Have you ever experienced an extended, difficult season in life—and, right in the middle of it, God provided a blessing that kept you going and trusting? That is exactly what happened to Ruth and Naomi.
After her visit to Boaz’s field, Ruth arrived home with an extraordinary amount of barley. When Naomi saw God’s abundant provision, she proclaimed, "The LORD bless him!” (Ruth 2:20). Her next statement has interesting grammatical ambiguity in the Hebrew. She says, “He has not stopped showing his kindness [hesed] to the living and the dead.” Is Naomi referring to Boaz or the Lord? The NIV keeps the ambiguity of the original. Commentators debate the point. Was her lack of clarity intentional? Maybe her declaration relates to both Boaz and to God.
Boaz was their kinsman- redeemer, their goel. Goel has no easy English translation. The concept is almost exclusively Hebrew, but the basic meaning is to “redeem, recover, and restore,” a theme not only in Ruth but also throughout Scripture. Boaz had redeemed Ruth and Naomi from starvation, but his redemption would go far beyond this, in God’s time.
As chapter 2 ends, Ruth the Moabitess (the author reminds us again of Ruth’s foreign status) tells Naomi that Boaz did not just invite her to glean for one day but until the end of the harvest. It ensured that they would have food to eat and also guaranteed Ruth’s safety.
Verse 23 summarizes the harvest season and gives three concluding details: Ruth stayed close to Boaz’s servants; she gleaned during both the barley and the wheat harvests; she was still living with her mother-in-law. Naomi and Ruth’s physical needs had been met for two months, but their long-term needs were still in question.
>> Sometimes we experience what feels like a “yes, but” answer to prayer. God’s provision wasn’t entirely what we expected. Those times may challenge our faith, but it may also mean that God isn’t finished with our story.
In times of reprieve from trouble, we sometimes hold our breaths, waiting for the next bad thing to happen. Lord, teach us to embrace the joy of the moment, trusting You with future blessings and calamities alike.