In Ruth 2:8 Boaz replies to Ruth and says, “Listen, my daughter, don’t go glean in another field, stay here…”
There are some things to notice here in 2:8-9.
Boaz calls her “my daughter”. This is major because every time Ruth is addressed in this book she is called “the Moabitess”, except for when Boaz talks to her. If you’ve ever been in a place where you’re the foreigner you know what Ruth is feeling right now. You know what it’s like to feel out of place, like a stranger in a strange land, and when people are calling you Moabitess all the time, it rubs your alien-ness in a little bit! A person’s identity is a large part of who they are, and Boaz is helping her identity out because with him she is just “my daughter”. Oh yeah, he’s digging her. Boaz shows his own character here. He not only provides her with a group of girls to hang around with (his maidservants) so she won’t feel lonely, but he provides water for her also, the same water he gives to his servants. Boaz has given Ruth, friends, food, and by allowing her to not merely glean, but reap the crops behind his servants in his field, he’s given her a job.
Girls, here’s a free dating tip, date guys like Boaz. He knows Jesus, he has a job, and he takes care of Ruth. You want a guy like this. You don’t want a guy who slothfully lazes around the house playing video games all day!
Ruth is aware of how gracious Boaz has been toward her, she falls on her face and responds to Boaz in 2:10, “Why have I found favor in your sight, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” Before we go on to Boaz’s answer wait and wonder for a second, why did Ruth ask this question and respond in such a seemingly drastic manner? I think she asked it because she knew two things really well: she knew who she was, and who Boaz was. She knew the social and relational difference between them was massive. She was homeless, she was hungry, she was dirty, and any man making an approach toward her would have to deal with her crazy, old, bitter mother-in-law also. She was an alien, a foreigner, and she’s an immigrant in Bethlehem, an outcast, a Moabite. Some of you guys have a mental list you’re making for your wife; would these things be on your list?
No. Boaz was an Israelite, he’s rich, well-fed, and powerful. He was a man of influence, a man of strength, a man’s man. Why would someone like him show such kindness and favor to someone like her? You see Boaz was only required by law to let her glean in his field, but he went above and beyond what the law required and gave her friends, gave her food, and gave her a job. Why? Two reasons:
First, in Matthew chapter 1 Matthew writes a thorough genealogy leading all the way to Jesus. You know who’s on the list? Boaz. You know who else was on it? Boaz’s mom Rahab. Rahab, like Ruth, was an alien, a pagan woman, a stranger who came to know the Lord God of Israel. This means that Boaz grew up in a house knowing that his mother used to be far away from God but is now near to God. So you can imagine the soft spot in his heart for Ruth, a foreign women in need who came to know the Lord, like his momma. Perhaps he saw a glimpse of his mother in Ruth when their eyes met for the first time in the field.
Second, 2:11-12 give another reason: Boaz heard of what Ruth did for Naomi, and loved her for it. He’s heard of her character and it’s just like his, its righteous, its good, and its worthy of respect. Boaz than prays that God would bless her in every possible way, taking care of her every need. God answered this prayer, but do you see that God answered this prayer by sending Boaz to Ruth. Boaz was the answer to his own prayer in 2:12. This shows us that prayer sometimes moves the hand of God to do something, and sometimes it moves the heart of the one praying to do what is being prayed for!