Ruth 2:11
And Boaz answered and said to her, It has fully been showed me, all that you have done to your mother in law since the death of your husband: and how you have left your father and your mother, and the land of your nativity, and are come to a people which you knew not heretofore.
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(11) Heretofore.—The curious Hebrew phrase thus rendered is literally, yesterday and the day before.

2:4-16 The pious and kind language between Boaz and his reapers shows that there were godly persons in Israel. Such language as this is seldom heard in our field; too often, on the contrary, what is immoral and corrupt. A stranger would form a very different opinion of our land, from that which Ruth would form of Israel from the converse and conduct of Boaz and his reapers. But true religion will teach a man to behave aright in all states and conditions; it will form kind masters and faithful servants, and cause harmony in families. True religion will cause mutual love and kindness among persons of different ranks. It had these effects on Boaz and his men. When he came to them he prayed for them. They did not, as soon as he was out of hearing curse him, as some ill-natured servants that hate their master's eye, but they returned his courtesy. Things are likely to go on well where there is such good-will as this between masters and servants. They expressed their kindness to each other by praying one for another. Boaz inquired concerning the stranger he saw, and ordered her to be well treated. Masters must take care, not only that they do no hurt themselves, but that they suffer not their servants and those under them to do wrong. Ruth humbly owned herself unworthy of favours, seeing she was born and brought up a heathen. It well becomes us all to think humbly of ourselves, esteeming others better than ourselves. And let us, in the kindness of Boaz to Ruth, note the kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ to poor sinners.She fell on her face - With Oriental reverence (compare Genesis 33:3, and the marginal reference). 9. go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn—Gleaners were sometimes allowed, by kind and charitable masters, to partake of the refreshments provided for the reapers. The vessels alluded to were skin bottles, filled with water—and the bread was soaked in vinegar (Ru 2:14); a kind of poor, weak wine, sometimes mingled with a little olive oil—very cooling, as would be required in harvest-time. This grateful refection is still used in the harvest-field. Which thou knewest not; of whom thou hadst no experience; for otherwise in general she could not be ignorant of this people. And Boaz answered and said unto her,.... Alshech thinks, that he lift up his voice that all that stood by might hear:

it hath fully been showed me; either by Naomi, or rather by some persons of Boaz's Naomi and reacquaintance, that had conversed with Naomi and related to Boaz what passed between them, by which he was fully informed of the following things mentioned by him; though the above writer supposes, that it was showed him by the Holy Ghost:

all that thou hast done to thy mother in law since the death of thine husband; how that, instead of going home to her father and mother, she continued with her; how tenderly she used her; what strong expressions of love she had made unto her; what care she had taken of her, and how she had fed and nourished her, as the Targum, and now was gleaning for her support, as well as her own:

and how thou hast left thy father and mother; in a literal sense, to go along with her mother-in-law, to assist her in her journey, and see her safe to the end of it: and in a figurative sense her idol gods, as in Jeremiah 2:27 so the Midrash (y):

and the land of thy nativity; the land of Moab, where she was born, and where her kindred, relations, and friends lived, dear and engaging to her:

and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore; but by hearsay, and what she learned of them from her husband and mother-in-law, even the people of Israel; to whom she was come to be a proselyte, and dwell among them, as the Targum.

(y) Midrash Ruth, fol. 32. 3.

And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been showed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.
11. Ruth’s uncommon devotion, which induced her to leave her native land and the natural guardians of her widowhood, is one of the main features of the story.Verse 11. - Boaz's interest and admiration grew. And Boaz answered and said to her, It has been fully showed to me, all that thou hast done toward thy mother-in-law since the death of thy husband: and that thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and hast come to a people whom heretofore thou knewest not. When Boaz says, "It has been fully showed to me," he probably refers to the information which he had received from his overseer. The expression rendered "fully showed" is a fine specimen of a very antique idiom, showed-showed (הֻגֵּד הֻגַּד). "Toward thy mother-in-law." The preposition which we render "toward" is literally "with," which, indeed, when laid side by side with the Hebrew preposition, looks as if it were organically identical. (אֵת = eth. Compare the old Hebrew etha with the Sanscrit itah. See Raabe's 'Glossar'). The expression which we render "heretofore" is literally "yesterday and the day before," a very primitive way of representing time past. It must have been like balm to the anxious heart of Ruth to hear from the lips of such a man as Boaz so hearty a "well-done." "Ruth," says the venerable Lawson, "showed no disposition to praise herself. She did not claim a right to glean from what she had done for Naomi, but wondered that such kindness should be showed by Boaz to her who was a stranger, and she hears the voice of praise from the mouth of one whoso commendations were a very great honor. No saying was oftener in the mouth of Jesus than this, He that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." When Boaz came from the town to the field, and had greeted his reapers with the blessing of a genuine Israelites, "Jehovah be with you," and had received from them a corresponding greeting in return, he said to the overseer of the reapers, "Whose damsel is this?" to which he replied, "It is the Moabitish damsel who came back with Naomi from the fields of Moab, and she has said (asked), Pray, I will glean (i.e., pray allow me to glean) and gather among the sheaves after the reapers, and has come and stays (here) from morning till now; her sitting in the house that is little." מאז, lit. a conjunction, here used as a preposition, is stronger than מן, "from then," from the time of the morning onwards (see Ewald, 222, c.). It is evident from this answer of the servant who was placed over the reapers, (1) that Boaz did not prohibit any poor person from gleaning in his field; (2) that Ruth asked permission of the overseer of the reapers, and availed herself of this permission with untiring zeal from the first thing in the morning, that she might get the necessary support for her mother-in-law and herself; and (3) that her history was well known to the overseer, and also to Boaz, although Boaz saw her now for the first time.
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