This verse takes place in the context of Ruth gleaning in the fields of Boaz, who was a wealthy landowner and relative of Ruth's deceased husband. Ruth was a foreigner in the land of Israel, and as a widow, she was in a vulnerable position with no means of support. In order to provide for herself and her mother-in-law Naomi, Ruth went to the fields to glean leftover grain that the harvesters had left behind.
In this verse, Boaz arrives at the field and greets the harvesters with a blessing: "The Lord be with you!" In response, the harvesters answer with a similar blessing: "The Lord bless you!" This exchange shows the mutual respect and goodwill that existed between Boaz and his workers.
The exchange of blessings also reflects the importance of God's presence and blessing in the lives of the people of Israel. Boaz's greeting acknowledges that the work they are doing is not just for their own benefit, but is ultimately for the glory of God. By responding with a blessing, the harvesters affirm their commitment to serving God and honoring Him in their work.
The book of Ruth tells the story of a young Moabite woman named Ruth who married into an Israelite family. After her husband died, Ruth decided to stay with her mother-in-law Naomi and to follow her back to Israel, despite the fact that she was a foreigner and had no guarantee of a secure future.
When Ruth arrived in Israel, she began gleaning in the fields in order to provide for herself and Naomi. According to Jewish law, landowners were required to leave some of the harvest behind for the poor and needy to glean. This was a way of providing for those who were in a vulnerable position and had no means of support.
Boaz was impressed by Ruth's hard work and her commitment to Naomi, and he took steps to ensure that she would be able to glean in safety and with an ample harvest. He also instructed his workers to leave extra grain for her to collect.
In this context, Boaz's greeting of "The Lord be with you!" is a way of acknowledging the presence and blessing of God in their work. It is also a way of showing respect and appreciation for the labor that the harvesters are doing. By responding with "The Lord bless you!", the harvesters affirm their faith in God and their desire to honor Him in their work.
This exchange of blessings sets the tone for the rest of the story, which is a testament to God's faithfulness and provision for His people. Ruth's faithfulness and hard work are rewarded, and she eventually becomes the great-grandmother of King David, one of the most important figures in Jewish history.
In summary, Ruth 2:4 reflects the importance of God's presence and blessing in the lives of the people of Israel, and it highlights the respect and goodwill that existed between Boaz and his workers. The exchange of blessings sets the tone for the rest of the story, which is a testament to God's faithfulness and provision for His people.
Ruth 2:4. Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, “May Yahweh be with you.” They answered him, “May Yahweh bless you.”