Journey in the Word

Karen Ingrid Clark

Ruth: Loss to Legacy

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Week Two – Day 1WK02D01

Read Ruth 2:1-3; Proverbs 20:24                                SOAP Ruth 2:3

Ruth decides to go gleaning in Boaz’s field. What does gleaning mean and what do we learn about Ruth’s character?

1Now Naomi had a relative of her husband’s, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz.And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.”So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech.

Proverbs 20:24 (ESV) – 24 A man’s steps are from the Lord; how then can man understand his way?

O – It was Ruth’s idea for her to go to a field to glean after the reapers.  But, it was also gleaning “after him in whose sight I shall find favor.”  She was hoping to find a field in which she could pick up the leftover grain from the harvest.   According to Deut. 24:19-21, it was an Israelite law that part of the harvest be left behind, or available for the “sojourner, fatherless, and the widow.”     “When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over them again. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. 21 When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not strip it afterward. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. (Deut. 24:19-21)

This was God’s way of providing for the “alien” – the strangers, but also the poor. The Amplified Bible study notes mention that it was a “kind of divinely-appointed welfare system.”  It is probable that Ruth knew of this system, but at any rate, she was going to rely on the goodness and generosity of the local landowners for her to locate food for herself and Naomi.

It seems that Ruth was either asking permission or confirmation of her desire to go glean in a local field, as she said, “let me go to the field….” to Naomi.

It is interesting to note that she “happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz.”   She didn’t know that it was his field.   I’m not sure she even knew who Boaz was.  Boaz is mentioned by name in two places in this passage.   He was a relative of Elimelech, a “worthy man.” (v. 1)  He also owned the field where Ruth gleaned. (v. 3)  He is mentioned in verse 1 as a “man of great wealth.”

From Precept Austin:  The Hebrew for great wealth is a combination two Hebrew words:

Mighty (01368) (gibbor) is an adjective which means brave, strong, might and is commonly associated with warfare and has to do with the strength and vitality of the successful warrior. In some context gibbor emphasizes excellence.  Wealth (02428) (hayil or chayil) which means might, strength, power, valiant, virtuous, riches, wealth and is the same word used in the next chapter to describe Ruth as a woman of excellence (Ru 3:11note).

This same Hebrew phrase (gibbor hayil) is used to refer to Gideon (Jdg 6:12note) and Jephthah (Jdg 11:1note) and is variously translated as valiant warrior, mighty man of valor, mighty hero and mighty warrior.


Boaz was a man of great wealth, but also sees as a man of excellence.  The word “hayil” or “chayil” is also used to describe Ruth in Ruth 3:11!  It is their character that is referenced here.  The “excellence” didn’t come from wealth – it came from character.


The verse from Proverbs is interesting in that it says “A man’s steps are from the Lord; how then can man understand his way?”  Did Ruth plan to find Boaz?  No – she simply needed to find a way to support herself and Naomi – and to find food.  She set out to glean as a way to provide food.   And – did God lead her to Boaz’s field?  Hmmmm……

A – What is the application here?

God provides.   He provides.  He is Jehovah-Jireh – our Provider.  Simply by instructing the Israelites to allow the sojourner, fatherless, and the widow to glean in fields gave provision to Ruth years later.  It was a way for her to provide for herself and Naomi.

Also – NOTHING happens that catches God unaware.   He KNOWS.  Life is not “happen-stance.”   Ruth “happened to come to the part of the field that belonged to Boaz?”   Just happened?   No, in God’s providence, she came.

How many of the things that happen in my life do I think are just circumstance?  Or – do I realize that God placed me in “this place, at this time?”  Doesn’t that change my perspective on what happens in my life?  I need to claim Romans 8:28 – “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (ESV)  All things.

But it is also learning to be aware, to listen, to be attune to – God’s direction.  Sometimes, it seems muddied.  Then, I have to wait.  Other times, it is perfectly clear, and I need to move ahead.  It is in the learning and listening that I need to be aware.

P – Father God, thank You for Your provision in my life.  You have walked with me through joy and sorrow, through challenge and direction, through death and life, through many circumstances that I would wonder if I did not have Your presence.  Thank You for Your faithfulness.   Today, may I be faithful to You, listening and watching for Your leading.   Keep me sensitive to Your Spirit.  And – may I be an encouragement to others today who may be needing Your love and Your presence.   Amen.


Gleaning was a right granted to the poor and to strangers by God—a kind of divinely-appointed welfare system. Farmers were instructed not to glean their fields or vineyards, that is, not to collect the excess stalks of grain or grapes left over by reapers, and not to have the extremities of their fields reaped (Lev 19:9, 10). (Amplified Bible study notes)

God Provides –

God provides So why do I worry about my life

When you come to my rescue a thousand times

Every other voice it is a lie God provides God provides

In ways I can’t explain and can’t deny

The little that I have He multiplies

Just when I feel He won’t show up on time

God provides


He’ll come through When the clouds of doubt rain down on you

And test everything you thought you knew

Now you finally see what God can do for you

So tonight Close your eyes there’s no more need to fight

Watch God provide God provides


It’s hard to say when there’s no food to eat

Or what you see feels all that life will be

And will this be another year of misery for me

But my faith can’t survive on just things I see

And my feelings can’t control my destiny

See God I only want what You believe for me

So tonight Close your eyes there’s no more need to fight

Watch God provide


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