Ruth 1:1–4:22

Naomi Loses Her Husband and Sons

1 In the days when the judges ruled,a a there was a famine in the land.b So a man from Bethlehem in Judah,c together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a whiled in the country of Moab.e The man’s name was Elimelek,f his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion.g They were Ephrathitesh from Bethlehem,i Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.

Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women,j one named Orpah and the other Ruth.k After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilionl also died,m and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.

Naomi and Ruth Return to Bethlehem

When Naomi heard in Moabn that the Lord had come to the aid of his peopleo by providing foodp for them, she and her daughters-in-lawq prepared to return home from there. With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.

Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home.r May the Lord show you kindness,s as you have shown kindness to your dead husbandst and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find restu in the home of another husband.”

Then she kissedv them goodbye and they wept aloudw 10 and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”

11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands?x 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons—13 would you wait until they grew up?y Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitterz for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!a

14 At this they weptb aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-lawc goodbye,d but Ruth clung to her.e

15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-lawf is going back to her people and her gods.g Go back with her.”

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave youh or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go,i and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my peoplej and your God my God.k 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely,l if even death separates you and me.”m 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.n

19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem.o When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirredp because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”

20 “Don’t call me Naomi,b” she told them. “Call me Mara,c because the Almightyd q has made my life very bitter.r 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty.s Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflictede me;t the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”

22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite,u her daughter-in-law,v arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvestw was beginning.x

Ruth Meets Boaz in the Grain Field

2 Now Naomi had a relativey on her husband’s side, a man of standingz from the clan of Elimelek,a whose name was Boaz.b

And Ruth the Moabitec said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover graind behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.e

Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters.f As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek.g

Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The Lord be with you!h

“The Lord bless you!i” they answered.

Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, “Who does that young woman belong to?”

The overseer replied, “She is the Moabitej who came back from Moab with Naomi. She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheavesk behind the harvesters.’ She came into the field and has remained here from morning till now, except for a short restl in the shelter.”

So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.”

10 At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground.m She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice men—a foreigner?o

11 Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-lawp since the death of your husbandq—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not knowr before.s 12 May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord,t the God of Israel,u under whose wingsv you have come to take refuge.w

13 “May I continue to find favor in your eyes,x my lord,” she said. “You have put me at ease by speaking kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servants.”

14 At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come over here. Have some bready and dip it in the wine vinegar.”

When she sat down with the harvesters,z he offered her some roasted grain.a She ate all she wanted and had some left over.b 15 As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, “Let her gather among the sheavesc and don’t reprimand her. 16 Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuked her.”

17 So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshede the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah.a f 18 She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left overg after she had eaten enough.

19 Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!h

Then Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. “The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz,” she said.

20 “The Lord bless him!i” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law.j “He has not stopped showing his kindnessk to the living and the dead.” She added, “That man is our close relative;l he is one of our guardian-redeemers.b m

21 Then Ruth the Moabiten said, “He even said to me, ‘Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.’ ”

22 Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with the women who work for him, because in someone else’s field you might be harmed.”

23 So Ruth stayed close to the women of Boaz to glean until the barleyo and wheat harvestsp were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law.

Ruth and Boaz at the Threshing Floor

3 One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomiq said to her, “My daughter, I must find a homea r for you, where you will be well provided for. Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relatives of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor.t Wash,u put on perfume,v and get dressed in your best clothes.w Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking.x When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.”

“I will do whatever you say,”y Ruth answered. So she went down to the threshing floorz and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.

When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits,a he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile.b Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet!

“Who are you?” he asked.

“I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garmentc over me, since you are a guardian-redeemerb d of our family.”

10 “The Lord bless you,e my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier:f You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. 11 And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character.g 12 Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family,h there is another who is more closely related thani I. 13 Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer,j good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord livesk I will do it.l Lie here until morning.”

14 So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “No one must know that a woman came to the threshing floor.mn

15 He also said, “Bring me the shawlo you are wearing and hold it out.” When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and placed the bundle on her. Then hec went back to town.

16 When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “How did it go, my daughter?”

Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her 17 and added, “He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, ‘Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’ ”

18 Then Naomi said, “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.”p

Boaz Marries Ruth

4 Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gateq and sat down there just as the guardian-redeemera r he had mentioneds came along. Boaz said, “Come over here, my friend, and sit down.” So he went over and sat down.

Boaz took ten of the elderst of the town and said, “Sit here,” and they did so.u Then he said to the guardian-redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from Moab, …

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