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So everyone is miserable and no one has a husband. Full steam ahead to Downertown.
Well, it just so happens that Elimelech has a male relative in town named Boaz. Boaz is well known and really rich and has an awesome name. We're also guessing he's handsome, too. Think ancient Mr. Darcy.
Ruth tells Naomi she's gonna go to the barley fields and try to glean some ears of grain. That just means that she's going to gather some of the barley that's left behind after the workers harvest it. It's a form of charity for really poor people, which Naomi and Ruth definitely are (source, p. 193).
Coincidence of coincidences, she just so happens to pick the part of the field that Boaz owns. What are the chances?
Naturally, Boaz just happens along at this very moment.
Hey, who's that girl? he wonders to one of his servants. Ruth must have been a bit of a looker herself.
The servant explains how Ruth left her home and family so she could stick by Naomi when the going got tough. The girl is good people.
Boaz goes over to Ruth and offers her all kinds of gleaning perks. She's welcome to hang in his field all season (she won't have to go from property to property) and drink from the same water the workers do. Oh, and he's also told the harvesters not to bother her. So, no catcalling, guys.
Ruth is so grateful, she literally throws herself on the ground in front of him. She wants to know why Boaz is being so kind to her.
After all, she is just a foreigner, right?
Boaz explains that he knows all about her devotion to Naomi and how she left Moab and all her family and friends to come to Judah with her mother-in-law. He tells Ruth that he hopes God will take her under his wing since she's devoted herself to him and his people.
Yep, this guy's a keeper.
Later, when it's time to eat, Boaz tells Ruth to go ahead and eat with him and his workers. She stuffs herself full of bread and wine (she's poor and hungry, remember?).
When Ruth leaves to go glean some more (she been at this all day; the girl is determined), Boaz tells his workers that she is allowed to take the non-charity grain and that they should help her by leaving some nice barley stalks lying around for her to pick up. We think someone's got a crush.
Things Are Looking Up
Ruth comes back home that evening with a boatload of barley.
Naomi eats and wonders where Ruth worked. Obviously, someone really nice has got his eye on her and Naomi wants to know who the lucky boy is.
Ruth tells her she set up shop in Boaz's field and Naomi instantly recognizes him as one of her dead husband's relatives. Yay for family.
Naomi encourages Ruth to keep going back to Boaz's field (duh). And the wheels in Naomi's head are starting to turn.