As Mother’s Day approaches I have reposted this poem based on the Bible Story of a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law, Naomi and Ruth. Although great tragedy struck their family, Ruth proves herself a devoted daughter-in-law, wife and mother. Beverley Joy.
Young and beautiful, pleasant and married
To a strong family leader, a decisive man
They lived in a land of promise and plenty
Among their friends and extended family.
But their plentiful life turned into poverty
Their country plagued by famine
The people punished by God Almighty
For stubborn disobedience.
Unable to feed his wife and sons
He packed up and left for a foreign land
They said goodbye to all things familiar
Their culture, their faith and their trust in God.
They settled as immigrants in a land far away
Their boys grew strong, their future looked great
But soon tragedy struck the small family
Naomi was left widowed by her husband’s death.
She had left the famine in her homeland
To be starved of her beloved man
A traumatic loss, a family heartbroken
Who mourned alone far from family and friends.
But love and laughter soon returned
To Naomi’s broken heart
Her two precious sons were engaged to be married
To women from this foreign land.
Blended cultures, a foreign religion
Beliefs and values less godly than her own
As time went on her heart aches for home
And the country God had given them.
She remembered a time back in her youth
When her family lived by God’s way
Moral was high, family leadership wise
Life had been filled with God’s blessings.
Ten years passed by and yet no children were born?
By now their family should have grown?
Again, catastrophe struck the family
Naomi’s sons were tragically killed
The two young wives without babe or child
Three women alone with no future hope.
Naomi was now in a destitute state
Fearful and scared unable to cope
Her daughters-in-law so full of sorrow
Could not console her shattered soul.
The famine was over so she travelled back home
Her daughters-in-law accompanied her
But the further they walked the deeper she thought
My God has not been with me here in this land.
“Go back to your mothers and your family homes
Remarry, have children while you still can
I have nothing to give to secure your future
You cannot help me for my grief is too deep.”
One girl turned back with tears flowing
To stay in her country, religion and culture
But Ruth would not leave the grieving Naomi
“Your God is my God, your people are mine.”
Naomi felt empty in her land of plenty
Guilt and shame now fed her sorrow
For having left God’s promised land
“Would God forgive and hear my prayer?”
But Ruth sees hope and opportunity
“I can work for food and make ends meet
God has promised to take care of us
Just as he had throughout the past.”
She went out into the hostile land
Despised and vulnerable
Ruth chose a field, she asked to gleen
From dawn till dusk to gather enough.
Boaz saw her in his field
He asked the foreman “Who is she?”
He showed concern for her safety
For farmers and reapers would mistreat her.
His heart warmed as he heard her story
Her faithful devotion to Naomi
Her gentle nature yet keen work ethic
Her humble respect, yet adventurist spirit.
With fatherly kindness, he said to her
“Stay in my field and gather my wheat
Eat and drink with my workers
May God bless you and Naomi.”
At dusk, Ruth walked home with a bundle of wheat
Surprised Naomi asked her how and why?
Excitedly Ruth talked about
The kind field owner – Boaz.
Naomi gasped “I know that man
He was kind to my husband and sons
He is an older relative
A godly man of honour and truth.”
Ruth continued to gather the wheat in that field
Till the end of the harvest season
Naomi said “Tonight my dear
Ask Boaz to marry you.”
“Go to him respectfully
For its part of our tradition
For the next of kin to rescue us
From our childless poverty.”
Nervously Ruth surprised Boaz
Dressed like a beautiful bride
“Please marry me and rescue us
From our shameful widowhood.”
“I’ll serve you selflessly
With honour and respect
I’ll bear children who will fill our days
With laughter and joy and future heirs.”
Boaz felt honoured that Ruth would ask
An older man as he
To marry her, beautiful and young
To bring him, love and children.
With legalities sorted, the wedding was planned
“I shall protect you from this day forth
You shall never want for any good thing
I will love and care for you and Naomi
The town celebrated this unusual bond
Of a wealthy older, God-fearing man
To a foreign woman, once despised
Who, when she was empty, trusted in God.
Who left her family, country and gods
To draw on Yahweh’s grace and love
As she selflessly loved her mother-in-law
And married a man of Godly honour.
Naomi was raised from emptiness
To fullness and joy of life
Through the selfless love of her new family
Boaz, Ruth and their firstborn son.
Ruth, a foreigner became an ancestor
Of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour
Who selflessly gave himself to save
All who believe and trust in Him.
Beverley Joy © 2017 of Simply Story Poetry
Read or listen to my poems of Women of the Bible: It Takes Two To Tango The Adulterous Woman of John 8:1-11, She Gave From Her Heart The Woman and the Two Coins Luke 21:1-4, Sweet Temptation Eve Genesis 3, Feast or Famine Ruth and I Am Ruth, ‘Thirst Quenching’ The Woman at the Well, Mary – The Christmas Story Part 2 Four Unusual Women, Part 4 Mary, The Christmas Story Part 5 Mary and Elizabeth, The Busyness Excuse Mary and Martha, Her Touch of Simple Faith The women with the bleeding issue,
You can listen to all my poems on several podcast platforms here
The Bible book of Ruth.
The Zondervan NASB Study Bible 1999 Zondervan Michigan U.S.A.
Matthew Henry’s Commentary of the Whole Bible 1960 Marshall, Morgan & Scott
All the Women of the Bible.1967. Herbert Lockyer Zondervan
Introduction to the Old Testament R.K. Harrison.1969 W.B. Eerdmans Publishing
A History of Israel Revised Edition J. Bright.1972 Westminster Press