Tuesday, 6 March 2012

14. Ruth - a love story

I never thought I'd fall in love again. When my first husband died I was still young, and childless. My only comfort was my mother in law, Naomi. At least I had her. She wanted to return to her own people, so I went too. I chose her people and her God and so we came wearily to Bethlehem just as the barley harvest was beginning. Poverty was our a daily reality but the field where I gleaned was owned by someone kind. He told the men not to molest me and to let more stalks fall for me as they gathered. I often went home with double. Naomi was curious so I told her about Boaz. I think 'glint in her eye' might be an apt phrase.

I thought I knew my position - a foreign immigrant, lower than Boaz's servants, but he continued to show me favour. Naomi had a plan. Boaz was a distant relation of her dead husband's. She thought he might be persuaded to act as our kinsman redeemer. It would mean redeeming the land she used to own before the famine forced her away. But it would also mean 'redeeming' me in marriage. The more I though about Boaz the better I liked the plan. It just crept up on me. Yes he was older, but a good man. He spoke to me so gently. He was loving. He would make a good father. Could it be possible?

I did everything Naomi said. I can't say I wasn't afraid. Women didn't go to the threshing floor after dark. The harvesters were in high spirits. Eventually people drifted away and Boaz lay down to sleep. I waited a while then crept over, uncovered his blanket and lay down at his feet. I couldn't sleep a wink. It was the middle of the night when he suddenly started and woke up to find me there too, under the covers with him! To say he was startled would be an understatement! A young foreign woman, there in his bed, signalling marriage. He took me seriously though: 'The Lord bless you, my daughter. This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier. You have not run after the younger men (...) don't be afraid. I will do for you all that you ask.' 

After that it all happened so fast. We were married. The baby came along. I blessed the God of Israel. The first person to cradle him, after me, was Naomi. I made sure of that.


  1. Beautifully told Claire - I had a tear in my eye prompted no doubt by my memory of looking closely at the Naomi/Ruth story on Iona with Doug and Rach, Andy and Rach and others the year after Ali died. Doug penned a beautiful song to a well known tune, neither of which i can remember, nor lay my hands on since i stuck it in my holiday diary which i lost on a **** Ryanair flight... oh well!

  2. That must have been moving.
    Ruth's is the second story that has reduced me to tears recently - the other is I always well up when Rebekah comes across the field to Issac and after they marry he is comforted after the death of Sarah. Gets me each time.
    You'll have to get that song off Doug.