Ruth 2:1-3: The Gleanings of Ruth

Verse 1:[1] And Naomi had a (Ruth 3:2, 12) kinsman of her husband’s, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was (Ruth 4:21) Boaz (called Booz, Matt. 1:5[2]).


[To her husband…kindred, לְאִישָׁ֗הּ [but in the margin מוֹדַ֣ע[3]] מְיֻדָּע[4]] One known to her husband (Montanus, Septuagint); one known unto her husband, that is, with regard had. It is a Synecdoche of genus: for indeed every relative is known, but not everyone known is a relative (Piscator). A blood-relative (a relative by marriage [Junius and Tremellius]) of her husband (Pagnine, similarly Munster, Tigurinus, Syriac). It is able to be translated, to Naomi he was a kinsman, to her husband, in the place of, and to her husband; so that it might be ἀσύνδετον/asyndeton. But if he was a kinsman to Naomi, why does it follow, of the family of Elimelech? I suppose because women do not properly have family; for they pass into the family and name of their husband: but perhaps he was related to her only through her husband (Drusius).


[Of great wealth, גִּבּ֣וֹר חַ֔יִל] A man of strength, that is, vigorous (Vatablus), mighty of wealth (Drusius, similarly Junius and Tremellius, Piscator). חַיִל is πολύσημον, a word with multiple meanings; it signifies wealth, and an army, and strength (Drusius, similarly Piscator).


Verse 2:[5] And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and (Lev. 19:9; Deut. 24:19) glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.



[If thou wilt, I will go into the field, אֵֽלְכָה־נָּ֤א הַשָּׂדֶה֙] I will go, or will make my way, now into the field (Montanus, Septuagint, Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic, Munster), that is, Allow me to do this. Thus in 2 Samuel 16:9;[6] Jeremiah 40:15;[7] etc. For permission for some activity among the Hebrews is asked in the future of the matter to be conducted. Thus in Deuteronomy 2:27, I will pass through thy land,[8] that is, Grant, I pray, that I might be able to pass through thy land (Glassius’ “Grammar” 259).

[And I will glean ears (thus Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius), וַאֲלַקֳטָּ֣ה בַשִׁבֳּלִ֔ים] I will gather some ears; thus the Geneva Bible. They appears to have thus chosen to express that ב, which is adjoined in the Hebrew (Dieu). Others: I will gather in the ears (Montanus, Septuagint, Jonathan, Piscator, Dieu, Drusius), that is, from the ears (Piscator). The preposition communicates a partitive sense (Piscator). Or, among the ears. She does not understand the ears that she is going to gather, but those that were gathered into bundles; as it is manifest out of verse 7, where the one in charge of the reapers, relating the words of Ruth, says that she said, Let me gather, I pray, and collect among the heaps after the reapers (Dieu). This was lawful for the widow and the stranger, from the law in Deuteronomy 24:19 (Drusius).


And glean, etc.: Gleaning was permitted to the poor and the stranger, Deuteronomy 24:19, both which she was; nor was she ashamed to confess her poverty, nor would she eat the bread of idleness; whereby she showeth herself to be a prudent, and diligent, and virtuous woman, as she is called, Ruth 3:11.



[Wherever…I shall have found grace] Hebrew: in whose eyes I shall have found grace[9] (Piscator, Drusius), that is, to whom I shall be so acceptable that he would not hinder me from gathering (Drusius, similarly Piscator). Now, this benevolence toward the poor belonged to the Jews by prescribed law, Leviticus 19:9; 23:22; Deuteronomy 24:19 (Montanus). Nevertheless, Ruth willed to ask this favor, verse 7, but she did this out of her singular modesty and humanity (Tirinus); perhaps she was also ignorant of this sort of privilege (Tostatus). That gleaning was a certain argument of poverty; nevertheless, it was honest, and not at all shameful, because laborious (Tirinus out of Serarius). Necessity was urging Ruth, and the season was summoning her. Her prudence and industry are at the same time commended, which all, while strength and opportunity allow, are to be employed, before one needy and poor undertake to beg (Serarius).


In whose sight I shall find grace; for though it was their duty to permit this, Leviticus 19:9; 23:22, yet either she was ignorant thereof, or thought that, being a stranger, it might be grudged or denied to her; or, at least, that it became her modestly and humbly to acknowledge their kindness herein.


Verse 3:[10] And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on (Heb. hap happened[11]) a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.


[Now, it happened, וַיִּ֣קֶר מִקְרֶ֔הָ] And happened the hap (or accident [Junius]) of her (Montanus), in the place of, and it happened by chance: an Enallage (Junius). Her occurrence occurred (Vatablus). By chance she happened into the field of Boaz (Drusius).


Her hap was; for it was indeed a chance in reference to second causes, but ordered and designed by God’s providence.


[Of the blood relations] But a blood relation is called מוֹדָעָא [to be read, מוֹדַעַת[12]]. I prefer, of the family. מִמִּשְׁפַּחַת means that. Those that are not of one’s family are able to be of his blood relations (Drusius).

[1] Hebrew: וּֽלְנָעֳמִ֞י מְיֻדָּ֣ע לְאִישָׁ֗הּ אִ֚ישׁ גִּבּ֣וֹר חַ֔יִל מִמִּשְׁפַּ֖חַת אֱלִימֶ֑לֶךְ וּשְׁמ֖וֹ בֹּֽעַז׃


[2] Greek: Βοὸζ.


[3] That is, a kinsman.


[4] That is, one well-known.


[5] Hebrew: וַתֹּאמֶר֩ ר֙וּת הַמּוֹאֲבִיָּ֜ה אֶֽל־נָעֳמִ֗י אֵֽלְכָה־נָּ֤א הַשָּׂדֶה֙ וַאֲלַקֳטָּ֣ה בַשִׁבֳּלִ֔ים אַחַ֕ר אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֶמְצָא־חֵ֖ן בְּעֵינָ֑יו וַתֹּ֥אמֶר לָ֖הּ לְכִ֥י בִתִּֽי׃


[6] 2 Samuel 16:9: “Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah unto the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off (אֶעְבְּרָה־נָּ֖א וְאָסִ֥ירָה) his head.”


[7] Jeremiah 40:15a: “Then Johanan the son of Kareah spake to Gedaliah in Mizpah secretly, saying, Let me go, I pray thee, and I will slay (אֵ֤לְכָה נָּא֙ וְאַכֶּה֙) Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no man shall know it…”


[8] Hebrew: אֵ֤לְכָה נָּא֙ וְאַכֶּה֙.


[9] Hebrew: אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֶמְצָא־חֵ֖ן בְּעֵינָ֑יו.


[10] Hebrew: וַתֵּ֤לֶךְ וַתָּבוֹא֙ וַתְּלַקֵּ֣ט בַּשָּׂדֶ֔ה אַחֲרֵ֖י הַקֹּצְרִ֑ים וַיִּ֣קֶר מִקְרֶ֔הָ חֶלְקַ֤ת הַשָּׂדֶה֙ לְבֹ֔עַז אֲשֶׁ֖ר מִמִּשְׁפַּ֥חַת אֱלִימֶֽלֶךְ׃


[11] Hebrew: וַיִּ֣קֶר מִקְרֶ֔הָ.


[12] See what things are said on verse 1.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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