Ruth meets Boaz
1 Boaz was an important man. He was in the family of Elimelech, Naomi's husband.
2 Ruth, the woman from Moab, said to Naomi, ‘Let me go to the fields. I will walk behind anyone who lets me. Then I will pick up the barley that he lets fall.’ Naomi said, ‘Go my daughter.’ 3 So she went to the fields. And she began to pick up the barley that the men let fall. It happened that she worked in one of Boaz's fields. Boaz was from Elimelech's family.
2:3When the workers cut the barley in the fields, they did not cut to the edge of the field. Also they must leave barley that dropped on the ground. They left barley in the fields. Poor people and people from other countries could pick up this barley. God's Law said that the workers must do these things. We can read about this in Leviticus 23:22 and in Deuteronomy 24:19-22.
4 Just then, Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and he spoke to the workers. ‘I ask God to be with you’, he said. ‘We pray that God will do good things for you’, they said.
5 Boaz asked the leader of his workers, ‘Whose young woman is that?’
6 The leader said, ‘She is that young woman from Moab, who returned from Moab with Naomi. 7 She asked, “Please let me walk behind the workers. Then I can pick up the barley that they let fall.” She has worked in the field from morning until now. She only had a short rest in the hut.’
8 Boaz said to Ruth, ‘Young woman, listen to me. Do not go and pick up barley in another field. Do not go away from here. Stay here with my servant girls. 9 Watch where the men work. And walk behind the girls. I have said that the workers should not touch you. The workers have filled the jars with water. When you need water, go to those jars. And drink from the jars.’
10 Ruth went down on her knees in front of Boaz. She said, ‘Why did you choose to be kind to me? I am a foreign woman.’
11 Boaz said, ‘People have told me all about you. When your husband died, you did many things for Naomi. You left your father and your mother and your country. You came to live with people who were strangers to you. 12 You have done many good things. I pray that God will do good things for you. You have come to Israel to be safe. I pray that the God of Israel will give you many good things.’
13 Ruth said, ‘Master, you have caused me to feel good by your kind words. I am not as important as one of your servant girls. But you have been kind to me. I hope that you will continue to be kind to me.’
14 When it was time to eat, Boaz said to Ruth, ‘Come here. Take some bread and make it wet with the vinegar.’
When she sat down with the workers, Boaz gave her some food. It was barley seeds that someone had cooked. She ate all that she wanted. And there was more than she could eat. 15 After this, she returned to work in the field. Boaz said to his workers, ‘If she picks up barley near you, do not hurt her. 16 It would be good to help her. You can let some barley drop for her to pick up. And do not be angry with her.’
17 Ruth worked in the field until evening. Then she hit her barley with a stick until the seeds came out. She had about 22 litres of seeds.
2:17About 5 gallons. This was a very large amount of seeds for one day's work.
18 She carried the seeds to the town. Naomi saw how much Ruth had picked. Ruth also gave to Naomi the barley seeds that Ruth could not eat.
19 Naomi asked her, ‘Where did you work today? I want God to do good things for the man who was kind to you.’ Then Ruth told Naomi about the man that she had worked with. ‘The man that I worked with today is called Boaz’, she said.
20 ‘I pray that God will do good things for him’, said Naomi to Ruth. ‘God has not stopped being kind to people who are alive. He is kind to those who are dead too. That man is in my husband's family. He is one of our kinsman-redeemers.’
2:20At that time, a kinsman-redeemer was a person in a family. If there were poor people in a family, the kinsman-redeemer was good to them. If his brother died, he had to marry his brother's wife. Someone in the family might have to sell themselves as a servant or as a slave. Then the kinsman-redeemer would buy them back. A poor person in the family might have to sell their land. Then the kinsman-redeemer would buy the land back. Then the family would not lose that land.
2:20A person's kinsman-redeemer was their nearest male in the family. We can read about kinsman-redeemers in Leviticus 25:25-28, 47-49 and in Deuteronomy 25:5-10.
21 Then Ruth, the woman from Moab, said, ‘He even said to me, “Stay with my workers until they have finished the work.” ’
22 Naomi said to Ruth, ‘It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with his girls. The workers in another field might hurt you.’
23 So Ruth worked next to Boaz's servant girls until they finished the work. She lived with Naomi.