Ruth 2:8 – “Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens:”
In this verse there are three commands that Boaz gives to Ruth: 1) To listen. 2) To be faithful. 3) To abide. These are gentle commands, personal commands but they are also requests that Ruth can accept or reject. Boaz will leave the choice up to her.
To Listen: “Hearest thou not, my daughter?” It sounds like Boaz is saying “Don’t you hear what I’m saying?” But the translation can read: “Listen to me” or “Listen carefully.” Everything begins with a willingness to hear and to hear with the right attitude. Obedience that does not come from a truly surrendered heart is not true obedience. The word “hear” means “to give attention to” and “to give obedience to.” Notice the word “give” in the meaning. No one can make Ruth do this; she must be willing to “give” or surrender her will to Boaz, trusting that he knows what is best for her. She can go to another field and choose not to hear, not to listen. The moment she stays she becomes his handmaiden, one of his servants and her care and protection become his responsibility. Notice how Boaz addresses her, he says, “my daughter.” This is a personal command as well as a gentle one, and this may also show that there was an age difference between Boaz and Ruth. Ruth was a “damsel,” a “maiden” or “young woman” (2:5). Boaz was a “mighty man of wealth” (2:1) and the owner of the fields. Boaz isn’t like the “young men” that he refers to later (3:10), he is a mature older man and addresses Ruth as a younger woman.
To be Faithful: “Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence,” This command concerning faithfulness is twofold. 1) He says: “Go not to glean in another field” – (Don’t go to another field) and 2) He says: “neither go from hence” (Remain in this field). Boaz is asking Ruth to stay in his fields during the barley harvest (1:22) and to continue in his fields through the wheat harvest which would come later. The barley harvest usually lasted March-April and the wheat harvest from June-July. Ruth will do this, she stays in Boaz’s fields for both of these harvests, barley and wheat (2:23). She will not move on after the barley harvest but wait for the wheat. This is an invitation Boaz doesn’t give to everyone, but he gives it to Ruth. She has his promise of a present provision and a future provision. As she goes on the harvest is richer and she will be fed with the finest of the wheat. (Ps 81:16; Ps 147:14). Her faithfulness will be rewarded by his faithfulness. This is what listening will enable us to do, to be faithful and through that faithfulness lay hold of the Lord’s full provision for us. He invites us to stay, invites us to labor, invites us to partake of His care and provision.
To Abide: “but abide here fast by my maidens:” Jamieson, Fausset and Brown says the following: “The reaping was performed by women, while the sorting of sheaves was the duty of men-servants. The same division of harvest labor obtains in Syria still. Ruth picked up any straggling heads or ears which they had left.”
These maidens are important and will become the ones that Ruth will associate with and fellowship with. She will learn from them how to serve and please Boaz. I can look back at when I first came to meeting and Sister Erline Spickard was one of those “maidens” that I followed after and learned from. She showed how to serve by example and I saw in her life and sacrifice an example of what would please the Lord Jesus. She was also an example to me of how Ruth served, because she had in her own life maidens that she followed. She saw Sister Bodie was one of those “maidens” and there were others she saw and followed their example. We all have those set before us as examples to “cling close to” and “follow close after.” We learn from them and then others learn from us. The lesson is to Stay and don’t Stray! This is what “abide here fast by” means. It means to “cling to, adhere to.” It means to “follow close after” or “hard after.” It is translated “stay close by” (Amplified) and “stay here” (NIV).
There are three great truths in this verse that guide and protect us that only we can do.
We are to Listen. What is your answer to Jesus’ question: “Hearest thou not my daughter?” My answer is: “Yes, I hear!”
We are to be Faithful: We are to stay in the field the Lord leads us to. Growth comes from staying and not straying!
We are to Abide: We are to cling to the Lord and the Lord’s things. We are to cling to the place we are fed and led to. We are to cling to those that are true servants of the Lord and follow their example.
We do this by “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb. 10:25). We do this by “continuing steadfastly” in doctrine and fellowship, in communion, in prayer (Acts 2:42). We do this when we “hold fast” to sound words (2 Tim 1:13). This is my heart’s desire. I want to be like Ruth to make the choice she does when she hears the words of Boaz. The Lord Jesus Christ has given the invitation; all we need to do is accept!