Unit 16: Day 4, Ruth

    “Unit 16: Day 4, Ruth,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)

    “Unit 16: Day 4,” Old Testament Study Guide

    Unit 16: Day 4



    Naomi, her husband, and their two sons moved from Bethlehem to the land of Moab because of a famine. While they were there, Naomi’s husband died and her two sons each married a Moabite woman. After the death of both of her sons, Naomi encouraged her daughters-in-law to return to live with their families so they could be cared for. One daughter-in-law, Ruth, chose to stay with Naomi. The two returned to Bethlehem, where a man named Boaz, who was related to Naomi’s husband, helped provide for their needs.

    Ruth 1

    Ruth travels with Naomi back to Bethlehem after the deaths of their husbands

    As you read the following scenario, consider if you have ever been in a similar situation:

    A young woman has had a close group of friends for a long time, and she cares about each of them. Recently she has noticed her friends have begun to change. They have begun to use inappropriate language. Some of them are experimenting with alcohol and participating in activities that are against the law of chastity. The young woman has felt the Holy Ghost prompt her not to go with these friends to parties and other activities, but she has hesitated to obey these promptings.

    In what ways might this situation test a person’s willingness to trust in the Lord? As you study Ruth 1–2, look for truths that can help you in situations when you must decide whether you will trust in the Lord.

    Read Ruth 1:1–5, looking for what happened to each of the following individuals in this account: Elimelech, Naomi, Mahlon, Chilion, Orpah, Ruth. In ancient Israel a widow’s sons were typically responsible for providing her with protection, food, and care. If a widow had no living sons or male relatives, she had to provide for herself. This could be very difficult if she did not own land or have other resources. It appears that Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth were in this situation.

    What concerns might you have had if you had been in the position of Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth?

    map, Holy Land

    Locate the city of Bethlehem and the land of Moab on the accompanying map or on Bible Maps, no. 3, “The Division of the 12 Tribes.” Naomi had relatives living in Bethlehem, and Orpah and Ruth had family members living in Moab.

    Read Ruth 1:6–9, looking for what Naomi decided to do and what she told her daughters-in-law to do.

    Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem, and she encouraged her daughters-in-law to return to their families. The following diagram can help you consider the possible advantages and disadvantages of the decision Orpah and Ruth faced:

    Orpah’s and Ruth’s Decision

    Stay in Moab

    Go to Bethlehem



    In the diagram, list what some of the advantages of staying in Moab might have been for Orpah and Ruth.

    Read Ruth 1:10, looking for what Orpah and Ruth said they would do.

    Based on Orpah and Ruth’s response, what type of feelings do you suppose they had for Naomi?

    You may want to mark the phrase “thy people” in verse 10. The Israelites’ religion and culture differed significantly from those of the people who lived in Moab, who worshipped idols. Although Orpah and Ruth were Moabites, it appears that they had forsaken the worship of idols and instead worshipped the Lord with their husbands and Naomi (see Ruth 1:15).

    In the diagram, list what some of the benefits of choosing to go with Naomi to Bethlehem might have been.

    Read Ruth 1:11–14, looking for Naomi’s response to Orpah and Ruth.

    Naomi warned that Orpah and Ruth might not have the opportunity to remarry if they went with her to Bethlehem. In the diagram, list what some of the disadvantages of choosing to go with Naomi to Bethlehem might have been.

    If Orpah and Ruth had stayed in Moab, they may not have been able to worship the Lord with others of the same faith. In the diagram, list this and other possible disadvantages of staying in Moab.

    1. journal icon
      Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal: What would you do if you had been in Orpah and Ruth’s position? Why?

    Read Ruth 1:14–15, looking for what Orpah decided to do. In verse 15, the phrase “gone back unto her people, and unto her gods” suggest that Orpah chose to return to her old ways.

    Ruth and Naomi

    Ruth and Naomi

    Read Ruth 1:16–17, looking for what Ruth decided to do.

    1. journal icon
      Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

      1. What do you think Ruth’s response means?

      2. What do Ruth’s words show about the depth of her conversion and her trust in the Lord?

    As you continue to study the book of Ruth, look for what happened as a result of Ruth’s decision to trust in the Lord.

    In Ruth 1:18–22 we learn that Naomi and Ruth traveled to Bethlehem. Since they were extremely poor, they desperately needed to find a way to support themselves.

    Ruth 2–4

    Ruth meets Boaz, and eventually they are married

    Read Ruth 2:1–3, looking for how Ruth and Naomi obtained food in Bethlehem. (To glean means to gather any of the grain that remains in the field after the crop has been harvested.)

    Ruth gleaning

    Ruth gleaned in Boaz’s field.

    The law of Moses instructed those who owned fields not to harvest the crops in the edges of their fields. The law allowed the poor to harvest these crops, ensuring that they would have something to eat. After the harvest was gathered in, the poor were also allowed to go into the field and glean the crops that had been missed by the harvesters (see Deuteronomy 24:19–22).

    Read Ruth 2:5–7, looking for what Boaz did when he saw Ruth gleaning in his field.

    As you read Ruth 2:8–10, look for what Boaz decided to do for Ruth.

    As you read Ruth 2:11–12, look for two reasons why Ruth had been blessed. (You may want to mark what you find.)

    According to the first part of verse 11, Boaz showed such great kindness to Ruth because of the love and kindness she had shown to Naomi. Complete the following principle based on what you learned from Ruth’s experience: When we show love and kindness to others, .

    1. journal icon
      Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

      1. When have you, or someone you know, received the Lord’s blessings after showing love and kindness to others?

      2. What effect did this experience have on you?

    Ponder ways in which you can show love and kindness to others, and find ways to do so during the next few days.

    You may have noticed in verses 11–12 that another reason why Ruth had been blessed was because she trusted in the Lord. Another principle we learn from these verses is that if we choose to trust in the Lord, then He will reward us for our faith.

    This principle is further illustrated by Ruth’s relationship with Boaz. For example, Ruth 2:13–23 explains that Boaz showed additional kindness to Ruth by inviting her to eat with him and the reapers, the people he hired to harvest his fields. Boaz also told the reapers to leave extra portions of grain for Ruth to harvest. Ruth returned to Naomi and told her what had happened. Together they rejoiced in the Lord’s blessings and kindness to them. Ruth 3–4 records that Ruth’s relationship with Boaz continued to develop, and eventually they were married.

    Read again the scenario at the beginning of this lesson, and consider how the principle about trusting in the Lord could help the young woman in the scenario.

    1. journal icon
      Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

      1. How might the young woman in the scenario choose to trust in the Lord?

      2. What are some ways in which she could be rewarded for her faith?

    Read the following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

    Elder Richard G. Scott

    “At times you may feel lonely and misunderstood … because you don’t fit in with the crowd. Be grateful that your righteous life molds you so that you don’t fit where you don’t belong. This is a temporary period of personal testing and growth. It will be replaced in time with true friends and greater happiness.

    “The world needs light. Be that light. Your righteousness gives others confirmation of the goodness of life anchored in eternal truth” (“The Power of Righteousness,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 70).

    1. journal icon
      Answer one or both of the following questions in your scripture study journal:

      1. When have you felt that the Lord rewarded your faith because you chose to trust in Him, and what effect did that experience have on you?

      2. What will you do in the next week to show that you trust in the Lord?

    2. journal icon
      Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

      I have studied Ruth 1–4 and completed this lesson on (date).

      Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: