James Comper Gray.

The Biblical museum : a collection of notes, explanatory, homiletic, and illustrative, on the Holy Scriptures, especially designed for the use of ministers, Bible students, and Sunday school teachers (Volume 3) online

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makes excuses. Ruth might have said — 1 . Why should I glean /
Your kinsman is rich ; 2. I have never done so before: 3. Naomi
is no real relation of mine ; 4. Surely I have sacrificed enough
for her already ; 5. I would go if she wenf — Fdlth working {v.
'1 2). — Work is universally God's ordinance for His creatures. L
l«7<nn.»^'""^'*Au-!-^^*'^""^ ^^'^'^'^^- Sometimes in the mere consciousness of health
tumn,"line 177#! I and vitality. 1. Wealth; 2. W'ant; 3. Covetousness, 4. Ambi-
'■As' adversity ri*^"^; •'^- Knowledge; 6. Duty — all work. II. Faith works. And
leaits us to thinic ; the work of faith looks— 1. W'ithin; 2. Upward; 3. Around, 4.
prnperiy of our j Onward.*

be'neQ.^ial^to'ur" Gleaninff.~ThQ word glean comes from the French glamr, to
—Johnson. ' gather ears or grains of com. This was formerly a general
d R. A. Griffin. | custom in England and Ireland : the poor went into the fields,
t'^°hi ^t*' i-^l^i^nd collected the straggling ears of corn after the reapers; and
^\>oix little owes i it was long supposed that this was their right, and that the law

more to hisj recognised it : but although it has been an old custom, it is now
father's wisdom, : settled by a solemn judgment of the Court of Common Pleas,
than ho that has - - j o _ . . _ . _ '

a fjrffat deal left I

that a right to glean m the harvest-field cannot be claimed >y
any person at common law. Any person may permit or prevent
it in his own gTounds. By certain Acts of Henry Vlll., gleaalng
and leasing are so restricted, as to be, in fact, prohibited in that
part of the United Kingdom.-'

4 — 7. (1) A visit of inspection. ,For salutation comp. Pg.
cxxix. 7, 8. (")) servant, Ut. young man. damsel," young
unmarried woman. So Boaz thought. ((")) Man's ans. indie, but
imperfect knowledge. (7) let me o-lean, as a Jloabitess she
had asked special permission, tarried a little,* indic. sha
wasted no time, so eager did she seem to get food, house, bhed
or booth ;« or poss. Naomi's house.''

Boaz and the reapers (?'. 4). — I. The presence and blessing of
God. 1. The Lord is present in your fields , 2. IIis jwwer. faith-
fulness, and goodness are still displayed ; 3. His providential care
is over the affairs of individual men. II. The relation between
master and servant. \\"here this relation is as it should be, they
will — 1. Think well of each other ; 2. Act well towards each
Other; 3. Speak courteously to each other; 4. Pray for one
[another. III. Religion among companions in labour. 1. Every
I one should watch against the influence of ungoiily companions;
2. No one should be ashamed of his religion ; 3. All sliould be
careful how they speak on religious things.*
€u.uai,:,M.ji. a leaning iari?/'//.— Travelling on the plains of Bethlehem, I

TV hile Benovo- j ^.^g struck by and equally delighted with the sight of the reapers

him, does to his
faiiier'a care." —
/ Burckr.

Boaz visits
Ills harvest

a Fr . denioiselle ;
It., dainigella.
6 "Rather, 'as
to her stay in the
house, that is

c Lringe,Spk.Com.
d Wonhicorih.
r. 4. Dr. J. Bom.
Wif. ifi; Dr. li
Mn'e. On the Li
tni-'Pi, i. 2.'S; T.
Itrqers. Led. i.
;U7; C. Simeon,
Vis. iii. lot).

Cap. ii. 8-12.]



in the fields cutting' barley, and after every company were women
and children gleaning, just as Paitli did when Boaz came to look
after his labourers. In the evening may be seen some poor
woman or maiden, that has been permitted to glean on her own
account, sitting by the roadside, and beating out with a stick or
a stone what she has gathered, just as Ruth did. I have often
watched this process in various parts of the country. The entire
scene might be enacted at the present day by the dwellers in
Bethlehem, with but trifling omissions and variations. The
salutations that passed between the proprietor and the labourers
are no exaggeration of modern politeness. " The Lord be with
you," is merely the " Allah m"akum," of ordinary parlance ; and
so, too, the response, " The Lord bless thee." Again, it is implied
that there was a considerable number of reapers, and that the
reaping season was prolonged for a considerable time ; for it is
added in v. 23, that Ruth continued until the end of barley
harvest, and of wheat harvest, which are quite distinct, occur in
the order here stated, and are protracted through several weeks.
It is further intimated that the reapers were apt to be rude in
their deportment toward defenceless females, and hence the
command of Boaz in the 9th verse. Such precautions are not
out of place at this day. The reapers are gathered from all parts
of the country, and largely from the ruder class, and, living far
from home, throw off all restraint, and give free license to their
tongues, if nothing more. The meals, too, are quite in keeping,
the dipping her morsel in the vinegar, and the parched corn./

8 — 12, (8) Nearest, or hast thou not heard. Boaz intends
to fix the pei-mission akeady given, another field, as there
were no hedges, Ruth might easily miss the land marks.
maidens, cut the corn ; young men bound the sheaves." Close
following the reapers, Ruth would glean more. (9) touch,
thee, interfere with, or be rude to thee. (10) fell, rfr.,* Eastern
attitude of reverence. (11) Boaz made fuller inquiries than we
have narrated. (12) under whose wing-s,'^ De. xsxii. 11.

The whifjs of the AlmigMij (v. 12).— I. They were swift wings
under which Ruth had come to trust. II. They were very broad
wings. They covered up all her vv'ants, all her sorrows, all her
sufferings. There is room under those wings for the whole race.

III. Tliey were strong wings : mighty to save, mighty to destroy.

IV. They were gentle wings. Here stay then ; for under these
wings is the only safe nest.<*

T/ie value of kindness. —

Since ti-ifles make the sum of human things,

And half our misery from our foibles springs :

Since life's best joys consist in peace and ease,

And few can save or serve, but all may please ;

Oh ! let th' ungentle spirit learn from hence,

A small unkindness is a great offence.

Large bounties to restore, we wish in vain,

But all may shun the guilt of giving pain.

To bless mankind with tides of flowing- wealth,

With power to grace them, or to crown with health,

Our little lot denies, but heaven decrees

To all the gift of minisfring ease ;

The mild forbearance at another's fault ;

The taunting word, suppress'd as soon as thought ;

B.C. 1312.

lence has •
tender heart,
eye, and hands
as soft as tha
down of in-
iiocouce, she is
shod with brass,
to spurn at
dangers, and
trample difficul-
1 ties under foot

Men become as
' strongly attach-
I ed to others by
the benefits they
render as by tha
favours they re-

/Dr. Thomson.
" He is rich who
saves a penny a
year; and he
poor who runs
behind a penny
in a year.'* —

Boaz speaks
kindly to

a Some think the
women bovnd
sheaves. Others,
as liul.inson, say
the women were
ocily gleaners.
They would
hardly then be
called by Boaz,
my maidens,
b Ge, xxiiii. 3.
c P B. X V i i. 8,
xxxvi. 7; Matt,
xxiii. 37.

vv. n, 12. C. Si-
meon, WTcs. ilL

V. 12. Dr. R.
Gordon, ii. 418.
d Dr. Tahnage.
"Ask the man
of adversity how
other men ac< to-
wards him; ask
thosii Cithers how
he acts towards
them. Adversity
is the true touch-
ftone of merit la
both; I'appy if it
does not produce
the dishonesty of
mcaiiess in one,
and that of inso-
lence and prida
in tho other."—*


[Cap. 11 13-2a

Soaz pro-
tects Ruth

a "A quantity of
the best ears, not
too ripo, are
plui-ked with the
Btallis attachfid.
Those are tied
into small par-
cels, a blazing
fire is kindled
with dry grass
and thorn
bushes, and the
corn-heads are
held in it until
the chaff is
mostly burned
off. The grain is
thus sufflcieijtly
roasted to be
eaten." — Thorn-

h CondiT, in Bib
eSpk. Com.
d C. H. Spurgton.

r. 14. Dr. Porter
describes a simi-
lar scene: "Each
group squatted
in a circle round
a huge bowl
of burghul —
masters and ser-
vants, with equal
freedom, tearing
off little bits of
thin soft bread,
and using them
as spoons to lift
the savoury stew
— tlius dipping
their 'morsels'
or 'sops' into the

Ruth con-
fides in, and
is advised
by Naomi I

a " The goel had
the ri^ht of ro-
deoming the in- j
heritanco of the,
person ; of mar-
rying the widow; I
and of aveuging j
the death. (See
Le. XXV. 25-31,
47 — S.5; De. xxv. !
6— 10. lix.l-ia)."
*S/.t. Com. I

J It. Bernard,

On these Heaven bade the bliss of life depend,
And crush"d ill fortune when it made a friend.*

13—17. (13) friendly, to the heart, in what he had said of
I her casting in her lot with Naomi, not like, etc., being- a
I foreigner. (11) vinegar, sour wine mingled with oil. parched
[ corn," common food of country, left, had some over, see v. IS.
!(15) among the sheaves, close up to reapers, reproach,
\llch. iihamc her not. (IG) of purpose, on purpose. (17) beat
out, with a stick, or a stone, ephah, six and a quarter gallons
nearly.' About a bushel," comp. omcr, Ex. xvi. 16, 18, 22, 3(J.

And she did cat, and was sufficed (v. li). — WTien Jesus is the
host, none go empty away. He satisfies our head, our heart, our
hope, and our desire; He fills our conscience, our judgment, our
memory, and our imagination.'' — liiith gleaning (v. 17). — I. The
gleaner gathers her portion ear by ear : her gains are little by
little. Every ear helps to make a bundle, and every gospel lesson
assists in making us wise unto salvation. II. The gleaner keeps
her eye open. We must be watchful in religious exercises. III.
The gleaner stoops for all she finds : and so must we. A humble
heart is a great help towards profiting by the Gospel. A stiff back
makes a bad gleaner. IV. "What the gleaner gathers she holds :
she is as careful to retain as to obtain, and so at last her gains
are great.'

Treatment of females in fhfi East (v. 14). — It is proverbial that
the customs of the East have, in most particulars, scarcely
changed since patriarchal times; in relation, however, to the
practice indicated by the text, a change for the worse seems to
have taken place. Lane, in his ^Modern Eggptians, says, " The
! wives, as well as the female slaves, are not only often debarred
! from the privilege of eating with the master of the family, but
[also required to wait upon him when he dines or sups, or even
takes his pipe and coffee in the harem. They frequently serve
ihim as menials; fill and light his pipe, make coffee for him, and
prepare his food." Sir. Carne mentions, in his Iieeollrctions of
th-e East, that having been hospitably received in the house of a
Syrian family, living in a large town in Syria, and the repast
being now ready, '■ We would fain have shared it with the fair
preparers, who had so well received the houseless stranger ; but
they declined, and stood calmly and silently gazing at the good-
I will with which their viands were devoured."

18—23. (IS) reserved, of her share of the bread and parched

com. (lit) where, etc., Naomi was surprised at her success.
I (20) near of kin, Naomi may not yet have learned that Boaz

was alive ; as soon as she heard his name, hope sprung up in her.

He v.'as one who had a "right to redeem." next kinsman,
igoel, or redeemer."* (21) all my harvest, gleanings of wh.
, M'ould supply the two women for a long time. (22) meet thee

not, her being found in another field would show slight of Boaz"3
! kindly treatment, and grieve him. (23) wheat, a mouth later.

A'aomi's prager for Eoaz {v. 20). — From this note — I. Tliat
I prayer in and by every true member of the Church hath been
j only made unto God. II. That it is the Lord that doth bless and

make happy. III. That the Lord will bless the merciful. IV.
I That the poor's reward unto the rich for their works of charity
lis only their prayer to God for them.*

Cap. iii. 1-4.]



The Bnlie of Korthmnherland. — The Abbe de Percie, on the
commencement of the revolution in France, was obliged to flee
from his living in Normandy to this country. Soon after his
arrival in London, he was surrounded, in New-street, Covent-
garden, and robbed of twenty guineas, which he had received
but a few minutes before at Sir Robert Herrie's. With the re-
mainder of his little property he went to Bath, where it was soon
expended. In this dilemma, his countrymen there reminded him
that he was related to the noble English family of the Percys
and. as the Duke of Northumberland was at that time at Bath
they advised him to apply to his Grace for relief. The abbe imme-
diately wrote to the duke, who returned a polite answer, request-
ing a few days for investigation. In the meantime, his Grace
wrote to Lord Haroourt, at whose house the Due dHarcourt re-
sided, and inquired whether the Abbe de Percie was of the
family of the de Percies of Normandy ; and, finding the state-
ment correct, he transmitted to his newly-discovered cousin a
gold box, with a bank note enclosed in it for one thousand
pounds, and a general invitation to his table, which was from
that day open to him.


1 — 4. (1) rest," resting-place, ch. i. 9. This suggestion came
to Naomi on hearing of Boaz, her kinsman, and the family gocl, as
she supposed. (2) he winnoweth,* obs. how in those simple
times the master shared in the work. The straw was not so much
valued as now, the grain threshed oiit. etc., on the field for con-
venience of storing, to-night, for sake of evening breeze,
threshing-floor, piece of hard, trodden ground, near the fields.
(3) raiment, her best. (4) uncover his feet,'' lie down at his
feet, and claim a kinsman's right to share his coverlet.

Marriage a state of rest (c. 1).— I. In respect of the mind of
all such as desire marriage, and have not the gift of continency.
II. For the contentment and delight which one ought to have in
the other, and in the blessing of posterity. Learn — Let married
parties labour to make it an estate of rest and peace. (1) To love
one another entirely ; (2) To perform duties of love cheerfully ;
(3) To bear one another's infirmities patiently ; (4) To take
their outward estate of God thankfully and contentedly ; (5)
Pray for one another daily ; (6) Each to take his own faults,
and not charge the other.'*

Winnowing at night. — In these regions much of the agricul-
tural labour is perfomied in the night. The sun is so hot, and so
pernicious, that the farmers endeavour, as much as possible, to
avoid its power. Hence numbers plough and irrigate their fields
and gardens long after the sun has gone down, or before it rises
in the morning. The wind is also generally stronger in the night,
which might induce Boaz to prefer that season. From the next
two verses we learn that he took his supper there, and slept
among the barley. Corn, in the East, is not kept in stacks, but.
after being reaped, is in a few days threshed on the spot. The
threshing-floor is a circle of about forty feet in diameter, and
consists generally of clay and cow-dung, without wall or fence.
Under these circumstances, it is necessary for some of the people '

VOL. III. o.T. M

V. 20. B. Melvill,
Led. 331 ; H.
Caddell, Ss. 172.

" If ever you
have look'd oa
better days ; if
e\er been where
bells have knoll'd
to church; ilever
sat at any good
man's feast; if
ever from your
eyelids wiped a
tear, and know
what 'tis to pity
and be pitied ;
let gentleness my
strong enforce-
ment b e." ^


a " Marriage waa
regarded as tha
natural fulfil-
ment of woman's
calling, without
wh. her life was
helpless, and
defenceless, as
that of a people
without a God."
b " The grain
after threshing
was thrown up
against the wind
with a shovel, of
fork." — Robinson,
c '• Boaz p r o b.
slept upon a mat
or skin; Ruth
lay crosswise at
his feet— a posi-
tion in wh. East-
ern servants fre-
quently sleep in
the same cham-
ber or tent, with
their master;
and if they want
a covering, cus-
tom allows them
that benefit from
partof thecover-
ing on their
master's bed."
d li. Bernard.


[Cap. uL 5—13,

to sleep near the com till all shall have been threshed and taken

/. .^aurin. Disc.
Jlist. iv. 147.
e Huberts.

to Naozui

a .Tu. STi. 29,
" took hold o/.'"

b Wordsworth.

tSpk: Com.

d Eze. xvi. 8.

"At all themar-
riagos of the
ninJern Jews
and Ilindoos,
ono part of the '•
ceremony is for j
the bridegroom j
to put a silken '
or cotton cloak
around his
bride." — Jamie-

" It is remarked
that the modest
dei)ortment of.
real wise moii,
•when contrasied
to the assuming
air of the young i
and ignorant, j
may te con- 1
pared to the |
differences of i
wheat, which I
while its ear is |
empty holds up i
its head proudly, |
liut as soon as it
is filled with |
prain bends mo- i
di'stly down, and
withdraws from 1

4 lioberts.

the part of
a kinsman

a Comp. law in
De. x.\v. 5—10.

O wives and

iDotbers! be wise
before it is too
Jate! Live BO as
to enjoy every
('ay of your life.
Ten years hence,
or even to-mor-

5 — 9. (.5) will do, though prob. strang-e customs whose pur
port she did not fully understand. (0) floor, ?•. 2. (7) merry,
with joy of harvest; but not drunken, end . . corn, the
rcai)crs slept in the field for convenience of nearness, and to
protect the grain. (8) turned himself,'* lit. bent ovcr.^ bent for-
n-ard," to see what was touching his feet. ('J) spread, etc.,'' the
Eastern symbol of taking one under protection, near kins«
man, ch. ii. 1,20.

The near kinsman (v. 9). — I. Christ is our near kinsman— 1. By
birth : He took our nature ; 2. By condescending love : He came
to His own ; did not diso^vn them ; H. By self-sacrificing grace :
loved us to the end ; 4. By present thoughtful care : He is the
Lord of providence. II. Let the poorest, and most friendless-
like the widowed Ruth — learn to trust Him. He wiU cast the
robe of His righteousness over them ; as the father, the best
robe over the returning prodigal.

Sjj)-eadinff the .'shlrt {v. D). — The prophet Ezekiel, in describing^
the Jewish Chiu'ch as an exposed infant, mentions the care of
God in bringing her up with great tenderness, and then, at the
proper time, maiTying her ; which is expressed in the same way
as the request of Ruth : " I spread my skirt over thee," ..." and
thou becamcst mine." Dr. A. Clarke says, " Even to the present
day, when a Jew maii-ies a woman, he thi-ows the skirt, or end of
his talith, over her, to signify that he has taken her under his
])rotection." I have been delighted at the marriage ceremonies
of the Hindoos, to see among tliem the same interesting custom.
The briile is seated on a throne, surrounded by matrons, having
on her veil, her gayest robes, and most valuable jewels. After
the thiili has been tied round her neck, the bridegroom approaches
her with a silken skirt (purchased by himself), and folds it round
her several times over the rest of her clothes. A common way
of saying he has married her is, ''he has given her the A'wri,"
has spread the skirt over her. There are, however, those who
throw a long robe over the shoulders of the bride, instead of put-
ting on the skirt. An angry husband sometimes says to his wife,
" Give ma back my skirt," meaning, he wishes to have the
marriage compact dissolved. So the mother-in-law, should the
daughter not treat her respectfully, says, ''IMy son gave this
woman the koori (skirt) and has m.ade her resjiectaljle, but she
neglects me." The request of Ruth, therefore, amounted to
nothing more than that Boaz should marry her.«

10—13. (10) latter end, referring to her willingness to
accept him as husband," though he was old, and comparing tliis
with her gootlness to Naomi. (11) city, gate, virtuous, if
jnot, he might be relca.«ed fr. the obligation. (12) nearer than
1 1, on whom duty of man-ying her rested. (18) until the
morning:, when she miglit return safely to Naomi.
j Jiiith the rirttiou.i (r. 11). — Observe — I. Rutli's industiy. She
; accompanies Naomi to the land of Isi-ael. but not to live on pub-
lic charity, or become the humble pensioner of ailluent relatives.
I It is work, not charity, she asks. II. Her humility : willing to
; engage in any honest work, however humble, she bends like a

Cap. lii. 14-18.]



reed to the blast. III. Her affection to Naomi: she stays when b-c 1312.
her sister leaves. i" ^^ ~~^

A fortunate suppliant. — In the inclement part of the winter ^1^' Lu'e^soaia^
of 1782, a poor girl stood curtseying at the kitchen window of 'your presence
an elderly gentleman, in the environs of the Metropolis, who ' J^^" gladden the
observing the distressed object, and the severe weather to which io'nes,°more'^tl^n
she was exposed, ordered her to be taken into the kitchen, to be i anything your
well warmed and fed. "WTien she was going away, the weather ■lii'^'lis can win
was so stormy, that the gentleman ordered a bed to be made up for 1 ^°^' i'^^™-
her. Next morning, by the master's directions, the servants put' "Thou shalt
her into decent clothing, and she was sent into the parlour, to ! stand a deity,
thank and take leave of her kind benefactor. The gentleman | ^^|«' be^°T^ '
made some inquiries respecting her, and found that she was of a ! shipped.^'— ^rd!
respectable family, with which, in early life, he had some ac- . „ ,
quaintance ; and finding her willing to go to service, agreed to 1^^
take her into his house. Here, by industry and good behaviour, j b,^,i"of spirU^so
in a few years, she rose from the office of kitchenmaid to that of still ' and quiet,
housekeeper, when the old gentleman was taken dangerously ill. I that her motion
Her gratitude then redoubled her attentions towards him, and he I ^^'?p'''|i_ % j^
became so attached to her, that he would not suffer any other ! speare.
person to nurse him. Finding himself grow worse, he made his
will ; and, with the exception of a few trifling legacies, left her
the whole of his property, amounting to several thousand pounds,
plate, furniture, etq. She afterwards married a gentleman of

14—18. (14) one . . another, meaning in the first appear-
ance of dawn, before others were about, he said, not aloud,
but to himself. Sending her away thus early, and with a bundle
of grain, to avoid scandal." (15) also, with the same intent, j is no less afiaid
vail, prob. mantle, or loose cloak ; the vail, however, was large, of a scandal than


• A good heart



A good woman
never grows old.
Years may pass
over her head,
but, if benevo-
lence and virtue

like " a sheet, and it was wrapped round the face and head, con
cealing all but one eye." six, etc.. twice as much as her gleaning.
(16) who . . thou, showing Ruth reached Naomi before daylight ;
or inquiring what had happened. (17) empty, without a gift.
(IS) sit still, wait for further tidings.

A name famous in Israel (v. 14).— Boaz — I. An upright man
(iv. 1—12). II. A good master (ii. 4). III. A thoughtful bene- j^^^'^'J
factor (ii. .5—17). IV. An ancestor of the Messiah.— J w old
woman s advice to tlie young (v. 18). — "Sit still," etc. This good
advice to all in like circumstances— I. Such are apt to be impa-
tient : woman's love moves faster than man's. II. Such impa-
tience is apt to huny one into obtrusivencss. III. Such obtru-
siveness is apt to repel the thoughtful suitor. IV. Such thought-
fulness can appreciate modest worth.

Female 'influence. — A remarkable instance of the influence of
the female sex over minds little likely to be swayed by it, occurred
in the case of John Banier, an elcce of the great Gustavus Adol-
phus, and one of the greatest generals Europe ever produced.
This brave man owed much of his glory to his first wife, and
tarnished it by his second. "While the wife whom he brought
from Sweden lived, he was successful in every undertaking ; she
accompanied him in every campaign, and was always f ouiid to
console and cheer him in every danger and difficulty, and to urge
him onward wherever glory was to be gained. After her death,
Banier became smitten with a lovely young German princess, L^.jji always be
whom he married j this circumstance proved the grave of all his I tresii and ijuoy-

Online LibraryJames Comper GrayThe Biblical museum : a collection of notes, explanatory, homiletic, and illustrative, on the Holy Scriptures, especially designed for the use of ministers, Bible students, and Sunday school teachers (Volume 3) → online text (page 30 of 66)