How a Moabite Woman Found God

During the time that the judges ruled over the Israelites people, there was a famine in the land and people did not have enough to eat. So a man named Elimelech took his wife and two sons to the land of Moab to live. He died there and his two sons married Moabite girls. About ten years later his sons died also, leaving his wife Naomi alone with her two daughter-in-laws who were named Orpah and Ruth.

Now the Moabite people did not worship God; instead they worshiped an idol they called Chemosh. Sometimes they even sacrificed their children in a fire to Chemosh. But while Orpah and Ruth lived with Naomi, they learned about the one true God.

Some time later Naomi heard that there was enough to eat in the land of Israel and so she decided to move back home. When her two daughter-in-laws started off with her, she told them, "Go back to your Mothers. May God be good to you and let you marry again." Then she kissed them Good-by. At first they both started to cry and said they would go with her, but then Orpah kissed her Mother-in-law good-bye and went back home.

But Ruth would not go back to her Mother's house. She told Naomi, "Where you go, I will go. Where you live, I will live. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God." So Naomi took Ruth with her to the town of Bethlehem.

There the people were glade to see her and they said, "Is this really Naomi?" But Naomi answered, "Don't call me Naomi (which means "pleasant") "call me Marah" (which means "bitter") Now it was the beginning of the barley harvest when they came to Bethlehem. So Ruth Told Naomi, "Let me go out and gather the grain that the Harvest Workers leave." Naomi said, "Go, daughter." So Ruth went out and began to gather the grain that was left behind in a field that belonged to a man named Boaz.

Later Boaz came to the field and greeted his workers. "Who is the young woman?" he asked the man in charge. He answered, "She is the foreign girl who came from Moab with Naomi. "She asked me to let her follow the workers and gather the grain that they left. She has been working all morning and has just now stopped to rest." So Boaz went over to Ruth and told her, "Stay here in my field to gather grain. I will warn the young men not to hurt you." She asked, "Why are you so kind to a Foreigner?" He said, "I have heard how you have helped your mother-in-law. May God repay you for your kindness." So that day she gathered much grain in the field of Boaz.

When she went home, Naomi was surprised at how much grain she had gathered and asked where she had been. When she learned that Ruth had been in the field of Boaz, she said, "He was a close relative of my dead husband."

So every day during the barley harvest Ruth gathered grain in the field of Boaz. At the end of the Barley harvest Naomi said to Ruth, "I must find you a husband. I will tell you what to do. Tonight when Boaz is finished working, go to him and say, "You are a close relative who must take care of me. Please marry me." So Ruth did this. Boaz said, "Don't worry, Ruth. I will do as you ask. Everyone in town knows you are a fine woman. It's true that I am a close relative. But there is a man who is a closer relative than I am. Tomorrow we will find out whether he will care of you."

So the next day Boaz went to the town gate and sat down, when the man who was a closer relative came by, Boaz said, "Sit down, friend." Then Boaz got ten of the leaders of the town and asked them to sit down too. He said to his relative, "Naomi is going to sell the field that belongs to Elimelech. You have the first right to buy it; I have the next right to buy it. Do you want to buy it?" The man said, "I will buy it." Then Boaz said, "Very well, if you buy his field then you must also marry his daughter-in-law Ruth, so that the field will stay in the dead man's family. The man answered, "In that case, I cannot buy it, since that would mean that my own children could not inherit it. You buy it."

So Boaz bought the field and married Ruth. They had a son and he was named Obed. And the woman of the town said, "Now Naomi has a grandson to help take care of." Later Obed became the father of Jesse, and Jesse became the father of David, who was the most famous king of the Israelites.

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