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Made Easy

Naomi and Ruth

The story of Naomi and Ruth is a very inspiring story for the modern-day Christian.  It opens up our understanding of hardship, suffering, and the providence of God within these situations we find ourselves in from time-to-time.  Here are some highlights of the story:


  1.  The story begins with Elimelek, Naomi, and their two sons (Ruth 1:1-2).

    1. Elimelek was Naomi’s husband.

    2. They lived during the time recorded by the Biblical book of Judges.

      1. So, this means they lived before the children of Israel had a king.

      2. God was their only King at the time.

      3. However, they did have guidance, because God left them the Law of Moses to guide them and they were to obey it to be pleasing in the Lord’s sight.

    3. Their son’s names were “Mahlon” and “Kilion.”

    4. They lived in Bethlehem of Judah.

      1. Bethlehem would become famous many centuries later in the Bible as this would be the town Jesus was born in (Luke 2:1-20)!

      2. The family moved from Bethlehem for awhile to the neighboring country called “Moab.”

  2. Unfortunately, many sad days came for Naomi while the family was in Moab (Ruth 1:3-5).

    1. Her husband died while the family was living in Moab (Ruth 1:3).

    2. However, her sons did find wives from the Moabites.

      1. These Moabite women were named Ruth and Orpah.

    3. Unfortunately, tragedy struck Naomi and Ruth while they both lived in Moab.

      1. After living in Moab for about 10 years, Mahlon and Kilion died (Ruth 1:4-5).

      2. So Naomi is not only a widow, but she has lost 2 sons to death as well.

      3. She must have been extremely heartbroken at this point in life!

      4. We should have a lot of compassion on her.

    4. Also, with the deaths of Mahlon and Kilion, this means that Ruth and Orpah are widows.

      1. They too experienced an extreme amount of heart ache!

    5. What should we do when we see people suffering like Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah were?

      1. As Christians, we should certainly pray for them that God would send comfort in their lives (1 Peter 3:12).

      2. We should also offer encouraging words (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

      3. We should also offer any type of assistance we can to take care of any need they have such as food, drink, etc (Matthew 25:31-46).

      4. In other words, we should always be kind to those who are suffering and give a helping hand to them according to our abilities.

      5. This is what God does for us and we should do it for other people as well (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)!

      6. Beside, when we are suffering, we would want someone to help us.

      7. This is called loving our neighbor as we love ourselves (James 2:8)!

      8. It is also living up to Jesus’ commandment that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us (Matthew 7:12)!

  3. Moving on in the story, Naomi finds out that there is food in her homeland of Judah in Israel (Ruth 1:6-17).

    1. She and her two daughter-in-laws began their march to Judah; leaving Moab behind.

    2. Naomi and her daughter-in-laws really loved each other.

      1. Naomi tried to convince Ruth and Orpah to go back to Moab and she wanted them to be blessed with new husbands as well.

      2. The two daughter-in-laws refused to go back to Moab.

      3. They wanted to stay with Naomi instead!

      4. Naomi did her best to convince the two daughter-in-laws to remain in Moab.

      5. Orpah finally obeyed Naomi and went back to Moab.

      6. Ruth was different.

    3. Ruth said, “16…. Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me” (Ruth 1:16-17 New International Version).

  4. What do we learn from Naomi’s life where Ruth wants to follow her?

    1. We find out that if we live right, then we make converts of the unsaved.

      1. In other words, Ruth was not a child of God at that point in her life.

    2. Remember, she was a foreigner from the land of Moab.

      1. She was not of the same people as Naomi.

    3. Ruth did not have a relationship with God.

      1. However, something within Naomi’s life that she witnessed must have led her to the thought that it was worth becoming a worshipper of Naomi’s God.

    4. This is the same today.

      1. We must live righteously in front of others so they do not label us as hypocrites.

      2. This is called “letting our light shine” in the Bible.

      3. Matthew 5:16 talks about this light within us and reads, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (New International Version).

    5. When we live righteously, we can easily cause others to praise our God and submit to our Jesus!

      1. This is why we should never live as hypocrites.

      2. If we do, we will not draw the unsaved people of this world to a saving relationship with the Lord!

  5. The last scene in this chapter of the Bible is Naomi and Ruth arriving in Bethlehem in Israel (Ruth 1:18-22).

    1. Look at the sad words of Naomi after she returned to Bethlehem.

    2. They read as follows, “20... Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went out full and the Lord hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?” (Ruth 1:20-21 King James Version).

    3. What do we learn from Naomi’s statements in Ruth 1:20-22)?

      1. Ruth believed that she had sinned and this sin had caused God to punish her.

      2. Most likely, this is not the case.

      3. What Ruth did not understand is that bad things do happen to good people.

      4. We cannot assume that just because something bad has happened to us that we did something wrong.

      5. The Christian life is full of both good and bad times (Galatians 5:22-23; Acts 14:22).

      6. We must accept both of them and understand that suffering does not mean God does not love us.

      7. It also does not mean that God has abandoned us.

        1. God has said the following, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5 King James Version).

      8. It also does not mean we have brought things on ourselves if we are living righteously.

    4. Yes, if we are living in a way that causes suffering, then we reap what we sow (Hebrews 12).

      1. For example, if we are engaging in criminal activities, then we have to pay the price for it.

      2. If we are violent and someone responds with violence to us, we have created that situation for ourselves through wicked behavior.

      3. If we are drinking and driving and have an auto accident, we must realize that we brought that suffering on ourselves and cannot blame God for it.

    5. However, in Naomi’s situation, most likely, sin did not cause her suffering.

      1. As we studied in the past, God’s providence is at work in our lives.

      2. Sometimes, God has to change some elements in our lives to move us to do his will.

      3. As you will find out, the death of Naomi’s husband and two children, were exactly what God used to get her and Ruth back to Israel.

      4. God actually had a great blessing in store for them when they returned, which will be revealed later in this Bible story!

  6. Moving on to Ruth 2, we find out that Naomi had a relative in Israel (Ruth 2:1-3).

    1. This relative was named “Boaz.”

      1. Boaz was a relative of her late husband Elimelek.

    2. It turns out that Ruth had a great idea for her survival.

      1. She thought it was best to go glean left over grain from the fields of someone in Israel so there would be food to eat.

        1. Now, gleaning means to go and collect what is left in the field that the farmer did not get when he went to the harvest.

        2. This was not stealing in the Bible days, because God told the children of Israel not to be stingy with their leftovers.

        3. Instead, they were to leave all the leftovers in the field for the poor, widows, and foreigners to get (Leviticus 23:22).

      2. Ruth did the smart thing by taking the initiative to go and get food in the field.

        1. It also turns out that the field she chose was Boaz’s field.

      3. What do we learn from Ruth?

        1. Well, we can pray about situations all that we want and this is a good thing to do.

        2. God tells us to pray about situations so that He can grant our requests (Philippians 4:6-7).

        3. However, He does not tell us to pray alone.

        4. In other words, He tells us to also go out and take the initiative by working as well (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

        5. When we are in need, we must do our part as well.

        6. The Bible says, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

        7. So, when you are in need, pray and try to find a job so God blesses your efforts!

        8. Also, we learn from Ruth’s story that we are to always care for those in need.

        9. We are always to give to those who have less than us when we have the ability to do so.

        10. In fact, God shows us that He will not have compassion on us in our time of need when we do not have compassion on others (Matthew 5:7).

        11. Thus, by being stingy with others, we cause God to be stingy with us (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)!

        12. Don’t cut off your blessings by being selfish with others!

  7. Boaz took notice of Ruth and started a conversation with her Ruth 2:4-12).

    1. He was very kind to her.

      1. He asked her not to go to another man’s field to glean grain.

      2. She would be welcome on his farm to not only glean the leftover grain anytime, but to also get water when she is thirsty from Boaz’s servants.

    2. Boaz’s kindness should not surprise us.

      1. Why would he be so kind to a foreigner like Ruth?

      2. Well the answer is what we have studied already.

      3. We reap what we sow.

      4. Since Ruth was so kind to Naomi, Boaz was going to return the kindness to Ruth.

    3. As we have already talked about, when we are compassionate to others, God’s compassion comes back to us!

    4. Look at what Boaz and Ruth said to each other in Ruth 2:8-12, which reads, “8 So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. 9 Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.” 10 At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?” 11 Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. 12 May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge” (New International Version).

  8. Moving forward, the story gets even better for Ruth (Ruth 2:13-17).

    1. Boaz’s kindness continued by inviting her to a real meal.

      1. Ruth ate to the full and even had some food to spare.

      2. This is very important to someone who was in poverty.

      3. God surely blessed her with this meal.

      4. Remember, we should always be thankful for all that God gives us (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

      5. This includes food, because without Him, we would have nothing (James 1:17; Matthew 6:33).

      6. Never take this blessing for granted, because we can easily lose prosperity in our lives and learn to appreciate our blessings the hard way!

    2. But this meal was not the end of Ruth’s blessings.

      1. After the meal, she went back out to glean in Boaz’s field.

      2. Although she did not know it, Boaz instructed his men to not only let her glean in the field, but fix it where she would get extra when she gleaned!

      3. In other words, he told his servants to actually cut down some grain so that this extra grain would be left in the field when Ruth came by to glean it!

      4. So, she would get extra grain when she came to the field!

    3. The Bible says Ruth went back to Naomi with a big blessing of grain to eat later!

      1. She also brought Naomi some of the leftovers from the dinner with Boaz.

      2. God was surely blessing Ruth and Naomi mightily!

  9. When Ruth got home and was talking to Naomi, she told Naomi all the activities of the day and who she was working for (Ruth 2:18-23).

    1. Naomi told Ruth that Boaz was their kinsman redeemer.

      1. The kinsman redeemer was responsible for taking care of relatives who were in need.

    2. What do we learn from Boaz’s kindness as a relative?

      1. We are especially commanded to take care of our family members.

      2. We are to always provide for them when they are in need (1 Timothy 5).

      3. In fact, we have a special responsibility to pay our parents and grandparents back (1 Timothy 5; Matthew 15:4-9).

      4. Never stop helping your family as God holds us responsible for not taking care of our responsibilities.

  10. In Ruth 3, Naomi decides to play matchmaker for Ruth (Ruth 3:1-4).

    1. She tells Ruth to clean herself up, put on perfume, and her best clothes.

      1. Obviously, the older Ruth was teaching the younger woman how to catch a man.

      2. Naomi advised her to sneak up on Boaz while he was sleeping.

      3. Naomi told Ruth to uncover his feet and she should be lying there when he woke up.

  11. Ruth did all the things Naomi asked her to do (Ruth 3:5-9).

    1. When Boaz woke up, he was shocked to see a woman at his feet.

    2. Ruth asked Boaz to share a small portion of his covering with her (Ruth 3:5-9)!

      1. Now, this sharing a covering was more than it appears.

      2. This is because the children of Israel in the Bible days actually used their long outer robes as their blankets (Exodus 22:26-27).

      3. This covering of a woman was actually a marriage proposal.

        1. It was a hint to Boaz from Ruth!

        2. For example, God stated that He put His covering over Israel as a sign of marriage to them in the Old Testament days (Ezekiel 16:8, 22) (Coffman, 1999).

        3. Normally, when a sister-in-law became a widow, in the Old Testament days, the living brother was supposed to marry her (Deuteronomy 25:5-10; Ruth 4:10) (Easton, 1897).

        4. Since, all of Naomi’s sons were dead, it became a tradition within the children of Israel for the next nearest relative to marry the widow.

        5. Boaz was a relative; so, he was supposed to marry Ruth.

  12. Boaz wanted to marry Ruth, but there was one problem – There was a relative of closer kin to Ruth’s dead husband (Ruth 3:11-18).

    1. As a result, Boaz had no power to marry her under the Jewish traditions until the relative of closer kin gave up those rights.

  13. In Ruth 4, we find out the role of the kinsman redeemer (Ruth 1:1-6)

    1. Boaz met with the kinsman redeemer along with the elders of the city.

      1. He advised the kinsman redeemer, which was the closer relative to Naomi, that he was responsible for both repurchasing the land for Naomi and marrying Ruth.

      2. The man did not want to marry Ruth and thus, gave up his rights as kinsman redeemer (Ruth 1:1-6)!

      3. This opened the door for Boaz to become the rightful kinsman redeemer!

      4. Furthermore, this gave Boaz the right to purchase Ruth’s dead husband’s property and marry her!

    2. Under the Jewish law of the time, if Boaz bought Naomi’s property, he was actually buying all the family property and that included the shares of her two dead sons.

      1. So, by buying the property, Boaz would also be buying the wife of one of the dead sons, which was Ruth!

    3. Remember, this is another example of God’s providence.

    4. God can manipulate events in this life to make sure His Will is done!

    5. God made sure that Ruth and Boaz would be married, because He was going to make a very special event happen through them.

      1. They would actually become the ancestors of Jesus Christ (Luke 3:32).

      2. So, no obstacle would have been able to stop Boaz and Ruth.

      3. No, not even the fact that they were from two different countries could stop them from being married, because it was their God ordained destiny to be together!

      4. No, not even the fact that that a closer relative than Boaz was next in line to marry Ruth could stop them, because it was their God ordained destiny to be together!

      5. God is powerful!

      6. This is why we trust God at all times.

      7. Please understand that we cannot see what He is doing behind-the-scenes of our lives to bless us.

      8. Although we may have to go through many times of hardship, there is often a great blessing on the other side of the hardship that will reveal itself in time.

      9. Ruth had to go through the hardship of widowhood and poverty before she was given to a wealthy, God-fearing husband!

    6. Trusting God and know His providence is at work in our lives is why we follow the Divine wisdom of 2 Corinthians 5:7, which reads, “…For we walk by faith, not by sight…”

    7. Don’t try to follow God through logic.

    8. You will never be able to figure out all the moves of God in your life.

    9. Follow him through the eyes of faith and you will see a difference in your life!

  14. Getting back to the story of Ruth and Boaz, instead of shaking hands or signing contracts like our custom in the United States, the kinsman redeemer gave Boaz his sandal (Ruth 4:7-12).

    1. After this event was done, it became official!

    2. Boaz publicly announced that he was purchasing Naomi’s land and becoming Ruth’s new husband!

  15. God blessed Ruth and Boaz to have a son named “Obed” (Ruth 4:13-18).

    1. Obed would become the ancestor of King David who was the ancestor of Jesus Christ!


In summary, we learned a lot from the story of Naomi and Ruth.  First, we found out that suffering and pain in our lives is not always the result of sin.  Instead, all human beings suffer in this life and God can use hardship to create a blessing for us in due time.  Second, we find out that God’s providence is always at work in this life for us to accomplish something He wants from us.  So, as a result, we walk by faith and not by sight.  We trust God at all times; including the good and bad times in our lives!







Coffman, J. (1999). Coffman commentaries on the Old and New Testament. Retrieved March 23, 2013 from


Easton, M. (1897). Easton’s Bible dictionary. Retrieved March 23, 2013 from

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