[CF Devotionals] 2008-08-17 - Ruth: God’s Provision

Installment 19 ~ Chapter 2, Part 5

Verses 8-9: Some might want to call this Boaz’s provision, but it is always God who is behind the scenes moving things, with the long view towards the future Messiah. Nevertheless, Boaz recognizes his responsibility to a family member--or is he simply taken with her? Considering his greeting it is, at least for now, more likely the former. He calls her “daughter,” which also reminds us of the age discrepancy between the two.

Boaz changes Ruth’s status. She had been gleaning as the way to support Naomi, a stranger. Now Boaz tells her to travel behind the harvesters with the other women. Thus he places Ruth where she can get the best spot for gleaning. Remember what we noted last week:

“Harvesting grain in ancient Canaan took place in April and May (barley first, wheat a few weeks later; see 2:23). It involved the following steps: (1) cutting the ripened standing grain with hand sickles (Dt 16:9; 23:25; Jer 50:16; Joel 3:13)—usually done by men; (2) binding the grain into sheaves—usually done by women;” 4

Boaz is concerned for Ruth’s needs. Not only does he improve he opportunity for gleaning, but he also gives the men specific instructions as to her safety. She is not to be harassed / molested or possibly interfered with by the men. 5 She is also instructed to get food and drink for herself as necessary. There is a bit more to this than is obvious in the English. Huey again notes:

“She could also drink from the “water jars” (kelim “vessels,” not so specific as NIV) that the men had filled for their use. This was a privilege not ordinarily permitted the gleaners.” 6

Bottom line, Boaz doesn’t want Ruth to go elsewhere. Here he can watch over her and see she is protected, while at the same time meeting her needs. These seem to be the actions of an older relative concerned with the needs of a younger one.

  1. Ibid.
  2. Zlotowitz, Rabbi Meir, Translator and compiler, The Book of Ruth, Mesorah Publications, Ltd., Brooklyn, NY, 1994.
  3. Huey.

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