Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Ruth
Book: Ruth
Chapter: 2

Ruth gleans in the Field of Boaz. (1-3) The kindness of Boaz
to Ruth. (4-16) Ruth returns to her mother-in-Law. (17-23)

1-3 Observe Ruth's Humility. When Providence had made her Poor,
she cheerfully stoops to her Lot. High spirits will rather
starve than stoop; not So Ruth. Nay, it is her own proposal. She
speaks humbly in her expectation of leave to Glean. We may not
demand kindness as a Debt, but ask, and take it as a favour,
though in a small matter. Ruth also was an Example of industry.
She loved not to eat the Bread of idleness. This is an Example
to young people. Diligence promises Well, both for this world
and the other. We must not be shy of any honest employment. No
labour is a reproach. Sin is a thing below us, but we must not
think any thing else So, to which Providence Call us. She was an
Example of regard to her mother, and of trust in Providence. God
wisely orders what seem to us small events; and those that
appear altogether uncertain, still are directed to serve his own
Glory, and the good of his people.

4-16 The pious and kind language between Boaz and his reapers
shows that there were godly persons in Israel. Such language as
this is seldom heard in our Field; too often, On the contrary,
what is immoral and corrupt. A Stranger would form a very
different opinion of our land, from that which Ruth would form
of Israel from the converse and conduct of Boaz and his reapers.
But true religion will teach a Man to behave aright in all
states and conditions; it will form kind masters and Faithful
servants, and cause harmony in families. True religion will
cause mutual Love and kindness among persons of different ranks.
It had these effects On Boaz and his men. When he came to them
he prayed for them. They did not, as soon as he was out of
hearing Curse him, as some ill-natured servants that hate their
master's Eye, but they returned his courtesy. Things are likely
to go On Well where there is such good-will as this between
masters and servants. They expressed their kindness to each
other By praying one for another. Boaz inquired concerning the
Stranger he saw, and ordered her to be Well treated. Masters
must take care, not only that they do No hurt themselves, but
that they suffer not their servants and those under them to do
wrong. Ruth humbly owned herself unworthy of favours, seeing she
was born and brought up a Heathen. It Well becomes us all to
think humbly of ourselves, esteeming others better than
ourselves. And let us, in the kindness of Boaz to Ruth, note the
kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ to Poor sinners.

17-23 It encourages industry, that in all labour, even that of
gleaning, there is profit. Ruth was pleased with what she gained
By her own industry, and was careful to secure it. Let us thus
take care that we lose not those things which we have wrought,
which we have gained for our souls' good, 2Jo 1:8. Parents
should examine their children, as Naomi did, not to frighten or
discourage them, So as to make them hate home, or tempt them to
tell a Lie; but to commend them if they have done Well, and with
mildness to reprove and caution them if they have done
otherwise. It is a good question for us to ask ourselves every
night, Where have I gleaned to-Day? What improvement have I made
in knowledge and Grace? What have I done that will turn to a
good account? When the Lord deals bountifully with us, let us
not be found in any other Field, nor seeking for happiness and
satisfaction in the Creature. We lose Divine favours, if we
slight them. Ruth dutifully observed her mother's directions.
And when the Harvest was ended, she kept her aged mother company
at home. Dinah went out to see the daughters of the land; her
vanity ended in disgrace, Ge 34. Ruth kept at home, and helped
to maintain her mother, and went out On No other errand than to
get provision for her; her Humility and industry ended in