God’s Word Goes Forth: Pursue Peace and Justice
Ruth 2:1-23: In order to provide food for herself and Naomi, Ruth works in a field by picking up grain left behind by the harvest workers. It is there that she meets Boaz, the owner of the field.
Today's Scripture: Ruth 2:12
“May the LORD reward you for what you have done. May you have a full reward from the LORD God of Israel, to whom you have come for protection!”
1 Naomi had a relative named Boaz, a rich and influential man who belonged to the family of her husband Elimelech. 2 One day Ruth said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields to gather the grain that the harvest workers leave. I am sure to find someone who will let me work with him.” Naomi answered, “Go ahead, daughter.” 3 So Ruth went out to the fields and walked behind the workers, picking up the heads of grain which they left. It so happened that she was in a field that belonged to Boaz. 4 Some time later Boaz himself arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the workers. “The LORD be with you! ” he said. “The LORD bless you! ” they answered. 5 Boaz asked the man in charge, “Who is that young woman?” 6 The man answered, “She is the foreigner who came back from Moab with Naomi. 7 She asked me to let her follow the workers and gather grain. She has been working since early morning and has just now stopped to rest for a while under the shelter. ” 8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Let me give you some advice. Don't gather grain anywhere except in this field. Work with the women here; 9 watch them to see where they are reaping and stay with them. I have ordered my men not to molest you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and drink from the water jars that they have filled. ” 10 Ruth bowed down with her face touching the ground, and said to Boaz, “Why should you be so concerned about me? Why should you be so kind to a foreigner?” 11 Boaz answered, “I have heard about everything that you have done for your mother-in-law since your husband died. I know how you left your father and mother and your own country and how you came to live among a people you had never known before. 12 May the LORD reward you for what you have done. May you have a full reward from the LORD God of Israel, to whom you have come for protection! ” 13 Ruth answered, “You are very kind to me, sir. You have made me feel better by speaking gently to me, even though I am not the equal of one of your servants. ” 14 At mealtime Boaz said to Ruth, “Come and have a piece of bread, and dip it in the sauce.” So she sat with the workers, and Boaz passed some roasted grain to her. She ate until she was satisfied, and she still had some food left over. 15-16 After she had left to go and gather grain, Boaz ordered the workers, “Let her gather grain even where the bundles are lying, and don't say anything to stop her. Besides that, pull out some heads of grain from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up.” 17 So Ruth gathered grain in the field until evening, and when she had beaten it out, she found she had nearly twenty-five pounds. 18 She took the grain back into town and showed her mother-in-law how much she had gathered. She also gave her the food left over from the meal. 19 Naomi asked her, “Where did you gather all this grain today? Whose field have you been working in? May God bless the man who took an interest in you!” So Ruth told Naomi that she had been working in a field belonging to a man named Boaz. 20 “May the LORD bless Boaz! ” Naomi exclaimed. “The LORD always keeps his promises to the living and the dead. ” And she went on, “That man is a close relative of ours, one of those responsible for taking care of us.” 21 Then Ruth said, “Best of all, he told me to keep gathering grain with his workers until they finish the harvest.” 22 Naomi said to Ruth, “Yes, daughter, it will be better for you to work with the women in Boaz' field. You might be molested if you went to someone else's field.” 23 So Ruth worked with them and gathered grain until all the barley and wheat had been harvested. And she continued to live with her mother-in-law.
The type of work performed by Ruth is known as gleaning. The Law of Moses makes provision for the poor, foreigners, orphans and widows by commanding that parts of the harvest be left behind for gleaners (Leviticus 19:9-10; Deuteronomy 24:19-21). When Ruth encounters Boaz, what advice does he give her (verses 8, 9)? Based on what Boaz tells Ruth, what are the potential risks for women who glean? How does Boaz treat Ruth? For what does he commend her? What is your impression of Boaz? What can the actions of Boaz teach us today?
Bounteous God, teach me to be a faithful steward of the earth’s resources so that no one goes hungry and so that your generous bounty is shared by all. Keep me always mindful of the needs of others. In your holy name I pray, Amen.
Community and church food pantries and soup kitchens that serve the poor
Ruth 3:1-18: Naomi makes plans for Ruth.