Because of a famine, Naomi and her husband, Elimelech, and their two sons went to the country of Moab. The sons took wives from the Moabite women. But all of the men died, and Naomi prepared to return to Judah, as she would have to depend on family now. She told her young daughters-in-law to stay there with their people and return to their parents, but Ruth vowed to remain with Naomi and to serve “her God” (verse 16). In verse 22 , they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest, which would be about April – May.
Ruth went to glean in the fields. Gleaning was a practice allowed to the poor and the sojourner as God had commanded. The corners of the field and any sheaves left throughout the middle on the first harvest were to be left for such people to feed themselves (Leviticus 19:9-10, Deuteronomy 24:19). The fact that Ruth is a Moabite is mentioned several times, and that should emphasize that the Lord is working through His people. She finds favor with Boaz because he has been told of her great kindness and loyalty to his relative, Naomi.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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