Ruth 2:13 – “Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens.”
In this verse Ruth expresses her gratitude to Boaz for his grace and her desire to continue to please him. She talks about His Favor, His Comfort, His Friendship and finally she compares herself to His Handmaidens.
His Favor: “Let me find favor in thy sight, my lord;” Ruth sees his grace, she has experienced his grace, she has tasted and seen “that the Lord is good” (Ps 34:8) but she doesn’t yet realize fully it is hers by right and that there is a continual supply. Ruth tells Boaz that she wants to continue to experience this grace; she wants to continue to enjoy his “favor.” The word for “favor” is the same as the word “grace” in verse 10. She is speaking of his “graciousness” and “kindness” to her. All she sees is his grace! Because of this desire Ruth makes a petition of him, “Let me find favour.” Another translation of this is: “May I continue to find favor in your eyes” (NIV) or “My Lord, I hope I continue pleasing you” (Jewish Bible). The word “find” comes from “to come forth to (enjoy),” it also means “to lay hold on.” Ruth is speaking of what she wants to do and what he will do. She wants to appropriate this grace, lay hold of it. This is her purpose of heart. Only she can “find,” and “come forth (by faith) to enjoy,” only she can lay hold of and use that grace in her daily life. Having experienced his favor she wants to continue to enjoy it, what a precious desire!
She knows that the continuance of his favor is dependent upon her obedience, her faithfulness. She is saying, if I do this, as I do this, let me continue to experience and enjoy your favor. Ruth knows that everything she does will be seen by Boaz, for she says “in thy sight,” this is the one she wants to please and serve. Ruth calls Boaz “my Lord” (my master). She acknowledges she is his handmaiden, she is his servant and he is her master. She begins with this relationship, this submission. This is how we begin our relationship with Jesus, it is through our service and submission to Him that we are able to lay hold of and appreciate His “favor,” and “grace.” Ruth is in a sense saying that she wants Boaz to know that his grace is not bestowed in vain (2 Cor 6:1). She will see his grace “abound” and the result is that she will have “all sufficiency in all things” (2 Cor 9:8). And as she serves Boaz (and as we serve Christ) He is able to “show the exceeding riches of his grace” (Eph 2:7). We have said I want more, show me and He shows us!
His Comfort: “thou hast comforted me,” or “given me comfort”- Boaz Cared! She is acknowledging the comfort he has given her with his promises and his gracious words. The word “comfort” comes from “to sigh,” it can mean “to be sorry for” (in a favorable way), or “to pity.” The comfort given to her is an expression of his compassion for her. Compassion means sympathy, empathy, concern. And this compassion of Boaz is a type of Jesus, who felt compassion for those in need. Over and over it says that Jesus was “moved with compassion” or “had compassion on.” Jesus was “moved with compassion” for the multitudes, for those that “fainted” and “were scattered … as sheep having no shepherd.” (Mt 9:36). When He saw the multitudes that were sick He “was moved with compassion toward them and he healed their sick” (Mt 14:14). When he saw those that were hungry, He said, “I have compassion on the multitude” (Mt 15:32) and He fed them. It wasn’t just multitudes Jesus had compassion for, it was also individuals. When the two blind men came to Jesus, He “had compassion on them” (Mt 20:34) and healed them. When the leper came to Jesus, He was “moved with compassion” (Mk 1:41) and healed him. When He saw the widow who had lost her son, “he had compassion on her” (Lk 7:13) and raised her son. Jesus had compassion, He cared, and every act and every word brought comfort to those He met and were an expression of His grace. Jesus sees the need and meets that need. He CARES! The need draws Jesus to the individual and the individual to Jesus! Do we take time to say to Jesus, as Ruth said to Boaz: “thou hast comforted me?”
His Friendship: “thou hast spoken friendly,” his friendship, is how her relationship begins! The word “friendly” comes from a root meaning “the heart.” It means literally “to the heart of” – “You have spoken to the heart of” (Amplified). It can be translated “kindly, kindness” – “You have spoken kindly to” (NIV) or “You have encouraged me” (Jewish Bible). It can be translated “to take care for” and there his actions match his words. Ruth hears the words of Boaz and two things happen. First: The “heart” of Ruth is moved and affected; it will never be the same! Ruth also sees his “heart,” and the motive for his “kindness” – it is Grace! Second, The “heart” of Boaz is touched by her need and in his “heart” he promises to care for her. It is through his care OF her that he will begin to care FOR her. Everything begins with the heart, our heart influences our actions and our attitude. It is from this foundation that her relationship and love will grow. He will begin first as her “friend” and end as her “beloved.” This is what the Shulamite said of her relationship to Solomon when she described him to others. At the end of her description she said: “This is beloved and this is my friend” (Song 5:16). “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mind” (Song 6:3). Is Jesus both our beloved and our friend? He begins as our friend but wants to be our beloved.
His Handmaidens: “though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens.” or “though I do not have the standing of one of your servant girls” (NIV). Ruth compares herself to Boaz’s “handmaidens” and sees the difference between them. She says: “though I be not like.” She sees them and herself and wonders why Boaz notices her! She sees only that she is not worthy; she doesn’t see how his grace makes her worthy. She knows these “handmaidens” belong to him, for she says “thine” – but she also belongs to Boaz now. The word “handmaiden(s)” comes from the foot “a class of persons; a family.” It means a “bond handmaiden” or a “female slave” – part of a household. The fact is that through his promises to her, her standing and status has changed. She is no longer a “stranger,” she is his “servant,” his “handmaiden.” She is his responsibility to care for and provide for, she is part of his “family.” Though she is not like them, she is counted as one of them. She sees her difference (not like unto) them as something negative. She doesn’t see her worth, doesn’t feel worthy. She doesn’t see how she can be one of his handmaidens. But Boaz sees her difference (not like unto) them as something positive. He sees her worth, and it her acceptance of his promises that make her worthy, he sees her potential, he sees what she can be! It will be her difference that sets her apart, she is unique. Whether she feels worthy or not, she is one of them, she belongs to him. We can wonder and not see our worth, but it won’t change the fact that we are the Lord’s. Our worth is not dependent upon how we see ourselves, or how others see us (how Boaz’s servants may have seen Ruth). Our worth is dependent only upon how our Lord sees us. We begin as His servants but can end as His Bride!