man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went
to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man's name was Elimelech,
his wife's name Naomi
Now Elimelech, Naomi's husband,
died, and she was left with her two sons. 4They married Moabite women,
one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about
ten years, 5both Mahlon and Kilion also died
But Ruth replied, "Don't
urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go,
and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your
God my God. 17Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.
May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death
separates you and me."
So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied
by Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as
the barley harvest was beginning
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 favour."
Boaz said to Ruth, "My daughter,
listen to me. Don't go and glean in another field and don't go away
from here. Stay here with my servant girls. Watch the field where the
men are harvesting, and follow along after the girls. I have told the
men not to touch you. And whenever you are.
Naomi said to her daughter-in-law.
"He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the
dead." She added, "That man is our close relative; he is one
of our kinsman-redeemers."
The LORD bless you, my daughter,"
he replied. "This kindness is greater than that which you showed
earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor.
And now, my daughter, don't be afraid. I will do for you all you ask.
So Boaz took Ruth and she became
the father of Obed, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of
Ruth is the story of human failure (fleeing
God's provision), tragedy (loss of husband and sons), loyalty (Ruth's
commitment to Naomi), ‘chance' circumstances (harvest and relative
owner), gentle grace (both Ruth's and Boaz's actions) and cultural
tradition (the redeemer laws).
To us today the ‘redeemer' laws may
seem strange but they ensured a widow would be looked after and had
a new future.
So much hinged on Ruth's commitment
to Naomi and although God is not mentioned, it seems His hidden hand
of providence is at work as a number of ‘coincidences' occur to bring
about the union of Boaz (a gentle older man) and Ruth (a widow from
The story is of how a Moabite (not normally
known as friends of Israel ) becomes part of the community of God's
people. God accepts all-comers.
Matthew's family tree honours Ruth:
the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed,
whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse and Jesse the father
of King David.” (Mt
1:5,6) With Rahab being a Canaanite, it seems as if God is doubly
making the point: God receives people of faith regardless of their
book of Ruth is all about 'redemption'.