A famine had spread across the land.
Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, went on a sojourn to the country of Moab. They settled down in Moab. Elimelech died. Mahlon and Chilion got married. Their wives were named Orpah and Ruth. They lived together for ten years, then Mahlon and Chilion died.
Naomi, Orpah and Ruth start walking to the land of Judah. Naomi had a change of heart and suggested that her two daughters-in-law return to their mother’s house in Moab. “The LORD grant that you may find rest, each [of you] in the house of her husband. ” I don’t know what that means. The girls wept. Naomi asked them why they wanted to go with her. “[are] there yet [any more ] sons in my womb, that may be your husbands?” Naomi tells the girls that she is too old to remarry, but if she did remarry and bore sons would the girls wait until the boys were grown? Hmmm…
Orpah, evidently the smarter of the two, returned to her mother’s house. Ruth stayed with Naomi. She told Naomi that wherever she went Ruth would follow. Wherever Naomi lived Ruth would live. Naomi’s God would be Ruth’s God, too. Wherever Naomi died Ruth would die there, too.
Upon reaching Bethlehem the people asked Naomi if she was Naomi. Naomi told them not to call her Naomi because the Almighty “dealt bitterly” with her. From now on she was to be called Mara.
Boaz was a wealthy kinsman (male relative) of Naomi’s. It was harvest season and Ruth went to the fields to glean (to gather grain or other produce left by reapers) corn in Boaz’s fields. Boaz welcomed her. He instructs his staff to allow Ruth to continue gleaning in the fields. Ruth continued to work during the barley and wheat harvests.
Noami told Ruth to wash, anoint herself, get dressed and go down to the floor but not make herself known until the man had finished eating and drinking. When he lied down she was to uncover his feet and lie down. Boaz ate, drank and was merry. He lied down to sleep near a heap of corn. Ruth uncovered Boaz’s feet then lied down.
Ruth got up early so that she and Boaz would not ‘know’ (have sex) each other. Boaz gave her six measures of barley. He said that if none of the other kinsman in town didn’t want her he would take her as his wife. Ruth brought the barley to Naomi.
Boaz sat with the elders and asked if any of them would buy Elimelech’s land. Everyone passed. Boaz said he would buy the land and to seal the deal he took off a shoe. He said he would purchase Ruth to be his wife. What a guy! They got married. When he “went in unto her” the LORD gave her conception. She bore Boaz a son.
Naomi, not Ruth, took the child and began to nurse it. “And the woman her neighbors gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he [is] the father of Jesse, the father of David.” Actually, Obed is the father of Jesse and Jesse is the father of David.
The thing I like best about this book is that it is short. It’s weird how Naomi took Obed as her own son.