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Breezin’ Through the Bible #9, Ruth and Naomi

November 19, 2013

The dates of Ruth and Naomi’s story is uncertain, but it seems to be out of place following the bloody stories in Joshua and Judges. It is a simple, yet romantic, story of love and devotion.

Naomi was an Israelite from Judah who married Elimelech, and they had two sons, Mahlon and Kilion. When famine came to the land, they traveled to Moab. The brothers married Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth. Elimelech died, and then the sons of Naomi died, leaving the women widows. Because she was alone in a land of strangers, Naomi decided to go back to her people in Judah, telling her daughters-in-law to return to the homes of their parents where they would be taken care of.

Orpah kissed Naomi goodbye and returned to the home of her parents. Ruth refused to leave Naomi. “Wither thou goest, I will go. Wither thou lodgeth, I will lodge. Thy people shall be my people, and thy God, my God. Where thou diest, will I die and there I will be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.” (Ruth 2:16, 17) Naomi could say no more.

Naomi returned to Bethlehem with Ruth, where they were welcomed with some surprise. One day Naomi sent Ruth to gather grain behind the reapers in the fields of Boaz, her husband’s kinsman.  Such gleaning was common among widows and the poor. Boaz was kind to the Moabite woman, giving her special favor.

Again, Naomi sent Ruth to Boaz, and he asked Naomi’s kinsmen for permission to marry her. Ruth, a stranger to Israel, found favor with God. Ruth and Boaz became the great-grandparents of King David and an ancestor of Jesus. Hopefully, Naomi became the loving grandmother of their children and lived happily ever after. 

God is open and gracious to all people. In the midst of loss and despair, He cares.

 

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