A long time ago there was a famine in the land of Canaan. In that land was a man called Elimelech and his wife called Naomi, and they had two sons. Because it was so hard to find food, they went across the Jordan valley to the land called Moab and made their home there for a while.
A few years went by, and Elimelech died, and the two sons married wives in that land. But then the two sons died too, so Naomi was left with her two daughters-in-law Ruth and Orpah. When Naomi heard that the land of Canaan had food again, she decided to go back home, and she told Ruth and Orpah to go back to their own parents. Orpah was sad to leave Naomi but she did go. Ruth refused to leave Naomi, because she had come to believe in God as Naomi did.
So Naomi and Ruth went back to the land of Canaan, and they arrived at the town of Bethlehem, and people remembered Naomi and were pleased to see them.
When they arrived in Bethlehem, it was just the time when the workers were harvesting the barley crop. In those days it was a rule in Canaan, that when the workers cut the grain stalks (by hand, they didn’t have machines then) they were to leave some in the corners of the field for poor people to get. Naomi and Ruth needed food, so Ruth went to collect some of the grain from the fields and she happened to go to the field belonging to Boaz. When Boaz found out who she was, he told his servants to treat her well as she was the young woman who had come with Naomi from Moab, and to tell her to come back every day. He had heard how well she had treated her mother-in-law Naomi, and that she had come to believe in God. He even told her to have her meals with the reapers and eat the food he provided.
When Ruth got back to Naomi with the grain that night, she told Naomi whose field it was where she had collected the grain. Naomi knew that God had guided Ruth to go to that field, because Boaz was one of her dead husband’s relatives. So Ruth kept going back to those fields to get grain.
One night when the harvest was nearly over, Naomi told Ruth to go and visit Boaz when he was asleep in the grain shed after a long day’s work. So when it was dark, Ruth crept in and lay down at his feet on the floor. Of course Boaz got quite a surprise when he woke up and found Ruth there. So he gave her a big load of grain to take home to Naomi, and promised her that he would see if he could marry her.
The next day he made arrangements to marry her, so Ruth became the wife of Boaz. Ruth had a son, and Boaz and Ruth were the great grandparents of David who later became King David and and they were ancestors of Jesus.
You can read this story for yourself in the book of Ruth, chapters 1 to 4
See if you can answer these questions:
1. Why did Naomi and Elimelech go to Moab?
2. When they were back in Bethlehem, where did Ruth go to find food?