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Now Naomi had a relative on her husband's side whose name was Boaz. He was a rich and influential man from the family of Elimelech.
Soon after Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the fields and pick up grain that's been left behindif I can find someone will give me permission.”
Yes, go ahead, my daughter,” Naomi replied.
So she went and picked up grain the reapers had left behind. She happened to be working in a field that belonged to Boaz, a relative of Elimelech.
Later on Boaz arrived from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, “May the Lord be with you!” They replied, “The Lord bless you!” Then Boaz asked his servant who was in charge of the harvesters, “Who is this young woman related to?”* The young woman is a Moabite who came back with Naomi from Moab,” the servant replied. She asked me, ‘Please may I have permission to pick up grain behind the reapers.’ So she came, and she's been working here from morning until now, except for a brief rest in the shelter.”
Boaz went and spoke to Ruth. “Listen to me, my daughter,” he told her. “Don't leave to go and pick up grain in someone else's field. Stay close to my women. Pay attention to what part of the field the men are reaping and follow the women. I've told the men not to bother you. When you get thirsty, go and have a drink from the water jars the servants have filled.”
10 She bowed down with her face to the ground. “Why are you being so kind to me or even notice me, seeing I'm a foreigner?” she asked him.
11 “I've heard about all you've done for your mother-in-law since your husband died,” Boaz replied. “And also how you left your father and mother, and the land of your birth, to come and live among people you didn't know. 12 May the Lord fully reward you for all you've donethe Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you've come for protection.§
13 Thank you for being so good to me, sir,” she replied. “You have reassured me by speaking to me kindly. I'm not even one of your servants.”
14 When it was time to eat, Boaz called her over. “Come here,” he said. “Take some bread and dip it in wine vinegar.”
So she sat down with the workers and Boaz passed her some roasted grain to eat. She ate until she'd had enough with some left over.
15 After Ruth went back to work Boaz told his men, “Let her pick up grain even among the sheaves. Don't say anything to embarrass her. 16 In fact, pull out some stalks from the bundles you're cutting and leave them for her to pick up. Don't tell her off.”
17 Ruth worked in the field until the evening. When she beat out the grain that she had picked up it was a large amount.* 18 She picked it up and took it back to town to show her mother-in-law how much she had collected. Ruth also gave her what she had left over from her meal.
19 Naomi asked her, “Where did you pick up grain today? Exactly where did you work? Bless whoever cared enough about you to pay you some attention!” So she told her mother-in-law about who she had worked with. “The man I worked with today is called Boaz.”
20 The Lord bless him!” Naomi exclaimed to her daughter-in-law. “He goes on showing his kindness to the living and the dead. That man is a close relative to usafamily redeemer.’ ”
21 Ruth added, “He also told me, ‘Stay close to my workers until they have finished harvesting my entire crop.’ ”
22 “That's good, my daughter,” Naomi told Ruth. “Stay with his women workers. Don't go to other fields where you might be molested.” 23 So Ruth stayed with Boaz' women workers picking up grain until the end of the barley harvest, and then on to the end of the wheat harvest. She lived with her mother-in-law the whole time.
* 2:5 Literally, “Whose is that young woman?” 2:7 The Hebrew adds “among the sheaves,” but this is probably transposed from verse 15. She was given this unusual permission by Boaz only later. 2:9 It is thought that the men did the work of cutting the stalks of grain, while the women followed behind tying them into sheaves. § 2:12 Literally, “under whose wings you have sought refuge.” * 2:17 “Large amount,”: literally, “an ephah,” a unit of measurement of uncertain quantity, estimated at between 22 and 45 liters. 2:20 “Family redeemer”: a term for someone who had the responsibility to protect the interests of the family, particularly in the case of someone who died.