by Debra Isenbletter
I have given a title to the first four verses, which introduce the background and characters of this story: The Kinsman (vs 1) – The Moabitess (vs 2); The Gleaning (vs 3), The Reapers (vs 4). After this Boaz will speak to his servant and his servant will answer and Ruth is the topic of conversation (vs 5-7), but first we see the arrival of Boaz as he comes to examine the laborers, The 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.”
Who do we behold? – “And behold Boaz…” Boaz is brought before us. Before we had only heard about him, now we see him and hear him. He is coming to see their work and their need. Notice the word “Behold” – Strong’s defines Behold as: “Lo!”, “See”! and Webster as: “To have in sight, to see clearly, to look at, to regard with the eyes.” Our eyes are pointed to this man, of “strength” and “might.” We are to look at what he says and does. We are to look at how he treats his servants and Ruth. In type Boaz points to another Man that we are to “behold” – Christ! When John saw Jesus he said: “Behold the Lamb of God” (Jn 1:29,36). When the Jews saw Jesus weep at Lazarus death, they said: “Behold how he loved him” (Jn 11:36). When Jesus rode into Jerusalem he fulfilled the scripture: “Behold, thy king cometh” (Jn 12:15). When Pilot told the Jews to look at Jesus he said “Behold” three times: “Behold, I bring him forth” (Jn 19:4); “Behold the man” (Jn 19:5) and “Behold your king” (Jn 19:14). They did not look, they did not behold, they saw but could not see, how terrible! When God points our eyes to someone, we are to look at them.
Where did Boaz come from? – “Bethlehem,” remember Bethlehem means “house of bread.” Bethlehem is a place of provision, a unique provision, bread. Bread is what satisfies and sustains, it is what feeds and nourishes. Bread is called the “Staff of Life.” I checked the Internet and asked why was bread called the “staff of life” and the following is the answer I got:
“Bread is called the "staff of life" because it is a very basic food that supports life. The world of bread is vast and varied: some form of bread is found in virtually every society. Wherever you may go in the world—whatever the local customs, language, dress, or taste in food—you will find some form of bread! Of course, there are almost as many varieties of bread as there are nations. In China, bread is made from rice flour. In India, they use millet. In Germany and in the Scandinavian countries, bread is made from rye and barley. There are countries that use beans, potatoes, and even acorns in the making of bread! But bread as we usually think of it is made from cereal grains of various types. It is the most important single food to the largest number of people. The reason is simply that bread contains the largest share of the food substances we need for health for the least amount of money. With bread, even the poorest are able to sustain life. That’s why bread is called “the staff of life.”
In type, that bread is a person, Christ. He is the “Bread of Life” (Jn 6:35,38), He is the “Living Bread” (Jn 6:51)!
Who did Boaz greet? The reapers: “and said unto the reapers.” Here it is Boaz’s “reapers,” his workers that he appears to, it is not strangers! Here it is the Master (Lord Jesus Christ) visiting His servants! There are the laborers and servants of Boaz, those who have both plant and harvest the grain. They picture those that spread the gospel.
How did Boaz greet them? – “The Lord (Jehovah) be with you.” He was saying, “May God be with you, to preserve you from accidents, and strengthen you to accomplish your work!” (Clarke). He acknowledges the Lord and blesses them. He asks the Lord to strengthen and enable them. He sees their work and acknowledges it! This is the promise of every child of God, He will take care of us! This also points to Jesus, He is seen in the phrase: “the Lord with (be) you” – Christ is with us! When He was born the angel said “they shall call his name Emmanuel, which is … God with us” (Mt 1:23). When Boaz appeared, a picture of Jesus, a picture of God with us, his presence in our midst. He is with us in our labor and our service. He is Emanuel (with us) in salvation and sanctification. Along with His presence comes His promise: He will take care of us!! His coming brings blessing, He is blessed and He bless us. “Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Ps 118:26; Mt 23:39). At His entry into Jerusalem, the people said: “Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Lk 19:37-38). They said this exalting Him, and were blessed but didn’t realize it! There will be a future fulfillment of this blessing for the nation of Israel, but there is a present fulfillment of this blessing for the Church. Sister Mary Bodie says: “He appears with blessing on His lips!”
How did they greet Boaz? – “The Lord (Jehovah) bless thee”. [Clarke]: “May God bless thee with the increase of the field, and grace to use his bounty to the glory of the Giver!” We see their love and devotion, their desire that he be blessed by their service! What an example for the Lord’s laborers today, that the Lord be blessed!
In both these greetings is seen the word “Lord” which is “Jehovah.” This means “He that is who He is” and “to become known.” Jehovah is “the self-existent One who reveals Himself.” Scofield writes that this is “a continuous revelation of the Lord.” Here Boaz will reveal himself to Ruth in stages and both she and Naomi will be blessed. The Lord Jesus Christ is constantly revealing Himself to those that are looking for Him, to those that are dependent upon Him, to those that labor for Him, to those that are looking to “find grace” as Ruth was. That grace reveals Him and unfolds Him. Let us let the Lord reveal Himself to us and let us greet Him as He greets us!
Boaz’s visit to the laborers could picture Jesus’ examining the church today. He is looking at the work and the workers. Boaz walked in their midst and they weren’t surprised. How many in the church today realize the Lord is walking in their midst and examining them? Revelation 2-3 where Jesus examined the seven churches. If Jesus was to question, as Boaz questioned his servant (2:5-7), would they be able to answer as faithfully as he did?