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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Ruth 2:4

 

 

Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem and said to the reapers, "May the LORD be with you." And they said to him, "May the LORD bless you."

Adam Clarke Commentary

Boaz came from Beth-lehem - This salutation between Boaz and his reapers is worthy of particular regard; he said, עמחם יהוה Yehovah immachem, "Jehovah be with you!" They said, יהוה יברכך yebarechecha Yehovah, "May Jehovah bless thee!" Can a pious mind read these godly salutations without wishing for a return of those simple primitive times? The words may be thus paraphrased: "May God be with you, to preserve you from accidents, and strengthen you to accomplish your work!" "May God bless Thee with the increase of the field, and grace to use his bounty to the glory of the Giver!"


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Ruth 2:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/ruth-2.html. 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

Ruth 2:4

Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The Lord be with you.

Salutation and prayer

I. That it is a commendable thing for one to salute another when they meet.

II. That masters are to pray that God may be with their household, family, and workmen. (R. Bernard.)

A good master

1. The works of God’s providence are very wonderful works. There is a “behold” put upon this passage. Oh, the wonderful concurrence of these occurrences! Here Ruth is ordered by Providence into Boaz’s field, and Boaz is ordered by the same Providence to meet Ruth in his field; and all this in tendency to accomplish a great design of their marrying together, infinitely above both their thoughts. It would plainly astonish us to observe diligently the strange occurrences of Divine Providence, and it is our great loss to live so little in the observation of every passage and footstep thereof.

2. It is comely and commodious for masters to mind personally their own concerns. Thus Boaz here did. Wise Cato could say, “That man which minds not his vintage or harvest, the further he is from his labour, the nearer he is to his loss”; and his eyes are every way, and everywhere.

3. Christianity is no enemy to comity and courtesy; or, civil salutations are consistent with true sanctity in humane society.

4. Civil salutation ought to be paid again in the same coin, saluting for saluting. (C. Ness.)

Boaz the farmer

Farming, rather than gardening in the ordinary sense of the word, is man’s oldest occupation. It may not be esteemed the most dignified one, nor may those engaged in it be generally found either the most enlightened or refined of men; still, instituted by Divine authority, and pursued by man in his primeval innocence, with the ordinances of marriage and the Sabbath-day, it is a vestige of Eden. Besides, it is probable, if not certain, that it is the one employment in which man had God for his teacher. The heathens themselves represent the gods as having taught him how to cultivate corn; and in this, as in many of their other legends, they have preserved a valuable fragment of ancient truth. There is that indeed in the nature of wheat, barley, and the other cereals, which goes almost to demonstrate that God specially created them for man’s use, and originally committed them to his care. These plants are unique in two respects--first, unlike others, the fruits or roots of which we use for food, they are found wild nowhere on the face of the whole earth; and secondly, unlike others also, they cannot prolong their existence independent of man, without his care and culture. When mines are empty, and furnaces stand quenched and cold, and deep silence reigns in the caverns where the axe of the pitman sounded, the husbandman shall still plough the soil. His, the first man’s, shall probably be the last man’s employment. The occupation which Boaz followed rises still higher in importance when we look at the multitudes it employs. Great as we are in commerce and manufactures--clothing nations with our fabrics, covering every sea with ships, and carrying the produce of our arts to every shore--the cultivation of the soil employs a larger number of hands than any other trade. Now these interests turn to a great extent on the manner in which those who follow Boaz’s occupation discharge their duties: and it is therefore a matter of thankfulness that in him the book which instructs both kings and beggars, peers and peasants, how to live, sets before us a model farmer.

I. His diligence in business. Boaz was not one whom necessity compelled to labour. He was rich; and is indeed called “a mighty man of wealth.” Yet he made that no reason for wasting his life in ease and idleness. Nor, though he employed overseers, did he consider it right to commit his business entirely into their hands. In the first place, such irresponsibility is not good for servants. It places them in circumstances of temptation to act dishonestly. Neither is it, in the second place, for the master’s interests. “The eye of the master maketh a fat horse,” says an English proverb. “The farmer ploughs best with his feet,” says a Scotch one--his success turning on the attention he personally gives to the superintendence of his servants and the different interests of his farm.

II. His courteousness. “Be ye courteous” is a duty which Paul--himself a fine example of it--enjoins on Christians (Acts 26:12). His was courtesy to a superior; but a still finer ornament of manners, and of religion also, is courtesy to inferiors. And what a fine example of that is Boaz! It is with no cold looks, nor distant air, nor rough speech, nor haughty bearing, making his reapers painfully sensible of their inferiority--that they are servants and he their master--Boaz enters the harvest field. More beautiful than the morning, with its dews sparkling like diamonds on the grass, and its golden beams tipping the surrounding hills of Bethlehem, these morning salutations between master and servants! Loving him, they esteemed his interests their own. His conduct corresponded with his speech. Observe the eye of compassion he cast on Ruth. He paid as much honour to the virtues and feelings of this poor gleaner as if she had been the finest lady in the land. Behold true courteousness! This grace is a great set-off to piety. As such it should be assiduously cultivated by all who desire to “adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour.”

III. His piety. “The Lord be with you”--his address to the reapers on entering the harvest field--has the ring of sterling metal. What contrast Boaz offers to farmers we have known, by whose lips God’s name was frequently profaned, but never honoured--their servants, like their dogs and horses, being often cursed, but never once blessed! “Like master, like man.” Boaz almost never opens his mouth but pearls drop out. His speech breathes forth pious utterances. All his conversation is seasoned with grace; and, though the result of a Divine change of heart, how natural his religion seems!--not like a gala-dress assumed for the occasion--not like gum-flowers worn for ornament, but such as spring living from the sward--not like an artificial perfume that imparts a passing odour to a thing that is dead, but the odours exhaled by roses or lilies bathed in the dews of heaven. Nor was it only in the language of piety that his piety expressed itself. It did not evaporate in words. We have heard him speak; see how he acts! One night sleeping by a heap of corn, alone as he supposed, he wakes to find a woman lying at his feet. It is Ruth. Instructed by Naomi, she takes this strange Jewish fashion to seek her rights and commit her fortunes into his hands.

IV. His care for the moral and religious interests of his servants. Boaz in his own life set them an example of piety which could hardly fail to produce a favourable impression on their minds. Some are content to get work out of their servants; they take no interest in their souls--no more than if, like the cattle they tend, they had no souls at all. Unlike these, Boaz spoke to his servants as a God-fearing man. One who felt himself responsible to God and to their parents also, he charged himself with the care of their morals. This appears in the warnings and kind instructions he gave both to them and to Ruth. (T. Guthrie, D. D.)

Relations between employers and employed

The great operations which some in these days think fit to carry on, more for their own glory certainly than the good of their country or countrymen, entirely preclude anything like friendship between the chief and the multitude of his subordinates. It is impossible that a man who has a thousand under him should know and consider each, and there would be too much pretence in saying, “God be with you,” on entering a yard or factory when otherwise no feeling is shown with which the name of God can be connected. Apart altogether from questions as to wealth and its use, every employer has a responsibility for maintaining the healthy human activity of his people, and nowhere is the immorality of the present system of huge concerns so evident as in the extinction of personal goodwill. The work man, of course, may adjust himself to the state of matters, but it will too often be by discrediting what he knows he cannot have and keeping up a critical resentful habit of mind against those who seem to treat him as a machine. He may often be wrong in his judgment of an employer. There may be less hardness of temper on the other side than there is on his own. But the conditions being what they are, one may say he is certain to be a severe critic. We have unquestionably lost much and are in danger of losing more, not in a financial sense, which matters little, but in the infinitely more important affairs of social sweetness and Christian civilisation. (R. A. Watson, M. A.)

On the relations that subsist amongst the different classes of society in general, and in particular the intercourse between employers and operatives

How lovely is the picture of this Hebrew harvest field! It has often been remarked that the Bible, in its histories, doctrines, and precepts, is suited to all nations and all times. Though written by Jews, it is written for the world; though addressed chiefly to Israel, it is framed to suit mankind. To a monarchy in one age, and a republic in another, it gives forth its saving lessons without partiality and without embarrassment. The patriarchal institutes that prevailed in the time of Boaz were very different from the political constitutions of modern Europe. The subjection of the servant to his master which prevailed in those days was very different from the freedom and equal rights of all classes in our own land. Human happiness and misery do not turn on the form which the organisation of society may assume. It is a baptism by the Spirit that will sweeten and hallow the relations of life, whatever the external form may be into which they have been cast. In view of the condition and tendencies of society, what is the duty of a Christian patriot? He is not to whine idly for the return of the good old days, when society consisted only of two classes, kind masters and happy serfs; neither is he madly to plant himself in the breach, with the view of stemming and turning the advancing tide. Let believing men, whatever may be their views of the optimism in political organisation, fix it as an axiom in their minds that for the highest good of the species much more depends on the spirit which animates persons than on the forms which institutes may assume. Let all who hope in God and love their brethren act on this principle, and act together on it. Consider now, more particularly, the two features that characterised the intercourse between Boaz and his reapers. These are kindliness and godliness; there is love of men, and there is reverence of God.

I. Kindliness is greatly to be desired in the intercourse of employers and employed in our day. The master and the men must meet often for the transaction of business that is of common concern. If the meetings be devoid of kindness, they are unpleasant and injurious. How much we suffer from harsh, supercilious pride on the one hand, and dogged, discontented pride on the other! Here is a noble field for the philanthropist to labour on. He who shall increase the kindliness between operatives and their employers will be a benefactor of his race. All does not lie with the masters, but the initiative is with them. They have more in their power. We shall lose all the benefit of our vast machinery, it will be blighted by a curse, if we use living men as a part of it--if we make no distinction between the most wonderful work of God and these dead, mindless workers which our own hands have set up. Human brains have been weighed in the same balance with the dross that feeds the furnace! You take the girth of a man’s soul, as you do of a wrought-iron piston, with the view of ascertaining the amount of propulsion that may be expected out of it. Both, and both alike, you put under the steam, and work them till they be worn. This is the ailment of society. Man is not a brother to man. The labourer should not fret against the employer as such. He is part of the organisation of Providence. We don’t want this wheel that racks you taken out of the way. We want it oiled with holy human sympathy. But how shall we get such kindliness poured out upon the too, too sharp spirits of men, when the classes meet in a bristling array of mutual suspicion and defiance? We must go to seek it in the source of all good. The sympathy of which we have been speaking is the second commandment; in order to reach it we must climb up to the first. We must begin at the beginning (Ecclesiastes 12:13). We are thus brought to the other leading characteristic of the intercourse depicted in the text.

II. Its godliness. Look to the subject-matter of that kind mutual salutation, and you will find that master and men lived in the fear of God, and were not ashamed to own their religion in each other’s presence. The secret lies here. There would be more of human kindness amongst us if there were more of genuine faith in God. It is here that our defect lies. In great measure God is banished from history, from politics, from merchandise, from manufactures. God is not willing to be banished from any of His works. In Him we live and move and have our being. We do not propose that at your desks or your counters you should set aside your ledgers and commence a debate on systems of theology. Everything in its own time and place. There is such a thing as doing common business in a Christian spirit, walking about on earth like one who is going home to heaven. We are very low as to the existence of godliness in the heart; and we are still lower as to the manifestation of it in the ordinary intercourse of society. Very little of it is possessed; and even that little is not brought into exercise. We are persuaded that few masters are to be found at present who would not be ashamed to acknowledge a sinner’s hope in a precious Saviour in presence of their workmen; and comparatively few mechanics, who, if such an acknowledgment were made, would not openly sneer or secretly impute it to hypocrisy. The two classes distrust each other. Even the religion that they have they hide in each other’s presence. Alas, the only salve is by a tacit compact kept far away from the sores of society! The motions of the community are jarring and painful, because they are not softened by Divine grace. It is a short-sighted policy to shut up religion in churches and prayer-meetings, or even in households. Religion is intended for the world. The world has need of it. There cannot in the nature of things be a proper intercourse between human beings if the fear of God and the faith of the gospel do not pervade it. How can you treat a man aright when you have in view only the lowest part of his nature--the briefest period of his destiny? If all that your mind takes in regarding him be his work and his wages--the profit and loss in money of retaining or dismissing him--your treatment of him cannot possibly be right. It is only when you learn to take in the whole man that your conception can be accurate and your conduct wise. Conclusion:

1. Those who have no chief end for their souls, and no chief aim of their lives beyond things seen and temporal, bring no godliness to bear on the business of society. You cannot apply to a brother what you have not experienced yourself. One thing is needful. If you are not working for God, you are idle; if you have not gained your soul, you have lost all.

2. Those who are born from above bring too little godliness to bear on the common interests of life. (W. Arnot.)

Friendly co-operation between masters and men

Why do not employers take employes into their confidence? I know a gentleman very well who has over a thousand hands in his employ. I said to him some years ago, when there was great trouble in the labour market, “How are you getting on with your men?” “Oh,” he said, “I have no trouble.” “Why,” I said, “haven’t you had any strikes?” “Oh, no,” he said, “I never had any trouble.” “What plan do you pursue?” He said, “I will tell you. All my men know every year just how matters stand. Every little while I call them together and say, ‘Now, boys, last year I made so much; this year I make less; so you see I can’t pay you as much as I did last year. Now I want to know what you think I ought to have as a percentage out of this establishment, and what wages I ought to give you. You know I put all my energy in this business and risked everything, put all my fortune in it and risked everything. What do you really think I ought to have, and you ought to have?’ By the time we come out of that consultation we are unanimous; there never has been an exception. When we prosper, we all prosper together; when we suffer, we all suffer together; and my men would die for me.” Now, let all employers be frank with their employes. Take them into your confidence. Let them know just how matters stand. There is an immense amount of common sense in the world. It is safe always to appeal to it. (T. De Witt Talmage.)

Religion in the harvest field

1. It is remarkable that those who stand prominently forward in the lineage of our Lord according to the flesh represent the varied callings and positions of the human race; as if He who was not ashamed to call us brethren had woven into the tapestry of His human scenes threads borrowed from every skein of life, that He might be, as it were, girt with the garment of our humanity, and consequently be able entirely to sympathise with us.

2. But whilst on the one hand our blessed Lord received into Himself according to the flesh streams from every source of human life, He manifested again in His life and works the scenes from which they flowed. So that there is no employment in life but what the labourer, be he monarch, priest, or peasant, may find a practical brotherhood in Christ, and derive lessons of instruction and comfort in the hours of toil from Him who was “King of kings,” “our great High Priest,” and “had not where to lay His head.”

3. The leading lesson which Boaz teaches us is the sanctity of every earthly occupation when pursued by the servant of God. The real greatness of any man’s work consists in its being done according to the standard and limits of religion; and the absence of consciousness or religious expression is no sign of the unreality of real religious principle.

4. In the country, a large portion of whose population is agricultural, the conduct and character of the farmer or the landed proprietor is of no small consequence. He can improve or deteriorate the race of the labourer, he can elevate or depress multitudes of those around him, by the way in which he acts; and we are bound to believe that to a great degree God blesses the crops and the harvest according to the character of those connected with them.

5. The position of Boaz is one which silences all possible objections. He was no inferior farmer who could afford to be religious because he had not the opportunity of speculation, “for he was a mighty man of wealth.” He was not ashamed to recognise God, while, alas! how many amongst us of a similar class have not the courage to acknowledge to those they employ that they recognise God as the source and author of all that they possess. The example of the master will be followed by the man; if he puts religion forward in the front of his intercourse with his labourers, he will set the fashion to the field, the farmyard, and the cottager’s home. The foreman will own God, and the reaper will “catch the trick” of reverence. It would seem as if some men imagined that some chance hand opened the womb of the teeming earth. It is to such men that God says, “They did not know that I gave the corn; therefore will I return and take away My corn, I will destroy her vines and her fig-trees” (Hosea 2:9). But in the stately and almost sublime interview between Boaz and his reapers we find a practical suggestion also--why should not farmers not only recognise God and religion, but do something to realise the connection between God and themselves?

6. Another striking feature in the conduct of Boaz is the care that he takes of the purity of unmarried women when at work in his fields; for Boaz said unto Ruth, “Have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? Go not to glean in another field, but abide here fast by my maidens.” It would almost seem as if the young men and young women worked in different fields. How lamentable is the “contrast of a picture like this with that displayed by the estates of our farmers in seedtime, hay harvest and corn harvest. Imagine the long tale of shameful and miserable life that many a woman wrecked early on the quicksand of impurity has to tell upon her death-bed, and too often connects it all with the first hint given in the field in which God’s merciful hand was most singularly manifested in scattering His bounties.

7. But there is one more point full of instruction in the conduct of Boaz--his consideration of the gleaners. Some farmers close their gates altogether against the gleaner, and many are strict in their injunctions that but little shall be left for the poor. Yet surely the prayers of the poor, when genuine and honest, bring a blessing upon all around them, and what is given to them is but a loan to God. (E. Monro, M. A. )

Business to be sanctified by religion

Our forefathers symbolised a beautiful truth when in our old market towns they erected a market cross. As if to teach the buyers and sellers to order their actions and to sanctify their gains by the remembrance of a crucified Saviour. In the orders which God gave for the encampment of Israel during their pilgrimage to Canaan it was provided that every part of the camp looked towards the tabernacle. And thus God taught them ever to remember that He was in their midst, and that before Him they must walk day by day. (Aubrey C. Price, B. A.)

Piety with courtesy

Piety not only stands with humanity and civil courtesy, but also exacteth and requireth it (Matthew 12:1-50.; 1 Peter 3:8; Luke 10:5). God hath, His ethics, and commandeth good manners as well as good conscience. Affability and courtesy is the way to win others; men’s minds are taken with it, as passengers’ eyes are with fair flowers in the springtide; whereas a harsh, sullen, sour, churlish conversation is very distasteful to all, galleth the best (witness David, 1 Samuel 25:1-44.), and openeth bad men’s mouths to speak evil of religion. (J. Trapp.)


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Ruth 2:4". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/ruth-2.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And, behold, Boaz came to Bethlehem,.... Into the field, to see how his workmen went on, and performed their service, and to encourage them in it by his presence, and by his courteous language and behaviour, and to see what provisions were wanting, that he might take care and give orders for the sending of them, it being now near noon, as it may be supposed; and though he was a man of great wealth, he did not think it below him to go into his field, and look after his servants, which was highly commendable in him, and which showed his diligence and industry, as well as his humility. So a king in HomerF17Iliad. 18. ver. 556,557. is represented as among his reapers, with his sceptre in his hand, and cheerful. PlinyF18Nat. Hist. l. 18. c. 6. relates it, as a saying of the ancients, that the eye of the master is the most fruitful thing in the field; and AristotleF19De Administrat. Domestic. l. 1. c. 6. reports, that a Persian being asked what fattened a horse most, replied, the eye of the master; and an African being asked what was the best dung for land, answered, the steps of his master:

and said unto the reapers, the Lord be with you; to give them health, and strength, and industry in their work; the Targum is,"may the Word of the Lord be your help:"

and they answered him, the Lord bless you; with a good harvest, and good weather to gather it in; and though these salutations were of a civil kind, yet they breathe the true spirit of sincere and undissembled piety, and show the sense that both master and servants had of the providence of God attending the civil affairs of life, without whose help, assistance, and blessing, nothing succeeds well.


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Ruth 2:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/ruth-2.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

2:4-23. He takes knowledge of her, and shows her favor.

Boaz came from Beth-lehem, and said unto the reapers, The Lord be with you — This pious salutation between the master and his laborers strongly indicates the state of religious feeling among the rural population of Israel at that time, as well as the artless, happy, and unsuspecting simplicity which characterized the manners of the people. The same patriarchal style of speaking is still preserved in the East.


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ruth 2:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/ruth-2.html. 1871-8.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.

What a beautiful picture is here given of the simplicity of ancient times, in the pious salutations which passed between Boaz and his servants. What an evident proof it affords, that both were living under divine influences. Oh! how exceedingly to be desired, that such was the usual salutation between masters and servants in the present day! How lovely that house, that family, that service, which is endeared to one another in the several members of it, and cemented in God's blessing. There is another charming instance of it recorded in Psalms 129:8.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Ruth 2:4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/ruth-2.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.

Said, … — They expressed their piety, even in their civil conversation, and worldly transactions; which now so many are ashamed of.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Ruth 2:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/ruth-2.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Ruth 2:4 And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD [be] with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.

Ver. 4. And, behold, Boaz came from Beth-lehem.] To look to his country business, as a good economist: his eyes are on the servants, on the reapers, on the gleaners. Maiores fertilissimum in agro oculum domini esse dixerunt; { a} our ancestors were wont to say, that the master’s eye maketh the ground most fruitful. The master’s footsteps, saith one in Aristotle, are the best manure for the farm. (b) And, Procul a villa sua dissitus iacturae vicinus, said Cato: The farther from thy business, the nearer to loss. Boaz had a bailiff of his husbandry, Aγρονομον, as Josephus calleth him, careful and painful; and yet we find him not only looking to, but even lodging in the midst of his hinds. [Ruth 3:7; Ruth 3:14]

The Lord be with you … The Lord bless thee.] Piety not only stands with humanity and civil courtesy, but also exacteth and requireth it. [Matthew 10:11 1 Peter 3:8 Luke 10:5] God hath his ethics, and commandeth good manners as well as good conscience. Affability and courtesy is the way to win upon others; men’s minds are taken with it, as passengers’ eyes are with fair flowers in the spring-tide; whereas a harsh, sullen, sour, churlish conversation is very distasteful to all, galleth the best, {witness David, 1 Samuel 25:10-13} and openeth bad men’s mouths to speak evil of religion, as if it were an enemy to comity and courtesy - as if it removed it, whereas it only rectifieth it, and prescribeth to it, by restraining flattery and treachery.

The Lord bless thee.] Courtesy must be paid in the same coin. The Turk’s salutation is Salaum aleek, Peace be to thee; the reply is, Aleek salaum. They which salute are to be re-saluted. Note this against some Anabaptists and the Quakers. Those places, 2 Kings 4:29, Luke 10:4, make nothing for them, as enjoining only haste to be made in matters so weighty. Nor that, 2 John 1:10, as meant only of desperate heretics, such as was Marcion, to whom Polycarp, Agnosco te primogenitum diaboli. As for others, "Charity hopeth all things," and if they be not sons of peace, our peace returneth to us.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ruth 2:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/ruth-2.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ruth 2:4. Boaz came—and said unto the reapers, The Lord be with you We are authorised by the events of this history to conclude, that none of them happened by chance, but by the immediate interposition of God. Happy they who in all their ways acknowledge him, and in every state, however low, repose themselves on his all-sufficient care. The present scene affords us a pleasing instance of the simplicity and religion of ancient times, when the masters were wont to pray God to prosper the honest labours of those whom they employed, and when the labourers, in return, offered up their prayers for their masters. Heathens themselves practised this duty: they would not put the sickle to their corn till they had invoked their goddess Ceres. See Virgil, Georg. lib. 1: ver. 2:347. How strongly does such a practice reprove the profane impiety of too many masters and labourers in the field!

REFLECTIONS.—We have here an account,

1. Of Boaz, whose name is famous in the following history. He was a near kinsman of Naomi, an inhabitant of Beth-lehem, a man of great wealth and generosity. He had heard of her return, though Naomi, out of modesty, and unwillingness to trouble her rich relations, seems not to have made him acquainted with the distress of her circumstances. Note; (1.) The worthless are importunate and clamorous, while the deserving are modest and silent. (2.) Many have rich relations, for whom they are little the better. (3.) It is a sure mark of a proud unthankful heart to overlook or disregard poor relations.

2. Of Ruth the Moabitess, whose character shines with distinguished lustre under the severest pressures of poverty; for such has God chosen, poor in this world, but rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom: and now that faith is tried, whether she can prefer the land of Israel, with all the inconveniences that she suffers, to the plenty she might have enjoyed in Moab. We hear no mention of the least desire in her to return: though unused, probably, to such a method of procuring her living, her mind is conformed to her circumstances. She is willing, not only to work for her own bread, but also to maintain her aged mother. In order to this, she asks leave to go and glean in any field, where she might, through the master's kindness, be admitted. Her mother, pleased with such an instance of filial piety, affectionately permits her to go. Note; (1.) None know to what straits they may be reduced. It is not good to be brought up too delicately. (2.) To be content under the pressures of poverty is a blessed evidence of a faithful heart. (3.) They who know the value of their souls will prefer Christ and a crust to all the affluence and glory of the world without him. (4.)

They who are poor have need to be thankful for the least favour shewn them. (5.) Industry in young people is highly commendable; and never came there any good from an idle hand.

3. She happened to light on Boaz's field, God directing her thither for purposes of his own glory. Note; Circumstances, which to us appear utterly fortuitous, proceed under the peculiar Providence of God: and from the most unexpected incidents, he can bring about the greatest events.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Ruth 2:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/ruth-2.html. 1801-1803.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 280

BOAZ AND HIS REAPERS

Ruth 2:4. And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The Lord be with you. And they answered him, The Lord bless thee.

EVERY season suggests to us some appropriate considerations: and even the most common incidents of life are capable of affording us very important instruction. Certainly, at first sight, a man’s intercourse with his reapers would not promise much for spiritual edification: but the address of Boaz to his people, and their reply to him, were altogether so different from what is usual in our day, that we shall find our time not unprofitably employed in the investigation of them.

I. Their mutual address is the first thing to be considered—

It may be understood in a two-fold view;

1. As a friendly salutation—

[It seems probable that, if not at that time, yet in after ages, this kind of address was common in the time of harvest [Note: Psalms 129:7-8.]. But, as used on this occasion, it deserves peculiar notice; both as expressing great condescension and kindness on his part, and as evincing much respect and gratitude on theirs. Boaz, it must be remembered, was “a mighty man of wealth [Note: ver. 1.]:” and therefore any notice from him might be deemed an act of condescension, and more especially this, which conveyed to their minds such a sense of paternal love. And their reply argued a becoming feeling of filial respect. Into how many fields might we go, before we heard such greetings as these! How much more frequently might we hear complaints respecting the work, on the one part; and murmuring concerning the wages, on the other part! Notwithstanding the superior advantages we enjoy, and the higher attainments which, in consequence, we might be expected to make in every thing that was amiable and praiseworthy, how uncommon an occurrence should we deem it, if we chanced to witness such greetings in the present day! The true picture of modern life may be drawn in those words of Solomon, “The poor useth entreaties; but the rich answereth roughly [Note: Proverbs 18:23.].”]

2. As a devout benediction—

[From the piety evinced by Boaz, we may well suppose that these benevolent expressions, on both sides, were not a mere customary form; but a real desire, in the bosoms of them all, for their mutual welfare in reference to the eternal world. How lovely was the address, how suitable the answer, in this view! It is remarkable, that the Apostle Paul begins and ends almost every epistle with prayers and benedictions, expressive of his love for the souls of men. And such ought our correspondence to be, even when the main subject of our letters refers to temporal concerns. Such, too, should be our daily intercourse with friends and servants, in the house, or in the field. Who does not admire this interview between persons so distant in rank, yet so allied in spirit? Let us, then, cultivate the spirit here manifested: for, verily, if it universally obtained, we should enjoy almost a heaven upon earth.]

II. The next point for us to consider, is, What instruction we should gather from it

We may learn from it,

1. That the blessing of God is our chief good—

[This, under any view of their expressions, is evidently implied. The wealth of Boaz, if he had possessed ten thousand different estates, would have been of no real value without the blessing of God; and with that, the men who laboured in reaping down his fields were truly rich. It is the light of God’s countenance which is the only solid good [Note: Psalms 4:6.]: “In his presence is life; and his loving-kindness is better than life itself [Note: Psalms 30:5; Psalms 63:3.].”]

2. That religion then appears in its true colours, when it regulates our conduct in social life—

[It is in vain for a man to pretend to religion, if in his daily converse with the world he do not manifest its power to transform the soul. What is the knowledge even of an angel, without love? What the faith that could remove mountains? What the zeal that could give all our goods to feed the poor, or even our bodies to be burnt for Jesus’ sake? We speak advisedly when we say, that in the full possession of all these excellencies we should be no better than “sounding brass and tinkling cymbals,” if we were not under the habitual influence of love [Note: 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.]. Know ye, Brethren, that your religion must be seen, not in the church or in the closet only, but in the shop, the family, the field. It must mortify pride, and every other evil passion; and must bring forth into exercise “all the mind that was in Christ Jesus [Note: Philippians 2:4-5.].” Try yourselves by this standard: see what you are, as husbands or wives, parents or children, masters or servants. See whether you possess the courtesy of Boaz, or the respectful love of his reapers. It is in this way that you are to shine as lights in a dark world. It is in this way that you are to put to shame the specious pretences of politeness, and the feigned humility of those who are candidates for earthly honour: your courtesy must be the genuine offspring of Christian benevolence; and your whole deportment, a visible exhibition of your Saviour’s image.]

And now, not as a master to his servants, but as a father to his children, I say, “The Lord be with you!” And may there be in all of you a responsive voice, imploring the blessing of Almighty God on him, who truly, though unworthily, seeks your welfare.

“The Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”


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Bibliography
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Ruth 2:4". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/ruth-2.html. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

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.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Ruth 2:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/ruth-2.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

4. Boaz came from Beth-lehem — His dwelling was in the city and his grainfield some distance out in the neighbouring country.

The Lord be with you… The Lord bless thee — These salutations are well paraphrased by Dr. A. Clarke: “May God be with you to preserve you from accidents, and strengthen you to accomplish your work!” “May God bless THEE with the increase of the field, and grace to use his bounty to the glory of the Giver!” They impress us as beautiful indications of the pious and simple courtesy of the ancient Hebrew people. Such salutations, both between equals and superiors and inferiors, are still common in the East, but a Moslem will not thus knowingly hail one of another religion.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Ruth 2:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/ruth-2.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

And, behold, Boaz came from Beth-lehem, and said to the reapers, “YHWH be with you.” And they answered him, “YHWH bless you.”

Being a good man Boaz came to see how the reaping was going, and greeted his reapers with the words, ‘YHWH be with you’ (compare our ‘goodbye’ which means ‘God be with you’). They in return called down on him the blessing of YHWH. We are intended by this to see Boaz as a godly man. Note that in the Hebrew it literally reads, ‘YHWH be with you -- bless you, YHWH’ with the Name of YHWH forming an inclusio. YHWH is brought into the centre of the situation.


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Ruth 2:4". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/ruth-2.html. 2013.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Ruth 2:4. And said unto the reapers, The Lord be with you, &c. — Such was the piety of ancient times, that it manifested itself even in men’s civil conversation and worldly transactions, and induced them to pray to God for a blessing on the labours of those whom they saw to be honestly and usefully employed, who were wont in return to pray in a similar manner for them. The Lord be with you; and the Lord bless you — This was the beautiful language of religion in those days; too little known, alas! in ours.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Ruth 2:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/ruth-2.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

With you. This blessing the Church still adopts in her service. (Worthington) --- It was customary to bless one another during harvest, Psalm cxxviii. 5, 8. (Calmet) --- Booz did, as Cato advises, Ne opera parcas visere; "See what is going forward." The master's eye makes the servants diligent. (Haydock).


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Ruth 2:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/ruth-2.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

they answered. This tells of a time of peace, prosperity, and quiet.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Ruth 2:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/ruth-2.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.

The Lord be with you. This pious salutation between the master and his labourers strongly indicates the state of religious feeling among the rural population of Israel at that time, as well as the artless, happy, and unsuspecting simplicity which characterized the manners of the people. The same patriarchal style of speaking is still preserved in the East.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ruth 2:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/ruth-2.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) The Lord be with you.—There is a trace here of the good feeling prevailing between Boaz and his servants. Though he has come to his field to supervise the work, it is not in a fault-finding spirit, but with true courtesy and friendliness; nor is it a frivolous jesting manner that he displays, but with gravity and soberness he presents a true gentleman in his intercourse with his inferiors.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Ruth 2:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/ruth-2.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.
The Lord
Psalms 118:26; 129:7,8; Luke 1:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:16; 2 Timothy 4:22; 2 John 1:10,11
And they
4:11; Genesis 18:19; Joshua 24:15; Psalms 133:1-3; 1 Timothy 6:2

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Ruth 2:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/ruth-2.html.

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