While Israel was ruled by a judge whose name has not come down to us, a dearth came on the land of Canaan. And one of the Jews who dwelt in Bethlehem, took his wife and his two sons and went to stay for a while in the land of Moab. His wife’s name was Naomi. The man died while they were in Moab, and in a few years each of the sons took him a wife. And their names were Orpah and Ruth. At the end of ten years the sons died, and Naomi and their wives dwelt in the land of Moab.
When Naomi heard there was no lack of food in Israel, she made up her mind to go back to Bethlehem to live.
She told Orpah and Ruth of her plan, and said if they choose to stay in the land of Moab, where they were born, they might do so.
And they kissed her and wept and said they would go with her. But she bade them stay where they were, and at last Orpah, with tears in her eyes, kissed Naomi goodbye and went back to her own home. But Ruth would not leave her. She told Naomi not to urge her to go, for nought but death should part them.
So they went to the town of Bethlehem where Naomi used to live.
It was the days when the grain was ripe in the fields, and the men had gone out to cut it down.
And Naomi had a kinsman in Bethlehem, whose name was Boaz, and he was a rich and great man. And Ruth said to Naomi, Let me now go to the fields and glean the ears of corn.
To glean is to pick up. And poor folks, who had no fields of their own, went to pick up that which was left on the ground for them.
And Naomi told Ruth to go. And she went out and came to the field that was owned by the rich man, Boaz.
When Boaz saw Ruth he asked the men who she was, and where she came from. And one of them said, She came with Naomi from the land of Moab. And she said to us, I pray you let me glean where the field has been reaped. And we told her she might, and she has been there for some hours. Then Boaz went to Ruth.
So she went out each day to his field, and gleaned there till the grain was all cut and in the barns.
Naomi said to Ruth, Boaz will winnow the barley tonight. To winnow is to fan, or to drive off by means of a wind. The grain was first threshed, then thrown from the hands up in the air. The wind would blow off the chaff and the good grain would fall to the ground.
Naomi told Ruth to go in and speak to Boaz the things she told her. So Ruth did as Naomi said, and went down to the fields where Boaz and his men were.
When she came back to Naomi she told her all that she had said and done.
The next day Boaz went down to the gate of Bethlehem, and told all the chief men whom he met there that he meant to make Ruth his wife. And the men said they would make it known, and prayed the Lord would bless Ruth and add to the fame and wealth of the rich and great Boaz.
So Boaz took Ruth for his wife. And they had a son Obed. And Naomi was its nurse.