Ruth 2:14 – “And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.”
In this verse we see the wonderful provision of Nourishment for Ruth! There are three things that Boaz invites Ruth to do that will nourish her at “mealtime.” It is to Come, to Eat and Dip. By doing all three, she will be fully satisfied and fully energized!
Come: “And Boaz said unto her, at mealtime come thou hither.” First we see the time, it is “at mealtime,” it is time for a meal. It is time to stop laboring and rest. Boaz knows that his servants need to eat and he has set aside a time to feed on what he provides. The early church took time to do this, they did this together. They did this when they “continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship and in breaking of bread and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). They did this by “continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house” (Acts 2:46). We should remember that there is a spiritual mealtime. We need this, as individuals and as an assembly. We do this as individuals when we “study to show” ourselves “approved unto God,” we do this as His “workmen,” we do this by “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15). We do this as an assembly when we do not neglect “the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb 10:25). Ruth came as an individual “workman” or “handmaiden” and she came and sat with all Boaz’s servants. We see how important mealtime is – this is not just a physical meal but a spiritual meal, not just physical fellowship but spiritual fellowship.
Next we see the invitation: It is “come thou hither.” The word “come means “to approach” or “to come near.” This speaks of fellowship and communion. This is how we are truly satisfied, we come near to Christ. His invitation asks us to “draw nigh” and we find as we do that He draws near unto us (James 4:8). His invitation says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor” and promises us “rest” from those labors (Mt 11:28). His invitation says “come and rest a while” (Mk 6:31). How many accept this invitation to come CLOSER, to come and RECEIVE what our Boaz is willing to offer us?
Eat: “and eat of the bread.” This is the second part of Boaz’s invitation, to “eat.” Boaz offers and provides for those that are his servants and for Ruth especially. He invites her to eat. What he offers her is bread. This is a personal invitation to “eat” of what he provides. This is not just any bread; it is “the” Bread. It is Christ. The moment Ruth accepts this bread, it becomes hers, it is a personal appropriation of his provision! It is a daily feeding on Christ through the Word of God. It is the Word of God that will strengthen and sustain us, the Word reveals the Lord, gives hope, illuminates and guides us. Ruth will see in that bread his “merciful kindness” to his “servant” (Ps 119:76). She will see in it “hope” for the “soul that fainteth” (Ps 119:81). She will see in it a “lamp” for her “feet” and “a light” for her “path” (Ps 119:105). She will let it “order” (establish and direct) her “steps” (Ps 119:133). At the end of the meal she will be changed, she will say with all her heart, “thy servant loveth it” (Ps 119:140) and go forth in boldness to “speak thy word” (Ps 119:172). When we feed on Christ, with the same hunger and appreciation that we see Ruth accepting that bread from Boaz’s hand, we not only “eat of the bread” but we treasure it, it becomes our “necessary food” (Job 23:12).
Dip: “and dip thy morsel in the vinegar.” This is the third part of Boaz’s invitation. He asks her to do something with the bread he has offered her. He asks her to “dip” it, which means to “immerse” or “plunge” it. This is a word of action, a choice she must make. She can eat it dry or choose to do this. It is such a little step of obedience but brings forth wonderful satisfaction. Boaz also reminds Ruth that this is her portion; he says “thy morsel.” It is a “piece” or a “small portion,” but it is hers. This is how we appropriate Christ, a portion at a time. This “morsel” is hers alone, it is a personal appropriation of what he offers her, a personal enjoyment! Then we see what her morsel is to be dipped in. It is “the vinegar.” The word “vinegar” can be translated “sour wine (mixed with oil) (Amplified) or “in the [olive oil and] vinegar” (Jewish Bible). This morsel is saturated and flavored by the “vinegar.” This vinegar can speak of the suffering of Christ and the oil mixed in can speak of the Spirit’s anointing and enabling for that suffering. Boaz offers her this opportunity to take that bread and add to the flavor of it, he offers but she must accept it. This is a picture of our sharing of the sufferings of Christ and the enabling of the Spirit to endure those sufferings and to appreciate His sufferings. When we accept there are wonderful results, we become more like Him, we become overcomers!
Next we see what Ruth does to show she is beginning to appropriate these blessings.
She sat: “And she sat beside the reapers.” Here is Ruth’s place and Ruth’s rest. There are times we need to simply sit and rest, and she chooses to sit with those that have harvested the grain. Ruth does this in the presence of Boaz; we do this in the Presence of Christ.
Boaz provides more: “and he reached (passed, offered) her parched corn.” Again, she must accept this from the hand of Boaz, she must accept what he offers her. This is grace, Boaz “reached” out to her, he “offered” to her. This is provision, it is “parched corn” (roasted corn).
Ruth ate: “and she did eat.” This is satisfaction. How much more do we find and enjoy when we sit still. Notice that Ruth is not left to fend for herself, Boaz takes time to offer to her something she may have not felt bold enough to take. In this portion we see two types of food that have been offered to Ruth. First “the bread,” which pictures Life, bread was called the staff of life, but this is more, it is a picture of Christ for He said He was the “Bread of Life” (John 6:48). Next is the “parched corn,” which pictures Fruitfulness. Jesus spoke of the earth bringing forth “fruit,” first the “blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear” (Mk 4:28). As we feed on Christ we are able to become fruitful, we bring forth fruit unto Him.
What is the wonderful result of her faith and obedience? “And was sufficed, and left,” other translations read: “she had some left over” (NIV, Jewish Bible), and “she had some left [for Naomi].” It is that she was satisfied, Ruth “was sufficed.” That word “sufficed” comes from “to fill to satisfaction.” It means “to have plenty,” to “be satisfied with.” Not only was she satisfied, but she had some “left,” she would take this back to Naomi. We see here a picture also of how we can share with others what we receive from Christ. This speaks of a full provision and a full satisfaction. We see that full provision in the feeding of the 5,000 (Mt 14:20) and the 4,000 (Mk 15:37). In both instances there was an abundance left over. Later when Jesus’ disciples were worried that there was only one loaf of bread (Mk 8:14) He reminded them that he had fed multitudes and what was left (Mk 8:19-21). The Lord will fully satisfy our hearts and if we go elsewhere we will feel the lack. Ruth stayed, and she found that she could not take in all that he offered her! Sister Mary Bodie writes: “Ruth is comforted and fed, that is, she could not appropriate all he gave her.” How glorious!