The dirty dark hands fingered the short stalk of wheat and plucked it from the earth. She laid it in her sling and felt her joints threaten to quit for the day. Ruth was very, very tired. Her sling was heavy and dangled laboriously against her side. She straightened, bending a bit backward and sinking her hands into her rear hip bone for support. Enough!, her mind sighed.
The hired help, earning his pay in front of her, continued to do as he had been told to do. Golden rods of redemption filtered to the harvest floor like a prophetic street of divine wealth. All she had to do was follow its lighted way and pick up her redemption. But no more - not today. Ruth’s body ached for a redemption unearned; a redemption she did not have to bend over and pick up. She chuckled at the thought. Only when Chilion’s Messiah comes! And then the foreboding chill of reality simpered up her spine: she could be an impoverished widow until that distant “someday”. She shook her head to despair the thought, hefted her load and headed to the threshing floor. Nearing it’s place, her left eye caught the distant stare of a man named Boaz… .a man staring directly her way….
Naomi would want all the details of this harvested day…
“‘Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.’ So she told her mother-in-law…” Ruth 2:19.
…She told her mother-in-law everything: of a man, by the name of Boaz who had enquired of her among his hired men. Who was this attractive young woman gleaning within his fields? She had not the bend or strain of a servant girl. She is the foreigner, he was told, who has left family and homeland to provide for Naomi, her mother-in-law. Eyebrows raised. Such an oddity! The beautiful Moabitess, with soft hands and round limbs had most likely forsaken matrimonial opportunity and rest for a bowed low service to an embittered Naomi. The servant shrugged, “She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers. So she came and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest’,” Ruth 2:7.
Boaz twirled a freshly cooled roasted oat in his hand as he listened to his servant… .so the story goes… .the story that Ruth unfolded to Naomi over a freshly baked loaf of bread. Naomi’s eye widened and gleamed with a Jewish conspiracy. The young man Boaz had expanded the gathering territory of this young Moabitess. He had fed her stomach with bread and wine and roasted grain; more than enough with some leftover. He had instructed all adversaries to lay not a hand on her and all friends to be generous. He had provided food and field, friendship and praise… .What was he up to? Naomi twirled her thoughts on a string and envisioned a goel with redemption in his hands….