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The Story of Ruth

                                 The Story of Ruth

                                By Joyce Webb 2016

The story of Ruth is a true story. It is told in the Old Testament in the book named Ruth.

It is a story a true happening that has a special spiritual meaning.

The story begins in Bethlehem. A Jewish man and wife, Naomi, and their two sons.

There is a famine ( no food) going on in the land of the Jews. So the man decides to take his wife and sons and move to a country next to them----Moab.

They live in Moab for a long time. The boys grow up and get married. Then husband died. Then the sons died. That left 3 women without husbands----widows.

In those days, being a widow with no husband was a big problem. Women did not go out and get a job like today. They stayed home. They could make something to sell and get a little money for food, that was all they could do. That would not make them very much money. They would be very poor.

One day Naomi decided to go back home to Bethlehem. She thinks she will be better off among her own people.

So she tells the 2 wives of her sons what she plans to do. The 2 younger women say they will go with her to Bethlehem.

As they go along on the trip, Naomi talks to the younger women and tells them that it would be best for them to stay in Moab among their own people. They were young and would marry again and have children. It would be better for them to stay in Moab.

Orpah, one of the wives decided that would be a better thing for her to do. So she told Naomi good-bye and she returned home.

Ruth decided she wanted to stay with Naomi and go to Bethlehem with her.

Ruth tells Naomi not to say anything more about her going back home, because she has decided to go with Naomi.

She said to Naomi, your people will become my people, and your God will become my God.

This was a big step for Ruth! Going to live in another land with people she did not know. Learning new ways of doing things.

And worshipping a different God. In Moab Ruth grew up worshipping and praying to idols.

She had married a Jewish man, and he had worshipped the God in heaven. So she knew about Naomi’s God and some of what they believed.

She decides now that she will with her whole heart go with Naomi learn new ways

and worship the God of heaven.

When they arrive in Bethlehem, everyone saw that Naomi had come back.

Towns and villages were small in those days. There were not many people so people knew everyone in the village. So they noticed when a stranger or someone new arrived.

The people were happy to see Naomi and asked about things. She said that they should call her Mara now. Mara meant “bitter”. Because Naomi had lost her husband and sons.

There are no children to carry on the family name and the family lands.

The Bible still calls her Naomi.

It was the time of the harvest of barley---a grain that grew on a tall grass like stalk like wheat.

Workers walked through the fields with a sharp knife that was in the shape of a half circle. They held a handful of stalks with one hand and cut it with the knife.

The stalks were gathered up and taken to a place to beat the grain heads off of the stalks.

The grain would be used for food, or ground up to make flour.

There was a law in the land of the Jews that poor people could follow behind the workers and they could pick up what little few stalks that got dropped.

Also, the corners of the field were not to be cut down by the owner but were to be left for poor people to come and cut it for themselves.

Naomi and Ruth had to find a way to have food. And so, Naomi explained to Ruth how the poor people when out each day to pick up the grain that was dropped behind the workers.

Since Ruth was younger than Naomi she said she would go out to get the grain.

Ruth walked around looking for a field where there were workers. She found one and began to work. She followed behind the workers looking for what they dropped.

The field happened to belong to an man by the name of Boaz.

Boaz came out into the field to see how things were going and he saw this young woman working along behind his hired workers. He asked one of his men who she was.

The man told her that she was the daughter-in-law of Naomi. And that she had been there working hard all morning from sunrise.

Boaz knew that Naomi’s husband was a his relative---family.

So Boaz went to talk to Ruth. He told her that God would bless her for being so kind to come back with Naomi to help her and live with her. He told her that the God under whose wings she has put her self under to trust would bless her and reward her.

This is a new God for Ruth. So will she see if this new God she has trusted in will reward and bless her?

Boaz told her to stay in his fields. Not to go to another man’s field. That she should stay with the women workers and eat with them for lunch and drink the water-----she was to feel welcome to do that with them.

For other poor people there gathering grain they would not do that. Boaz was showing favor to Ruth.

Then Boaz told the men workers not to bother Ruth and leave her alone. And he told the workers where Ruth was working to let some of the stalks they cut to fall on the ground so Ruth would have extra.

Ruth worked in the field all day. She beat the stalks to get the grain and was surprised to see how much grain she had been able to get in one day.

When she got home, she showed it to Naomi and she was surprised, too. Then Ruth told her she was in a field that belonged to Boaz and he had told her to come back.

That was good news. Naomi knew he was a relative- family to her husband.


Ruth worked in the field every day of the harvest. As the end of the harvest was coming,

Naomi told Ruth about a custom/law that the Jewish people had.

This special law was called “kinsman redeemer”. Kin--family--- man a man who is of the family. Redeemer one who pays for another to buy back something.

It was something special that they did to help widows. When a man died and did not have sons to carry on his name and to own his land, this special custom/law was made to help keep the land in the family.

When a woman was left and widow with no sons and she was young enough to marry again it was the responsibility of the dead husband’s closest man relative to marry the widow and give her a son and the dead husband’s land would belong to that son.

The man relative doing this for the widow was doing her a big favor. The man relative got nothing out of it. The son (though his by blood and birth) would be given the family name of the dead husband, and the land of the dead husband would belong to that son.

If the land had been sold in the meantime, this close man relative would buy back the land and it would belong to this newborn son.

Sometimes doing this big favor made problems for the close man relative. He could already be married with one wife or more. He could already have sons.

For him to marry another woman have another son give that son the dead man’s name and land sometimes that made for problems. And so the close man relative did not want to do it.

He was not forced to do it, but there was some shame for him if he was not willing to be kind enough to help the widow.

In Deuteronomy 25:9 It explains the law saying that if the man does not agree to marry the widow the widow has the right to take his sandal off and spit in his face.

We will talk about this shoe thing later.



Naomi talked to Ruth to explain this law. She told Ruth that when the evening came and the men were finished for the day. That Boaz would probably stay where they beat out the stalks of barley. He would sleep there all night to guard the grain from any one stealing it.

Ruth was to bathe, wear a nice robe, put on some spice perfume and go to the field.

She was to wait until the men were all finished. She was to notice where Boaz would lay down to sleep.

She was to wait until he was asleep, then go lie down by his feet, and wait until he noticed that she was there. Then she was to tell him that he was her close relative and he should marry her.

I would think this would take a lot of courage for Ruth to do this.

But she had promised Naomi that she would accept Naomi’s people as her own.

So, Ruth did what Naomi said. She went and watched, and then she did lie down by Boaz’s feet and waited.

Near morning, he woke up. And he noticed someone was at his feet. Then he saw it was a woman. He asked what she was doing there and who she was.

Ruth told him that he was the close man relative and he should marry her.

He was surprised that this young woman was willing to marry him because he was much older. Ruth could have decided to marry some young man and forget about Naomi.

But she was doing this for Naomi’s sake. So the family name would go on and the land would stay in the family.

Boaz told her that she was doing a very kind thing for Naomi.

But, Boaz said that there was another man who was the closest man relative. He should be the one to marry her. But if he did not want to do it, then Boaz would marry her.

Boaz told Ruth to go on home before the sun rose and people got up to start the day.

Later that morning, Boaz went into the village where the men gathered at the gate to talk.

The village leaders would be there and other men. They sat around and talked. Men came there to do business.

When Boaz saw the man who was Naomi’s husband’s closest man relative, he told him about Ruth. That man was already married with sons, and he thought marrying Ruth would make too many problems for him so he did not want to do it.

He told Boaz that he gave up his right and responsibility to do it. That Boaz could do it.

The man took off his shoe and gave it to Boaz as a sign of their agreement.


The shoe in that part of the world even today has special meaning for them.

The shoe had several meanings. Poor people or slaves did not have shoes or sandals to wear they went barefoot.

So the shoe was a sign of having money, and people who wore shoes were looked up to as being higher in rank and importance.

The shoe was also dirty. And if someone took off their shoe and threw it at a person, it showed that they were in shame. It was a insult. Spit on.

The shoe if taken off and given to another in a business deal was a sign that one thing passed from the one man to the other man. If you were buying land or a horse etc, when the deal was agreed upon the one selling or giving up his ownership of it to the other gave his shoe to show that he no longer owned it and it now belonged to the other man.

The other men sitting there heard what was said and they were witnesses to the deal.

Boaz goes back home and marries Ruth.

Ruth has a baby--a son. She gives him to Naomi. That son will be given the family name of Naomi’s dead husband and he will own the land belonging to Naomi’s dead husband.

It is possible that Ruth took care of the baby. But the baby will have Naomi’s husband’s family name not Boaz’s name. The baby will be given the land that belonged to Naomi’s husband----their family land-----not Boaz’s.

Most likely, Ruth and Boaz had more children and they would have Boaz’s name and his land would belong to them.

Naomi’s neighbors said, “There is a son born to Naomi.”

The boy’s name was Obed.

When he grew up, he had a son named Jesse. Jesse had a son named David--who became a king over Israel. He was a great king and much loved by the people.

Many, many years later through David’s family came Jesus.

Ruth the outsider, outside of God’s people and family because of her actions of faith

Became the great many greats grandmother of Jesus Christ, the Saviour, God’s Son.

Was Boaz right? Did the God under whose wings Ruth decided to trust reward her?

Ruth the outsider who had worshipped idols who did not know the God of heaven. Who had nothing who could not help herself.

But she chose to put her trust and believe in the God of heaven.

She was given a redeemer. One who could pay the price to give back what she lost.

She was given a gift of a son and later the honor of being in the family to be the great grand mother of Jesus.


Jesus is our Redeemer. We were without God. We did not know God. We were sinners. We could not pay our way out of our sin. Our spirits were dead in sin. We were “poor” in spirit.

God gave us a gift. He gave us a “redeemer“ Jesus, God‘s son. Jesus paid the death penalty for our sin. We did not have to pay it. We could go free.

Jesus, our Redeemer gives many blessings every day to keep us and give us what we need.

He gave us His family name Christian. ----“children of God” “sons of God” “loved of God”.

He will give us a place/land in heaven with him forever. We will be rich because He redeemed us.

Here is another small “sermon”: Remember Boaz had his workers drop “handfuls” here and there so Ruth could have more.

We can do the same for others----for those in need. Here and there once in a while

we can give “handfuls” to others.

We can do many little things: Take a can of coffee, or jar of instant coffee and visit someone for a few minutes. Give a jar of peanut butter, or jam, a can of noodle soup or vegetable soup, a package of cookies, etc.

Offer to take someone to the grocery store, or offer to pick up groceries for them, etc.

Send an email, or a card. Stop by for a short visit.

Give $10.00 or $5.00 for gas to someone who is having a hard time.

There are many “little” things we can do. We do not have to do something big. Small things show people we are thinking about them, that we care, that they are important.

Most of us can not give big expensive gifts to others, but most of us can give something small here and there once in a while.

As we keep others in mind as do as we can it will show God’s love to another and it will mean a lot to them.

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