The Book Of RUTH
The book of Ruth tells the story of three people: Naomi, a widow from
Bethlehem in Judah; Ruth, her daughter-in-law from Moab; and Boaz, a
gentleman farmer from Bethlehem. Ruth, in a supreme act of devotion,
follows Naomi home from Moab and there meets Boaz, Naomi's close
relative. Boaz understands that Ruth, though a foreigner, is a woman of
worth. Through a scheme of Naomi to send Ruth to meet Boaz in secret,
and through the cleverness of Boaz, who claims Ruth before the city
elders, Boaz and Ruth
marry and have a child, thus insuring the continuation of the Davidic line that eventually leads to the birth of Jesus.
The book of Ruth shows how the actions and commitments of ordinary and
even unexpected people such as foreigners and widows can change the
course of history for the better. The book helps the reader redefine
family, appreciate the significant role of the righteous foreigner, and
look to the importance of living up to the spirit rather than the letter
of the law. God works through the actions of a widow, a foreigner, and a
wealthy farmer to bring about the birth of the grandfather of King
David, which ultimately leads to the birth of Jesus.
Ruth is an independent narrative that might have been written any time
from David's reign to postexilic times. Some suggest that the emphasis
on the righteous foreign woman (Ruth) was specifically intended to
counter the attitude toward foreign women found in the postexilic period
of Ezra and Nehemiah (Ezra 10:1-5; Nehemiah 13:1-3).
The book of Ruth tells the story of how a widow, Naomi; her
daughter-in-law from Moab, Ruth; and a wealthy farmer from Bethlehem,
Boaz, make possible the birth of Obed, the grandfather of King David.
The book of Ruth, like so many of the individual narratives in Genesis
through Kings, uses action, dialog, suspense, humor, irony, and an acute
sense of human character to illustrate lessons of history and theology.
Readers should attend to understanding the characters, the settings,
and the major themes as well as repeated or emphasized ideas or words.
AUTHOR: Diane Jacobson, Professor of Old Testament (Luther Seminary)
1 Now it
came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine
in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the
country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.
2 And the
name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the
name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah.
And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.
3 And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.
they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was
Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten
5 And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.
she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the
country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the
LORD had visited his people in giving them bread.
she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in
law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of
Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her
mother's house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the
dead, and with me.
LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her
husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.
10 And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people.
Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there
yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?
again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband.
If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night,
and should also bear sons;
ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from
having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your
sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me.
14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.
15 And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.
Ruth said, 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:
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.
18 When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.
they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when
they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and
they said, Is this Naomi?
20 And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.
21 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?
Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her,
which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in
the beginning of barley harvest.
1 And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz.
Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and
glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she
said unto her, Go, my daughter.
3 And she
went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap
was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the
kindred of Elimelech.
behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be
with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.
5 Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this?
6 And the
servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the
Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab:
7 And she
said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the
sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until
now, that she tarried a little in the house.
said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in
another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens:
thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them:
have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and
when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the
young men have drawn.
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?
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.
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.
she said, 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.
Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread,
and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and
he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and
when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying,
Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not:
16 And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.
17 So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley.
she took it up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what
she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had
reserved after she was sufficed.
her mother in law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned to day? and
where wroughtest thou? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee.
And she shewed her mother in law with whom she had wrought, and said,
The man's name with whom I wrought to day is Boaz.
Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath
not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said
unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.
21 And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said unto me also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest.
Naomi said unto Ruth her daughter in law, It is good, my daughter, that
thou go out with his maidens, that they meet thee not in any other
23 So she
kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley
harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law.
1 Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee?
2 And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.
thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and
get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man,
until he shall have done eating and drinking.
4 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.
5 And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do.
6 And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.
when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie
down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered
his feet, and laid her down.
8 And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet.
9 And he
said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread
therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.
10 And he
said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast shewed
more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou
followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.
now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest:
for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.
12 And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.
this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto
thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman's part: but if
he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part
of a kinsman to thee, as the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning.
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
he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when
she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and
she went into the city.
16 And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her.
17 And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law.
said she, 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
went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the
kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one!
turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down.
2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down.
3 And he
said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of
Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's:
4 And I
thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and
before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but
if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is
none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will
said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou
must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise
up the name of the dead upon his inheritance.
6 And the
kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own
inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it.
this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and
concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his
shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel.
8 Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe.
Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses
this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was
Chilion's and Mahlon's, of the hand of Naomi.
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.
all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are
witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like
Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do
thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem:
let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah,
of the seed which the LORD shall give thee of this young woman.
13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son.
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.
15 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.
16 And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it.
the women her neighbors gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to
Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the
father of David.
18 Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron,
19 And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab,
20 And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon,
21 And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed,
22 And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.