The second chapter of Ruth speaks about her ethics.
She is a woman who is not afraid to go to work to supply what is needed for Naomi and herself. And she is respectful. She asks Naomi’s permission before she goes into the field; she doesn’t just do something because she wants to. Naomi may have had other plans for how they were going to get by. When she goes to the field, she seeks permission to glean and then works hard, from what I read, just as hard as the hired laborers. She stays in the fields as long as she can in order to take home enough for their needs. Not only does she spend the day, until evening, working; then she beats out the grain before she takes home a bushel (ephah) full of grain (Dictionary.com says this is about 35 liters)
And her character has preceded her (2:11) The owner of the field, Boaz, has heard about how she is taking care of Naomi and how she has embraced God “under whose wings you have come for refuge” (Isn’t that where we all need to be?) Because of her caring reputation, Boaz instructs his workers to leave extra for her to glean. He is impressed that she, a foreigner, would be so willing to care and work for a woman who is the mother of her dead husband.
Then her unselfish nature is demonstrated when she thinks about taking food home for Naomi. A little note here: If a person stopped reading at verse 14, they might think she is keeping it for herself. But her thoughtfulness is revealed in verse 18.
The work that she does continues through two harvests. The commentary (blueletterbible.org) says that Bethlehem has two planting season, so she worked for about a year, gleaning, and thrashing, and winnowing grain so that the needs of Naomi and herself would be met. I imagine that she brought home enough grain so that there was some left over, that they could sell, and that would supply any other needs that they had. Ruth was faithful to Naomi and the Bible never speaks of her questioning her decision to go with Naomi and complains about working.
Ruth continues to put the needs of Naomi before her own, and she is rewarded for it. Although, I don’t see that she does it for reward, but because that is who she is. Her good ethics have given her something she has not sought, but God sees who we are, what we say, what we do. And He sees the heart with which we do it.
My “fellowship friend” commented on this, saying:
Her respectfulness to Boaz was returned by him offering more and instructing his workers to leave extra for her.
Now we see that she did travel with Naomi out of love and dedication, not fear of life without Naomi’s guidance.
Wouldn’t you love to be able to say:
“I live your last sentence. I cannot imagine what I might have done right but most of what I have done was with a good intent and GOD knows all and why. That has to be why I receive the massive rewards I receive everyday.” (ff)
Photo by Channen M. Sallee