Ruth meets Boaz
1 Boaz was a rich and important man who lived in Bethlehem. He was from the family of Naomi's husband, Elimelech.
2 One day, Ruth, the woman from Moab, said to Naomi, ‘Let me go to the fields to pick up some grain from the harvest. I will walk behind anyone who lets me do that.’ Naomi said, ‘Yes, my daughter, go and do that.’ 3 So Ruth went to the fields. She began to pick up the grains of barley that the men dropped on the ground. It happened that she was in part of a field that belonged to Boaz. Boaz was from Elimelech's clan.
2:3When the workers cut the crops of grain in the fields, they did take it all. They left some on the ground for poor people and foreign people to pick up. God's Law said that they must do that. See Leviticus 23:22; Deuteronomy 24:19-22.
4 Just then, Boaz arrived from Bethlehem town. He said ‘hello’ to the workers. ‘I pray that the Lord will help you,’ he said. The men replied, ‘We pray that the Lord will bless you!’
5 Boaz asked the leader of his workers, ‘Who is that young woman? Which family does she belong to?’
6 The man said, ‘She is that young woman from Moab, who returned from Moab with Naomi. 7 She asked me, “Please let me walk behind your workers. Then I can pick up the grains of barley that they leave on the ground.” She has worked very hard in the field since she arrived this morning. She only had a short rest in the hut.’
8 So Boaz said to Ruth, ‘Young woman, listen to me. Do not go and pick up grains of barley in any other field. Stay here in this field and work beside my servant girls. 9 Watch carefully where the men are working. Then follow behind the other women. I have told the male workers not to touch you. Whenever you are thirsty, go and drink water from the jars. My servants fill those jars with water to drink.’
10 Ruth went down on her knees with her head towards the ground in front of Boaz. She said, ‘I am a foreign woman. So, why do you choose to be so kind to me? Why are you taking care of me?’
11 Boaz replied, ‘People have told me all about you. I know that when your husband died, you helped Naomi very much. You chose to leave your father, your mother and your country. You came here to live with people who were strangers to you. 12 You have done many good things. So I pray that the Lord will do good things for you in return. You have come here to be safe with the Lord, who is Israel's God. I pray that he will bless you.’
13 Ruth said, ‘Thank you, Sir. You are being very kind to me. Your words cause me to feel happy and strong. I am not even as important as one of your servant girls, but you have been kind to me.’
14 When it was time to eat a meal, Boaz said to Ruth, ‘Come here and eat with us. Take some bread and mix it with the wine.’ So Ruth sat down to eat with the workers. Boaz gave her some grain that someone had cooked. She ate all that she wanted, and she still had some with her.
15 After the meal, Ruth returned to work in the field. Boaz said to his workers, ‘Let her pick up grains anywhere, even near the heaps of barley that you have cut down. Do not chase her away. 16 You should also pull out some barley and drop it for her to pick up. Do not be angry with her.’
17 Ruth picked up grains in Boaz's field until evening. Then she hit the grains with a stick so that the seeds came out. The grains of barley that she took home filled a large basket.
2:17About 22 litres, or 5 gallons. This was a very large amount of seeds for one day's work.
18 She carried the barley back to Naomi's home in the town. Naomi saw how much Ruth had picked up. Ruth also took the grains that she did not eat at the meal and she gave them to Naomi.
19 Naomi asked Ruth, ‘Where did you work today, to pick up all this barley? I want God to bless the man who was so kind to you.’ So Ruth told Naomi about the man whose field she had worked in. She said, ‘The man that I worked with today is called Boaz.’
20 Naomi said to Ruth, ‘He has been kind to us! He has thought about our husbands who have died and he has helped us who are still alive. I pray that the Lord will bless him in return. That man is our relative. He is one of our family-redeemers.’
2:20A family-redeemer was the nearest male relative. If there were poor people in the family, he should take care of 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 family-redeemer would buy them back. A poor person in the family might have to sell their land. Then the family-redeemer would buy the land back so that the family would not lose their land. We can read about family-redeemers in Leviticus 25:25-55; Deuteronomy 25:5-10.
21 Then Ruth said, ‘Boaz even said to me, “Stay with my workers until they have finished the work in my fields.” ’
22 Naomi said to Ruth, ‘Yes, my daughter, it will be good for you to work beside the young women in his fields. You will be safe there, but the workers in another field might hurt you.’
23 So Ruth worked beside Boaz's women workers until they finished the harvest of barley and wheat. She continued to live with Naomi.