A man named Elimelech left Bethlehem during a famine and took his family to Moab. While there, Elimelech died and his two sons, who had married local women, also died. His wife, Naomi, decided to go back to Bethlehem. Ruth, one of her daughters-in-law, refused to leave Naomi’s side and returned to Bethlehem with her.
In Bethlehem, Ruth followed some harvest workers, intending to pick up any grain they may have missed. She ended up in a field owned by a man named Boaz, who happened to be a close relative of Naomi’s late husband. Boaz told Ruth she could work safely alongside his workers and share in their water and food, which she did until the harvest was finished.
Naomi, knowing that next of kin were expected to provide for a deceased relative’s family, devised a plan to find a husband for Ruth. Naomi instructed Ruth to wait until everyone was asleep after the harvest party and then go lie down at the feet of Boaz. When Boaz woke up, Ruth informed him that he was the relative who was supposed to take care of her. However, Boaz realized that there actually was another man who was a closer relative but told Ruth that he would be committed to help her.
The next day Boaz met with the other relative and the elders of the city. Boaz said, “Naomi is selling her husband’s land. You can buy it, but if you do, you must also marry Ruth, the Moabite woman.” The other relative said, “You have my permission to buy the property.” So, Boaz then took Ruth as his wife, and they had a son who was the joy of his grandmother, Naomi.
(Above: The Caterpillar Performing Arts Center at Five Points in Washington, IL. The stage was decorated with wheat thanks to Floral Design in Morton, IL.)