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  The Great Bible Story #52
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The story of Ruth

Jacob Ninan
When there was a famine in the land, Elimelech from the tribe of Judah went over to Moab along with his wife Naomi and two sons, Mahlon and Chilion. Elimelech died there, and the sons married two women of Moab called Orpah and Ruth. After some time these sons also died, and Naomi was left with her daughters in law. She decided to go back to Israel and told them that she could no longer provide for them and that they should return to their fathers' houses. Orpah went back, but Ruth decided to stay on with Naomi, and accept her God as her God. So they both came to Bethlehem. The barley harvest was going on at that time.

The laws of Israel permitted poor people to pick up stray grains during a harvest and that was what Naomi asked Ruth to do for their survival. Ruth happened to go to the field of a man called Boaz who noticed her among his workers and arranged for her to glean grain without obstruction from them. He told her that he had heard about how she had stayed on with her mother in law and been helping her. In the evening when she went home she told Naomi that she had been gleaning from a field belonging to a man called Boaz. Naomi thought that this was something arranged by God because Boaz was one her close relatives. According to the custom of that time, the closest relative had the right to receive the property of a relative who had died. Naomi was hoping that Boaz would do that for her dead husband, and in doing so he might also take the responsibility to marry Ruth.

So Naomi told Ruth to go and find out where Boaz slept at night in the field after the day's harvest, and to lie down near his feet. When Boaz woke up in the middle of the night he was startled to see a woman at his feet. When he discovered it was Ruth he asked her to lie there quietly and to leave early in the morning before anyone else recognised her.

The next day Boaz went to meet another relative who was closer to Elimelech than he, and they met in front of the leaders of the city. Boaz asked this man whether he was interested in redeeming the property of Elimelech and along with it take responsibility for Ruth. That man was not willing. Then it became Boaz's turn to take over the responsibility. So he took Ruth as his wife. They had a son called Obed who later had a son called Jesse. Why we are looking at this story is because Jesse became the father of David whom we are going to meet in a short while!


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Comfort & Counsel