought, and said, The man's name with whom I wrought to day is Boaz.
20And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.
Blessed be he of the Lord ... - We may gather from Naomi's allusion to the dead that both her husband and son had been faithful servants of Jehovah, the God of Israel. His kindness to the dead consisted in raising up (as Naomi hoped) an heir to perpetuate the name; and, in general, in His care for their widows.
One of our next kinsmen - The word here is גאל gā'al, the redeemer, who had the right:
(1) of redeeming the inheritance of the person;
(2) of marrying the widow;
(3) of avenging the death. (See Leviticus 25:25-31, Leviticus 25:47-55; Deuteronomy 25:5-10; Deuteronomy 19:1-13.)
Since these rights belonged to the next of kin, גאל gā'al came to mean the nearest kinsman.
21And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said unto me also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest.
22And Naomi said unto Ruth her daughter in law, It is good, my daughter, that thou go out with his maidens, that they meet thee not in any other field.
23So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law.