After settling back into the routine of Israel, Ruth wants to go and glean in the field of “him in whose sight I shall find grace.” Ruth 1:2. This statement is wonderful in its literalness of hoping to find someone who will show her, a stranger in Israel, grace to allow her to glean for food. Gleaning is what the poor did to find food when work was not available. Gleaning was a requirement of each farmer to allow people to come into their fields to glean. The area of their field was to be the corners and a strip down the sides of the field. These areas were not to be harvested by the farmer but were to be left for the gleaner. Deuteronomy 24:19-22; Leviticus 19:9-10; Leviticus 23:22. This law was proclaimed by the merciful God to watch over the stranger, the poor, and the widow.
On the other hand this statement by Ruth was also a type of the harvesting relationship between the God and His gospel. God was the “Him” in Whom Ruth would find grace. She was the Gentile who would choose to work with God to bring forth the harvest of souls to Jesus. So she was a literal worker and a spiritual worker as well.
Ruth apparently did not know that Naomi had a “mighty man of wealth” in the family of Elimelech by the name of Boaz (his name means strength) and that she could go and glean in his field. So she headed out and in the providence of God she “happened” to start gleaning in the field of Boaz. During the time that Ruth was gleaning in the field Boaz came from Bethlehem to check on his fields and greeted his workers in the traditional manner of the time. He said “The Lord be with you” and they responded “The Lord bless thee.” Ruth 2:4.
After checking his field Boaz asked who the new girl was who was gleaning in the field. He was informed that she was “the Moabitish damsel who came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab.” Boaz’s workers informed him that she had asked permission to glean in the field and that she had stayed at work steadily except for a short break. The Boaz, knowing the story of Ruth and the circumstances under which she had come to Israel, approached her and asked her not to go to any other fields to glean but to glean in his field. He reassured her that she need not be afraid of the men in the field for he personally had given instructions for her safety. He also assured her that if she thirsted that she had his permission to come to the vessels out of which the men drank. It would appear that Boaz already had moving in his heart that he would act the role of kinsman for her and potentially be open to marrying her. He had found out that she was a good worker, and she had clearly displayed her loyalty to Naomi, and had chosen the God of Israel as her God. These were the signs that he was looking for in a wife and he apparently suspected that God may have been answering his prayers as God had done for Abraham’s servant when he found Rebekah. Genesis 24:11-60.
When Ruth heard Boaz’s gracious offer of continual work in his fields, and his protection, she fell on her face and bowed herself to the ground. She asked why it was that she had found grace in his eyes, since she was a stranger in the land. Boaz, speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, told her that he had heard of her decision to come to Israel and how she had made the decision to remain with Naomi. Because she had done these things Boaz, again under the influence of the Holy Spirit, blesses her and asks that the Lord God of Israel will recompense her for her decisions and that he asks that God will give her a full reward, because she has come to place her trust under His wings. Ruth 2:11-12. This blessing is clearly a Christ like statement that anyone who will come to the God of Israel, the Pre-Incarnate Son of God, that they will be blessed and that the Son of God will give them a full reward, sometimes on this Earth, and a full recompense in the New Earth after His second coming.
Ruth is being blessed as a person and as a symbol of God’s church (a woman symbolizes God’s church Jeremiah 6:2; II Corinthians 11:2 in the Bible), coming into contact with Boaz, the type of Jesus, she is also being blessed. Ruth responds that she has indeed found favor with her lord, for Boaz had been a comfort to her and had spoken to her in a friendly manner. She was still not sure that she was in the same category as the other maid’s in the field but she would accept his gifts.
Boaz then invited her to his supper, a preamble to the wedding feast of Matthew 22:1-10, he invites her to eat of the bread, the vinegar, and the corn which he supplied for the workers in the field. These are all symbols of the gospel – John 6:48; Joel 2:19; John 4:46. Ruth ate the food supplied by Boaz and then went back to work. Boaz instructed the young men to leave her alone and to put extra food in the area where she was gleaning that she would have an abundance of food. So Ruth gleaned all day and was blest like the 11th hour workers even though she had worked all day. Matthew 20:1-16 She was content and she had been able to glean a whole Ephah, about a half a bushel, of barley after she had beaten and winnowed the barley. She had been blessed by God through Boaz.
When Ruth went home that night she brought the Barley and she brought some of the fragments of the food she had eaten at lunch. Thus again Ruth proved herself to be a faithful gospel worker. She had eaten of the food provided by Jesus and she had taken some of the fragments home to her loved one to testify of the blessings she had received from the Lord God of Israel. Matthew 15:32-39 see also Desire of Ages 368.
After Naomi had eaten the food and been refreshed she asked where she had gleaned and who had blessed Ruth so much, and Naomi blessed the field owner for his kindness. Then Ruth informed Naomi that it had been Boaz. When Naomi heard that it was Naomi who had blessed Ruth she also began to think of the potentiality of a Levirate marriage between Boaz and Ruth. Naomi also blessed the Lord for she could see the workings of God in this blessed providence. Naomi was now beginning to see the hand of God in the tragic workings of her life. She was spiritually aware of the blessings that God was manifesting for the living and for the dead.
Naomi then informed Ruth that Boaz was a man who was a near kinsman to them. We can assume that Naomi informed Ruth that the near kinsman could enter into a marriage arrangement to care for the family of the deceased. If Boaz was a faithful Israelite he would take on this responsibility for these kinds of things were ordained by the God of Israel. So we can also assume that Naomi was praying that God’s will would continue to unfold for its blessings to Naomi and Ruth, and to the entire world.
Ruth then informed Naomi that Boaz wanted her to continue to glean in the field until the end of the harvest. Naomi thought this was good counsel as well and encouraged Ruth to continue to glean in the fields of Boaz and to go to no other fields. So Ruth continued to glean in the fields of Boaz until the Barley harvest was completed and the Wheat harvest was completed as well. While all of these events were taking place Ruth dwelt with her mother in law Naomi.
In summary it is clear that God had found a faithful follower of truth in Moab and in his providences he chose to bring her to Israel with Naomi His faithful worker. God then led her to glean in the fields of Boaz, another of His faithful workers. It is clear that Boaz was under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and recognized the moving of the hand of God and encouraged Naomi to glean in his fields and no others. Then Boaz provided steady work for Ruth and provided her all of the elements that she, and Naomi, would need to continue to live and was a type of Christ in all of these things. Ruth, at the encouragement of Naomi, stayed with Boaz during the entire harvest season and worked in a steady manner while the two of them got to know each other and to set the stage for their eventual marriage.
All of the above things were told to us to see how God moves and leads. God will inform us in the next chapters that all of this was done to provide the best grandparents possible for the lineage of the Messiah. This is a gospel book because it leads us to a deeper understanding of Jesus in the future, by watching Jesus take care of His eventual grandparents. All of these stories are written to encourage us so that no matter what happens, like Naomi’s loss of family, we may know that the hand of God is still leading, guiding, supporting. We can have the assurance that God will be vindicated when all is done and we will also be vindicated because we are in Christ Jesus. May He continue to bless us with an understanding of His Holy Word, and an understanding of His Holy Gospel.