Boaz and The Reapers

“And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee. (Ruth 2:4)


Boaz came into his own field, he spoke to his own reapers, and wished them the best of all blessings, even the presence of the best Friend that man can have.  Here he dropped into their ears and into their hearts this gracious salutation: “The LORD be with you.”  But he spake this only to his own reapers; that is, to his own servants who were found in his own field.

And so is it with Christ; He comes into His own field, or garden, or vineyard, or fold from time to time, and very sweet is His presence, and very welcome to His servants are His gracious words, though they be but few; as when Boaz said, “The LORD be with you.”  But what a distinction may here be observed between Boaz literally and our spiritual Boaz!  All that this Boaz could do was to wish the LORD might be with them; but the Lord Jesus Christ said, “lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20)

His servants, however sad, cast-down, tried and tempted they lay have been, when they hear His voice it has as great an effect upon them as when the body of the dead man was let down into the sepulchre of Elisha; for we read: “And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.” (2nd Kings 13:21)  Before Christ suffered He preached words of peace, love and comfort to His apostles, who were so soon to be deprived of His presence, and, for a time, lose their LORD; but He soon returned to them and fulfilled His promise. “And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” (John 16:22)

And His first words, on His appearance to them after He was raised from the dead, were: “Peace be unto you.”  Boaz  had no pierced hands, no pierced feet, no wounded side out of which flowed blood and water to show unto his reapers; but the blessed LORD of life and glory when He appeared to His disciples and said, “Peace be unto you” (John 20:19), when He had so said “He showed unto them His hands and His side.” O what an effect this had upon the hearts and affections of thee disciples, who, for a short time, had been bereft of their best Friend! “Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.” (John 20:20)

This salutation given by Boaz to his reapers brought out an immediate response from their hearts: “And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.”  This shows there was peace between master and servants.  He loved and esteemed them, and they loved and esteemed him; and the scripture was fulfilled: “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master.” (Malachi 1:6)  Boaz knew how to show them kindness and friendship, and they, without trespassing on the same, knew how to show them reverence and honour.  This is what the Apostle Paul inculcated between master and servants; “they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit” (1st Timothy 6:2).  The servants of Boaz wished him to be honoured and exalted by the LORD’s blessing.

But what can we say respecting the Lord Jesus Christ, for He is God over all, blessed for evermore?  David in Psalm 72, after setting forth the glorious King of grace, and showing that His subjects are poor and needy, and that His kindness to them is manifested in the redemption and salvation of their souls, goes on to say, “Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory” (Psalm 72:18-19).  How often in writing the Psalms does he say, “Bless the LORD, O my soul,” and in Psalm 145 he says, “and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.”  All that poor sinners can do is to bless Christ for His own kindness.  The heart and tongue of every saint now in glory are employed to the same end, saying, “Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 7:12)

But why did the reapers and cleaners in the LORD’s field alike bless Christ in their hearts?  The answer is pointed and clear.  He hath first blessed them, declaring, “Blessed are the poor in spirit;” “Blessed are they that mourn;” “Blessed are the meek;” “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness” (Matthew 5:3-6). Having singled out such characters as these, and manifested them as His children whom God hath blessed never to curse, and loved them never to hate them, may well cause the heart to respond and say, “The LORD bless thee.”


James Dennett

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