The Story of Ruth and Naomi
Ruth's story is one of the most beautiful ones to be found in the
Old Book. As a tale of the harvest, it deserves to be included in
NOW it came to pass, many hundreds of years ago,
that there was a good woman named Naomi who
lived in the land of the Moabites. She had once been
very rich and happy, but now her husband was dead and
her two sons also, and she had left only Orpah and
Ruth, the wives of her sons. There was a famine in
the land. Naomi could find no grain in the fields to
beat into flour. She and Orpah and Ruth were lonely
and sad and very hungry.
But Naomi heard there was a land where the Lord
had visited His people and given them bread; so she
went forth from the place where she was, and her two
daughters with her, to the land called Judah. It was
a long, hard way to go. There were rough roads to
travel and steep hills to climb. Their feet grew so
weary they could scarcely walk, and at last Naomi said:
"Go, return each to your father's house. The Lord
deal kindly with you as you have dealt with me. The
Lord grant you that you may find rest."
Then she kissed them, and Orpah kissed her and left
her, but Ruth would not leave Naomi. And Naomi
said to Ruth:
"Behold, thy sister is gone back unto her own people;
But Ruth clung to Naomi more closely, as she said:
"Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following
after thee: for whither thou goest, there will I
go; and where thou lodgest, there will I lodge. Thy
people shall be my people, and thy God my God."
When Naomi saw that Ruth loved her so much, she
forgot how tired and hungry she was, and the two
journeyed on together until they came to Bethlehem
in Judah in the beginning of the barley harvest. There
was no famine in Bethlehem. The fields were full of
waving grain, and busy servants were reaping it and
gathering it up to bind into sheaves. Above all were
the fields of the rich man, Boaz, shining with barley
Naomi and Ruth came to the edge of the fields and
watched the busy reapers. They saw that after each
sheaf was bound, and each pile of corn was stacked, a
little grain fell, unnoticed, to the ground. Ruth said
to Naomi: "Let me go to the field and glean the ears
of corn after them." And Naomi said to her, "Go, my
daughter." And she went, and came and gleaned in
the field after the reapers.
And Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to his
reapers: "Whose damsel is this?" for he saw how
very beautiful Ruth was, and how busily she was gleaning.
The reapers said: "It is the damsel that came
back with Naomi out of the land of the Moabites."
And Ruth ran up to Boaz, crying: "I pray you, let me
glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves."
And Boaz, who was good and kind, said to Ruth:
"Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in
any other field, but abide here."
Then Ruth bowed herself to the ground, and said:
"Why have I found such favour in thine eyes, seeing I
am a stranger?"
And Boaz answered her: "It hath been showed
me all that thou hast done to thy mother."
So, all day, Ruth gleaned in Boaz's fields. At noon
she ate bread and parched corn with the others. Boaz
commanded his reapers to let fall large handfuls of
grain, as they worked, for Ruth to gather, and at night
she took it all home to Naomi.
"Where hast thou gleaned to-day?" asked Naomi,
when she saw the food that Ruth had brought to her.
"The man's name with whom I wrought to-day is
Boaz," said Ruth. And Naomi said: "Blessed be he of
the Lord—the man is near of kin unto us."
So Ruth gleaned daily, and at the end of the barley
harvest the good man Boaz took Ruth and Naomi to
live with him in his own house forever.