There was a great famine in Israel during the time when judges ruled. Many people relocated to foreign lands to find food for their families. A man from Bethlehem named Elimelek took his wife, Naomi and his two sons, Mahlon and Kilion, went to Moab to find food and ended up staying there to live. Elimelek died and Naomi continued to live with her two sons who married Moabite women named Orpah and Ruth. Both sons also passed away leaving Naomi with her two foreign daughters-in-laws.
Naomi heard that the Lord helped the people of Israel and food had been provided back home. She decided to go back to Bethlehem in Judah and told Orpah and Ruth to stay in Moab and find new husbands. While Orpah returned to her mother’s home, Ruth clung to Naomi and told her that she will stay with her and that Naomi’s God and people will be her God and people.
Upon returning to Bethlehem, Ruth decided to go into the fields during the barley harvest to pick up leftover grains. Ruth worked behind the harvesters in a field that belonged to a man named Boaz who was a relative of her father-in-law Elimelek. When Boaz heard that Naomi had returned with Ruth and that Ruth was gleaning the leftover grain, he went to Ruth and told her she could work safely in his fields and get a drink from his water jars when she was thirsty. Ruth questioned his kindness and Boaz responded that he had heard of Ruth’s kindness toward Naomi and that the Lord God of Israel would bless her and reward her.
Ruth worked very heard in the fields to provide enough barley to sell and to keep some for her and Naomi. After the harvest, Naomi encouraged Ruth to meet Boaz on the threshing floor and to lie down at his feet when he was done working. When Boaz woke and noticed Ruth, he blessed her for her kindness and noble character. Boaz then gave Ruth six measures of barley for her to take home to Naomi.
Boaz went before his friends and elders to purchase the land that had belonged to Elimelek and was now Naomi’s. He did this so that he could also acquire Naomi and Ruth. Boaz was now able to marry Ruth. Boaz and Ruth had a son named Jesse who would be the father of David and from whose genealogy would come the Savior Jesus Christ.