The Book of Ruth

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The Book of Ruth

  • Author: Samuel
  • Place Written: Israel
  • When Written: c. 1100 B.C.E.

CHAPTER 1

Naomi Widowed

And it came about in the days when the judges judged, there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech,[1] and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem in Judah. And they came into the country of Moab and remained there. 

Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth Widowed

But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. And they took for themselves wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelt there about ten years. And Mahlon[2] and Chilion[3] died both of them; and the woman was left without her two sons and her husband. Then she rose up with her daughters-in-law, that she might return from the fields of Moab: for she had heard in the field of Moab how that Jehovah had visited his people by giving them bread. 

Ruth Is Loyal to Naomi and Her God

So 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 to the land of Judah. But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May Jehovah deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead, and with me. Jehovah grant you that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband.” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices, and wept. 10 And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people. 11 And Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters: why will you go with me? have I yet sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 12 Turn back, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should even have a husband tonight, and should also bear sons, 13 would you keep waiting for them[4] until they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from having husbands? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake, for the hand of Jehovah has gone forth against me.” 

14 And they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. 15 And she said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 

16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. May Jehovah do so to me and more also if anything but death parts you and me.” 

Naomi Goes Back to Bethlehem with Ruth

18 And when she saw that she was determined to go with her, she left off speaking to her. 19 So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came about, when they had come to Bethlehem, that all the city was stirred because of them, and the women said, “Is this Naomi?” 20 And she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi;[5] call me Mara,[6] for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went out full, and Jehovah has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since Jehovah has testified against[7] me and the Almighty has afflicted me?”

22 So Naomi returned, and with her Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, who returned from the land of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.

CHAPTER 2

Ruth Meets Boaz – Ruth Gleans in Boaz’ Field

Now Naomi had a kinsman of her husband, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz.[8] And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after one in whose sight I may find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” So she departed and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers; and she happened to come to the portion of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech. 

Ruth and Boaz Meet

And, look, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, “Jehovah be with you.” And they answered him, “Jehovah bless you.” Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?” And the servant in charge of the reapers answered, “She is the young Moabite woman who returned with Naomi from the land of Moab. And she said, ‘Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.’ Thus, she came and has continued from the morning until now; she has been sitting in the house for a little while.”[9]

Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Listen, my daughter. Do not go away to glean in another field, and do not go on from this one; stay close by my young women. Keep your eyes on the field that they reap and go after them. I have commanded the young men not to touch you. When you are thirsty, go to the water jars and drink from what the young men have drawn.” 

10 Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” 11 But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth and came to a people that you did not know before. 12 May Jehovah reward your work, and your wages be full from Jehovah, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge.” 13 Then she said, “I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken to the heart of your servant, though I am not one of your servants.”

14 And at mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and eat of the bread and dip your morsel in the wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he handed her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. 15 When she rose to glean, Boaz commanded his servants, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16 And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”

Ruth Tells Naomi about Boaz’ Kindness

17 So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. 18 And she took it up and went into the city. Her mother-in-law saw[10] what she had gleaned. She also took it out and gave Naomi what she had left after she was satisfied.

19 And her mother-in-law said to her, “Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? May the man who took notice of you be blessed.” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, “The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.” 20 And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by Jehovah, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead.” Naomi also said to her, “The man is a relative to us, one of our close kinsmen-redeemers.”[11] 21 And Ruth the Moabitess said, “Also, he said to me, ‘You shall stay close to my servants until they have finished all my harvest.’” 22 And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women than to be assaulted in another field.” 

23 So she stayed close to the young women of Boaz and gleaned until the end of the barley and wheat harvests. And she dwelt with her mother-in-law.[12]

CHAPTER 3

Naomi Instructs Ruth

Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you? And now, is not Boaz, with whose young women you were, our kinsman? Look, he winnows barley tonight at the threshing floor. Wash yourself therefore, and anoint yourself and put on your outer garments, and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. It shall be when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies, and you shall go and uncover his feet and lie down; and he will tell you what you shall do.” 

Ruth and Boaz at the Threshing Floor

And she said to her, “All that you say I will do.” And she went down unto the threshing-floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law had commanded her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. And it came about at midnight that the man was startled and turned over, and look, a woman was lying at his feet. And he said, “Who are you?” And she said, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your garment over your servant because you are a kinsman-redeemer.” 10 At that he said, “May Jehovah bless you, my daughter. You have shown your kindness more in this last than in the first, by not going after the young men, whether poor or rich. 11 And now, my daughter, have no fear. I will do for you everything that you say, for everyone in the gate of my people[13] knows that you are an excellent woman. 12 And now it is true that I am a kinsman-redeemer. Yet there is a kinsman-redeemer nearer than I. 13 Remain this night, and in the morning, if he will kinsman-redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to kinsman-redeem you, then, as Jehovah lives, I will kinsman-redeem you. Lie down until the morning.”

14 And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could discern another. For he said, “Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing-floor.” 15 And he said, “Bring the cloak you are wearing and hold it out.” So she held it, and he measured out six measures[14] of barley and put it on her. Then he[15] went into the city. 

Ruth Returns to Naomi

16 And when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “How did you fare, my daughter?” Then she told her all that the man had done for her. 17 And she said, “These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said,[16] ‘Do not go to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’” 18 And she said, “Wait, my daughter, until you know how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today.”

CHAPTER 4

Boaz Redeems Ruth

Now Boaz went up to the gate, and sat him down there: and look, the kinsman-redeemer of whom Boaz spoke came by; so he said, “Turn aside, friend; sit down here.” And he turned aside and sat down. And he took ten men of the elders of the city and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down.

Then he said to the kinsman-redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from the fields of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belonged to our brother Elimelech. So I thought[17] I should disclose it to you[18] and say, ‘Buy it in the presence of those sitting here and in the presence of the elders of my people.’ If you will kinsman-redeem it, kinsman-redeem it. But if you do not want to redeem it,[19] tell me, that I may know, for there is no one besides you to kinsman-redeem it, and I come after you.” And he said, “I will kinsman-redeem it.” Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead man, in order to restore the name of the dead man to his inheritance.” Then the kinsman-redeemer said, “I cannot kinsman-redeem it for myself, lest I impair my own inheritance. Take my right of kinsman-redemption yourself, for I cannot kinsman-redeem it.”

Now this was the custom[20] in former time in Israel concerning kinsman-redeeming and concerning exchanging, to confirm all things: a man drew off his sandal and gave it to the other; and this was the manner of attestation in Israel. So when the kinsman-redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself,” he drew off his sandal.[21] Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and to Mahlon. 10 Moreover, I have acquired Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, as a wife to restore the name of the dead man to his inheritance, so that the name of the dead man will not be cut off from among his brothers and from the city gate of his home. You are witnesses today.” 

11 And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, “We are witnesses. May Jehovah make the woman[22] who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel: and may you prosper in Ephrathah and proclaim a name in Bethlehem. 12 And may your house be like the house of Perez whom Tamar bore to Judah, through the offspring whom Jehovah will give you by this young woman.”

Ruth and Boaz Marry – Obed born to Boaz and Ruth

13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife; and he went in to her, and Jehovah gave her conception, and she bore a son. 14 Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be Jehovah, who has not left you this day without a kinsman-redeemer and may his[23] name be proclaimed in Israel. 15 He[24] shall be to you a restorer of soul and a sustainer of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” 16 Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse. 17 Then the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed.[25] He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

The Genealogy of David

18 Now these are the generations of Perez: Perez fathered Hezron, 19 Hezron fathered Ram, Ram fathered Amminadab, 20 Amminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon,[26] 21 Salmon[27] fathered Boaz, Boaz fathered Obed, 22 Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered David.

[1] Meaning God Is King

[2] Meaning sickly; invalid

[3] Meaning frailty

[4] LXX SYR VG “them” masc.

[5] Meaning my pleasantness

[6] Meaning bitter

[7] LXX SYR VG “humiliated”

[8] Meaning “in Strength; fleetness”

[9] LXX “until evening, she did not rest a little in the field” VG “and she did not return to the house”

[10] MT LXX “and her mother-in-law saw” SYR VG “and showed her mother-in-law”

[11] The Hebrew verb גָּאַל gaal, which we find first in Genesis 48:16 has the meaning of “repurchase or redeem.” The principal meaning of this root is the responsibility of a kinsman to redeem his kin from difficulty or danger. There is the responsibility of a kinsman to recover, redeem, or buy back the person, property, or inheritance of the next of kin. The kinsman had the obligation of being a repurchaser (גֹּאֶל goel). The responsibility fell first on the (1) brother, (2) uncle, (3) son of an uncle, (4) any other male blood relation. – Lev. 25:48-49.

[12] VG some Heb. MSS “she returned to her mother-in-law”

[13] Lit all the gate of my people

[14] Possibly six seah measures, or about 44 L (40 dry qt), a weight of about sixty or one hundred pounds of grain that Ruth would have to carry on her head.

[15] MT and most Heb. MSS LXX (based on more recent discoveries of Septuagint manuscripts) “he” SYR VG and some Heb. MSS “she”

[16] LXX SYR AT include “to me”

[17] Lit I said, that is, to himself

[18] Lit I should uncover your ear

[19] Most Heb. MSS “but if he does not want to redeem” LXX SYR AT VG several other Heb. MSS “but if you do not want to redeem”

[20] LXX SYR VG “Custom” MT lack

[21] LXX adds “and give it to him”

[22] AT SYR “this wife of yours” LXX “your wife”

[23] MT SYR VG “his” LXX IT “your”

[24] That is, Naomi’s grandson

[25] Meaning servant; one serving

[26] LXXA Vgc several Heb. MSS and Armenian, Ethiopic, and Sahidic versions “Salmon” MT “Salma” LXXB “Salman”

[27] MT LXXA Vgc “Salmon” LXXB “Salman” See Mt 1:4-5; Lu 3:31-33.

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