2 Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, a man of standing from the clan of Elimelek, whose name was Boaz.
2 And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.”
Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” 3 So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek.
4 Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The Lord be with you!”
“The Lord bless you!” they answered.
5 Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, “Who does that young woman belong to?”
6 The overseer replied, “She is the Moabite who came back from Moab with Naomi. 7 She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She came into the field and has remained here from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.”
8 So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. 9 Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.”
10 At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?”
11 Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before.12 May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”
13 “May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord,” she said. “You have put me at ease by speaking kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servants.”
(Ruth 2:1-13 NIV)
As we begin chapter 2, we see Ruth’s willingness to pitch in and find some food for her and Naomi. Ruth could have held a spirit of entitlement, demanding Naomi to meet her needs. Instead, even as a foreigner, she took the initiative and went out to glean in the fields. Verse 7 show us Ruth’s work ethic, toiling constantly in the hot sun, other than a short break under a shelter (and probably at the insistence of others to rest before she collapsed).
Verses 1 and 3 introduce us to Boaz, a relative of Naomi’s deceased husband Elimelek. Once again, God in his divine providence sets up situations to provide for His own. In this case, the Lord guides Ruth to find favor with the people harvesting Boaz’ fields.
Notice the kindness shown by Ruth (verse 2), as she asks Naomi’s permission and blessing before going out to glean in the fields.
Notice the great relationship Boaz had with his harvesting crew (verse 4), as he greeted them in the Lord, and they offered their blessing in response. Working for Boaz was still back-breaking manual labor, but the kindness and care Boaz showed to his crew made all the difference to the workers.
Verses 8 through 13 show us the first interaction between Ruth and Boaz. When Boaz discovers who Ruth is, he immediately shows her kindness and an extra measure of assistance with access to water and protection by his harvesting crew.
Verse 12 shows Boaz knows of Ruth’s conversion from idol worship to worshipping the Lord and offers her kind words of blessing and encouragement in addition to letting her gather in his fields.
Ruth is humbled and blessed by Boaz, and let him know of her gratitude. She fully recognizes that she is lower in standing than Boaz’ servants, but yet he shows her grace and allows her to gather as if she is one of his own.
May we have the same humble attitudes as Ruth and Boaz, showing kindness to those who cross our paths. May we pay attention to those who are in need and show them respect and offer to do what we can to help. And when we are in need, may we not claim entitlement, but rather have a willingness to jump in and help, no matter how humble or grueling the task.