Ruth 2:8, 9: Boaz's Kind Provision for Ruth

Verse 8:[1] Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens…



[Hear, my daughter] Hebrew: hearest thou not?[2] (Vatablus, Piscator, Drusius); that is to say, I think and desire thee to hear. He calls her daughter out of regard for, 1. affection, 2. age (Piscator). Hence they gather that Boaz was more advanced in age (Drusius).


[Hear, my daughter; go not into another field, etc.] [Similarly do all our interpreters take it. The ancients take it otherwise; for these expound it proverbially: My daughter, has it not been heard by thee in a proverb, Glean not in a field not thine own? (Syriac, Arabic, similarly the Septuagint)].


[Join my maidens] Namely, his maidservants, who even themselves glean (Piscator): not for the profit of their master (which was forbidden by the Law); but he allowed this either for the profit of the poor, or of the girls or maidservants themselves, which often are poor, whom Boaz was permitting to glean for themselves (Bonfrerius). Moreover, hence shines forth Boaz’s, 1. prudence, gravity, and chastity, who joins a young woman to the young women; which is more honest, and safer for modesty and chastity, than to cleave to the men (Serarius, Menochius). 2. Liberality: for, since there is wont to be more mercy in women, it appeared more likely that the women would be more kind unto that woman (Serarius).


By my maidens: Not by the young men, to avoid both occasion of sin and matter of scandal. Herein he shows his piety and prudence.


Verse 9:[3] Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.



[And where they will have reaped, עֵינַ֜יִךְ בַּשָּׂדֶ֤ה וגו״] Thine eyes on the field, etc. (Montanus), or, toward the field (Septuagint); let them be toward the field (Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus). Thine eyes, understanding, let them be intent, that is, upon the part of the field where they will reap (Drusius).


[Follow thou, וְהָלַ֣כְתִּ אַחֲרֵיהֶ֔ן] And thou shalt proceed, or go, after those women (Vatablus, Drusius, thus the Septuagint, Montanus, Junius and Tremellius). Others: after those men (Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic). הֶן-, those women, in the place of הֶם-, those men, so that it might be referred to the reapers (Piscator).


[For I have commanded, הֲל֥וֹא צִוִּ֛יתִי] Have I not instructed? that is to say, I have most certainly instructed. Similarly in 2 Samuel 10:3 (Vatablus). But when did he command this? Either immediately, personally, or through a servant; or the past is put in the place of the future, because he most certainly was going to do this, so that it might be, I will command my young men (Serarius).


[That no one trouble thee] Hebrew: that they not touch thee[4] (Drusius), that is, that they not hurt, harm by violence. Thus, in Genesis 26:11, he that toucheth this man; in Psalm 105:15, touch not mine anointed. Catullus, the flower touched by the plow,[5] that is, hurt, smitten (Drusius).


That they shall not touch thee, so as to offer any incivility or injury to thee. Touching is oft taken for hurting, Genesis 26:11; Psalm 105:15.


[If thou thirst, go, etc.] Hebrew: and thou shalt thirst, and shalt go[6] (Montanus, Piscator). An Ellipsis of the connective conjunction (Piscator). And when thou wilt thirst, and go (Septuagint, similarly Junius and Tremellius, Jonathan).


[Go to the baggage] Hebrew: thou shalt go to the vessels,[7] that is, in which water was (Piscator). In those places there was a great scarcity of water, Genesis 26; 29; Exodus 2; Numbers 20; Deuteronomy 2. And it was the time of the harvest, which was parched and very dry. Hence a draught of water was offered in kindness. See Virgil’s Eclogue 6, …as in the heat of summer the quenching of thirst by a dancing stream of sweet water. But why does he not join food to drink? Because virtue proceeds by degrees. He will give food a little after (Serarius).


[From which] Hebrew: and thou shalt drink מֵאֲשֶׁר, from that which, those young men have drawn, or, from the water which they drew: for the relative אֲשֶׁר with a particle not rarely includes its antecedent, which agreeably is to be understood. Thus, in Genesis 44:1, he commanded אֶת־אֲשֶׁר, the one that was over his house: thus in verse 4, and he said לַאֲשֶׁר, to the one that was over, etc. And that is done often, if it be speech concerning place; so that there is an ellipsis of מָקוֹם/place; as in Genesis 21:17;[8] Numbers 22:19;[9] and elsewhere (Glassius’ “Grammar” 210).

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּאמֶר֩ בֹּ֙עַז אֶל־ר֜וּת הֲל֧וֹא שָׁמַ֣עַתְּ בִּתִּ֗י אַל־תֵּלְכִי֙ לִלְקֹט֙ בְּשָׂדֶ֣ה אַחֵ֔ר וְגַ֛ם לֹ֥א תַעֲבוּרִ֖י מִזֶּ֑ה וְכֹ֥ה תִדְבָּקִ֖ין עִם־נַעֲרֹתָֽי׃


[2] Hebrew: הֲל֧וֹא שָׁמַ֣עַתְּ.


[3] Hebrew: עֵינַ֜יִךְ בַּשָּׂדֶ֤ה אֲשֶׁר־יִקְצֹרוּן֙ וְהָלַ֣כְתִּ אַחֲרֵיהֶ֔ן הֲל֥וֹא צִוִּ֛יתִי אֶת־הַנְּעָרִ֖ים לְבִלְתִּ֣י נָגְעֵ֑ךְ וְצָמִ֗ת וְהָלַכְתְּ֙ אֶל־הַכֵּלִ֔ים וְשָׁתִ֕ית מֵאֲשֶׁ֥ר יִשְׁאֲב֖וּן הַנְּעָרִֽים׃


[4] Hebrew: לְבִלְתִּ֣י נָגְעֵ֑ךְ.


[5] Poem 11. Gaius Valerius Catullus (c. 84-c. 54 BC) was a Roman poet.


[6] Hebrew: וְצָמִ֗ת וְהָלַכְתְּ֙.


[7] Hebrew: וְהָלַכְתְּ֙ אֶל־הַכֵּלִ֔ים.


[8] Genesis 21:17b: “…fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad in which place he is (בַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר הוּא־שָֽׁם׃).”


[9] Numbers 22:19: “Now therefore, I pray you, tarry ye also here (בָזֶה, in this) this night, that I may know what the Lord will say unto me more.”

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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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