When Naomi returned to Bethlehem she was poor. The poor were allowed at harvest time to follow the reapers; gleaning or gathering up the stray ears of corn. One day, Ruth obtained permission from her mother-in-law to go gleaning, and went to glean in the field of a rich man named Boaz, who happened to be a kinsman, or relative of Elimelech. But Ruth did not know of this relationship.
Boaz saw Ruth gleaning, and asked one of his servants who she was. The servant replied, |It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab.| Then Boaz spoke kindly to Ruth, telling her not to go to any other field to glean, but to stay with his maidens and glean in his field. She fell on her face before him and bowed herself to the ground, and asked, |Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?| Boaz was pleased with her because of her kindness to Naomi, so he replied, |It hath fully been showed me all that thou hast done unto thy mother-in-law since the death of thine husband.| He also bade her to eat and drink with his servants, and told his reapers to let some handfuls of grain fall on purpose for her. So Ruth gleaned that day quite a large quantity of barley, which she took home to Naomi. Then she learned that Boaz was her kinsman.
She continued gleaning until the end of harvest; and afterwards became the wife of Boaz and grandmother of Jesse, the father of David. Jesus Christ descended from David; so we see what high honour was bestowed upon Ruth for her kindness to her mother-in-law.
[Illustration: BOAZ SHOWING KINDNESS TO RUTH.]