Free eBook: Getting Through the Storms in Life

Ruth 1; Ruth 2; Ruth 3; Ruth 4

1 There was a time when Israel didn't have kings to rule over them. But they had leaders to help them. This is a story about some things that happened during that time. There wasn't enough food in the land of Judah. So a man went to live in the country of Moab for a while. He was from Bethlehem in Judah. His wife and two sons went with him. 2 The man's name was Elimelech. His wife's name was Naomi. The names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went to Moab and lived there. 3 Naomi's husband Elimelech died. So she was left with her two sons. 4 They got married to women from Moab. One was named Orpah. The other was named Ruth. Naomi's family lived in Moab for about ten years. 5 Then Mahlon and Kilion also died. So Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband. 6 While Naomi was in Moab, she heard that the LORD had helped his people. He had begun to provide food for them again. So Naomi and her daughters-in-law prepared to go from Moab back to her home. 7 She left the place where she had been living. Her two daughters-in-law went with her. They started out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah. 8 Naomi spoke to her two daughters-in-law. "Both of you go back," she said. "Each of you go to your own mother's home. You were kind to your husbands, who have died. You have also been kind to me. So may the LORD be just as kind to you. 9 May he help each of you find a secure place in the home of another husband. May he give you peace and rest." Then she kissed them good-by. They broke down and sobbed loudly. 10 They said to her, "We'll go back to your people with you." 11 But Naomi said, "Go home, my daughters. Why would you want to come with me? Am I going to have any more sons who could become your husbands? 12 "Go home, my daughters. I'm too old to have another husband. Suppose I thought there was still some hope for me. Suppose I got married to a man tonight. And later I had sons by him. 13 Would you wait until they grew up? Would you stay single until you could get married to them? No, my daughters. My life is more bitter than yours. The LORD's powerful hand has been against me!" 14 When they heard that, they broke down and sobbed again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-by. But Ruth held on to her. 15 "Look," said Naomi. "Your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her." 16 But Ruth replied, "Don't try to make me leave you and go back. Where you go I'll go. Where you stay I'll stay. Your people will be my people. Your God will be my God. 17 Where you die I'll die. And there my body will be buried. I won't let anything except death separate you from me. If I do, may the LORD punish me greatly." 18 Naomi realized that Ruth had made up her mind to go with her. So she stopped trying to make her go back. 19 The two women continued on their way. At last they arrived in Bethlehem. The whole town was stirred up because of them. The women asked, "Can this possibly be Naomi?" 20 "Don't call me Naomi," she told them. "Call me Mara. The Mighty One has made my life very bitter. 21 I was full when I went away. But the LORD has brought me back empty. So why are you calling me Naomi? The LORD has made me suffer. The Mighty One has brought trouble on me." 22 So Naomi returned from Moab. Ruth, her daughter-in-law from Moab, came with her. They arrived in Bethlehem just when people were beginning to harvest the barley.
1 Naomi had a relative on her husband's side of the family. Her husband's name was Elimelech. The relative's name was Boaz. He was a very important man. 2 Ruth, who was from Moab, spoke to Naomi. She said, "Let me go out to the fields. I'll pick up the grain that has been left. I'll do it behind anyone who is pleased with me." Naomi said to her, "My daughter, go ahead." 3 So Ruth went out and began to pick up grain. She worked in the fields behind those who were cutting and gathering the grain. As it turned out, she was working in a field that belonged to Boaz. He was from the family of Elimelech. 4 Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem. He greeted those who were cutting and gathering the grain. He said, "May the LORD be with you!" "And may the LORD bless you!" they replied. 5 Boaz spoke to the man who was in charge of his workers. He asked, "Who is that young woman?" 6 The man replied, "She's from Moab. She came back from there with Naomi. 7 She said, 'Please let me walk behind the workers. Let me pick up the grain that is left.' Then she went into the field. She has kept on working there from morning until now. She took only one short rest in the shade." 8 So Boaz said to Ruth, "Dear woman, listen to me. Don't pick up grain in any other field. Don't go anywhere else. Stay here with my female servants. 9 Keep your eye on the field where the men are cutting grain. Walk behind the women who are gathering it. Pick up the grain that is left. I've told the men not to touch you. When you are thirsty, go and get a drink. Take water from the jars the men have filled." 10 When Ruth heard that, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked, "Why are you being so kind to me? In fact, why are you even noticing me? I'm from another country." 11 Boaz replied, "I've been told all about you. I've heard about everything you have done for your mother-in-law since your husband died. I know that you left your father and mother. I know that you left your country. You came to live with people you didn't know before. 12 "May the LORD reward you for what you have done. May the God of Israel bless you richly. You have come to him to find safety under his care." 13 "Sir, I hope you will continue to be kind to me," Ruth said. "You have comforted me. You have spoken kindly to me. And I'm not even as important as one of your female servants!" 14 When it was time to eat, Boaz spoke to Ruth again. "Come over here," he said. "Have some bread. Dip it in the wine vinegar." She sat down with the workers. Then Boaz offered her some grain that had been cooked. She ate all she wanted. She even had some left over. 15 Ruth got up to pick up more grain. Then Boaz gave orders to his men. He said, "Suppose she takes some stalks from what the women have tied up. If she does, don't make her look bad. 16 Instead, pull some stalks out for her. Leave them for her to pick up. Don't tell her she shouldn't do it." 17 So Ruth picked up grain in the field until evening. Then she separated the barley from the straw. It amounted to more than half a bushel. 18 She carried it back to town. Her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out the food that was left over from the lunch Boaz had given her. She gave it to Naomi. 19 Her mother-in-law asked her, "Where did you pick up grain today? Where did you work? May the man who noticed you be blessed!" Then Ruth told her about the man whose field she had worked in. "The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz," she said. 20 "May the LORD bless him!" Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. "The LORD is still being kind to those who are living and those who are dead." She continued, "That man is a close relative of ours. He's one of our family protectors." 21 Then Ruth, who was from Moab, said, "He told me more. He even said, 'Stay with my workers until they have finished bringing in all of my grain.' " 22 Naomi replied to her daughter-in-law Ruth. She said, "That will be good for you, my daughter. Go with his female servants. You might be harmed if you go to someone else's field." 23 So Ruth stayed close to the female servants of Boaz as she picked up grain. She worked until the time when all of the barley and wheat had been harvested. And she lived with her mother-in-law.
1 One day Ruth's mother-in-law Naomi spoke to her. She said, "My daughter, shouldn't I try to find a secure place for you? Shouldn't you have peace and rest? Shouldn't I find a home where things will go well with you? 2 You have been with the female servants of Boaz. He's a relative of ours. Tonight he'll be separating the straw from his barley on the threshing floor. 3 "So wash yourself. Put on some perfume. And put on your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor. But don't let Boaz know you are there. Wait until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 Notice where he lies down. Then go over and uncover his feet. Lie down there. He'll tell you what to do." 5 "I'll do everything you say," Ruth answered. 6 So she went down to the threshing floor. She did everything her mother-in-law had told her to do. 7 When Boaz had finished eating and drinking, he was in a good mood. He went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Then Ruth approached quietly. She uncovered his feet and lay down there. 8 In the middle of the night, something surprised Boaz and woke him up. He turned and found a woman lying there at his feet. 9 "Who are you?" he asked. "I'm Ruth," she said. "You are my family protector. So take good care of me by making me your wife." 10 "Dear woman, may the LORD bless you," he replied. "You are showing even more kindness now than you did earlier. You didn't run after the younger men, whether they were rich or poor. 11 Dear woman, don't be afraid. I'll do for you everything you ask. All of the people of my town know that you are a noble woman. 12 "It's true that I'm a relative of yours. But there's a family protector who is more closely related to you than I am. 13 So stay here for the night. In the morning if he wants to help you, good. Let him help you. But if he doesn't want to, then I'll do it. You can be sure that the LORD lives. And you can be just as sure that I'll help you. Lie down here until morning." 14 So she stayed at his feet until morning. But she got up before anyone could be recognized. Boaz thought, "No one must know that a woman came to the threshing floor." 15 He said to Ruth, "Bring me the coat you have around you. Hold it out." So she did. He poured more than fifty pounds of barley into it and helped her pick it up. Then he went back to town. 16 Ruth came to her mother-in-law. Naomi asked, "How did it go, my daughter?" Then Ruth told her everything Boaz had done for her. 17 She said, "He gave me all of this barley. He said, 'Don't go back to your mother-in-law with your hands empty.' " 18 Naomi said, "My daughter, sit down until you find out what happens. The man won't rest until he settles the whole matter today."
1 Boaz went up to the town gate and sat down there. The family protector he had talked about came by. Then Boaz said, "Come over here, my friend. Sit down." So the man went over and sat down. 2 Boaz brought ten of the elders of the town together. He said, "Sit down here." So they did. 3 Then he spoke to the family protector. He said, "Naomi has come back from Moab. She's selling the piece of land that belonged to our relative Elimelech. 4 I thought I should bring the matter to your attention. I suggest that you buy the land while those who are sitting here and the elders of my people are looking on as witnesses. "If you are willing to buy it back, do it. But if you aren't, tell me. Then I'll know. No one has the right to buy it back except you. And I'm next in line." "I'll buy it," he said. 5 Then Boaz said, "When you buy the land from Naomi and Ruth, who is from Moab, you must get married to Ruth. She's the dead man's widow. So you must take her as your wife. His name must stay with his property." 6 When the family protector heard that, he said, "Then I can't buy the land. If I did, I might put my own property in danger. So you buy it. I can't do it." 7 In earlier times in Israel, there was a certain practice. It was used when family land was bought back and changed owners. The practice made the sale final. One person would take his sandal off and give it to the other. That was how people in Israel showed that a business matter had been settled. 8 So the family protector said to Boaz, "Buy it yourself." And he took his sandal off. 9 Then Boaz spoke to the elders and all of the people. He said, "Today you are witnesses. You have seen that I have bought land from Naomi. I have bought all of the property that had belonged to Elimelech, Kilion and Mahlon. 10 "I've also taken Ruth, who is from Moab, to become my wife. She is Mahlon's widow. I've decided to get married to her so the dead man's name will stay with his property. Now his name won't disappear from his family line. It won't disappear from the town records. Today you are witnesses!" 11 Then the elders and all who were at the gate spoke. They said, "We are witnesses. The woman is coming into your home. May the LORD make her to be like Rachel and Leah. Together they built up the nation of Israel. May you be an important person in Ephrathah. May you be famous in Bethlehem. 12 The LORD will give you children through this young woman. May your family be like the family of Perez. He was the son Tamar had by Judah." 13 So Boaz got married to Ruth. She became his wife. Then he made love to her. The LORD blessed her so that she became pregnant. And she had a son. 14 The women said to Naomi, "We praise the Lord. Today he has provided a family protector for you. May this child become famous all over Israel! 15 He will make your life new again. He'll take care of you when you are old. He's the son of your very own daughter-in-law. She loves you. She is better to you than seven sons." 16 Then Naomi put the child on her lap and took care of him. 17 The women who were living there said, "Naomi has a son." They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David. 18 Here is the family line of Perez. Perez was the father of Hezron. 19 Hezron was the father of Ram. Ram was the father of Amminadab. 20 Amminadab was the father of Nahshon. Nahshon was the father of Salmon. 21 Salmon was the father of Boaz. Boaz was the father of Obed. 22 Obed was the father of Jesse. And Jesse was the father of David.
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