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Bible Commentaries

Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible

Ruth 2



Verse 2

Gleaning was permitted to the poor and the stranger, Deuteronomy 24:19, both which she was; nor was she ashamed to confess her poverty, nor would she eat the bread of idleness; whereby she showeth herself to be a prudent, and diligent, and virtuous woman, as she is called, Ruth 3:11.

In whose sight I shall find grace; for though it was their duty to permit this, Leviticus 19:9 23:22, yet either she was ignorant thereof, or thought that, being a stranger, it might be grudged or denied to her; or, at least, that it became her modestly and humbly to acknowledge their kindness herein.

Verse 3

Her hap was; for it was indeed a chance in reference to second causes, but ordered and designed by God’s providence.

Verse 4

They expressed and professed their piety, even in their civil conversation and worldly transactions; which now so many are ashamed of, and call it hypocrisy or vain ostentation thus to do.

Verse 6

i.e. That came with Naomi when she came back; for otherwise, as Ruth did not go from thence, so she could not properly be said to come back.

Verse 7

She said, I pray you, let me glean; she did not boldly intrude herself, but modestly ask leave of us.

Hath continued even from the morning until now; she is not retired though idleness, for she hath been diligent and constant in her labours.

In the house; not in Naomi’s house, as many understand it, as may be gathered from Ruth 2:18,19, but in the little house or tent, which was set up in the fields at these times, and was necessary in those hot countries, where the labourers or others might retire for a little repose or repast at fit times. Being weary with her continued labours she comes hither to take a little rest.

Verse 8

Not by the young men, to avoid both occasion of sin and matter of scandal. Herein he shows his piety and prudence.

Verse 9

That they shall not touch thee, so as to offer any incivility or injury to thee. Touching is oft taken for hurting, Genesis 26:11 Psalms 105:15.

Verse 10

She fell on her face: this was the humblest posture of reverence; either civil, when performed to men, or religious, when to God. See Genesis 18:2 33:3 42:6 Matthew 2:11 8:2.

Take knowledge of me, i.e. show any respect and kindness to me; for words of knowledge in Scripture commonly include affection.

Verse 11

Which thou knewest not; of whom thou hadst no experience; for otherwise in general she could not be ignorant of this people.

Verse 12

Wings, i.e. protection and care, as Deuteronomy 32:11 Psalms 17:8 36:7 91:4. An allusion either to hens, which protect and cherish their young ones under their wings; or to the wings of the cherubims, between which God dwelt.

Verse 13

Let me find favour in thy sight; I humbly implore the continuance of thy good opinion of me, though I do not deserve it.

Not like unto one of thy handmaidens; a person more mean, and necessitous, and obscure, being a stranger, and one born of heathenish parents, and not of the holy and honourable people of Israel, as they are.

Verse 14

Bread in those simple and frugal times was the usual food of servants and the meaner sort, at least when they were engaged in such works as this, which required speed, and therefore must be quick in their eating, as well as in their work. Or bread may be here put for any food, as it oft is.

Vinegar; either simple vinegar, in which the poorer sort used to dip their bread, and so eat it in hot countries, as they did not only in Canaan, but afterwards in Italy; it being very proper, especially in those parts, for cooling them in those hot seasons, for strengthening their sinews, &c.; or vinegar mixed with other things to make some kind of sauce.

Beside the reapers; not with or among them, but at some little distance from them, and as one inferior to them, as she had acknowledged before in words, and now showeth it by her actions.

Parched corn; a food in frequent use and some esteem with them. See 2 Samuel 17:28.

Verse 15

As if she were rude or impudent in so doing, as otherwise they should have thought.

Quest. Why did he not rather give her as much corn as she could carry, and send her away?

Answ. Because he would not have her to eat the bread of idleness, but honestly to get it with the sweat of her brow, according to her duty and present condition.

Verse 17

An ephah is thought to contain about a bushel. See Exodus 16:36 Leviticus 5:11.

Verse 18

Or, that which she had left of her fulness, or after she was satisfied. She did eat as much as she desired of what she had gleaned, and her mother, as I suppose, with her, and the residue she gave to her mother to lay up for future use.

Verse 20

And to the dead, i.e. which he formerly showed to those who are now dead, to wit, my husband and his sons whilst they were living, and now continues to us, their wives, who are now alive.

One of our next kinsmen; Heb. one of our redeemers, or avengers, to whom it belongs to avenge our persons, and to redeem our lands, and to marry thee, the widow and relict of his next kinsman, as is expressed, Ruth 3:9. She saith one of them, not that there were many who were immediately such, but that he was a very near kinsman, and one to whom that office belonged, in case of the refusal of one person, of whom she rightly conjectured that he would refuse, as he did.

Verse 21

Both barley and wheat harvest, as is said, Ruth 2:23.

Verse 22

Whereby thou wilt both expose thyself to many inconveniences, which thou mayst expect from strangers; and incur his displeasure, as if thou didst either despise his proffered kindness, or doubt of the sincerity of his affections and offers.

Verse 23

Heb. sat or continued at home, when she had despatched her occasions abroad, and did not wander or gad abroad, after the manner of idle persons and harlots, Proverbs 7:11,12.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Ruth 2:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

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