Chapter 2:8-16 (ESV) - Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.” Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” Then she said, “I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.”
And at mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”
Question to consider: What do we learn about the character of Boaz in these verses?
There was something about Ruth that caused Boaz to notice her working in the field. Maybe she looked out of place since she was a foreigner to Bethlehem or perhaps he was physically attracted to her. Regardless of the reason he took notice of her, the favor he shows toward her was based on seeing how hard she was willing to work to care for her mother-in-law. There doesn’t seem to be an ulterior motive in caring for Ruth as he cares for her like he has done for his other employees.
He rewarded her hard day’s work by letting her dine with him and shared the sop with her, a sign of fellowship. What’s translated as “wine” is more like wine vinegar, and dipping bread in it was a common practice. At our house, we like to do something similar where we’ll put together a mixture of olive oil, roasted garlic and balsamic vinegar. We’ll tear off pieces of a warm baguette to dip in it. It’s usually an appetizer before a spaghetti dinner and is delicious. It’s possible that it’s a type for communion. The disciples shared something similar with Jesus in their upper room Passover meal. Again Ruth thinks of her mother-in-law when she kept back some of the roasted grain to give to her.
When Ruth was done, she went back to work, and Boaz wanted to continue to show favor to her by encouraging his servants to let her pick more than just what she could glean. We’ll see why he did this tomorrow.
Lord God, thank you for providing our daily bread and giving us work to do and people to love. Bless us with employers of good character, and help us to be good employees who desire to honor you with our work. Amen.