Bible References. Naomi had been a widow for years now, but she was mourning more recent losses​—the deaths of her two sons, Chilion and Mahlon. Copyright © 2020 Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. 3:1) The quality we find in Ruth has thus become more important than ever. 12 As the miles stretched out behind the three widows, another concern began weighing on Naomi. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. She chanced upon the fields of a man named Boaz, a wealthy landowner and a relative of Naomi’s dead husband, Elimelech. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar.” When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. TERMS OF USE But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her. 17:17. 2 And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.” Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” Naomi blessed Boaz and explained the family connection: “The man is a close relative of ours, a kinsman-redeemer” (2:20). 7:3, 4. Their friendship was bonded in a mutual love for God. 5 both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.”, 1 Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat down there just as the guardian-redeemer he had mentioned came along. Ruth, in turn, could understand and give godly compassion and strength back to her. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. 17 and added, “He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, ‘Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’” (a) Describe the journey of Ruth and Naomi and the burden of grief they carried. 13 “May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord,” she said. IN THE Bible you will find a book called Ruth. (a) Why did Naomi’s family move to Moab? That someone was Naomi. In what ways would you like to imitate the faith of Ruth? He was the father of Jesse, the father of David. Imagine Ruth noticing that the afternoon shadows had lengthened, then looking at her mother-in-law and wondering if it was time to find a place to rest for the night. (Ruth 1:4) She knew that her nation’s forefather, Abraham, went to great lengths to procure a wife for his son, Isaac, from among his own people, who worshipped Jehovah. Lie here until morning.” 5 Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, “Who does that young woman belong to?” (Ruth 1:7) They had grown close to Naomi through their shared ordeal. Then he went back to town. And she lived with her mother-in-law. Loyal love​—the kind of love that holds on to its object and simply refuses to let go—​is a powerful force for good in this darkening world. “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 guardian-redeemers.” 4 They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. He knew, too, that Ruth had turned to the worship of Jehovah, for he said: “May Jehovah reward the way you act, and may there come to be a perfect wage for you from Jehovah the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge.”​—Ruth 2:12. The Book of Ruth tells the story of the Ruth and Naomi relationship, her love for her mother in law, and the love and loyalty that not only existed between them but that Ruth had for Naomi’s people. 22 To those kinswomen and neighbors of years past, Naomi revealed how bitter her life had become to her. 21 The two women finally reached Bethlehem, a village about six miles (10 km) south of Jerusalem. 14, 15. 16 Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. She had, indeed, decided to take refuge under the wings of Jehovah God, like a young bird securely nestled against a protective parent. 2 The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. The book of Ruth has been described as a small gem, a masterpiece in miniature. It is a story of friendship, family and redemption. The region consisted mostly of high, sparsely  wooded tablelands cut through by deep ravines. 17 The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. 9 Naomi, for her part, was eager for news of her homeland. She came to know and value someone who knew Him well. As a kinsman-redeemer, Boaz can fix the pair’s problems in one fell swoop by marrying Ruth and providing an heir for Naomi’s deceased husband, thus preserving the family’s land in their name. Ruth's son, Obed, would become King David's grandfather and Ruth would be forever remembered in the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:5). The three widows set off for Judah together. In the Bible Ruth was born to a pagan family and married the Jewish man Boaz. 3 Then he said to the guardian-redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our relative Elimelek. 30 Ruth’s faith in action is an excellent example for all of us today who struggle in these difficult economic times. (Eccl. Naomi was the mother-in-law of Ruth and Orpah. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the family of Israel. 6 Naomi might well have suffered again later when her sons married Moabite women. Jehovah had turned his attention to his people. It swelled with love for Naomi​—and for the God whom Naomi served. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Ruth and Naomi in the Bible. Ruth dedicated herself to Naomi – Read Ruth 1:6-18. Return with your widowed sister-in-law.” (Ruth 1:15) Naomi’s words reveal a vital detail to the reader. (Num. 7 Nevertheless, Mahlon and Chilion married Moabite women. 11 The account of Ruth reminds us that tragedy and loss beset good, honest people as well as bad. 9 May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud But when Ruth learns about the true God Jehovah, she comes to love … As far as Ruth knew, she was going back to … 19 There is no shortage of grief in this world. 26 Ruth probably neither hoped nor expected to be noticed, but she was. Mahlon was her husband. “Then she kissed  them,” the account says, “and they began to raise their voices and weep.” It is not hard to see why Ruth and Orpah felt so attached to this kindhearted and unselfish woman. Try a reflection on this story: Trust in God or Friendship, Ruth could not be budged. She and Naomi were heading to the same destination, the town of Bethlehem in Israel. 6 The overseer replied, “She is the Moabite who came back from Moab with Naomi. 16 When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “How did it go, my daughter?” Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her (See also the pictures of the two women.). 15 What about Ruth? Ruth told her the man’s name was Boaz. Verses 16-17 record Ruth's loyal love: … Ruth continued to glean in Boaz’s field through the wheat harvest. That, in fact, was why Ruth first came into contact with Mahlon and his family.​—Ruth 1:1. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. It was slow, tiring work, and it got harder as the morning wore on. 20 Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon. Ruth and Naomi are not the sort of heroines you’d expect: Naomi is an old, sad woman. 18 So they traveled on, just the two of them now, on the long road to Bethlehem. 6, 7. Young People The transforming power of divine love is the best argument for the truth. (2 Tim. 11 Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. The answers to what questions will help us to imitate the faith of Ruth? She even felt that her name should be changed from Naomi, which means “My Pleasantness,” to Mara, which means “Bitter.” Poor Naomi! Naomi was going home. It’s about loyalty: to God, to family, to each other. We will discuss the matter in the following chapter. Jehovah ruled through love, not terror. In a way, though, their journeys differed. 15 As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, “Let her gather among the sheaves and don’t reprimand her. She revealed that her inability to care for them was a source of real bitterness to her. Ruth 1:16. 23 So Ruth stayed close to the women of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. Perhaps she hoped that they too would someday come to worship Jehovah as she did. Ruth, married to one of Naomi’s sons, did. (b) How can you, like Ruth, take refuge in Jehovah? Doing the Right Thing Often Takes Great Sacrifice. 13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Leviticus 25:25. b. Ruth chose to go with Naomi. Naomi decides that it is time to return to her homeland of Israel and Ruth insists on returning with Naomi. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah. Women in the Bible​—What Can We Learn From Them. The Story of Ruth (second panel) Thomas Rooke, 1876, 1 Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, a man of standing from the clan of Elimelek, whose name was Boaz. Here are a few that stand out to me: Ruth and Naomi Relationship Principle #1 Loyalty. Bible Study Activities has a list of films with similar themes. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. Though the Law gave her the right to glean, she did not take it for granted; she asked the young man in charge of the harvesters for permission to work. Ruth gets her happily ever after by marrying Boaz, but there is also the love that Ruth shows to Naomi by refusing to abandon her. The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?” 3) Family Time. 7 With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah. The book of Ruth starts with the story of Naomi and her husband Elimelech and their two sons fleeing the famine in Israel, and heading to the godless, pagan country called Moab. 5 Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.” 9-11. The love that Ruth felt was so strong and so loyal that she would stick with Naomi wherever she went. Ruth, Naomi and Boaz: a story of loyalty and love, Bible Women Was that how Ruth felt? 12 May the Lord repay you for what you have done. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. Last Spring I led a 10 week study by Kelly Minter entitled: Ruth: loss, love & legacy (the word, loyalty would have fit into the subtitle quite nicely!) What did Ruth do when she chanced upon the fields of Boaz, and what was the gleaning work like? 9 “Who are you?” he asked. b. She and Naomi went from being impoverished widows to a secure life. Boaz said, “Come over here, my friend, and sit down.” So he went over and sat down. (Ruth 1:1) Both books were evidently written by the prophet Samuel. 8 So the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it yourself.” And he removed his sandal. (See also footnote.). 8 Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. 20 “The Lord bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. Ruth was willing to do hard, humble work to provide for herself and Naomi. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. Most important, she never lost sight of where her true refuge lay​—with her protective Father, Jehovah God. 14 So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “No one must know that a woman came to the threshing floor.” “I am your servant Ruth,” she said. Orpah had returned not only to her people but also to “her gods.” She was content to remain a worshipper of Chemosh and other false gods. 25 Imagine Ruth following the harvesters. The story of Ruth and Naomi shows what true loyalty is like. What did Ruth begin to think about, and what provision did the Mosaic Law make for the poor? in the Bible, Daily Life – Prayer – Paintings – Books of the Bible – Bible Paintings. Ruth had before her the opportunity to show her loyal love not only to Naomi but also to the God whom she chose as her own, Jehovah. Boaz and Ruth are a beautiful example of the way that redemption worked in a patriarchal culture. Anything Ruth learned from Mahlon or Naomi about the loving and merciful God of Israel, Jehovah, surely struck her as a marked contrast. 3. 10 I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. 9 Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. 28, 29. I will do for you all you ask. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Deuteronomy 25:5. What kind of a person was Boaz, and how did he treat Ruth?  |  We don’t know what stirrings caused her to cling to her impoverished Hebrew mother-in-law, Naomi, so adamantly. If you will redeem it, do so. These women were not only God’s provision to each other but also a way for Him to make Himself known through their lives. 14 At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come over here. 10 “The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. 5 A famine in Israel had convinced Naomi’s husband, Elimelech, that he must move his wife and two sons away from their homeland and take up living in Moab as aliens. Locate Moab and Bethlehem on map. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. 14 Naomi was not so easily persuaded, though. Ruth reminds us that even during dark and seemingly insurmountable circumstances, when doubts about God overwhelm us, God’s love for us is sure. 8 In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet! They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. In return for this commitment, Ruth the Moabite was welcomed into the story of God’s people. Ruth and Naomi Relationship Principles. 5 “I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered. 17 It is noteworthy that Ruth did not use only the impersonal title “God,” as many foreigners might; she also used God’s personal name, Jehovah. 21 Salmon the father of Boaz, Boaz the father of Obed. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. We need it in marriage, we need it in family relations, we need it in friendships, we need it in the Christian congregation. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left over after she had eaten enough. It’s about loyalty: to God, to family, to each other. Bible Story Time: Preschool thru Grade 1: Read The Story of Ruth and Naomi (or read from your own store bought children's bible).. Grades 2 and 3: It's tough to know when it's the right time to start readings from the Bible, but if the children have been read a children's version of the story in the past, I believe this is a good age to introduce the King James (or your preferred) bible reading. The story of Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi teaches us the importance of being loyal and the blessings that God when we are kind-hearted and humble. After their husbands died, Naomi urged both of them to remarry. Imitate Their Faith, Share “The fields of Moab” often proved to be fertile farmland, even when famine stalked Israel. The move must have presented challenges to the faith of each family member, for Israelites needed to worship regularly at the sacred place Jehovah had designated. 16 As she faced Naomi on that lonely road, Ruth’s heart was sure and clear. (b) Why was Naomi’s treatment of her daughters-in-law commendable? 3 Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. Ruth and Naomi are not the sort of heroines you’d expect: Despite this, these two women survive and thrive. 8 Did Ruth’s religious background prepare her for such a tragedy? RUTH walked beside Naomi on a road that stretched across the high, windswept plains of Moab. Your people will be my people, and your God my God. 1 In the days when the judges ruled, [] there was a famine in the land. In the wake of her devastating loss, Ruth may have drawn even closer to Naomi and listened willingly to the older woman as she spoke  about the almighty God, Jehovah, his wonderful works, and the loving, merciful way he dealt with his people. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!” (See also the box “ A Masterpiece in Miniature.”) First, let us consider how those two women came to be on that long road to Bethlehem. Some churches observe their feast day on Dec. 20 or July 16. Read about more fascinating women of the Bible, Ruth – Bible Woman – Women of the Old Testament; Bible Study Resource Ruth, Naomi & Boaz – Bible love story. Naomi was ecstatic; she recognized that someone had shown Ruth special favor. & Bathsheba. She gave her son as a husband to Ruth and then led Ruth to another husband. 20-22. They were alone now, two tiny figures in a vast landscape. 13 Finally, Naomi spoke up: “Go, return each one to the house of her mother. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— 31 If we show loyal love as Ruth did and follow her example in humility, industriousness, and appreciation, we will find that our faith too will become a helpful example for others. Bethlehem was again living up to its name, which means “House of Bread.” Naomi decided to return home.​—Ruth 1:6. Why call me Naomi? How, though, did Jehovah provide for Ruth and Naomi? And because this love reflects the very nature of God, we will see His love, grace, steadfastness, compassion, patience, courage, forgiveness, truth, and strength played out within our relationships. Ruth is an example of loyal love not only in her decision to leave her family and her country to go with Naomi to Bethlehem but throughout the book as she lives out her promise to stay with Naomi and to make Naomi’s God her God. This simple domestic drama offers profound lessons about love, loss, faith, and loyalty that can benefit us all. 4, 5. Modern films often tell a story like Ruth’s. Ruth 4:17. The Holy Spirit answers that question definitively in Ruth 1:14. 28 When Ruth asked Boaz what she, a foreigner, had done to deserve his kind favor, he replied that he had heard about all that she had done for her mother-in-law, Naomi. 13 would you wait until they grew up? There is no indication, whatsoever, in the bible account that they were lesbians. 24, 25. She thanked Boaz for speaking to her so reassuringly. 12, 13. It is a story about a family that lived during the time when Israel had judges. (Deut. If they left their homeland and came with her, what could she do for them in Bethlehem? The Moabites worshipped many gods, the chief among them being Chemosh. 2 Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. 14 The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. As they cut through the barley with their flint sickles, she stooped to pick up what they dropped or left behind, bundled the stalks into sheaves, and carried them off to a spot where she could beat out the grain later. If Naomi was concerned or disappointed, she evidently made sure that she showed her daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, genuine kindness and love. 17 So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. The Interpreter’s Bible comments: “The writer thus emphasizes that this foreigner is a follower of the true God.”, ^ par. In the ancient Near East in those days, widows were treated badly. After they had lived there about ten years, She remonstrated: “Look! 18 She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. 10 What would Ruth and Orpah do? He made sure that she had food to eat at lunchtime. So, with a heavy heart, she kissed Naomi good-bye and turned away.​—Ruth 1:11-14. As we cultivate that kind of love, we are imitating the outstanding example of Ruth. That good relationship helped them when tragedy struck. It swelled with love for Naomi —and for the God whom Naomi served. Yet, Ruth kept at it, stopping only to wipe the sweat from her brow and to eat a simple lunch in “the house”​—likely a shelter set up to provide shade for the workers. In one of the most endearing parts of this story, Ruth pledges herself to Naomi with such lasting covenant words that they are frequently spoken in weddings. Our friendships should be built upon the firm foundation of love for the Lord. Ruth was venturing into the unknown, leaving her own kin, her homeland, and all its customs​—including its gods—​behind her.​—Read Ruth 1:3-6. The Love of Christ: Exemplified Towards: His Apostles. 19 Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab. She had family there in Moab, a mother, and a home that was waiting for her. In learning the answers, we will find much to imitate in the faith of Ruth the Moabitess. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” There the Scriptures say -- without apology, embarrassment, or qualification -- that Ruth felt the same way toward Naomi as spouses are supposed to feel toward each other. Naomi’s arguments applied to her as well. God loved Ruth and Naomi. How so? Imitate Their Faith, Audio download options Your people will be my people and your God my God. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me – a foreigner?” 21 Then Ruth the Moabite said, “He even said to me, ‘Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.’” a. Orpah went back to her people. Granted, the book has neither the sweep nor the scope of the book of Judges, which precedes it and provides the time setting for Ruth. 30, 31. Ruth in particular, it seems, was drawn to Naomi’s kindness and her steadfast faith in Jehovah. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. (Read 1 John 4:7, 8, 20.) And they went to Moab and lived there. 7 When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. Where you die I shall die, and there is where I shall be buried. 23 It was a remarkable law, surely unlike anything Ruth knew in her homeland. Today you are witnesses!” Where did you work? (a) What kind of reputation did Ruth have? 3 Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Yet the greatest blessing was not the money, the marriage, or the child; it was the quality of love and respect between Ruth, Boaz, and Naomi. 9 Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelek, Kilion and Mahlon. 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