Ruth 2:8-16 – The First Encounters of Boaz and Ruth


Ruth 2:8-16


Boaz and Ruth speak with one another and Boaz offers her blessing and food.


Boaz begins his understanding of law in a different place than might be expected.  Rather than seeing Ruth as a Moabite to be shunned or a foreign widow who is fair game, he sees her as a sojourner in need of help, looking to laws such as Leviticus 23:22 about gleaning.

Boaz begins with compassion.  He recognizes goodness and loyalty even in a Moabite immigrant. His speech in 2:11-12 parallels Ruth’s speech in 1:16-17. Boaz recognizes Ruth’s relationship with her mother-in-law as taking precedence over her relationship with her own mother and father because of her act of devotion.  He offers not only charity but also recognition and the sustenance of sharing a meal, communion.  Ruth, herself, recognizes Boaz’ treatment of her as remarkable, noting in particular that he could have seen her merely as a “foreign woman” or “prostitute.” (2:10)

(See Josef Anton Koch and Jean-Francois Millet,_Jean-Fran%C3%A7ois_Millet.jpg)