The Book of Ruth
Ruth is the both the name of a book in the bible, and the name of a person. She was not a Jewish lady, but she was what is called a Gentile, that is, anyone who is not of the children of Israel.
There was a time when there was a famine where the children of Israel lived…that means they had very little food to eat. And a man named Elimelech chose to leave his home in Bethlehem-judah and go to a land where the Gentiles lived named Moab. He went with his wife named Naomi, and his two sons named Mahlon and Chilion. And when they were in Moab, Mahlon married a lady named Ruth and Chilion married a lady named Orpah. After a time, Elimelech and his two sons died, and his wife Naomi chose to leave Moab and return home to Bethlehem-judah because she learned that there was food again. Naomi told her daughters-in-law to stay in Moab. Orpah chose to go back to her family, but Ruth threw her arms around Naomi and said “Do not order me to leave you, or to stop following you, for where you go I will go, and where you live, I will live. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and I will be buried there”. And Ruth wanted to stay with Naomi so much, that Naomi allowed Ruth to stay with her.
The time when they returned to Bethlehem-judah, was the time of harvest when the crops were picked. Naomi had a relative named Boaz, and Ruth wanted to go to a field and pick up the ears of corn that were left so she and Naomi would have something to eat. Those that were left were called gleanings. Ruth believed that someone would allow her to pick up the gleanings. And Ruth happened to go to the part of the field that was owned by Boaz. And while she was there, Boaz saw her and asked who she was. The other people in the field told him that it was Ruth, the lady who came back home with Naomi.
And so Boaz told Ruth not to gather in any other field, but to stay in his field, and when she was thirsty, she was to drink the water that his young men had drawn from the well. He also told his young men not to bother Ruth. Ruth was so surprised she bowed down before Boaz and said “Why are you so kind to me, and why have you noticed me because I am a stranger.” Boaz told her “I have come to know everything that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of her husband, how you left your father and your mother and the land where you were born, and how you came to a land where you didn’t know anyone. The Lord of Israel will reward you fully because you have come to trust him.” And Boaz told Ruth to eat with the other people, and he told the other people to let Ruth gather even the corn that had not been cut, and to leave some especially for her. So Ruth gathered a lot of food and took it back to Naomi, and she told Naomi that she had met Boaz.
Naomi was very happy because Boaz was a close relative of her family. And so Ruth continued to gather until the end of the barley harvest, and then the wheat harvest, and continued to live with Naomi.
At the end of the harvest there was a big dinner. Naomi told Ruth to wash herself, and put on fresh clothing, and go to the dinner. She told Ruth that she shouldn’t let Boaz know she was there until after the men had finished eating and drinking, and then she was to go in and lie down at the feet of Boaz while he was sleeping. And Ruth did everything Naomi told her to do.
Boaz was very happy because Ruth wanted to be with him instead of a younger man, and he told her not to be afraid. He wanted to marry Ruth, but first he had to go and speak to a person who was a closer relative to Naomi than he was. And so Boaz went to speak to the other man, but when the other man found out that he would be expected to marry Ruth, he refused because he wanted to keep all of his inheritance for his own family.
Boaz married Ruth, and after a time she had a baby boy who they named Obed. And Naomi was very, very happy and she became the baby’s nurse. And Obed was the grandfather of the future king of Israel named David.
And so this is the story of Ruth, who left everything she had known to come to a new country, and to trust in God.
Memory Verse: Ruth 1:16 “…where you go I will go, where you live I will live, your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”
1. Why did Elimelech take his family to Moab? Answer: Because there was a famine in the land and there was very little food to eat.
2. Why did Naomi come back to Bethlehem-judah? Answer: Because she learned there was food again in the land.
3. What did Boaz do when he first knew who Ruth was? Answer: He told her to stay in his fields and to eat with the people there, and that they should leave extra grain in the field for her.
4. What did Naomi tell Ruth to do at the end of the harvest? Answer: That she should wash, put on fresh clothes, and go in to Boaz after he was asleep and lay at his feet.
5. What did Boaz do when he saw Ruth at his feet? Answer: He wanted to marry her, but first he had to speak to a relative who was closer than he was, then he married her.
6. What was the name of their baby, and who was he? Answer: He was named Obed, and he was the grandfather of King David.