1:22 Ruth the Moabite. She is not just any Ruth. For the story it is crucial that she be remembered as the foreigner (1:4; 2:2, 6, 21; 4:5, 10; especially 2:10). Also, the reader may be prompted to think of Ruth’s ancestor, Lot’s daughter, and the incestuous beginnings of the Moabite nation (Gen. 19:30–38). In both cases the problem is childlessness or lack of a male heir.
barley harvest. Early calendars, like the Gezer Calendar from the tenth century b.c., associated months with the agricultural cycle. Barley was the first of the cereals to be harvested, in April; wheat was the last. In later tradition the barley and wheat harvests came to be identified with the festivals of Passover and Pentecost. The season of harvest was a time of celebration, rejoicing together before God, and remembering the poor. The narrative development is tied to this scheme. The women return home at the barley harvest, a time of God’s favor and the beginning of fruitful restoration for Naomi.