Book of Ruth: After Naomi, Ruth and Orpah lost their husbands
Naomi urged her two daughters–in–law to return to their old way of life and since they were still young maybe they could each find a new husband for a family in Moab. Ruth refused to leave her and said she was going wherever Naomi went, so the two widows left Moab to return to Bethlehem. They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest, this corresponds with our April and early May. When they arrived the town was excited that Naomi had returned, but she said, "Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara [Meaning, bitter, Naomi means, pleasure or delightful; The New International Dictionary of the Bible, page 621], for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full. but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has witnessed against me and the Almighty has afflicted me" (Ruth 1:20–21)?
Naomi's husband Elimelech had recently died, but he had family in the area that were wealthy landowners, one man's name was Boaz. "And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, 'Please, let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after one in whose sight I may find favor.'
"And she said to her, 'Go, my daughter'" (Ruth 2:2). Ruth was not going out looking for any man to marry; she must have known the Levirate law about taking care of the widows.
Ruth went out into the field early and followed the reapers all day and gleaned what the reapers left in the field. She knew where to go for she went to the field belonging to Boaz who was of the family of Elimelech.
Boaz, who lived in Bethlehem came out to check on his workers and noticed a young woman and went to the one in charge and asked his reapers, "'Whose young woman is this?' And the servant in charge of the reapers answered and said, 'She is the young Moabite woman who returned with Naomi from the land of Moab. And she said, 'Please let me glean and gather after the reaper among the sheaves.' Thus she came and has remained from the morning until now; she has been sitting in the house a little while'" (Ruth 2:5b–7). Boaz must have liked what he saw for he goes to the house to talk to Ruth. We must remember Boaz is a much older gentleman. "'Listen carefully my daughter. Do not go to glean in another field; furthermore, do not go on from this one, but stay here with my maids. Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Indeed, I have commanded the servants not to touch you. When you are thirsty, go to the water jars and drink from what the servants draw.' Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground and said to him, 'Why have I found favor in your sight that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?' And Boaz answered and said to her, 'All that you have done for your mother–in– law after the death of your husband has been reported to me, and how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth, and came to a people that you did not previouely know. May the Lord reward your work, and your wages be full from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge.' Then she said, 'I have found favor in your sight, my lord, for you have comforted me and indeed have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not one of your maidservants'" (Ruth 2:5–13, Italics added). She wanted him to know right up front that she was an independent woman and did not belong to him, at least, not yet. At mealtime Boaz went over to her and asked her to come and eat with him. She ate with the reapers and Boaz gave her special attention; giving her roasted grain. Boaz told his reapers to let her glean among the sheaves, and do not insult her. You can also pull out grain that you have gleaned and leave it so she can have it, and do not rebuke her.' She must have made a good imppression on Boaz from the start.
Ruth knew that she had captivated this obligated older family member and thus stayed and gleaned until evening and the sun did not seem so hot. After she has threshed out the grain she had picked up for the day she had a full basket, After a long day in the field she must have been tired, but she walked back into the city with a light heart; she knew she had made the right choice to leave Moab and go with Naomi. When she got back to the house and Naomi saw what she had gleaned for just one day, she knew everything was going to fine; her only question was, "Where did you glean today and where did you work?" Naomi then pronounced a blessing on that man who treated her kindly, without knowing who he was and she said, "May he who took noticed of you be blessed.' So she told her mother–in–law with whom she had worked and said, 'The name of the man with whom I worked today was Boaz.' And Naomi said to her daughter–in– law, 'May he be blessed of the Lord who has not withdrawn his kindness to the living and the daed.'" 'The man is our relative, he is one of our closest relatives.' [I have the felling Ruth already knew that] Then Ruth the Moabitess said, 'Furthermore, he said, 'You should stay close to my servants until you have finished all of harvest'" Ruth 2: 19–21).
Both women knew that it had been a great day, not only for the grain, but more for their future, because of the interest Boaz had shown in Ruth.