The Story of Ruth

Cast

Narrator
Elimelech
Ruth
Naomi
Orpah
Boaz
Worker
Relative
Town Leader
Woman 1
Woman 2

BIBLE VERSE:

Ruth 1:16 "your people will be my people, your God will be my God."

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The Story of Ruth

Scene 1

Narrator, Elimelech, Ruth, Naomi and Orpah.

Narrator: Before Israel was ruled by kings, Elimelech from the tribe of Ephrath lived in the town of Bethlehem. His wife was named Naomi, and their two sons were Mahlon and Chilion.

Elimelech: The crops have failed again. Bethlehem has nothing for us. We must leave our land and move to Moab.

Narrator: While they were there, Elimelech died, leaving Naomi with only her two sons. Naomi’s two sons eventually married Moabite women. One was named Orpah, and the other Ruth. As Moabites, they knew very little of the God of Israel, the God of Naomi and her sons. But they were good and kind, and Naomi loved them very much. About ten years later, Mahlon and Chilion also died. Now Naomi had no husband or sons.

Naomi: My daughters, the Lord has ended the famine in Bethlehem, and has given my people a good harvest. It’s time for me to return home. I know you planned to come with me, but I want you to return to your families.

Orpah and Ruth: What? No, mother! We can’t do that!

Naomi: Don’t you want to go back home to your own mothers?

Orpah: You have been a mother to us!

Ruth: We want to go with you and live among your people.

Naomi: No, my daughters, why don’t you return home? What good will it do you to go with me? Bethlehem is no place for Moabite women. My people will not accept you. You’ll be strangers there.

Orpah: You were a stranger here, but you found acceptance, and love, and a family.

Naomi: Don’t you understand?  Life is harder for me than it is for you, because the Lord has turned against me.

Ruth: That’s not true. Your God is good. You are good.

Narrator: Orpah finally agreed with Naomi, and she kissed her mother-in-law good-bye.

Orpah: Good bye, Naomi. I love you.

Naomi: I love you too, Orpah. Now return to your family. You were kind to my husband and sons, and you have always been kind to me. I pray that the Lord will be just as kind to you. Ruth, your sister-in-law is going back to her people and to her gods! Why don’t you go with her?

Ruth: Please don’t tell me to leave you and return home! I will go where you go, I will live where you live; your people will be my people, your God will be my God. I will die where you die and be buried beside you. May the Lord punish me if we are ever separated, even by death!

Naomi: Very well, my dear. Then come, let’s go home to Bethlehem. And Ruth … thank you.

End of Scene

Scene 2

Narrator, Ruth, Boaz, Worker

Narrator: When Naomi and Ruth arrived in Bethlehem, the barley harvest was just beginning. With no husbands to support them, the women had to glean in the fields, which meant following the harvesters to pick up any grain left behind. Ruth went out to glean in a field owned by a rich man named Boaz, who was a relative of Naomi’s husband.

Ruth: Thank you so much for letting me glean in the field. My mother-in-law and I have so little … this will be such a blessing.

Worker: Don’t worry. I know that Master Boaz would want to help you. See those women there? They’re also gleaners. Many of them are widows like you. Stay with them and you can gather up all the loose grain you see.

Narrator: That day Boaz left Bethlehem and went out to his field.

Boaz: The Lord bless you, Nathan!

Worker: And may the Lord bless you, Master Boaz!

Boaz: Tell me… Who is that young woman?

Worker: She’s the one who came back from Moab with Naomi. She asked if she could pick up grain left by the harvest workers, and she has been working all morning without a moment’s rest. Her name is Ruth.

Boaz: (Calling) Ruth! (Clears his throat, awkward at first)Ruth, I think it would be best for you not to pick up grain in anyone else’s field. Stay here with the women and follow along behind them, as they gather up what the men have cut. I have warned the men not to bother you, and whenever you are thirsty, you can drink from the water jars they have filled.

Ruth: (Respectfully) You know I come from another country. Why are you so good to me?

Boaz: I’ve heard how you’ve helped your mother-in-law ever since your husband died. You even left your own father and mother to come and live in a foreign land among people you don’t know.  I pray that the Lord God of Israel will reward you for what you have done. And now that you have come to him for protection, I pray that he will bless you.

Ruth: Sir, it’s good of you to speak kindly to me and make me feel so welcome. I’m not even one of your servants.

Boaz: Come, it’s time for lunch. Eat with us. Have some bread and dip it in the sauce.

Narrator: So she sat down with the workers, and Boaz handed her some roasted grain. Ruth ate all she wanted and had some left over.

Boaz: Nathan, don’t let anyone stop her, even if she picks up grain from where it is stacked. Be sure to pull out some stalks of grain from the bundles and leave them on the ground for her. And don’t let anyone speak harshly to her!

End of Scene

Scene 3

Narrator, Ruth, Naomi

Narrator: Ruth worked in the field until evening. Then after she had pounded the grain off the stalks, she had a large basket full of grain. Ruth also gave Naomi the food left over from her lunch.

Naomi: Where did you work today? Whose field was it? God bless the man who treated you so well!

Ruth: The man who owned the field was very kind. He let me take all that I wanted. He even invited me to eat with all the workers.

Naomi: Who was it? What was his name?

Ruth: Boaz.

Naomi: Boaz!

Ruth: You know him?

Naomi: The Lord bless Boaz! He has shown that he is still loyal to the living and to the dead. Boaz is a close relative, one of those who is supposed to look after us.

Ruth: Boaz even said I could stay in the field with his workers until they had finished gathering all his grain.

Naomi: That’s wonderful! My daughter, it’s good that you can pick up grain alongside the women who work in his field.

Narrator: Ruth worked in the fields until the barley and wheat were harvested. And all this time she lived with Naomi.

End of Scene

Scene 4

Narrator, Naomi, Ruth, Boaz

Naomi: It’s time I found you a husband, who will give you a home and take care of you. You have been picking up grain alongside the women who work for Boaz, and you know he is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be threshing the grain. Now take a bath and put on some perfume, then dress in your best clothes. Go where he is working, but don’t let him see you until he has finished eating. Watch where he goes to spend the night, then when he is asleep, lift the cover and lie down at his feet. By doing this, you will ask him for protection and for marriage. He will tell you what to do.

Ruth: I’ll do whatever you say.

Narrator: That night after Boaz finished his meal, he went over and fell asleep near the pile of grain. Ruth slipped over quietly. She lifted the cover and lay down near his feet. In the middle of the night, Boaz suddenly woke up and was shocked to see a woman lying at his feet.

Boaz: Who are you?

Ruth: Sir, I am Ruth, and you are the relative who is supposed to take care of me. So spread the edge of your cover over me.

Boaz: The Lord bless you! This shows how truly loyal you are to your family. You could have looked for a younger man, either rich or poor, but you didn’t. Don’t worry, I’ll do what you have asked. You are respected by everyone in town. It’s true that I am one of the relatives who is supposed to take care of you, but there is someone who is an even closer relative. Stay here until morning, then I will find out if he is willing to look after you. If he isn’t, I promise by the living God to do it myself. Now go back to sleep until morning.

Narrator: Ruth lay down again, but she got up before daylight, because Boaz did not want anyone to know she had been there.  Then he told her to spread out her cape. And he filled it with a lot of grain and placed it on her shoulder. When Ruth got back to town, she told Naomi everything.

Ruth: And Boaz gave me this grain, because he didn’t want me to come back without something for you.

Naomi: Just be patient and don’t worry about what will happen. He won’t rest until everything is settled today!

End of Scene

Scene 5

Boaz, Relative, Town Leader, Woman 1, Woman 2, Naomi, Narrator

Narrator: In the meanwhile, Boaz had gone to the meeting place at the town gate and was sitting there when the other close relative came by.

Boaz: My brother, come over here and sit down. I’ve got something important to talk about with you.

Relative: This must be important for you have invited ten of the town leaders! What’s going on?

Boaz: Naomi has come back from Moab and is selling the land that belonged to her husband Elimelech.  I am telling you about this, since you are his closest relative and have the right to buy the property. If you want it, you can buy it now. These ten men and the others standing here can be witnesses. But if you don’t want the property, let me know, because I am next in line.

Relative: I will buy it!

Boaz: If you do buy it from Naomi, you must also marry Ruth. Then if you have a son by her, the property will stay in the family of Ruth’s first husband.

Relative: If that’s the case, I don’t want to buy it! That would make problems with the property I already own. You may buy it yourself, because I cannot.

Narrator: To make a sale legal in those days, one person would take off a sandal and give it to the other.  So after the man had agreed to let Boaz buy the property, he took off one of his sandals and handed it to Boaz.

Boaz: All of you are witnesses that today I have bought from Naomi the property that belonged to Elimelech and his two sons, Chilion and Mahlon. You are also witnesses that I have agreed to marry Mahlon’s widow Ruth, the Moabite woman. This will keep the property in his family’s name, and he will be remembered in this town.

Town Leader: We are witnesses to this. And we pray that the Lord will give your wife many children, just as he did Leah and Rachel, the wives of Jacob. May you be a rich man in the tribe of Ephrath and an important man in Bethlehem.  May the children you have by this young woman make your family as famous as the family of Perez, the son of Tamar and Judah.

Narrator: Boaz married Ruth, and the Lord blessed her with a son.

Woman 1: Praise the Lord! Naomi, today he has given you a grandson to take care of you. We pray that the boy will grow up to be famous everywhere in Israel.

Woman 2: He will make you happy and take care of you in your old age, because he is the son of your daughter-in-law. And she loves you more than seven sons of your own would love you.

Naomi: My grandson…his name is Obed.

Woman 1: What a wonderful name. We will call him “Naomi’s boy,” because he will be like a son to you.

Narrator: When Obed grew up, he had a son named Jesse, who later became the father of King David. Through the hardship and loss, God remained faithful to Naomi and Ruth. Boaz obeyed God’s law and became Naomi’s and Ruth’s rescuer. Generations later, their descendant Jesus showed God’s faithfulness by rescuing God’s people from their sin. Check out the story of Ruth in your Bible.   

Bible Source: Contemporary English Version (CEV), Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

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