A severe famine fell upon Israel, so Elimelech and his wife Naomi moved from Bethlehem to Moab. Then, Elimelech died and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, married Moabite women—Orpah and Ruth. After ten more years, both Mahlon and Chilion died.—Ruth 1:1-5
When Naomi heard that the famine in Israel had ended, she decided to return to her homeland.Her daughters-in-law desired to go with her. However, Naomi advised them to return totheir mother’s homes. While Orpah agreed and stayed in Moab, Ruth decided to go with Naomi. She made the statement, “For whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.” (Ruth 1:16) This statement showed
Ruth’s trust in Naomi and her God.
When Ruth arrived in Judah, it was the time of the barley harvest. Ruth went to the edge of a field to collect grain. This was allowed under the Jewish law. Boaz, the owner of the field noticed Ruth and inquired who she was. When he discovered that they were related through Naomi, he instructed his workers to treat her kindly.—Ruth 1:22; 2:1-9,14-17
Ruth continued collecting grain and Boaz watched over her. Naomi instructed Ruth to make herself attractive and to sleep at Boaz’s feet after a long day on the threshing floor. Boaz awoke about midnight and realized that someone was sleeping at his feet. When he asked her who she was, she informed him that he was her family’s redeemer. Under Jewish law, the immediate kin of a family member were to take on their brother’s family in the event of their death. Since Ruth was a widow, there was no one to carry on the family name. Boaz pointed out, that there was a closer family member who had the first rights to Ruth.
Boaz approached this family member who desired to purchase Naomi’s land. However, he did not want to jeopardize his own inheritance by marrying Ruth and so, Boaz agreed to assume his responsibility as the kinsman redeemer. (Ruth 4:1-9) Boaz married Ruth and their child (Obed the father of Jesse) was born. Thus, Naomi had a grandson and her family line endured. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is related to David through Ruth.—Ruth 4:17-22