Ruth and Naomi
adapted story from the Bible
by Melineze Logan Hite
There was once a family of travelers who were journeying to the country of Moab. The family of four was from Bethlehemjudah- Elimelech, Naomi, and their two sons, Chilion and Mahlon. There was famine in their land, and they sought a home in Moab. The father, Elimech, died there in Moab, and Naomi and her sons grieved his great lost. However, the sons met and married two fine Moabite women. Orpah was married to Chilion; Ruth was married to Mahlon. For ten years the family lived in this land until the untimely deaths of both of Naomi's sons.
Naomi said to her daughter in laws, "Go, return each to her mother's house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me." Ruth 1:8
They both loved Naomi who was a God fearing woman. "They said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people." Ruth 1: 10 Naomi would not hear of this idea. She felt that her life was over, and she knew that the women had their whole lives ahead of them. They needed to return to their families and later find someone else to marry. She loved both of the women and wished both of them well. There was no hope of prosperity and success with her. Naomi felt as though her life had been cursed. "Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me?...Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband." Ruth 1:11-12 Ruth knew that she did not have any means in which to take care of them and protect them. Because she loved them so, she ordered them to separate from her and go home to their parents. She sadly stated, "For it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me." Ruth 1: 13
Orpah wept, kissed Naomi, and went tearfully back to her original family. However, Ruth clung to Naomi very tightly, and she could not be persuaded to leave her mother in law. Naomi said to her, " Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law." Ruth 1: 15 Ruth stubbornly declared, "Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou diest, 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 1:16-17 Naomi suddenly and clearly knew that she could not convince the young woman to leave her, so they traveled together to Bethlehem, Naomi's home.
When others saw Naomi returning, she told the people sadly, " I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?"Ruth 1: 21 Naomi was so deeply depressed and overcome with her sorrows and losts that she did not realize nor could she clearly see that she had gained something so very perfect, a loving and faithful daughter in law.
It was harvest time in the fields and a relative of Naomi's husband owned a part of the field. His name was Boaz, the son of Salmon, and he was a wealthy, well respected, and very influential man. Ruth went out to the fields and sought a job working for Boaz. She said to a man in charge in the field, "I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves." Ruth 2:7 She worked very hard for many hours in the hot sun, and when Boaz arrived to check on the work that day, he asked his worker, the same man who had given Ruth the job in the field in the morning, "Whose damsel is this?" Ruth 2: 5 Boaz was quite impressed with her, and he had heard only good things about her. Boaz went to her and said, "Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens."Ruth 2:8 He wanted her to stay and work for him only. He added, "Have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee?" Ruth 2: 9 He had made sure that she would be safe and protected. Ruth was so grateful for his kindness and his notice of her. "Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me , all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore" Ruth 2: 10-11 He had great respect for her because of her great love for Naomi and because of her great courage. Yes, Ruth knew not the future, yet she was unafraid to set out for the unknown with Naomi. Ruth was good and true! He blessed her, by saying, "The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust." Ruth 2: 12
Ruth believed strongly in Naomi's god. Ruth truly had trust in God. Boaz was very kind to Ruth. She immediately liked him also. She appreciated his words of encouragement and praise. She said to him, "Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens." Ruth 2:13 She only thought of herself as just a stranger, just another young woman working in the field. Yes, she was not like the other young women. Indeed! She was something very special! She would cherish his kind words to her.
The next day she worked for Boaz, and her work load this day was not at all difficult. Boaz had instructed the men earlier to not criticize her work or disgrace her in any way. In fact, the work was made easier for her. The young men did much of the heavier and difficult cutting for her. "Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not: And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not." Ruth 2: 15-16
Naomi began to ponder over this situation at hand. It seemed as if she could tell where things were headed, and she wisely seemed to know exactly what to do. Naomi had faith in God that things would change for the better for them. She told her daughter in law to stay among the women workers, not the men, and stay in Boaz's field only, until the end of barley and wheat harvests. Ruth obeyed.
Later, Naomi requested that Ruth do the following: "Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy rainment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: and make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking. And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do." Ruth 3:3-4 Naomi told Ruth to go to Boaz's secretly, hide herself, lie down at his feet once he is asleep at night, and uncover his feet without his knowledge. Although it would be a difficult task to perform and it was very questionable behavior, Ruth, forever faithful and obedient to Naomi replied, "All that thou sayest unto me I will do." Ruth 3:5
At midnight Boaz wakened to find a strange woman at his feet. In Ruth 3: 3:9 of the Bible it was recorded, "Who are thou?," he cried out. "I am Ruth thine handmaid," she calmly assured him. He began to think about this peculiar situation that they have found themselves in. He was a single man; she was a widowed woman, single also. However, the situation looked bad, for they were both believers in the faith. They knew that adultery was a great sin, and they would not allow their earthly desires or their flesh to overcome their belief in the laws of Moses dictated by God Almighty. Knowing that she was a virtuous woman of respectable character, he knew what he must do, so he requested that she remain there, alone, until the morning arrived, then leave as quietly as possible, telling no one of what had transpired there. "And she lay 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." Ruth 3:14 She would tell no one about this night. No one, except Naomi, her confidant. Before she left, Boaz gave Ruth six measures of barley to take with her home. Naomi, after hearing everything that happened that night, advised Ruth to "Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day." Ruth 3: 18
Boaz went to the gate of the city and requested that ten elders of the city sit, along with a near kinsman of his, while he talked to them about an important matter. He told them that, "Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's." Ruth 4:3 He wanted to know before the trusted men of the city, whether the kinsman wished to purchase the land. The kinsman wanted to redeem the land, but he finally declared after much thought , "I cannot redeem it for myelf, lest I mar mine own inheritance."Ruth 4:6 The kinsman could not afford to purchase the property and take on all of its burdens. Boaz could and did. Boaz bought the property, and as the custom of the day dictated, a shoe was taken off and given which signified that a legal transaction was made before witnesses. Boaz proudly announced to all, "You are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's,and of the hand of Naomi. Moreover 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." Ruth 4: 9-10
Boaz and Ruth became husband and wife, and they had a son. Naomi was overjoyed. She felt as though she was somewhat responsible for bringing these two fine individuals together in marriage. And indeed she was! Her actions caused Boaz to make the right move without any further delay. He knew that he wanted to do the right thing and be married to Ruth.
"And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the Lord, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him. And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it." Ruth 4: 14-16 Naomi loved the baby boy which the female neighbors named Obed. And Obed, although he may not be well known today, was the father of Jesse. And Jesse was the father of David. And David was the little shepherd boy, about whom millions have heard and read in the Bible stories and at bedtime, who slew Goliath. David was also the king of Israel for 40 years. He married the beautiful Bathsheba, and they gave birth to Solomon, the great and wise King Solomon who ruled over all of Israel for 40 years, also. From the bloodline of the obedient, loving, true, and faithful Ruth, great kings have come forth, and Israel had been blessed by Almighty God.