Ruth returned with her mother-in-law, Naomi, to Bethlehem in the beginning of the barley harvest. At harvest time there was a special law, known as the law of the gleaners, that allowed any who might be in need to follow after the reapers in the fields and glean the fallen spears of grain or ears of corn or clusters of grapes that had been overlooked.

One day Ruth suggested to Naomi, “Let me go out into the fields and glean the ears of corn.”

Naomi answered, “Go, my daughter.” And Ruth went to work in the nearby fields.

One day Boaz, the owner of the field in which Ruth was gleaning, visited the reapers in his fields and asked his servants about the new girl he saw working there. Boaz was told that she was a girl from Moab who had returned with her mother-in-law, Naomi, after the death of Elimelech and his sons.

Ruth was a good worker. A servant told Boaz that she had “continued even from the morning until now.”

Then Boaz went to Ruth and said, “Go not to glean in another field, but abide here by my maidens.” He not only told her to always come to his fields, but also that she could drink from the pure water that the young men brought from his well.

“Why have I found grace in thine eyes?” Ruth questioned. “I am a stranger.”

Boaz answered, “I have heard of your devotion to your mother-in-law, and a full reward will be given thee by the Lord God of Israel.”

Boaz then commanded his servants to let Ruth glean freely and told them to purposely leave handfuls of grain for her to gather.

When Ruth returned that evening with her gleanings, she told Naomi about the day’s good fortune. And Naomi rejoiced.

The Lord blessed Ruth, and she gleaned in the fields of Boaz during the barley harvest and continued on through the wheat harvest.

Ruth found favor in the sight of Boaz, and one day Boaz purchased all of the belongings of Naomi’s husband. Boaz went to the marketplace and said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought from Naomi all that was Elimelech’s and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s. And Ruth the Moabitess will be my wife.”

And all the people said, “We are witnesses, and the Lord bless your home!”

So Boaz married Ruth, and they took Naomi with them into their home.

Ruth had a son and they called his name Obed. And both Ruth and Naomi thanked the Lord for His many blessings to them.

[illustration] Illustrated by Jerry Harston