We’re reading John Bunyan’s versification of the Book of Ruth found in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles. In chapter 1 we saw Naomi and Ruth leave Moab upon hearing that the drought in Israel ended. Naomi took Ruth, her daughter-in-law, with her to Israel after much protest on Naomi’s side. Both their husbands and Naomi’s other son died in Moab. Naomi, now called Mara due to the bitterness she experienced in life, encouraged her daughter-in-law to glean some wheat from the fields to put food on their table. And so the story continues…
In Chapter 1 we saw the The story of Ruth’s introduction into Israelite society continues.
RUTH – CHAP. II.
There was a man of kin to Naomi,
One that was of her husband’s family,
His name was Boaz, and his wealth was great.
And Ruth, the Moabitess, did intreat
Her Mother’s leave, that she might go, and gather
Some ears of corn, where she should most find favour:
Go, daughter, go, said she. She went and came
Near to the reapers, to glean after them:
And lo, it was her hap to light among
The reapers, which to Boaz did belong.
Behold, now Boaz came from Bethlehem
Unto his reapers, and saluted them,
And they bless’d him again: and he enquired
Of him that was set over them he hired,
From whence the damsel was, and was inform’d
She was the Moabitess that return’d
With Naomi: and she did ask, said he,
That here amongst the reapers she might be,
And that she might have liberty to glean
Among the sheaves. And she all day hath been,
Ev’n from the morning until now, with us,
That she hath stay’d a little in the house.
Then Boaz said to Ruth, observe, my daughter,
That thou go not from hence, or follow after
The reapers of another field, but where
My maidens are, see that thou tarry there:
Observe what field they reap, and go thou there,
Have I not charged the young men to forbear
To touch thee? And when thou dost thirst, approach
And drink of what the youths have set abroach. [‹1.4›]
Then she fell on her face, and to the ground
She bow’d herself, and said, Why have I found
Such favour in thine eyes; that thou, to me
Who am a stranger, should so courteous be?
And Boaz said, it hath been fully shewn
To me, what to thy mother-in-law thou’st done,
Since of thine husband thou hast been bereft:
How thou thy father and thy mother left,
And thine own native land; to come unto
A land which thou before didst never know:
The Lord, the God of Israel, the defence
Whom now thou’st chosen, be thy recompence.
Then said she, let me in thy sight, my lord,
Find favour in that thou dost thus afford
Me comfort, and since thou so kind to me
Dost speak, though I thereof unworthy be.
And Boaz said, at meal time come thou near,
Eat of the bread, and dip i’ th’ vinegar.
And by the reapers she sat down to meat,
He gave her parched corn, and she did eat,
And was suffic’d; and left, and rose to glean:
And Boaz gave command to the young men,
Let her come in among the sheaves, said he,
To glean, and let her not reproached be.
Let fall some handfuls also purposely,
And let her take them without injury.
So she till even glean’d , and then beat out
Her barley, being an ephah [‹1.5›] or thereabout.
She took it up, and to the city went,
And to her mother-in-law did it present:
And what she had reserv’d to her she gave,
When she had took what she design’d to have.
Then unto her, her mother-in-law did say,
In what field hast thou been to glean to-day?
And where hast thou been working? Blest be he,
That thus hath taken cognizance of thee.
She told with whom, and furthermore did say,
The man’s name’s Boaz, where I wrought to-day.
And Naomi replied, may he be blest,
Even of the Lord, whose kindness manifest
Unto the living and the dead hath been:
The man’s our kinsman, yea, the next of kin.
And Ruth, the Moabitess, said, he gave
Me likewise a commandment not to leave,
Or to depart from following his young men,
Until they had brought all his harvest in.
And Naomi said unto Ruth, my daughter,
‘Tis good that thou observe to follow after
His maidens, that they meet thee not elsewhere.
So she to Boaz’s maidens still kept near,
Till barley and wheat harvest both, she saw
Were done, and she dwelt with her mother-in-law.