The Story of Ruth

Once there was a great famine in Israel, and a man called Elimelech decided to travel with his wife and children to another country. They settled down in the land of Moab, and after some years Elimelech passed away. His wife, Naomi, and their two sons, who had married women of the region, lived there ten years longer, then the young men also died.
  Naomi felt alone in that strange country, and made up her mind to return to Israel, where the famine had come to an end.
  At first her two daughters-in law-wished to accompany her, but she told them to return to their parents’ homes.
  “Turn back, my daughters,” she said, “why do you want to go with me? I have no more sons that can become your husbands, and I am filled with grief, for your sakes, that I have lost those I had.”
  Then the girl called Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, and returned to her parents’ home, but the girl called Ruth continued to cling to Naomi.
  “See,” said the older woman, “your sister-in-law has gone back to her people. Follow after your sister-in-law.”
  “Oh, entreat me not to leave thee,” said Ruth, “or to return from following after thee; for whither thou goest I will go; and where lodgest I will lodge; thy people shall be my people and where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried.”
  So they travelled together back to Israel and arrived in the town where Naomi used to live. It was the beginning of the barley harvest, and Ruth went out to the fields to glean the grains that the workers had left upon the ground. By chance she chose to work in a part of the field belonging to a rich relation of Elimelech. This man’s name was Boaz, and he was generous and kind-hearted. When he saw the young Moab woman working all alone amongst the barley, he asked who she was.
  “She is the foreign woman who came back with Naomi,” his servants replied. “She works to gather grain for herself and her mother-in-law.”
  Boaz was moved by this story and, calling Ruth to him, told her to remain in his field, and glean all the grain she wanted.
  “My lord, how have I found favour in your eyes?” said Ruth,. “And why do you take any notice of me, seeing that I am a stranger here?
  Then Boaz explained that he had heard all about her, and her journey from Moab to Israel. For the rest of the day he treated her with special kindness and when, shortly afterwards, he learnt of their close kinship, he embraced this opportunity to render her aid.  Ruth and Naomi were welcomed into his house, and soon the marriage was celebrated between Boaz and the foreign girl, who had given up everything for the sake of another.

~Bethan Lewis~        

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