name was Boaz
2:1 name was Boaz. The meaning of Boaz’ name is uncertain, but possibly means “strength.” It is interesting that one of the two pillars in Solomon’s temple was later named Boaz (I Kings 7:21). The other pillar was named Jochin (meaning “established”).
2:3 gleaned. The custom of gleaning (collecting what had been missed by the officially employed reapers) was a divinely ordained provision for the poor of the land (see Leviticus 19:9,10; Deuteronomy 24:19).
2:3 hap. To outward appearances, Ruth just “happened” to glean in the field of Boaz, but the entire context makes it clear that this was God’s providential leading. God is altogether sovereign; He is not a God of chance. A faithful believer, seeking honestly to know and do the will of God, especially in relation to His already revealed will in Scripture, can be confident that the circumstances around him are not dictated by the laws of probability but by the will and purpose of God (Romans 8:28).
2:3 Boaz. Boaz was considered a relative of Elimelech, the father of Ruth’s first husband. This suggests that Boaz was old enough to be Ruth’s father (see also Ruth 3:10). Both, however, were more concerned with having a God-honoring marriage than one based on physical considerations, so age was secondary.
2:16 handfuls of purpose. The same Hebrew word, basically meaning “take a spoil,” is used twice in this verse, once translated “let fall” and once as “of purpose.” The word for “handfuls,” used only this once in the Bible, evidently refers to a hand’s grip. Boaz is saying in effect to his servants, “Grab from the bundles of sheaves as though you were taking a spoil for her, from the bundles of sheaves, but then leave them as a spoil for her.” Ruth was not to know that this was Boaz’ gift to her, so she could assume she was gleaning it all on her own.
2:16 she may glean them. Ruth, in gleaning the sheaves deliberately left by Boaz, becomes a type of the believer gleaning food for the soul in the fruitful field of Scripture. Our heavenly “Boaz” has paid the price to take the spoil for us. As we kneel down to glean each morsel, we “rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil” (Psalm 119:162).
2:17 ephah. Compare Exodus 16:16, 36. An ephah was ten omers, and an omer of manna was adequate for the daily needs of one man. Boaz’ generosity is measured by the fact that the “handfuls of purpose” he had left for Ruth were ten times her daily need.
3:7 merry. There is no suggestion here that Ruth was taking advantage of Boaz in a drunken state. The term “merry” only suggests a feeling of satisfaction with a job well done, followed by a good meal and a sense of thankfulness for God’s blessing.
3:7 laid her down. This was not an immoral act on the part of Ruth, but one in full accord with customs and procedures associated with the rights and obligations of the “kinsman-redeemer.” A widow could request in this way the nearest kinsman of her deceased childless husband to perform the duty of marriage to the widow and raising up children to “the name of the dead upon his inheritance” (Ruth 4:5).