How Ruth Gleaned in the Field of Boaz
Ruth i: 1, to iv:
time of the judges in Israel, a man named Elimelech
was living in the town of Bethlehem, in the tribe of
Judah, about six miles south of Jerusalem. His
wife's name was Naomi, and his two sons were Mahlon
and Chilion. For some years the crops were poor, and
food was scarce in Judah; and Elimelech, with his
family, went to live in the land of Moab, which was
on the east of the Dead Sea, as Judah was on the
There they stayed ten years, and in that time
Elimelech died. His two sons married women of the
country of Moab, one woman named Orpah, the other
named Ruth. But the two young men also died in the
land of Moab, so that Naomi and her two
daughters-in-law were all left widows.
Naomi heard that God had again given good harvests
and bread to the land of Judah, and she rose up to
go from Moab back to her own land and her own town
of Bethlehem. Her two daughters-in-law loved her and
both would have gone with her, though the land of
Judah was a strange land to them, for they were of
the Moabite people.
Naomi said to them, "Go back, my daughters, to your
own mothers' homes. May the Lord deal kindly with
you, as you have been kind to your husbands and to
me. May the Lord grant that each of you may yet find
another husband and a happy home." Then Naomi kissed
them in farewell, and the three women all wept
together. The two young widows said to her, "You
have been a good mother to us, and we will go with
you, and live among your people."
"No, no," said Naomi. "You are young, and I am old.
Go back and be happy among your own people."
Then Orpah kissed Naomi and went back to her people;
but Ruth would not leave her. She said, "Do not ask
me to leave you, for I never will. Where you go, I
will go; where you live, I will live; your people
shall be my people; and your God shall be my God.
Where you die, I will die, and be buried. Nothing
but death itself shall part you and me."
When Naomi saw that Ruth was firm in her purpose,
she ceased trying to persuade her; so the two women
went on together. They walked around the Dead Sea,
and crossed the river Jordan, and climbed the
mountains of Judah, and came to Bethlehem.
Naomi had been absent from Bethlehem for ten years,
but her friends were all glad to see her again. They
said, "Is this Naomi, whom we knew years ago?" Now
the name Naomi means "pleasant." And Naomi said:
"Call me not Naomi; call me Mara, for the Lord has
made my life bitter. I went out full, with my
husband and two sons; now I come home empty, without
them. Do not call me 'Pleasant'; call me 'Bitter.' "
The name "Mara," by which Naomi wished to be called,
means "bitter." But Naomi learned later that
"Pleasant" was the right name for her after all.
There was living in Bethlehem at that time a very
rich man named Boaz. He owned large fields that were
abundant in their harvests; and he was related to
the family of Elimelech, Naomi's husband, who had
It was the custom in Israel when they reaped the
grain not to gather all the stalks, but to leave
some for the poor people, who followed after the
reapers with their sickles, and gathered what was
left. When Naomi and Ruth came to Bethlehem it was
the time of the barley harvest; and Ruth went out
into the fields to glean the grain which the reapers
had left. It so happened that she was gleaning in
the field that belonged to Boaz, this rich man.
Boaz came out from the town to see his men reaping,
and he said to them, "The Lord be with you;" and
they answered him, "The Lord bless you." And Boaz
said to his master of the reapers, "Who is this
young woman that I see gleaning in the field?"
The man answered, "It is the young woman from the
land of Moab, who came with Naomi. She asked leave
to glean after the reapers, and has been here
gathering grain since yesterday."
Then Boaz said to Ruth, "Listen to me, my daughter.
Do not go to any other field, but stay here with my
young women. No one shall harm you; and when you are
thirsty, go and drink at our vessels of water."
Then Ruth bowed to Boaz, and thanked him for his
kindness, all the more kind because she was a
stranger in Israel. Boaz said:
"I have heard how true you have been to your
mother-in-law, Naomi, in leaving your own land and
coming with her to this land. May the Lord, under
whose wings you have come, give you a reward!" And
at noon, when they sat down to rest and to eat, Boaz
gave her some of the food. And he said to the
"When you are reaping, leave some of the sheaves for
her; and drop out some sheaves from the bundles,
where she may gather them."
That evening Ruth showed Naomi how much she had
gleaned, and told her of the rich man Boaz, who had
been so kind to her. And Naomi said, "This man is a
near relation of ours. Stay in his fields as long as
the harvest lasts." And so Ruth gleaned in the
fields of Boaz until the harvest had been gathered.
At the end of the harvest Boaz held a feast on the
threshing-floor. And after the feast, by the advice
of Naomi, Ruth went to him, and said to him, "You
are a near relation of my husband and of his father,
Elimelech. Now will you not do good to us for his
And when Boaz saw Ruth he loved her; and soon after
this he took her as his wife. And Naomi and Ruth
went to live in his home; so that Naomi's life was
no more bitter, but pleasant. And Boaz and Ruth had
a son, whom they named Obed; and later Obed had a
son named Jesse; and Jesse was the father of David,
the shepherd boy who became king. So Ruth, the young
woman of Moab, who chose the people and the God of
Israel, became the mother of kings.