Ruth: Gleaning

Now Naomi had a relative of her husband’s, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech. (Ruth 2:1-3, ESV)

Ruth and Naomi have returned to Bethlehem, with pretty much nothing. (In the Veggie Tales rendition of this story they are seen to be eating water soup with water sauce.) So we get a glimpse into a very early social assistance program called gleaning.

Gleaning was a way in which the poor, sojourners, widows and orphans were allowed to gather standing grain in corners or borders of fields as well as the dropped stalk and left behind sheaves.

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