Ruth (Biblical book)

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Ruth is the eighth book in the Old Testament of the Bible. It is a pastoral romance between the poor but good widow Ruth, and her equally-poor-and-widowed mother-in-law Naomi, which tells of how they triumph over all to become part of the lineage of the future King David.

Naomi and her husband had two sons. Although they were Israelites, the family had emigrated to Moab (modern Jordan). Naomi's husband died and her sons married Moabite women. Then, within ten years, Naomi's sons had died as well. Naomi was left with two childless daughters-in-law. Naomi prepared to return to her homeland and say goodbye to her daughters-in-law, whom she implored to go back to live in their mothers' homes and find new husbands, as both women were still young.

Naomi sent Orpah back to her home with a kiss, but Ruth clung to her and insisted on joining Naomi.

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: Where 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. וַתֹּאמֶר רוּת אַל־תִּפְגְּעִי־בִי לְעָזְבֵךְ לָשׁוּב מֵאַחֲרָיִךְ כִּי אֶל־אֲשֶׁר תֵּלְכִי אֵלֵךְ וּבַאֲשֶׁר תָּלִינִי אָלִין עַמֵּךְ עַמִּי וֵאלֹהַיִךְ אֱלֹהָֽי׃ בַּאֲשֶׁר תָּמוּתִי אָמוּת וְשָׁם אֶקָּבֵר כֹּה יַעֲשֶׂה יְהוָה לִי וְכֹה יֹסִיף כִּי הַמָּוֶת יַפְרִיד בֵּינִי וּבֵינֵֽךְ׃
(Ruth 1:15-16)

So Ruth traveled by the side of her mother-in-law to Bethlehem where Naomi was recognized with some cheer, but Naomi told them of her plight and sorrow and that her life had become bitter.

In Chapter 2, we have the barley harvest, where Ruth tells Naomi she wishes to go into the fields and pick up whatever the harvesters had missed, and in that way provide food for herself and Naomi. She turned up in the field of a man named Boaz who was a relative of Naomi, and had heard of Ruth's kindness to Naomi. He looked out for Ruth, telling her to continue to pick the leftovers in his field, as he had instructed that she was not to be bothered. When Ruth went back to Naomi at the end of the day and Naomi asked her where she had found such favor, she was pleased to learn it was with Boaz, a close relative. Ruth continued to pick in Boaz's field and provide for her mother-in-law until the harvest was finished, at which time Naomi told Ruth the Jewish custom of how to show interest in being taken as a wife, and who better than with Boaz? Boaz was flattered, especially since she had chosen him, a man along in years, when she was so young. There was another closer relative who had first right to marry Ruth; the relative, however, refused to confuse the inheritance of his own line and disclaimed the match, clearing the way for Boaz to take Ruth as his wife. The two were married, and first child born was considered to be Naomi's son carrying on the line of her deceased husband, as was the Jewish custom. And that child was named Obed, he was the father of Jesse, and grandfather of David.

Ruth was the great-grandmother of King David, the very line of lineage from which Jesus came.

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