The sun was high up in the sky. Now, Ruth was tired and thirsty. The thought of requesting for water from the foreman of the harvest was quickly dismissed. She didn’t want to sound ungrateful, since she was a foreigner. Hence, she decided to deal with the first problem.
Sitting under the leafy shade, Ruth opened her sack; revealing a relatively small quantity of grain she was able to gather. Although, it was enough to make a decent meal for Naomi, she couldn’t say same for herself. Her mother would not subscribe to eating alone!
Truthfully, the field was relatively safe, but gleaning therein was quite labour-intensive. She thought to try out another field on the morrow. Chances are that she might just be favored!
Her thoughts were disrupted by the frenzied gleaners who were engaged in a war of words over rightful ownership of a huge stalk of barley that had just fallen off the trough in course of transfer. Instantly, she jolted back to consciousness as she made her way to the fields to resume gleaning.
The harvesting process was briefly interrupted when a stout-looking man with a pleasant demeanor walked into the field. This man’s name was Boaz!
Exchanging pleasantries with the reapers, whilst nodding his head in affirmation of the positive progress of the work. Boaz appreciated the foreman of the harvest for being so insightful.
The obviously grateful man in his fifties scanned through the fields in a strategic position of standing. However, the sight of one of the gleaners caught his attention. Carefully observing her steadiness and devotion to her picking up grain in their numbers. On a closer view, he observed that she was a foreigner.
Several thoughts raced through his mind: Why would this young beautiful maiden choose to glean grain on the field? Is she married? Whose Damsel was she? Such a desirable…and yet dutiful young woman. It seemed such a sight was not so common in those days. Pretty maidens had other ways to scale through financial difficulties.
Logically reasoning that accumulating hypotheses would be unfruitful, he called out to his foreman. Inquiringly but discretely, he was able to discover her true identity.
His heart welled up with love for the lady who was first selfless as she was kind. Having left her heathen nation and family to settle in Bethlehem Judea with an old woman who could offer her virtually no future. She took no thought for herself and her comfort. Her kind was rare indeed! Unfortunately, her late father-in-law (Elimelech) was no more and they are relatives. Realising that his first point of extending some acts of kindness was firstly to Ruth and to Naomi.
Nevertheless, he longed to see her again, and couldn’t bear to see Ruth gleaning elsewhere. This thought provoked an action.
RUTH AND BOAZ
Unfortunately, the heat of the noontide sun was visually penetrative . Nevertheless, Ruth was able to observe the shadow of a manly figure advancing gently towards her. Boaz introduced himself and spoke kindly to Ruth. Reassuringly emphasizing the need for her to remain on his field in course of the harvest. Her safety, freedom and needs were guaranteed!
Ruth fell on her face. She was too grateful to look directly at him whilst expressing her heartfelt appreciation. Initially, she wondered what may have provoked such fealty (on the part of Boaz) towards her. Truly, Boaz was in the know of all that had happened!
In those days, during the harvest, a well and fireplace were usually erected for drawing water and roasting some threshed grains respectively. It was a fast meal for lunch. Ruth sat at the extreme end of the merry band. Boaz served her with some portions of the grain. Hastily, she ate and then returned to the fields to glean.
Quietly, Boaz instructed his foreman to give the young widow some unfair advantage.
It was soon sunset. Ruth had been able to gather a basket-full of grain. Her total yield exceeded that of other maidens. Her prayers had been answered!
What’s more? She had been invited to another gleaning session, if she so desired! What more could she ask for? Praising the God of heaven, she walked on the paths that led to the city (home).
Naomi’s ears itched for immediate answers as she asked several questions at a time. Her daughter-in-law simply smiled, when she ceased from humming excitedly. Ruth took a comfortable sitting position, whilst Naomi eyes roamed in anticipation. She narrated all that had happened on Boaz’s field and the kindness he had shown her. Naomi praised the God of Israel who had allowed such good fortune come the way of her daughter, Ruth.
Daily, Ruth gleaned from Boaz’s field.
Seeing Ruth’s pleasant behavioral attributes, she was put in charge of other gleaners on the fields. Her ability to peacefully co-ordinate all gleaning activities with minimal incidences of fracas and theft was worthy of note.
Boaz also loved Naomi, her beautiful smiles and devotion to duty. Indeed, Ruth was a virtuous woman! She never took advantage of his kindness towards her. She was always respectful, as she was considerate. Streams of ecstasy that sweeps through the corridors of his heart upon seeing the young maiden was beyond imagining. Sadly, the harvest was coming to an end and he might not always have the occasion to see her again. However, there was little he could do under the present circumstance. Boaz was a highly respected young man who had attained a high moral standard. What’s more? He was much older than Ruth.
Although, she felt a certain warmness around Boaz, she put it under control. She had always admired his leadership attributes and warmness towards the less privileged ones.
Naomi sensed her daughter-in-law was emotionally torn, but she chose not to talk to Ruth about it.
Daily, she prayed for wisdom on how to approach the issue on ground. Ruth was a woman, one with feelings. Nevertheless, she couldn’t bear to be so forward in her approach. It was not in the nature of Jewish women to be so, except for the wild characters.
The old widow was too grateful, and she praised God daily. She couldn’t have wished for a wiser daughter. Obviously, Ruth had fully imbibed the ways of the Lord. Although, other men sought to ask Ruth out on many occasions, it would take a high degree of godly restriction to maintain some level of godly womanly restrictions.
Nevertheless, Naomi knew that her daughter-in-law needed help. It bore heavily on her as each week passed. Ruth had come to trust her so much that one could hardly believe they were not bound by a blood relationship. Although, Ruth’s solace and hope was in the God of the Jews, It was as though Ruth’s destiny was physically dependent upon Naomi. She must not fail God this time. Her daughter-in-law needed rest!
The harvest had come to an end. The reapers had finished their tasks. That night, Boaz would be spending the night in the threshing floor, winnowing the harvested grains.
The night of winnowing was usually a feast of eating and drinking in thanksgiving to God for the good harvest. Boaz was in the company of his friends and reapers, feasting and drinking. However, his countenance fell slightly when he realized that Ruth was not present.
NAOMI’S BIG PLAN
The old widow came up with an idea; she would have to step in! Her daughter-in-law seemed to be clueless under the present circumstance. She called Ruth and gave her some words of instruction:
Ruth Chapter 3: 1-4
1 One day Naomi said to Ruth, “My daughter, it’s time that I found a permanent home for you, so that you will be provided for.
2 Boaz is a close relative of ours, and he’s been very kind by letting you gather grain with his young women. Tonight he will be winnowing barley at the threshing floor.
3 Now do as I tell you-take a bath and put on perfume and dress in your nicest clothes. Then go to the threshing floor, but don’t let Boaz see you until he has finished eating and drinking.
4 Be sure to notice where he lies down; then go and uncover his feet and lie down there. He will tell you what to do.”
Although she was a bit hesitant at first, as this would project her as being weak and morally. More still, she would be out rightly shamed or even publicly disgraced if spotted by another eye. Women should not be found in the threshing floor at such an ungodly hour.
What if Boaz did not reciprocate her communication of love and fealty? This might spell doom for her if he decided to turn the tables against her on the grounds of seduction. Truthfully, Boaz had been kind. Indeed, it was a risky, but spiritual venture!
Fortunately, Ruth subscribed to the plan. She had vowed to follow Naomi, irrespective of the conditions attached.
Admiringly affirming the finishing touches Ruth had added to her tresses.Naomi was too convinced that this plan would yield positive results, she released her daughter to go. The moonlight rays had enveloped her face partly (as though it was a confirmation of Naomi’s persuasions), whilst she walked along the terraces that led to the exterior. They had prayed together beforehand.
Ruth was desirable as she was dutiful… She took no thought for herself as she went scavenging for food for Naomi’s sake.
A sense of responsibility must be seen in our approach to our everyday lives if the change we seek for will really come.
‘Industry’ was the captivating virtue that prompted Boaz to want to know to know Ruth the more. Men do not just love godly ladies… they love dutiful ladies! No man wishes to have a leech of a lady flocking around him for her every need. This applies to both single and marriage relationships. Probably, this could be the reason why most ladies are not yet engaged in meaningful relationships, they are not involved in any resourceful activity or are even loathe to find any.
Boaz asked the question… Whose Damsel is this? This was not because Ruth was a stranger. This was because he was attracted to a trait that reminded him of his own nature… and was even more challenging. This was the trait of steadiness and industry. Such a woman would be worth having!
Ruth had a high level of trust and respect for Naomi’s opinions. Such discipleship training is expedient, as it tends to consolidate the needed trust between the discipler (Naomi) and the disciple (Ruth).
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