Women In The Bible - Ruth Card
Ruth was a Moabite woman, from a country that was one of Israel's traditional enemies. She was an outsider. But she married an Israelite and joined his family while they were living in Moab. Her husband died as did her brother-in-law, also a Moabite, and her father-in-law. When this happened, her mother-in-law Naomi decided she had no alternative but to return to her homeland, and to the village her family came from - Bethlehem. Fond as she was of her two daughters-in-law, Naomi prepared to say goodbye to both of them. But one of them, Ruth, showed unexpected loyalty and insisted on staying with her. They arrived just in time for the harvest. Ruth decided she would help glean the barley in the fields, to feed herself and Naomi and to get a store of grain for winter. Gleaning was a form of charity for the disadvantaged in ancient Israel. The poor could walk behind the harvesters, picking up what was left. Ruth went to the field of Boaz, a rich relative of Naomi’s. Boaz came to the field to see how the harvest was going, and met Ruth. It was love at first sight. Naomi devised a plan to encourage Boaz marry Ruth. She gave Ruth specific instructions on everything she must do. When Boaz finally lay down to sleep, Ruth approached him where he lay on the threshing floor - someone always slept there at night until the grain was removed, to guard against thieves. Lying beside Boaz, Ruth suggested that because he was a relative of her dead husband, should ‘cover her with his blanket’, a euphemism for marriage. This was a custom of the time, called the Levirate Law. Boaz happily agreed, Ruth and Boaz were married, and she gave birth to a son, Obed - who was the grandfather of King David. The image is from a vintage book in public domain.