Ruth 2:16 – “And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.” Another translation of this reads: “Rather, pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don't rebuke her.” (NIV)
In this verse we find further commands and instructions from Boaz to these young men. It is to do two things:
Drop some: “And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her.” These are portions chosen by these young men of Boaz. They choose specific stalks of grain. The question is, who are these “young men” and what are these “stalks” that they personally choose to drop for Ruth to pick up?
Could these “young men” picture those anointed preachers and teachers?
Could these “stalks” be specific portions of the Word we need?
Could they be pulling out what we need under Jesus Authority?
Could they be pulling out what we need under the Spirit’s Anointing?
Nothing ever happens by accident in our lives and if we are like Ruth, hungry, needy, dependent, and bold enough to reach out for what is offered, then the Lord will provide and provide others to minister to us. The word “let” shows both his Grace and her Choice. Ruth can pick them up or ignore them. If she is looking, she will see them. If she is hungry, she will take them. Boaz allows them to drop a specific amount, they are “handfuls,” these are small portions, small blessings. Sometimes this is all we can take in and sometimes this is all that we need. “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little” (Isa 28:10).
Leave some: “and leave them.” They are told not to pick them up, this is faith on their part. They are to allow only Ruth to do this. This is a test for Ruth, to see what she will do, it is faith on her part. It is a test of her need, and of her desire and of her faith. What will she do when she sees these choice handfuls?
What does Boaz want Ruth to do and give her the opportunity to do? It is to glean them: “that she may glean them.” We see what she “may” do, if she chooses, it is to “glean” and not just glean anything but to glean “them,” those portions that have been dropped and offered to her. These picture richer portions, choice portions, they are special portions. These are for her alone and no one else.
Mary Bodie writes: “He wants her to get something that is intended only for herself. Not so much that which her diligence has secured, but that which his life has freely given. Notice it was after Ruth’s heart-talk with Boaz, that she gleaned so successfully. She has received such a vision of his love and grace that she became bold to take all she saw.” How glorious! How personal and precious are the Lord’s promises to His Bride.
Boaz ends by telling them what they cannot do, though they may be tempted. They cannot rebuke her: “and rebuke her not.” The word “rebuke” comes from “to chide.” It means “to reprove” (scold). Webster defines it as: “to chide, to admonish, a direct and pointed reproof, a reprimand (warn, scold).” This is the second time Boaz warns against using harsh words against Ruth. First they were “to reproach her not” (v15). Then “to rebuke her not” (v16). Both these words imply calling one to account for their behavior. Reproach means to criticize with an attitude of shaming. Rebuke suggests a sharp or stern reproof given formally or officially. Boaz gives Ruth a great liberty, a freedom to lay hold of his liberality, his bounty. Ruth cannot be reproached or rebuked for taking what Boaz has provided, and neither can we!
This is the Lord’s promise to all who are willing to seek and accept what He gives. He will always meet the need of those who seek Him. His promise is that they “shall not want any good thing” (Ps 34:10). His promise is that “no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Ps 84:11). His promise is that He will “fill the hungry with good things” (Lk 1:44). His promise is that He “knoweth that ye have need of all these things” and He will provide, especially if we see first His things, the promise is “all these things shall be added unto you” (Mt 6:31-33).
This is the testimony of the Bride, she takes what her Boaz provides and none can rebuke!