Ruth was from Moab, east of the Jordan; Naomi was from Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem. Ruth remained compassionate, loyal, brave, faithful, and a virtuous women, trusting, and was blessed by the LORD God. Not only did Ruth reveal great compassion, loyalty, bravery, faithful, and being a virtuous women she also demonstrated obedience. It is such an encouraging beautiful magnificent story how two simple women shared a journey of heartbreak, anguish, uncertainty and grief. They clung together and held on to their virtuous characters and then was rewarded by the LORD God in many ways.
Ruth was from Moab, east of the Jordan; Naomi was from Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem. Ruth remained compassionate, loyal, brave, faithful, and a virtuous women, trusting, and was blessed by the LORD God.
We know a lot about Ruth from the Bible. We know she was loyal, faithful, and a virtuous woman who faced really hard time with dignity and love. She lost her husband, faced poverty, and faced ridicule. She did this for the loyalty and faithfulness to her mother-in-law Naomi. Ruth listened to and followed the instruction of her mother-in-law and gave up her pagan practice. The story of Ruth begins with Naomi and ends with Naomi.
The story of Ruth and Naomi begins when the two tribes of Judah and Israel were set free form their captivity in Babylon and were allowed to return to Jerusalem. In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. (Ruth 1:1).
Ruth lived with Naomi and her husband for ten years. Then Mahlon and Chilion the sons of Naomi died. Naomi decided she would return to her home land and tried to persuade her two daughter-in-laws to return to their mother’s home. Naomi kissed them good bye. The two daughter -in-law– wept and begged to go with her. Naomi was firm and reminded Orpah and Ruth she had no other sons that she could give as husbands. Orpah kissed Naomi good bye and wept but did leave. Ruth cleaved unto Naomi and refused to leave her.
The Moabite people and the Israelites were traditional enemies. There was frequent conflict between the Israelites and the Moabites. Moabites originated from the act of incest between Lot and his older daughter after they left Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 19:30-38). This would make the whole nation corrupted and perverted especially in the eyes of the Israelites. This did not make any difference to Ruth in her decision to follow after Naomi.
Ruth gave a famous speech of loyalty to Naomi that is even recited during marriage service in our society today. Ruth said Do not force me to leave you, or to return from following after you: for where you go, I will go; and where you lodge, I will lodge: your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. (Ruth 1: 17-19).
Naomi and Ruth truth traveled to Bethlehem. They arrived just in time for the barley harvest. Naomi was in anguish over the loss of her husband and two sons and possible the loss of her daughter-in-law Orpah. Naomi told her family and friends to call her Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the LORD had brought her home again empty. Naomi felt the LORD God had testified against her, and the Almighty had afflicted her. (Ruth 1:20-21).
Ruth the Moabitess, was there for Naomi sharing in her long journey to Bethlehem in grief, loneliness, and anxiety. Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz. Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, to let her go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight she shall find grace. (Ruth 2:1-2). The act of gleaning was a common practice in ancient Israel. The LORD told Moses when they reap the harvest of the land, they shall not clean every corner of the field. They shall leave them to the poor, and to the strangers. (Leviticus 23:22). When they cut down the harvest of the field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, they shall not go again to fetch it. It shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow (Deuteronomy 24:19). This makes the practice of gleaning a form of charity.
Ruth went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her unforeseen meeting was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech. Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless you. Boaz saw Ruth and ask who she was. The servant who was over the reapers told Boaz she was the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab. Ruth had told the servant to allow her to lean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves. (Ruth 2:3-7).
Boaz told Ruth she was not to go to glean in another field, neither go from there, but abide by his maidens. Ruth was to stay in the fields and reap where his maidens glean. Boaz charged the young men that they shall not touch her. When she was thirsty she would go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn. Ruth had found grace in the eyes of Boaz. Boaz told Ruth it was because of all she had done for her mother-in-law Naomi since the death of her husband. That Ruth had left her father and her mother, and the land of her nativity and came unto a people which she did not know beforehand. The LORD recompense her work, and a full reward be given her of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings she has come to trust. (Ruth 2:8-12).
What an honor Ruth had received from Boaz. Ruth was being rewarded for here loyalty and kindness to Naomi. Boaz recognized the bravery it must have taken for Ruth to leave all the traditions she had grown up with to follow after Naomi.
Boaz said unto Ruth, at mealtime she was to come, and eat of the bread, and dip her morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left. And when Ruth had risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, to let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. Boaz also said to allow some of the handfuls to fall on purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and do not rebuke her. (Ruth 2:13-16).
Ruth gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that which she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley. And she took it up, and went into the city: and her mother in- law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was satisfied. Naomi asked Ruth where she had gleaned. When Naomi found out it was in the fields of Boaz she said to Ruth, Blessed be he of the LORD, who has not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, the man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen. Ruth the Moabitess told Naomi that Boaz said, she should stay with his young men until they have ended all his harvest. Naomi was in agreement of Ruth staying with the maidens of Boaz. So Ruth kept by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law. (Ruth 2:17-23).
Not only did Ruth reveal great compassion, loyalty, bravery, faithful, and being a virtuous women she also demonstrated obedience. It must have been hard work to spend the day glean the harvest and pounding the grain into flour. How kind of Ruth to love Naomi so much that she would glean in the hot sun in the field to keep them fed.
Then Naomi her mother in law said unto Ruth, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for you that it may be well with you? Naomi instructed Ruth wash herself, and anoint herself, then put on raiment, ten get down to the floor where the men are winnowing barley in the threshing floor, and do not make herself know unto Boaz until he has finished eating and drinking. When Boaz lies down Ruth was to mark the place where he shall sleep and Ruth was to go uncover his feet, and lay down then he shall tell her what she shall do. (Ruth 3:1-5). Ruth obeyed what Naomi had instructed her to do without question, or arguing.
Modern society allows a widow is free to remarry after her husband dies. The ancient Israel society this was not necessarily so. Naomi was shrewd knowing after the death of her husband Naomi became a widow and was still considered to be a part of her husband’s family. This is because marriage linked families together. Boaz was the nearest kin to Naomi and had the duty of looking after Naomi because her husband was dead. “If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband’s brother unto her. And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.” (Deuteronomy 25:5-6).
Boaz recognized the specialness of Ruth and did his part when he discovered Ruth he said, blessed be you of the LORD, my daughter: for you have shown more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as you followed not young men, whether they were poor or rich. Boaz reassured Ruth telling her to fear not he would do what was right. All the people of the city knew that Ruth was a virtuous woman. He instructed Ruth to tarry the night and in the morning he would perfume the part of a kinsman.
Ruth did as she was instructed and slept at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor. Boaz told Ruth to bring the clock she was wearing and hold it. When she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city. And when she came to her mother in law, Ruth shared all that had happened. Gave her the six measures of barley he gave her me. Then they waited for what would happen next. (Ruth 3:7-18).
Again we see the demonstration of bravery, trust, faith and obedience of Ruth. Naomi was specific as she gave instructions to Ruth on what she must do so things may be well with her. How would one who was not familiar with the traditions of the Israelites keep from panicking? It would take faith.
Boaz then went up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spoke came by. He took ten men of the elders of the city, and told them to sit down and they did. Boaz said unto the kinsman, Naomi that is come again out of the country of Moab, sold a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimel. There was another kinsman who had that right, a closer relative even than himself. Boaz had to honestly and justly give this kinsman the opportunity to negotiation the small parcel of land. Boaz informed or reminded the kinsman that the day he came to buy the field from Naomi he must also buy also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance. The kinsman said, he could not redeem it for myself, unless he married his own inheritance. This was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbor: and this was a testimony in Israel. Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for yourself. So he drew off his shoe. (Ruth 4:1-8).
Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, they were witnesses this day, that he had bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi. Boaz continued to include that Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day. All the people that ere in the gate, and the elders were witnesses. The LORD made Ruth that is come into the house Boaz was to be like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do Boaz worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem: the LORD also said to let the house of Boaz be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give to Boaz of this young woman, Ruth. So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son.
Ruth told Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which has not left her this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. And he shall be unto you a restorer of your life, and a nourisher of your old age: for your daughter in law, which loves you, which is better to you than seven sons, has born him. And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it. And the women her neighbors gave it a name, saying, there is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David. (Ruth 4:9-17).
Ruth remained compassionate, loyal, brave, faithful, and a virtuous women, trusting, and now we add Blessed by the LORD God. It was beautiful how Ruth uplifted Naomi by telling her she was blessed by the LORD. Now Naomi was no longer alone without kinsmen. Her grandson would one day grow up to be the greatest King David and eventually part of the lineage of Jesus Christ. Ruth also told Naomi that this grandson Obed would restore her life, and nourish Naomi in her old age. Ruth still proclaims her love to Naomi.
It is such an encouraging beautiful magnificent story how two simple women shared a journey of heartbreak, anguish, uncertainty and grief. They clung together and held on to their virtuous characters and then was rewarded by the LORD God in many ways. Our journeys through life is always easier and less problematic when we share it and allow the LORD to guide it.
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MLA Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne “Ruth:.” Becker Bible Studies Library Feb 2015.< https://guidedbiblestudies.com/?p=2296,>.
APA Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne (2015, February) “Ruth:.” Becker Bible Studies Library. Retrieved from https://guidedbiblestudies.com/?p=2296,.
Chicago Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne (2015) “Ruth:.” Becker Bible Studies Library (February), https://guidedbiblestudies.com/?p=2296, (accessed).