Now Naomi had a relative on her husband's side, from the clan of Elimelech, a man of standing, whose name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, 'Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.' Naomi said to her, 'Go ahead, my daughter.' So she went out and began to glean in the fields behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech.
In these days, the harvesting of the grain was done by hand instead of a machine. The harvesters would walk through the field cutting the stalks and taking it to the threshing floor. During the process, some of the kernels of grain would fall out and be left on the ground. According to Jewish law, the farmers were not to pick up this grain but it was to be left for the poor. That is what Ruth was doing here as she followed behind the harvesters. You could not get much humbler than being a foreigner and picking up this grain from the ground (gleaning). Ruth was doing this not only to provide for herself but she was also doing it to provide for Naomi.