And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said to me also, You shall keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)My young men . . . my harvest.—Emphatic in the Hebrew. As long as my reaping lasts, cleave steadily to us.Ruth 2:21. Thou shalt keep fast by my young men — Or, young people, as the word נערים, negnarim, although of the masculine gender, here signifies, and particularly the maidens, to whom he bid her keep close, Ruth 2:8. And thus both the Seventy and the Chaldee expound it; and so Naomi, as appears by the next verse, understood it. Until they have ended all my harvest — Both barley-harvest and wheat-harvest. She tells what kindness Boaz had showed her; but not how he had commended her. Humility teaches not only not to praise ourselves, but not to be forward in repeating the praise which others have given us.
One of our next kinsmen - The word here is גאל gā'al, the redeemer, who had the right:
(1) of redeeming the inheritance of the person;
(2) of marrying the widow;Ruth 2:23.
thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest; both barley harvest and wheat harvest; his will was, that she kept following them, and gleaned after them, as long as both harvests lasted. The Septuagint version is, "with my maidens", and which agrees with Ruth 2:8, where the order of Boaz is expressed, and with the instructions of Naomi in the next verse, who so understood it; but if we understand it of young men here, there is no contradiction; for both young men and maidens wrought together in the same field, either in reaping or binding up; so that if she kept fast by the one, she also would do the same by the other.And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said unto me also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 21. - And Ruth the Moabitess said. It seems to us rather remarkable that Ruth should be here again particularized formally as "the Moabitess." There is apparently no discoverable reason for the re-repetition. It is simply antique particularity, not amenable to any literary law - "the said Moabitess." There is a peculiar abruptness in the initial words of what follows: - Yea also he said to me. Carpzov and Wright understand them thus: "'Yea' blessed be he, 'for' he said to me." But the word blessed, as used by Naomi, is too far removed to make it natural for the yea of Ruth's remark to fall back upon it. Her mind and heart were full. She was profoundly affected by the kindness that had been shown to her. Hence she piles up her representation. "Also," - so may I well speak, - "for he said to me." Keep close by my young men, until they have finished all my harvest. The "young men" are not here discriminated from the "young women" (see ver. 8). The idea, consequently, is not that Ruth was to keep close to them in distinction from the young women. It was understood that she should work behind the young women, who followed in the rear of the young men. But it was the express desire of Boaz that, instead of exposing herself among strangers, on any adjoining harvest-fields, she should maintain her position behind his raspers as long as there remained any golden crops to reap. Judges 18:7); and ye shall also draw out of the bundles for her, and let them lie (the ears drawn out), that she may glean them, and shall not scold her," sc., for picking up the ears that have been drawn out. These directions of Boaz went far beyond the bounds of generosity and compassion for the poor; and show that he felt a peculiar interest in Ruth, with whose circumstances he was well acquainted, and who had won his heart by her humility, her faithful attachment to her mother-in-law, and her love to the God of Israel, - a face important to notice in connection with the further course of the history.
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