Posted by: wwyeshua | August 16, 2019

THE STORY OF RUTH AND NAOMI – Ruth chapter 1 and 2

A long time ago there was a family that lived in Bethlehem of Judea.

Elimelec and his wife Naomi had two sons, Mahlon and Kilion. Then one day there was a great famine in the area and they decided to leave to find food.

They travelled to the nearby land of Moab and settled there. The Moabite people did not worship God but had their own idols.

Some time later Naomi’s husband Elimelec died. The two sons grew up and married Moabite women, one was Ruth and the other was Orpah.

Sadly, after they were there ten years tragedy struck again and Mahlon and Kilion both died. The Bible does not tell what happened to them, it just tells us that they died. It was very sad though because it left three widows, Naomi and her two young Moabite daughter-in-laws, Ruth and Orpah.

 

Then one day Naomi heard that the Lord had provided food for the people back in Bethlehem, so she decided to return. So they all packed up their belongings to go back to their land.

Naomi then told her two daughter-in-laws, “Go back home. Each of you go to your own mother’s house. You have been very kind to me and to my sons who are now dead. I hope the Lord will also be kind to you in the same way. I hope the Lord will give you another home and a new husband.”

Naomi kissed them both goodbye and they cried. ‘We will go back with you to your people,’ they replied. ‘No you must return home,’ Naomi insisted. ‘You can get marry again.’

Orpah and Ruth cried again. Orpah kissed Naomi goodbye and returned home to her mother’s house. Ruth however would not go and held on to Naomi.

‘Orpah has returned to her people and their gods,’ said Naomi. ‘Go back with her.’  

‘Don’t ask me to leave you,’ Ruth replied. ‘Where you go I will go, where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God. Where you die I will die.’

When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to stay with her, she did not insist any longer and they both started their trip on the road to Bethlehem.

They arrived back in Bethlehem just as the barley harvest was beginning. Their arrival caused quite a surprise. Naomi’s grief and suffering had changed her appearance so much that many did not recognize her. ‘Can this be Naomi?’ people asked.

‘Don’t call me Naomi,’ she said. ‘Call me Mara (which means bitter) because God has made my life bitter. I went away with my husband and boys but the Lord has brought me back without them.’

After Naomi and Ruth arrive in Bethlehem they needed food. So Ruth told Naomi, ‘Let me go into the barley fields to pick up the leftover grain.’ The poor were allowed to pick up grain that the harvesters had left on the ground. ‘Go ahead, my daughter,’ Naomi replied.  

So Ruth went into the fields belonging to Boaz, who was a relative of Naomi’s dead husband Elimelec. Later Boaz arrived and greeted the harvesters as he always did. ‘The Lord be with you,’ and they replied, ‘The Lord bless you.’  

Boaz immediately noticed Ruth collecting grain with the poor. ‘Who is that young woman?’ he asked the man in charge of the harvesting. ‘She is the Moabite, who returned with Naomi,’ he answered. ‘She asked permission to pick up grain and has been working very hard.’  

So Boaz went to talk to Ruth and said to her. “Stay here in my field to gather grain for yourself. Do not go to any other person’s field. Continue following behind my women workers. Watch to see which fields they go to and follow them. I have warned the young men not to bother you. When you are thirsty, you may go and drink. Take water from the water jugs that the servants have filled.” 

Then Ruth bowed low with her face to the ground. She said to Boaz, “I am a stranger. Why have you been so kind to notice me?”

Boaz answered her, “I know about all the help you have given to Naomi, your mother-in-law. You helped her even after your husband died. You left your father and mother and your own country. You came to this nation where you did not know anyone. The Lord will reward you for all you have done. You will be paid in full by the Lord, the God of Israel.”

Then Ruth said, “You are very kind to me, sir. You have said kind words to me, your servant. You have given me hope. And I am not even good enough to be one of your servants.”

At mealtime Boaz invited her to eat with the other harvesters. ‘Have some bread and dip it in the vinegar,’ he said. He offered her roasted grain and Ruth ate all she wanted.

When Ruth got up to continue working Boaz gave secret orders to his men. ‘Let her gather even around the bundles of grain. Don’t tell her to go away.  Even pull out some stalks from the bundles and drop them for her to gather.’ So Ruth busily gathered grain until the evening.

Then she separated the grain from the chaff and she had collected about one-half bushel of barley which equals to about 30 pounds or (13,5 kilos). She also brought Naomi the food leftover from the meal she had with Boaz and the harvesters.

Naomi asked her, “Where did you gather all this grain today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who noticed you!” Ruth told her about whose field she had worked in. She said, “The man I worked with today is named Boaz.” Naomi told her daughter-in-law, “The Lord bless him!” Then Naomi told Ruth, “Boaz is one of our close relatives, one who will take care of us.”  

Then Ruth said, “Boaz also told me to come back and continue working. He said, ‘Keep close by my servants until they have finished the harvest.’”

And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law Ruth, “It is good for you to continue working with his women servants. If you work in another field, someone might hurt you.” So Ruth continued working closely with the women servants of Boaz. She gathered grain until the barley harvest was finished. She also worked there through the end of the wheat harvest. And Ruth continued to live with Naomi, her mother-in-law.          

* * * * * * * 

Goodbye, until next time; we will see what God has in store for Ruth and Naomi.

Until then, remember to say your prayers obey your mom and dad and do not forget to go to church and Sunday school next week. 

* * * * * * *

 

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