Background - The Law of Gleaning
Before we get into chapter 2, we should take a close look at the law of gleaning. In Leviticus we see that gleaning was left for the poor. Farmers were instructed to only harvest the fields once so that the less fortunate would be provided for. They also left the edges and the corners for them to glean.
When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the LORD your God. ~ Leviticus 19:9-10, NIV
When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this. Deuteronomy 24:19-22, NIV
So when we see the famous painting of the gleaners, and when we hear it talked about in Ruth, we can now understand what gleaning was all about.
Before you start this study, please bow for a moment in a word of prayer, asking God to prepare your heart for His Word.
People in the second chapter and the Hebrew meaning of their names:
Boaz = In him is strength
The Genealogy of Boaz
In verse one, we are introduced to Boaz. We are told that Boaz is a relative (kinsman) of Naomi’s deceased husband, Elimelech. Let’s take a quick look at the genealogy in part to see where Boaz came from:
Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas [Judah] and his brethren; And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab [Rahab]; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; ~ Matthew 1:2-6, KJV
Look up Matthew chapter one to find the complete genealogy of Jesus Christ. List the five women that you find there:
It’s interesting to note that in the genealogy of Jesus Christ 4 of the 5 women listed were prostitutes, fornicators, and a Moabite. This goes to show us that God doesn’t require people of perfection to do His work--He calls those with a pure and willing heart.
Ruth Joyfully Serving Naomi
In verse 2 we see that Ruth offered to go to work for Naomi. Again we see loving kindness from this young woman who has vowed to stand by her mother-in-law.
Hard work is a virtue. We see it here in the virtuous character of Ruth, and again in Proverbs. Note these hard-working characteristics of the virtuous woman in Proverbs chapter 31:
- Works with eager hands. (13)
- Provides food for her family (15)
- She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. (16)
- She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. (17)
- She sees that her trading is profitable, (18)
- She makes coverings for her bed; (22)
- She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. (24)
Are you joyfully serving your family? List some ways, if any, where you think that you might be able to give more of your time and talents:
Verse three tells us that Ruth “haps” on the field of Boaz which means that she was there by chance. But looking at the entire story of Ruth and Boaz, and down the line to the birth of Christ, we see that what is often viewed as "good fortune" is a divine orchestration of God’s plan.
Ruth's Character Symbolic of The Gentiles
In our study on Ruth chapter one, we learned that Naomi’s character typifies the Israelite s that were exiled and eventually returned to their land. We need to understand that these aren’t fictional characters, they are actual historical figures, but rather than just telling us a story for the sake of entertainment, the Word of God holds a message in each powerful word we read.
This symbolism illustrates the grace of God and His mercy toward mankind.
With that in mind, take note that in chapter two, we see Ruth’s character symbolizing the gentiles which were grafted in to the faith to be one with God’s people. Not by our own right, but by grace.
For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office. ~ Romans 11:13, KJV
And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: ~ Romans 11:17-20, KV
After reading that, compare it with the kindness of Boaz in verse 9 and the humble reaction of Ruth in verse 10.
Then 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? (10)
The word “stranger” used here doesn’t have the same definition of “stranger” as we commonly know it. It is a biblical term for a foreigner. Ruth was humbled and grateful that Boaz offered grace to someone outside of his family, especially since she was a Moabite. Another word for stranger that we’ll often see used in scripture is “Gentile,” which denotes people who are not of Jewish decent.
Ruth's and the Famous Wall of Faith
Ruth is similar to those listed in the famous wall of faith found in Hebrews 11. Because of her obedience to leave her family and country to serve God, it was counted to her for faith.
List 11 of the faithful people found in Hebrews chapter 11:
Complete this sentence:
Ruth 2:11: And 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…
Compare these verses from the wall of faith:
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. ~ Hebrews 11:13-16
Ruth was mindful of where she came from, and she desired to serve the God of the Israelite's—the one true God. She was willing to give up everything that she had to be a part of His people and their faith.
Consider your own life. What things are you still hanging onto? Are there people, addictions, or passions that are standing in the way of your faith? If so, list some of the areas that you need to work on:
Boaz Considers Ruth a Relative and Friend
Boaz recognized this faith in Ruth and in return accepted her into his household. Bestowing a great honor upon her, he invited her to share at his table (14).
Compare our relationship with Jesus:
Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. ~ John 15:15
Ruth Shares Her Experience with Naomi
Ruth returned home to Naomi with an ephah (a substantial amount, probably about 60 pounds) of barley, and told her about the kindness of Boaz.
Naomi was pleased that Boaz recognized the relationship (kinsman) that they had to him through her marriage to Elimelech. She credited God for his kindness on the living and the dead (20). She then explained to Ruth that Boaz was a close relative and one of their next kinsman.
Kinsman is another word for “relative.” While Boaz was a close relative, he wasn’t the closest/the nearest kinsman to them. We’ll discuss how this comes into play in the next two chapters.
The Wheat Harvest
Ruth stayed close to the handmaidens of Boaz and gleaned in his fields through the barley harvest and the wheat harvest.
It’s interesting to note that the first chapter ends at the barley harvest, and the second chapter ends by mentioning the wheat harvest.
The Two Harvests Mentioned
April-May – Barley Harvest, corresponds to The Passover
June-July – Wheat Harvest, corresponds to The Feast of Pentecost
It was during this wheat harvest that Ruth is betrothed to Boaz as we will see in the next study. This foreshadows the day of Pentecost, in Acts chapter 2 when God established his church by pouring His spirit upon all believers.
Optional homework for the week:
Memorize Ruth 2:10
Underline some of the scriptures that stood out to you and add cross references for future study.
Read the second chapter again with some of the lessons in mind.
That closes our study on chapter two. I hope you'll come back next Monday for a study on chapter three.
P.S. A lot of women have been asking if I'll be doing another Bible study after we finish Ruth. I'm unsure at this time, but I'm leaning toward, yes. I'm enjoying my time of digging into the Word, and having this Monday morning time with you. I'll give it another week or two before I decide for sure.
If you are attending this Bible study today, you are welcome to leave a link to your site in the Linky tool below. But rather than linking up with a graphic from your blog like we usually do, it would be nice if you could post your profile photo so we can all see each other. If you don't have one--not a problem, another graphic will do. The Linky tool is just a way for all of us to get to know each other, it's not necessary to write a corresponding post.
I'm also posting the button code to the Ruth study in hopes that you can add it to your post or sidebar.
And don't forget, tomorrow is Titus 2sdays, so if you're a blogger, come back and link up with your post on marriage, parenting, housekeeping or recipes.
You are loved by an almighty God,
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