A Story Begins in Moab
Once, there was a great famine that caused Naomi and her family to move from Bethlehem to Moab. Over time, Naomi’s two sons married Moabite women. After about ten years, Naomi’s husband and two sons died. Eventually, Naomi decided to move back to Bethlehem since the famine had ended. She told her son’s widows, Orpah and Ruth, to go back to their own people. Orpah eventually listened to Naomi, but Ruth would not leave.
“…wherever you go I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Wherever you die I will die, and there be buried.”
Ruth Meets Boaz
When they arrived in Bethlehem at harvest time, Ruth went to gather left-over barley from a nearby field. This field, providentially, belonged to Boaz, a relative of Naomi’s husband. Boaz heard about Ruth and her dedication to Naomi. Moved by her kindness and dedication, he told her to gather barley only from his field and offered her his protection. Boaz was a generous man and the two women did not go hungry.
“Matchmaker Make Me a Match!”
Naomi told Ruth that Boaz was one of their closest relatives. Traditionally, if a man died childless, his closest relative would marry the widow to hopefully produce an heir. At the end of the harvest, Ruth, at Naomi’s request, told Boaz that he was her next of kin and asked for his protection. Boaz promised to marry her if a man who was an even closer relative of Naomi’s refused.
What Happened After
Boaz did marry Ruth and they had a son named Obed. In the gospel of Matthew it is written,
“…Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed, whose mother Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse, Jesse the father of David the king.”
Every story in the Bible is connected somehow to the great plan of salvation. Two simple women – Rahab of Jericho (the mother of Boaz), and Ruth the Moabite (King David’s great-grandmother), both became important parts of Jesus’ family tree.
This story should remind us that God uses every little event and every person to work things towards the good.
“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, nor for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope.”
Jeremiah 29: 11