Naomi and her husband lived in Bethlehem with their two sons. Something happened and people were starving in the land. The family decided to go into the country of Moab. (Mo-ab) When the boys grew up they married Moabite girls. Within ten years the father and both of the sons died. Naomi was left with two daughter-in-laws and no menfolk to support them.
Naomi decided to go back home to her family. When her daughter-in-law, Ruth, decided to go with her, Naomi tried to persuade her to stay with her own people. But Ruth loved Naomi very much. She said, “Wherever you go, I will go, where you live I will live. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”
Naomi and Ruth had a place to live but no money and no food. It was time to harvest the barley fields. Ruth decided to become a gleaner, one of the women who followed after the harvesters and picked up whatever grains fell on the ground. Ruth found herself in a field owned by Boaz (Bo-az). He was very rich, a relative of Naomi’s husband, unmarried. Boaz asked the men who that pretty young woman was. They told him it was Naomi’s daughter-in-law. Boaz realized that Ruth was doing that back-breaking work to support Naomi. He liked that of her.
Boaz told Ruth not to work any other fields, to stay there and get drinks from his water barrels, eat lunch with his men and he ordered the fellows not to touch her or get smart with her. He also told his guys to leave little piles of grain for Ruth to pick up. By the end of the day Ruth had half a bushel of barley to take home to make bread to eat and grain to sell for money.
Naomi was amazed at the amount of grain Ruth brought home. When she found out where the girl had worked she realized how kind Boaz was. Naomi’s mind began to click. By their law, whenever a married man died his brother or nearest relative was obliged to marry the widow and take care of her. Finally it became time for the work crew to gather at the threshing floor and separate the barley grains from the hulls, preparing it to be ground into flour. Boaz was there with his men.
Naomi told Ruth that she must follow her orders carefully. So, Ruth bathed and perfumed herself. She put on a lovely gown and a veil over her hair. Then the girl went down to the threshing floor and watched the fellows winding up the end of the day. She took note of the spot where Boaz laid down to sleep and threw a blanket over himself for the night. As ordered by Naomi, Ruth slipped onto the floor in the dark and laid down at his feet and pulled the tail of the blanket over her.
It was midnight when Boaz woke up, realizing that someone was at his feet! “Who’s there?” “It’s me, Ruth. Naomi told me to come here because you are a near relative.”
“I see. Naomi is a wise woman. But there is another relative closer than I am. Okay, go back home and wait until I come.” The next day, Boaz found that other relative and, in front of ten other men, he asked the man if he was going to marry Ruth. The man said, “No, I can’t afford to take care of her.” “Then you release all claim to her?” “I do.”
Boaz and Ruth were married. Before long they had a baby boy named Obed and Naomi rejoiced to have the precious grandchild in her arms. The neighbors were happy for her. Obed grew up and had a son he named Jesse. Jesse grew up and had a son named David who became the King of Israel 600 years before Christ.
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