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Ruth 1-4Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Back in the days when the judges were judging, at a time when there was a famine in the land, a certain man from Beit-Lechem went to live in the territory of Mo’av — he, his wife and his two sons. The man’s name was Elimelekh, his wife’s name was Na‘omi, and his two sons were named Machlon and Kilyon; they were Efratim from Beit-Lechem in Y’hudah. They arrived in the plain of Mo’av and settled there. Elimelekh, Na‘omi’s husband, died; and she was left, she and her two sons. They took wives for themselves from the women of Mo’av; the name of the one was ‘Orpah; and the name of the other was Rut. They lived there for about ten years. Then Machlon and Kilyon died, both of them; and the woman was left with neither her two sons nor her husband.

So she prepared to return with her daughters-in-law from the plain of Mo’av; for in the plain of Mo’av she had heard how Adonai had paid attention to his people by giving them food. She left the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law and took the road leading back to Y’hudah.

Na‘omi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Each of you, go back to your mother’s house. May Adonai show grace to you, as you did to those who died and to me. May Adonai grant you security in the home of a new husband.” Then she kissed them, but they began weeping aloud. 10 They said to her, “No; we want to return with you to your people.” 11 Na‘omi said, “Go back, my daughters. Why do you want to go with me? Do I still have sons in my womb who could become your husbands? 12 Go back, my daughters; go your way; for I’m too old to have a husband. Even if I were to say, ‘I still have hope’; even if I had a husband tonight and bore sons; 13 would you wait for them until they grew up? Would you refuse to marry, just for them? No, my daughters. On your behalf I feel very bitter that the hand of Adonai has gone out against me.” 14 Again they wept aloud. Then ‘Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye. But Rut stuck with her. 15 She said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her god; go back, after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Rut said,

“Don’t press me to leave you
and stop following you;
for wherever you go, I will go;
and wherever you stay, I will stay.
Your people will be my people
and your God will be my God.
17 Where you die, I will die;
and there I will be buried.
May Adonai bring terrible curses on me,
and worse ones as well,
if anything but death
separates you and me.”

18 When Na‘omi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.

19 So the two of them went on until they came to Beit-Lechem. When they arrived in Beit-Lechem, the whole city was stirred with excitement over them. The women asked, “Can this be Na‘omi?” 20 “Don’t call me Na‘omi [pleasant],” she answered them; “call me Marah [bitter], because Shaddai has made my life very bitter. 21 I went out full, and Adonai has brought me back empty. Why call me Na‘omi? Adonai has testified against me, Shaddai has afflicted me.” 22 This is how Na‘omi returned, with Rut the woman from Mo’av, her daughter-in-law, accompanying her from the plain of Mo’av. They arrived in Beit-Lechem at the beginning of the barley harvest.

Na‘omi had a relative on her husband’s side, a prominent and wealthy member of Elimelekh’s clan, whose name was Bo‘az. Rut the woman from Mo’av said to Na‘omi, “Let me go into the field and glean ears of grain behind anyone who will allow me to.” She answered her, “Go, my daughter.” So she set out, arrived at the field and gleaned behind the reapers.

She happened to be in the part of the field that belonged to Bo‘az from Elimelekh’s clan, when Bo‘az arrived from Beit-Lechem. He said to the reapers, “Adonai be with you”; and they answered him, “Adonai bless you.” Then Bo‘az asked his servant supervising the reapers, “Whose girl is this?” The servant supervising the reapers answered, “She’s a girl from Mo’av who returned with Na‘omi from the plain of Mo’av. She said, ‘Please, let me glean and gather what falls from the sheaves behind the reapers.’ So she went and has kept at it from morning until now, except for a little rest in the shelter.”

Bo‘az said to Rut, “Did you hear that, my daughter? Don’t go to glean in another field, don’t leave this place, but stick here with my working girls. Keep your eyes on whichever field the reapers are working in, and follow the girls. I’ve ordered the young men not to bother you. Whenever you get thirsty, go and drink from the water jars the young men have filled.”

10 She fell on her face, prostrating herself, and said to him, “Why are you showing me such favor? Why are you paying attention to me? After all, I’m only a foreigner.” 11 Bo‘az answered her, “I’ve heard the whole story, everything you’ve done for your mother-in-law since your husband died, including how you left your father and mother and the land you were born in to come to a people about whom you knew nothing beforehand. 12 May Adonai reward you for what you’ve done; may you be rewarded in full by Adonai the God of Isra’el, under whose wings you have come for refuge.” 13 She said, “My lord, I hope I continue pleasing you. You have comforted and encouraged me, even though I’m not one of your servants.”

14 When meal-time came, Bo‘az said to her, “Come here, have something to eat, and dip your piece of bread in the [olive oil and] vinegar.” She sat by the reapers, and they passed her some roasted grain. She ate till she was full, and she had some left over.

15 When she got up to glean, Bo‘az ordered his young men, “Let her glean even among the sheaves themselves, without making her feel ashamed. 16 In fact, pull some ears of grain out from the sheaves on purpose. Leave them for her to glean, and don’t rebuke her.” 17 So she gleaned in the field until evening. When she beat out what she had gathered, it came to about a bushel of barley.

18 She picked it up and went back to the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned, and Rut brought out and gave her what she had left over after eating her fill. 19 Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you glean today? Where were you working? Blessed be the one who took such good care of you!” She told her mother-in-law with whom she had been working; she said, “The name of the man with whom I was working today is Bo‘az.” 20 Na‘omi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by Adonai, who has never stopped showing grace, neither to the living nor to the dead.” Na‘omi also told her, “The man is closely related to us; he’s one of our redeeming kinsmen.” 21 Rut the woman from Mo’av said, “Moreover, he even said to me, ‘Stay close to my young men until they’ve finished my harvest.’” 22 Na‘omi said to Rut her daughter-in-law, “It’s good, my daughter, for you to keep going out with his girls; so that you won’t encounter hostility in some other field.” 23 So she stayed close to Bo‘az’s girls to glean, until the end of the barley and wheat harvests; and she lived with her mother-in-law.

Na‘omi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, I should be seeking security for you; so that things will go well with you. Now there’s Bo‘az our relative — you were with his girls. He’s going to be winnowing barley tonight at the threshing-floor. So bathe, anoint yourself, put on your good clothes, and go down to the threshing-floor; but don’t reveal your presence to the man until he’s finished eating and drinking. Then, when he lies down, take note of where he’s lying; later, go in, uncover his feet, and lie down. He will tell you what to do.” She responded, “I will do everything you tell me.”

She went down to the threshing-floor and did everything as her mother-in-law had instructed her. After Bo‘az was through eating and drinking and was feeling good, he went to lie down at the end of the pile of grain. She stole in, uncovered his feet and lay down. In the middle of the night the man was startled and turned over, and — there was a woman lying at his feet! He asked, “Who are you?” and she answered, “I’m your handmaid Rut. Spread your robe over your handmaid, because you are a redeeming kinsman.” 10 He said, “May Adonai bless you, my daughter. Your latest kindness is even greater than your first, in that you didn’t go after the young men, neither the rich ones nor the poor. 11 And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you everything you say, for all the city leaders among my people know that you are a woman of good character. 12 Now, it is true that I am a redeeming kinsman; but there is a redeemer who is a closer relative than I am. 13 Stay tonight. If, in the morning, he will redeem you, fine! — let him redeem you. But if he doesn’t want to redeem you, then, as Adonai lives, I will redeem you. Now, lie down until morning.”

14 She lay at his feet until morning; then, before [it was light enough that] people could recognize each other, she got up; because he said, “No one should know that the woman came to the threshing-floor.” 15 He also said, “Bring the shawl you are wearing, and take hold of it.” She held it while he put six measures of barley into it; then he went into the city.

16 When she came to her mother-in-law, she asked, “Who are you? My daughter?” She told her everything the man had done for her. 17 Then she added, “He gave me these six measures of barley; because he said to me, “You shouldn’t return to your mother-in-law with nothing.” 18 Na‘omi said, “My daughter, just stay where you are, until you learn how the matter comes out; for the man won’t rest unless he resolves the matter today.”

Meanwhile, Bo‘az had gone up to the gate and had sat down there, when the redeemer of whom Bo‘az had spoken passed by. “Such-and-such,” he said, “come over, and sit down”; so he came over and sat down. He took ten of the city’s leaders and said, “Sit down here”; and they sat down. Then he said to the redeeming kinsman, “The parcel of land which used to belong to our relative Elimelekh is being offered for sale by Na‘omi, who has returned from the plain of Mo’av. I thought I should tell you about it and say, ‘Buy it in the presence of the people sitting here and in the presence of the leaders of my people. If you want to redeem it, redeem it. But if it is not to be redeemed, then tell me, so that I can know, because there is no one else in line to redeem it, and I’m after you.” He said, “I want to redeem it.” Then Bo‘az said, “The same day you buy the field from Na‘omi, you must also buy Rut the woman from Mo’av, the wife of the deceased [son], in order to raise up in the name of the deceased an heir for his property.” The redeemer said, “Then I can’t redeem it for myself, because I might put my own inheritance at risk. You, take my right of redemption on yourself; because I can’t redeem it.”

In the past, this is what was done in Isra’el to validate all transactions involving redemption and exchange: a man took off his shoe and gave it to the other party; this was the form of attestation in Isra’el. So the redeemer said to Bo‘az, “Buy it for yourself,” and took off his shoe. Bo‘az addressed the leaders and all the people: “You are witnesses today that I am purchasing from Na‘omi all that belonged to Elimelekh and all that belonged to Kilyon and Machlon. 10 Also I am acquiring as my wife Rut the woman from Mo’av, the wife of Machlon, in order to raise up in the name of the deceased an heir for his property; so that the name of the deceased will not be cut off from his kinsmen and from the gate of his place. You are witnesses today.” 11 All the people at the gate and the leaders said, “We are witnesses. May Adonai make the woman who has come into your house like Rachel and like Le’ah, who between them built up the house of Isra’el. Do worthy deeds in Efrat; become renowned in Beit-Lechem. 12 May your house, because of the seed Adonai will give you from this young woman, become like the house of Peretz, whom Tamar bore to Y’hudah.”

13 So Bo‘az took Rut, and she became his wife. He had sexual relations with her, Adonai enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14 Then the women said to Na‘omi, “Blessed be Adonai, who today has provided you a redeemer! May his name be renowned in Isra’el. 15 May he restore your life and provide for your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” 16 Na‘omi took the child, laid it on her breast and became its nurse. 17 The women who were her neighbors gave it a name; they said, “A son has been born to Na‘omi,” and called it ‘Oved. He was the father of Yishai the father of David.

18 Here is the genealogy of Peretz. Peretz was the father of Hetzron, 19 Hetzron was the father of Ram, Ram was the father of ‘Amminadav, 20 ‘Amminadav was the father of Nachshon, Nachshon was the father of Salmon, 21 Salmon was the father of Bo‘az, Bo‘az was the father of ‘Oved, 22 ‘Oved was the father of Yishai, and Yishai was the father of David.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

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