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Ruth: She was One of Us

By Jim Vasquez

A child was born some time ago,
Right here in Bethlehem,
And people still relate this tale,
Which quite astonished them.

When famine had reduced the land,
And people everywhere,
Were forced to seek their food abroad,
In hopes they'd find it there,

'Twas then Naomi with her house,
To Moab took her leave,
Expecting to improve their lot,
And their distress relieve.

And many saw her when she left,
With husband virile and strong,
They left this place to venture far,
And took their sons along.

But shortly then her husband died,
And she was left alone,
Except for two young sons she had,
She nothing else did own.

Now, for a while she lived in hope,
For each son took a wife,
But when her sons themselves then died,
A pall came o'er her life.

And Orpah was a daughter while,
The other was named Ruth,
And in that land the Jews were few,
And neither was, in truth.

About that time she heard that God,
Had eased His people's lot,
In Judah there was hope once more,
In Moab there was not.

She set her face for home again,
And to her daughters said,
"Remain here with your people now,
For my two sons are dead.

"I thank you for your love to them,
And how you kept your oath,
May God now show you kindness and,
Most richly bless you both.

"And may you other husbands find,
And safely once again,
Abide within a fruitful home,
And bear your children then.

"My life is bitter for the hand,
Of God opposes me,
And if you choose to follow now,
The worse for you 'twill be."

So Orpah then her mother kissed,
While bidding her good-by,
But Ruth embraced Naomi and,
In whispers did reply,

"Entreat me not, O mother dear,
Your presence now to flee,
For more are you to me than what,
A man might ever be.

"Entreat me not to turn as those,
Of lesser love would do,
My foot withholding from the path,
And leave pursuing you.

"The God I've known to be your God,
Shall be my God as well,
Your people shall be mine and where,
You find your home, I'll dwell.

"And when death's darksome voice does call,
Entreat me not, I say,
For there content, fulfilled, expired,
My body will they lay.

"And not but death shall separate,
My clinging soul from you,
May God do so and more to me,
If e'er I prove untrue."

And thus they went to Bethlehem,
Inseparable as one,
The Moabitess was seen there,
But of the family, none.

And some, recalling well the day,
She left, then said aloud,
"Can this, whom now our eyes behold,
Be she who left so proud?"

"Say not 'Naomi'," she replied,
"Which speaks of pleasant fame,
For God has lifted up His hand,
And bitter is my name.

"I left so full long years ago,
And now I have returned,
Affliction is my lot from God,
Who all my pleas has spurned."

Now, barley ripened, gold and full,
And to the fields she went,
This Ruth in hopes she'd glean a bit,
Ere harvest time was spent.

And though 'twas thought God did forsake,
This lonely, weary pair,
His caring hand was not withdrawn,
In truth, had led her there.

For in the fields of Boaz did,
She find herself that day,
Who, when he learned just who she was,
Invited her to stay.

He was a man of honor and,
Forbade his men to touch,
This winsome lass of foreign birth,
Of whom he'd heard so much.

And when she questioned how it was,
Such favor he had shown,
"Your love to Naomi," he said,
"Is now quite widely known,"

"And what you've done for her and how,
You left your home behind,
And chose this land to make your own,
And here your fate to find.

"May God, beneath whose wings you've found,
A refuge, richly bless,
For kindness to our sister shown,
Midst sorrow and distress."

At home that night Naomi learned,
How Boaz had embraced,
Her daughter Ruth and kept her from,
The dangers she had faced.

She saw the mighty hand of God,
At work once more therein,
And offered praise and thanks to Him,
For Boaz was her kin!

"Return again," she said to Ruth,
"And listen to me now,
For Boaz is redeemer-kin,
And if you will allow,

"It's in our hands to work things and,
To open wide his eyes,
Assisting every effort that,
Will help him win this prize!

"Tonight you'll sleep right at his feet,
And when he wakens say,
'Please spread your garment over me,
As kin now let me stay.'"

So quickly to the threshing floor,
Ruth hastened to obey,
And quietly she stole inside,
And at his feet then lay.

And when discovered she replied,
Just as Naomi said,
As kin he had redeemer rights,
To purchase her and wed.

"Oh, noble woman," Boaz said,
"Quite justly is your name,
Revered among our townsmen since,
That blessed day you came.

"You've followed not in chase of men,
Of younger age than I,
Nor sought them whether rich or poor,
Their wants to gratify.

"Though foreign born you've led a life,
Both wise and virtuous,
A child of Abraham in truth,
And you are one of us.

"But now I tell you of a man,
With closer blood than mine,
Whose right it is to purchase you,
If he will so incline."

So Boaz met the man before,
The elders and, in brief,
The man renounced all right to Ruth,
(Which caused no small relief!)

A wedding followed shortly then,
When Boaz took her hand,
And ne'er was seen a greater feast,
They say, throughout the land.

And blessed were they by elders and,
The women of the place,
Who prayed their union would be strong,
And offspring thus embrace.

Now God who hears each humble prayer,
And turns away not one,
Most clearly heard those ardent pleas,
And granted them a son.

And from that line then came to us,
A man who in our lore,
Stands tall above all others as,
A prince and man of war.

Yes, David was descended from,
This strange, unlikely pair,
Whose son, the prophets have foretold,
Messiah's crown would wear.


from the December 1999 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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