“May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”
~ Ruth 2:12


Hi James and Ellen,

What do you think that it is like to glean a field? Your grandpaa helped glean a field. When your grandpaa was a kid, the older kids who went to the Christian School in Volga, South Dakota – which is where your grandpaa went from the second grade through the eighth grade, gleaned a cornfield to raise money. Your grandpaa remembers not enjoying that morning gleaning a cornfield with other Volga Christian School kids. It was a Saturday. The day was miserably cold. Your grandpaa and the other Volga Christian School kids who got together that Saturday morning to glean one of Will Vander’s cornfields walked up and down the picked corn rows carrying a pail or basket looking for ears of corn that a corn picker had missed picking. Something that your grandpaa remembers that he enjoyed on that cold fall morning when he had to help glean a cornfield with his Volga Christian School classmates was when he and his classmates went into Will Vander’s house to find that Will’s wife had cups of hot chocolate ready for your grandpaa and his classmates to drink and a big plate of oliebollens to eat. Oliebollens – which your grandpaa remembers as being called ‘oliekookens’, are really tasty Dutch drop donuts that have raisins in them.

Gleaning is to gather up a grain – such as corn, that has been missed by pickers. Ruth decided that she would glean fields as a way to put something to eat on her mother-in-law’s empty cupboard shelves. Ruth’s mother-in-law was Naomi. Ruth was a Moabite people group gal. Naomi was an Israelite people group gal. When Naomi decided to return to her hometown – which was the town of Bethlehem, Ruth insisted on going with Naomi. This meant that Ruth had to leave her own family if she wanted to go with Naomi to the town of Bethlehem. Naomi – through her deceased husband, had family who were living near the town of Bethlehem. When a famine hit the area where the town of Bethlehem was located, Naomi and her husband – whose name was Elimelech, and their two boys relocated to an area that was located southeast of the town of Bethlehem and the Dead Sea and where Moabite people group guys and gals lived. Naomi’s two kids married Moabite people group gals. It was after Elimelech and both of her kids died that Naomi – even though she had nothing, decided to go back home to the town of Bethlehem. Ruth did not have to go to the town of Bethlehem with Naomi but . . . Ruth 2 recounts what unfolded after Naomi and Ruth settled in the town of Bethlehem. When the annual barley harvest started, Ruth told her mother-in-law that she was going to go behind harvesters to glean the field of what the harvesters had missed as they cut the stalks of ripened barley. Ruth chose to glean after the harvesters who were harvesting a field that was owned by Boaz. Boaz was a relative in Elimelich’s extended family clan. When Boaz showed up to check on the field that was being harvested by his harvesters, Boaz saw Ruth gleaning his field for missed grains of barley. When Boaz asked his harvesters about Ruth, they told Boaz that Ruth was a Moabite people group gal, that she had arrived in the town of Bethlehem with her mother-in-law – Naomi, that she had asked them if she could glean the field that they were harvesting and that she had been working hard all day – except for a short rest in the shade to escape from the sun. Boaz personally told Ruth that he wanted her to continue to glean his field with his servant gals and that she could drink from the water jugs that his guys had filled. When it was time to eat, Boaz had Ruth eat with him some bread that was first dipped in wine vinegar and some roasted grain. Boaz told his harvesters to deliberately miss some barley stalks as well as to even pull some barley stalks out of the sheaves that they had buddled for Ruth to find and that they were not to scold Ruth if . . . Ruth went home to her mother-in-law with about an ephah of barley. An ephah amounts to about three-fifths of a bushel. Ruth also took home with her the roasted grain that she could not finish eating when she ate with Boaz earlier that day. Naomi was once again – after probably a long time, encouraged and happy.

Why do you think that Naomi was happy? Naomi was happy because Ruth had picked a field to glean that was owned by Boaz. Naomi knew that because Boaz was related to her through her deceased husband that Boaz – per the Mosaic Law, was to care for her. Boaz was a kinsman-redeemer. A kinsman-redeemer had the responsibility for providing for a bro’s wife if the bro died and he and his wife did not have any boys. A kinsman-redeemer had the responsibility of redeeming or purchasing a piece of land that a poor relative had sold for one reason or another. A kinsman-redeemer had the responsibility of redeeming or paying the price for a relative who had been sold into slavery. A kinsman-redeemer had the responsibility of avenging a relative’s death if the relative had been killed by another guy. Naomi knew that Boaz – through her dead husband, was to be her kinsman-redeemer but . . . your grandpaa thinks that Naomi did not want to impose on Boaz to be her kinsman-redeemer – that Naomi had pretty much given up on life. A daughter-in-law can be a really wonderful blessing to her mother-in-law – which was the case with Ruth for Naomi and which Boaz could see. Boaz warmly tells Ruth in verse 12, “May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”” Ruth’s desire to go to the town of Bethlehem with Naomi has her now in Jesus’ family tree. God has wonderful twists and turns in His preprogrammed plan that He has for your lives just as He had for Ruth’s life. What are you willing to do for God’s sake? Are you willing to go where God might ask you to go to?

Ruth 2 (851)