King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Ruth 2

Ruth gleans in the field of Boaz. (1-3) The kindness of Boaz to Ruth. (4-16) Ruth returns to her mother-in-law. (17-23)

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Ruth gleans in the field of Boaz

1 And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz.

2 And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.

3 And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.

The kindness of Boaz to Ruth

4 And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.

5 Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this?

6 And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab:

7 And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house.

8 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:

9 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.

10 Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?

11 And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.

12 The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.

13 Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens.

14 And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.

15 And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not:

16 And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.

Ruth returns to her mother-in-law

17 So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley.

18 And she took it up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed.

19 And her mother in law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned to day? and where wroughtest thou? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee. And she shewed her mother in law with whom she had wrought, and said, The man’s name with whom I wrought to day is Boaz.

20 And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.

21 And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said unto me also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest.

22 And Naomi said unto Ruth her daughter in law, It is good, my daughter, that thou go out with his maidens, that they meet thee not in any other field.

23 So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Booz. The Scripture does not specify how nearly they were related. R. Josue says Elimelech, Salmon, and Tob (C. iii. 13,) were brothers, and Booz was the son of Salmon, which cannot be refuted, (Serar. q. 1. M.) though the authority and proofs be very weak. It is not, however, more probable that Booz was the brother of Elimelech. Some think that he was not the immediate son of Salmon, as four persons seem too few to fill up the space of 366 years, from the marriage of Rahab till the birth of David. But this is not impossible. C. See C. iv. 20.

Ver. 2. To me. It was the privilege of the poor and of strangers to glean. Deut. xxiv. 19. Lev. xix. 9. Yet Ruth asks leave, through civility. C. — This law is no longer in force, but it would be inhuman for the rich to deny this liberty to those who are in distress, and willing rather to work than to beg. T.

Ver. 4. With you. This blessing the Church still adopts in her service. W. — It was customary to bless one another during harvest. Ps. cxxviii. 5. 8. C. — Booz did, as Cato advises, Ne opera parcas visere; “See what is going forward.” The master’s eye makes the servants diligent. H.

Ver. 5. Man. Heb. nahar, a man in the prime of life. He had the care of all in the field, during the absence of his master; whence Josephus styles him agrocomos, or agronomos. M. — Homer mentions an officer or king, standing with his sceptre in the midst of the reapers, and silently rejoicing at the rich profusion of the field. Iliad. — Thus we see the taste of the ancients, while agriculture was honourable.

Ver. 7. Moment. Heb. “her tarrying in the house is but small, or till now, that she remains a little in the house.” She entered the house with the reapers, during the excessive heat of the day, and to avoid the suspicion of taking more than was allowed, during their absence. C. — Sept. “she hath not discontinued to work in the field even a little.” Her diligence and modesty attracted the notice of Booz. H.

Ver. 9. Thee. The men tied the corn after the female reapers, (C.) and Ruth was authorized to follow, close at their heels, without fear. H. — The waters. This is not expressed in Heb. but it is in the Sept. and the Chal. C. — The privilege of having water in those countries was very considerable. M.

Ver. 10. Country. S. Elizabeth was impressed with similar sentiments, when she was visited by the blessed Virgin; (H.) and so was David, when he considered the wonderful condescension of God. Ps. viii. 5. cxliii. 3. Job vii. 17. C. — Frequent instances occur in Scripture of people worshipping, or shewing their gratitude to their fellow creatures, by this posture of the body. M. — Yet no suspicion of idolatry attaches to them. Gen. xxiii. 7. &c. H.

Ver. 11. Heretofore, to embrace the same religion. M.

Ver. 12. Work. Booz doubted not but a full and eternal reward was due to good works. W. — Fled. This similitude frequently occurs, (Ps. xxxv. 8. Mat. xxiii. 37,) to denote protection. C. — Chal. “Thou art come to be a proselyte, and to hide thyself under the shade of the majesty of his glory.” M.

Ver. 13. Heart. This has the same meaning as the former part of the sentence. C. See Ose. ii. 14. H. — Maids, but more lowly and mean. M.

Ver. 14. Vinegar, or small wine, made on purpose for working people. Some think that such was presented to our Saviour. Yet vinegar was very frequently mixed with other things, and was esteemed particularly refreshing. Plin. xxiii. 1. C. — Side. Not in front, that they might not stare at her. M. — And she, &c. Heb. “and he gave her frumenty, or parched corn.” A little oil might be poured upon it. See Lev. ii. 14. 2 K. xxvi. 28. H. — Travellers in Ethiopia only take parched barley with them. C. — The leavings, to Noemi. “Learn, says Seneca, (ep. 110,) to be content with a little.” Sept. “and Booz heaped up food before her, and she ate and was filled, and left a part.“ H. — But it appears that she afterwards took it home, v. 18. M. — The vinegar and corn which were given to Ruth were very refreshing. The Spaniards still drink posca, or water and vinegar. T.

Ver. 15. Reap. Heb. “if she will glean, even among the sheaves, do not cover her with confusion,” (H.) or hinder her. Ps. xliii. 10. C.

Ver. 17. Rod, as Gedeon had done. Judg. vi. 11. — That is, &c. an explanation of the Vulg. C. — The ephi contained three pecks and three pints. Arbuthnot. — Alcazar and A. Lapide say 960 ounces. M.

Ver. 20. Dead. He hath not forgotten Elimelech, his friend, for whose sake he treats his daughter-in-law with kindness. H. — Kinsman. Heb. adds, “one of our redeemers, (C.) or next kinsmen.” H. — To such the right of avenging the slain, of marrying the widow of the deceased, and entering upon his property, belonged. The best interpreters suppose that Booz was the nephew of Elimelech. C. Lev. xxv. 25. Deut. xxv. 5. M.

Ver. 23. And the wheat. Heb. Syr. and Arab. “It is good that thou keep close to the maidens of Booz, and continue to glean with them till,” &c. This was the advice of Noemi: but Providence ordered that Ruth should be married to Booz before the commencement of the wheat harvest. C. — The Prot. agree with the Vulg. and Sept. “So she kept fast by, &c. unto the end of the barley harvest, and of the wheat harvest, and dwelt with her mother-in-law.” These last words are expressed by the Vulg in the following chapter. H..