Once upon a time when the judges led the Israelites, there was a famine in the land. A man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in Moab with his wife, and two sons. His name was Elimelech, his wife was Naomi, and his sons were Mahlon and Chilion; Ephrathites of Bethlehem. They went to Moab and lived there. Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died. She was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women named Orpah and Ruth. They lived there about ten years until Mahlon and Chilion both died. Naomi had lost both her children and her husband.
Planning to leave Moab, she arose with her daughters-in-law. She had heard that Yahva had relieved the famine. She left the place where she lived and, with her daughters-in-law, departed on the road toward Judah. Naomi said to her daughters-in-law; "Go, each of you return to her mother's house. Yahva will bless you since you have treated me well along with our dead husbands. May Yahva grant you rest, each in her husband's house." Then she kissed them and they wept loudly. They said unto her; "No, we will go with you to your people." Naomi said; "Turn back, my daughters. Why will you go with me? Do I have sons in my womb who may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters, go your way. I am too old to have a husband. If I should say that I have hope, if I should even have a husband tonight, and should also bear sons: Would you wait till they were grown? Would you abstain from having husbands? No, my daughters, I grieve greatly for your future. Yahva's blessing is withdrawn from me." They lifted their voice and wept again; Orpah kissed her mother-in-law and turned back but Ruth clung unto her.
She said; "Your sister-in-law goes back to her kin and to her god. Return with your sister-in-law." Ruth said; "Do not beg me to leave you and return from following you. Where you go, I will go and where you live, I will live. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God; where you die, I will die and be buried. May the Lord do this to me, and more, if ever death separates me from you!" When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she quit pleading with her.
So they traveled until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived, the people of the city greeted them; "Is this Naomi?" She said to them; "Do not call me Naomi. Call me Mara for the almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full but Yahva brought me home destitute. Why call me Naomi since Yahva has abandoned me and afflicted me?" So Naomi returned with Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, from Moab. They came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.
Naomi had a wealth kinsman of her husband named Boaz, of the Elimelech family. Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi; "Let me go to the field to glean the ears of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor." She said; "Go, my daughter." She went and gleaned in the field following the reapers. Her luck was to gleam the portion of the field belonging to Boaz. Boaz came from Bethlehem and said to the reapers; "Yahva be with you." They answered him; "Yahva bless you." Then Boaz asked the overseer of the reapers; "Whose girl is this?" The overseer answered; "It is the Moabite girl who came back with Naomi from Moab. She asked me for permission glean following the reapers among the sheaves. She came and has continued since morning until now, except when she rested a little in the house."
Then Boaz said to Ruth; "Do you not hear, my child? Do not leave here to glean in another field, but stay here near my girls. Observe the field where they reap, follow them. I have ordered the young men to not interfere with you. When you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink the water which the young men have drawn." Then she kneeled and bowed low to the ground, saying; "Why do show you favor by acknowledging me since I am a foreigner?" Boaz answered; "I have learned all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband and how you left your father and your mother in the land of your birth to come to people unknown to you. Yahva, the God of Israel under whose wings you have taken refuge, recompenses your work with ample reward." Then she said; "Let me find favor in your eyes, my lord. You have comforted me and spoken kindly to me although I am not as your servants."
At meal time Boaz said unto her; "Come here and eat bread dipped in the wine." She sat with the reapers. They gave her parched grain which she ate, and was sated before she left. When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men; "Let her glean even among the sheaves and do not reproach her. Also pull out some from the bundles and leave it for her to glean, but do not rebuke her."
She gleaned in the field until evening and beat out the grain she had gleaned. It was about an ephah of barley. She took it to mother-in-law in the city who saw what she had gleaned. Naomi returned what was left after she was sated. Her mother-in-law said; "Where did you glean today? What have you done? May he who acknowledged you be blessed." She told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked; "The man's name with whom I worked today is Boaz." Naomi said; May he be blessed by Yahva, who has not ceased his kindness to the living and dead." Naomi said unto her; "The man is near of kin unto us." Ruth the Moabite said "Yes, he said to me; 'You should stay near by my young men until they have finished my harvest.'" Naomi said; "It is good, my daughter, that you work with his young women and that the young men do not find you in any other field." So she kept near the girls of Boaz, to glean until the end of barley harvest and wheat harvest. She lived with her mother-in-law.
When Ruth came back to her mother-in-law, Naomi said; "My daughter, should I be seeking a pleasing home for you? Boaz, whose young women you were working with, is a relative of ours? This very night he will be winnowing barley at the threshing floor. Now, go bathe and anoint yourself; then put on your best attire and go to the threshing floor. Do not let him see you until he has finished eating and drinking. But when he lies down, note the place where he lies; then go uncover a place near him and lie there. He will then tell you what to do." "I will do whatever you say," Ruth replied. She went to the threshing floor and did as her mother-in-law had instructed.
Boaz ate and drank to his heart's content and lay down at the edge of the pile of grain. She came quietly, uncovered a place by his side, and lay down. Around midnight he gave a start and turned over, only to find a woman lying in his arms. "Who are you?" he asked. She replied; "I am your servant Ruth. Spread your cloak over your servant, for you are a kinsman."
He said; "May Yahva bless you, my child! You have been even more prudent now than before by not going to the young men, whether poor or rich. Rest assured, my child, I will do for you whatever you desire. All my townspeople know you are a worthy woman. It is true that I am a near kinsman; but there is a closer kinsman than I. Stay this night and in the morning, if he wants redeem you, then it must be since he has the right. If he will not, then I will redeem you. Lie with me until morning."
She lay in his arms until the morning. She arose before anyone could recognize another. He said; "Let no one know you came to the threshing floor. Take off your scarf, and hold it firmly. She held it and he put six measures of barley in it, then helped her lift it. Then he went into the city.
When she came to her mother-in-law, she said; "How did things go, my daughter?" She told her all the man had, and concluded; "He gave me these six measures of barley and said, 'Do not go back to your mother-in-law empty.'" Naomi said; "Wait, my daughter, until we learn what happens for the man will not rest until he settles the matter today."
Boaz went to the gate and sat there. The other redeemer of whom he had spoken came by. Boaz called to him; "Come, sit here," which he did. Then Boaz selected ten elders of the town and asked them to sit with them. When they had done this, he said to the other redeemer; "Naomi, who has returned from Moab, is offering for sale the piece of land that belonged to our kinsman, Elimelech. So I decided to inform you before the elders here, that you have the best claim to act as redeemer and to purchase the field. If you do not want to do it, tell me, for only I have a right of redemption second to yours." He answered; "I will act as redeemer."
Boaz continued; "When you buy the field from Naomi, you also buy responsibility for Ruth the Moabite girl, widow of the late heir of Elimelech, and to raise a family for the deceased on his estate." The redeemer recoiled; "I cannot redeem her for that would disgrace my family. Please do it in my place for I cannot." It used to be the custom in Israel that, to bind a contract of redemption or exchange, one party would take off a sandal and give it to the other. This was the form of attestation in Israel.
So the other redeemer, in saying to Boaz; "Acquire it for yourself," drew off his sandal. Boaz then said to the elders and the people; "You are witnesses today that I have acquired from Naomi all the holdings of Elimelech, Chilion and Mahlon. I also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, as my wife, in order to raise a family for her late husband on his estate, so that the name of the deceased may not perish from his people and his land. Do you witness this today?" All those at the gate, including the elders, said; "We do. May Yahva make this woman enter your house like Rachel and Leah, who between them raised the family of Israel. Prosper in Ephrathah! Bestow his name in Bethlehem! With the offspring, the Lord will give you from this young woman, may your house become like the house of Perez, who Tamar bore to Judah."
Boaz took Ruth. When they consummated their marriage, Yahva enabled her to conceive and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi; "Blessed is Yahva who has not failed to provide you with a redeemer. May he become famous in Israel! He will restore your life and be the support of your old age, for his mother is the daughter-in-law who loves you. She is worth more to you than seven sons!" Naomi took the boy, cradled him against her breast, and cared for him. The neighbor women joined the celebration; "A son has been born to Naomi!" They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
These are the descendants of Perez: Perez was the father of Hezron, Hezron was the father of Ram, Ram was the father of Amminadab, Amminadab was the father of Nahshon, Nahshon was the father of Salma, Salma was the father of Boaz, Boaz was the father of Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse became the father of David.
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