Story Fourteen

 •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 3
IN the time of the judges in Ĭś̝ ra-el, a man named Ē̇-lĭḿ e-lĕch was living in the town of Bĕth=lĕ-hem, in the tribe of Jū́ dah, about six miles south of Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm. His wife's name was Nā̇˗ṓ mī, and his two sons were Mäh́ lon and Chĭĺ ĭ-on. For some years the crops were poor, and food was scarce in Jū́ dah; and Ē˗lĭḿ e-lĕch, with his family, went to live in the land of Mṓ ab, which was on the east of the Dead Sea, as Jū́ dah was on the west.
There they stayed ten years, and in that time Ē-lĭḿ e-lĕch died. His two sons married women of the country of Mṓ ab, one woman named Ôŕ pah, the other named Rṳth. But the two young men also died in the land of Mṓ ab, so that Nā̇-ṓ mī and her two daughters-in-law were all left widows.
Nā̇˗ó mī heard that God had again given good harvests and bread to the land of Jū́ dah, and she rose up to go from Mṓ ab back to her own land and her own town of Bĕth=lĕ˗hĕm. Her two daughters-in-law loved her and both would have gone with her, though the land of Jū́ dah was a strange land to them, for they were of the Mṓ ab-īte people.
Nā̇˗mī said to them, "Go back, my daughters, to your own mothers' homes. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have been kind to your husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you may yet find another husband and a happy home." Then Nā̇-ṓ mī kissed them in farewell, and tile three women all wept together. The two young widows said to her, "You have been a good mother to us, and we will go with you, and live among your people.”
"No, no," said Nā̇-ṓ mī. "You are young, and I am old. Go back and be happy among your own people.”
Then Ôŕ pah kissed and went back to her people; but Ruth would not leave her. She said, "Do not ask me to leave you, for I never will. Where you go, I will go; where you live,. I will live; your people shall be my people; and your God shall be my God.
Where you die, I will die, and be buried. Nothing but death itself shall part you and me.”
When Nā̇-ṓ mī: saw that Rṳth was firm in her purpose, she ceased trying to persuade her; so the two women went on together.
They walked around the Dead Sea, and crossed the river Jôŕ dan, and climbed the mountains of Jū́ dah, and came to Bĕth́=lĕ-hĕm.
Nā̇-ṓ mī had been absent from Bĕth'=lĕ-hĕm for ten years, but her friends were all glad to see her again. They said, "Is this Nā̇-ṓ mī, whom we knew years ago?" Now the name Nā̇-ṓ mi means "pleasant." And Nā̇-ṓ mī said:
"Call me not Nā̇-ṓ mī; call me Mā́ rȧ, for the Lord has made my life bitter. I went out full, with my husband and two sons; now I come home empty, without them. Do not call me `Pleasant'; call me 'Bitter.'" The name "Mā́ rȧ," by which Nā̇˗ṓn mī wished to be called, means "bitter." But Nā̇-ṓ mī learned later that "Pleasant" was the right name for her after all.
There was living in Bĕth=lĕ-hĕm at that time a very rich man named Bṓ ăz. He owned large fields that were abundant in their harvests; and he was related to the family of Ḗ lĭm-e-lĕch, Nā̇-ṓ mī's husband, who had died.
It was the custom in Ĭś̝ ra-el when they reaped the grain not to gather all the stalks, but to leave some for the poor people, who followed after the reapers with their sickles, and gathered what was left. When Nā̇-ṓ mī and Rṳth came to Bĕth́=lĕ-hĕm it was the time of the barley harvest; and Ruth went out into the fields to glean the grain which the reapers had left. It so happened that she was gleaning in the field that belonged to Bṓ ăz, this rich man.
Bṓ ăz came out from the town to see his men reaping, and he said to them, "The Lord be with you"; and they answered him, "The Lord bless you." And Bṓ ăz said to his master of the reapers, "Who is this young woman that I see gleaning in the field?”
The man answered, "It is the young woman from the land of Mṓ ab, who came with Nâ-ṓ mi. She asked leave to glean after the reapers, and has been here gathering grain since yesterday.”
Then Bṓ ăz said to Rṳth, "Listen to me, my daughter. Do not go to any other field, but stay here with my young women. No one shall harm you; and when you are thirsty, go and drink at our vessels of water.”
Then Rṳth bowed to Bṓ ăz, and thanked him for his kindness, all the more kind because she was a stranger in Ĭś̝ ra-el. Bṓ ăz said:
"I have heard how true you have been to your mother-in-law, Nâ-ṓ mī, in leaving your own land and coming with her to this land.
May the Lord, under whose wings you have come, give you a reward!" And at noon, when they sat down to rest and to eat, Bṓ ăz gave her some of the food. And he said to the reapers: "When you are reaping, leave some of the sheaves for her; and drop out some sheaves from the bundles, where she may gather them.”
That evening Ruth showed Nā̇-ṓ mī how much she had gleaned, and told her of the rich man Bṓ ăz, who had been so kind to her. And 'Nā̇-ṓ mī said, "This man is a near relation of ours. Stay in his fields as long as the harvest lasts." And so Ruth gleaned in the fields of Boaz until the harvest had been gathered.
At the end of the harvest Bṓ ăz held a feast on the threshing-floor. And after the feast, by the advice of Nā̇-ṓ mī, Ruth went to him, and said to him, "You are a near relation of my husband and of his father, Ē̇-lĭḿ e-lĕch. Now will you not do good to us for his sake?”
And when Bṓ ăz saw Rṳth he loved her; and soon after this he took her as his wife. And Nā̇-ṓ mī and Ruth went to live in his home; so that Nā̇˗ṓ mī's life was no more bitter, but pleasant. And Bṓ ăz and Ruth had a son, whom they named Ṓ bed; and later Ṓ bed had a son named Jesse; and Jĕś se was the father of Dā́ vid, the shepherd boy who became king. So Rṳth, the young woman of Mṓ ab, who chose the people and the God of Ĭś̝ ra-el, became the mother of kings.
Lesson 18. The Later Judges.
(Omit Stories 11 and 13. Tell Stories 12 and 14 in Part Second.)
1. What enemies gave to the Israelites the greatest trouble in the time of the judges? The Philistines.
2. Who began to set Israel free from the Philistines? Samson.
3. For what was Samson famed? For his great strength.
4. What did Samson once carry away from a city? The gates of
5. What did the Philistines do to Samson when they made him prisoner? They put out his eyes.
6. What did Samson do to the Philistines afterward? He pulled down a temple upon them.
7. What good woman came to live among the Israelites in the time of the judges? Ruth.
8. In what city did Ruth live? Bethlehem.
9. What rich man married Ruth? Boaz.
10. What king was the great grandson of Boaz and Ruth? David.