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Drama, Puppets, and Storytelling Lessons, Ideas, Activities, and Resources for Teaching the Story of Ruth in Sunday School.

Sunday School lessons and ideas about Ruth, Naomi, Boaz, Moabite, whither thou goest, etc. etc., taught with Drama, puppets, scripts, skits, acting, newsroom, etc.

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Supporting Members:

Check out the "Magnet-Science" Storytelling Workshop lesson AND "Ruth's Instagram" Photo-Drama Workshop in the Story of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz Lesson Set!

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The Story of Ruth

Drama Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Students and teachers will snap Picture Tableaus they create for various scenes from the story of Ruth.  These will dramatize Ruth's faithfulness to her family and their God, and His faithfulness to her.

Scripture Reference:

The book of Ruth

Lesson Objectives:
At the end of the session the children will be able to:

  • Locate the book of Ruth in the Old Testament using the table of contents.
  • Relate the story of this young woman's faith and trust in the God she chose to follow.
  • Understand that Ruth was faithful to her family (by marriage) and to God. God was faithful to her. God did not leave her alone.
  • Understand that as part of the community of faith, we are not alone.
  • Know that Ruth is the great-grandmother of David, and the great-great- great....grandmother of Jesus.

A "tableau" is a frozen snapshot. You will actually be photographing this tableau.  The kids don't speak, they POSE.  The photographer may take several photos of the same scene:  one of all the participants in the frozen snapshot, and then close-ups showing facial reactions, hands, whatever seem appropriate to help tell the story.

Supplies List:

  • Bible-time costumes
  • baskets for holding "grain"
  • Digital camera
  • flip chart
  • posterboard
  • markers
  • plain white bed sheet
  • crayons
  • curtain rod at proper height to hang backdrop.

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture ahead of time.
  • Gather the materials.




Opening-Welcome and Lesson introduction: 

Early Arrival Activity: 
Make a backdrop to hang from a curtain rod (the curtain rod will fit through the hem of the sheet). Sketch a field of grain, perhaps with a tent or barn in the background on a white twin or full bed-sheet. Let the students color it in with markers or crayons. (This may not last as a project for the entire rotation. If not, coordinate with the teacher for the Christmas unit to make a stable for the puppet stage or provide the students with barley and other grains to make a collage.) Talk about what grain looks like and farming and harvesting methods.


Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

Bringing the story to life: Creative Dramatics/Photo Tableaus

Read Ruth 1: 16-17. 
Talk about how Ruth was a Moabite, yet she left her people, her god, and her home to go with Naomi. She was not required or expected to go. Why might she have done this? What sort of relationship do you think she and Naomi had? What sort of person do you think Naomi was?

How would you feel if you were leaving your people (as Ruth did)?


Next, read the scripture: Ruth 2: 1-13 and discuss.


What were Ruth's options?

Did she choose the easiest thing? Or the most faithful?

What did she expect out of her choice?  What could have gone wrong?

Have you ever done something because it was right knowing the consequences would be difficult?


NEXT....Write out the scenes of the two scripture passages you have just read.

Assign parts, get in costume, and run through the scenes listed on the flipchart, deciding where to stop the action to form a tableau.  


Characters: Elimelech, Naomi, Mahlon, Chilion, Orpah, Ruth, Boaz, field workers, man in charge of harvest, Elimelech's unnamed relative, 10 town leaders, women of Bethlehem.
Where did the story take place: Moab and Bethlehem


Work on facial expressions that "say something," since the pictures will be silent. After the class is happy with the selected scenes, run through it again and take the photos for real.


After creating the photos, they can be viewed on a computer screen or flat screen tv.  PRIOR to the start of class, you will want to make sure that the CAMERA you are using has a cable which can plug into a port on the computer or tv for viewing.


IF TIME: After viewing, these photos can be printed and pasted to posterboard for display to the congregation. Kids can caption them with key words and verses.

Pulling it all together (closing discussion):

  • I wonder what Naomi was like, that Ruth was willing (and Orpah came close) to leave her people and all she knew?
  • I wonder why Ruth was faithful to a God she did not know? Or do you think she knew the God of Israel? How?
  • In what ways was Ruth faithful to God? In what ways was God faithful to Ruth?
  • How do you love God? (Belonging to God: a First Catechism question # 6. By worshiping God, by loving others, and by respecting what God has created.)
  • What can we do to be like Naomi, and demonstrate the love of God to others, so that they will want to follow Him, too?


Father, thank you for being faithful to those who show faith. Go with us this week, guide us each day that we may be faithful to our friends, to our family, and to You. Let our lives be a gift to You. Amen. 


This lesson was written by Amy Crane ( for Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church in Tampa, Florida.  Permission granted to freely distribute and use, provided the copyright message is included.


A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.


Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer


The Story of Ruth 
A Puppet or Drama Script
Written by Richard Shaw for 
Grace Lutheran Church
Easton, Maryland

Naomi (grandmotherly)
Eli (grandfatherly)
Obed (voice only, from offstage)
Mahlon (non-speaking)
Killion (non-speaking)

One big tombstone with the name Elimalech on it
Two small tombstones, one with the name Killion, the other with the name Mahlon

Music intro
Naomi-Appears from below) (talking to audience) Hello. My name is Naomi. I am going to tell you a story about my life. When I was a young woman, I married a very handsome man named Elimelech. Can you say Elimalech? 

Audience - (answering) Elimalech

Naomi - Good. Try again, this time louder, Elimalech

Audience - (answering) Elimalech

Eli - (Appears from below) Yes? (noticing audience) Oh, hello there.

Naomi - (to Eli) Hi Eli. (to audience) Kids, say hello to Eli.

Audience - Hello

Eli - (waves to audience)

Naomi - (to Eli) Thank you for coming.

Eli - (to Naomi) You’re welcome.

Naomi & Eli - (KISS)

Naomi - Eli and I were very happy together. We are from Bethlehem, a town in Judah. Our families and friends are all from Bethlehem, and we were very comfortable there. 
We had two sons while in Bethlehem. When they were very young, about your age (pointing at audience), there was a famine in Judah. 
(to audience) Do you know what a famine is?
A famine means there was nothing to eat, for anyone. The grocery stores were all empty, all of the restaurants closed down. The ice cream man stopped coming around! What were we to do? We were very hungry. 

Eli - (to Naomi) Naomi, Naomi (trying to get her attention)

Naomi - Yes Eli.

Eli - I have heard that there is food in Moab.

Naomi - Where is Moab?

Eli - It is to the East, about six days walk. 

Naomi - Six day’s walk? But, what about our house? Our children? Our family and friends? We know nothing about Moab, and we know no one there.

Eli - But we have no food here in Bethlehem, and if we do nothing we will surely die.

Naomi - (to the audience) So we moved to Moab.

Eli - There was plenty of food!

Naomi - But we knew no one! We had to learn all about a new place. People in Moab are very different than the people in Bethlehem.
(asking audience) Have any of you ever moved? Weren’t you sad to leave your friends? Didn’t it take a while to get used to your new home and make new friends?

Eli - Well, our two sons grew up in Moab. 

(Optional) (Mahlon and Killion enter from below) 

Naomi - They fell in love with Moabite women, named Ruth and Orpah, and got married. (Ruth and Orpah enter from below)

Eli - Those were fun parties, when they got married!

Naomi - We were a big happy family. Times were not always happy though in Moab. Eli got sick. Instead of getting better, he got worse. When he died, we buried Eli in Moab. (Eli exits downward) (tombstone comes up with Elimalech on it) With Eli gone, my two sons had to take care of me. 
After some time, my two sons also got sick, and died. We buried them in Moab, near their father. (Mahlon and Killion exit and are replaced by two smaller tombstones with the names Mahlon and Killion next to Eli’s tombstone). Their wives, Ruth and Orpah were distraught.

Ruth - Oh, Naomi. What will we do now?

Orpah - All of our husbands are dead. Who will take care of us?

Naomi - Ruth and Orpah, we will take care of each other. (to audience) We grew very close. 
Through all of this time in Moab, I was very homesick for Bethlehem where I grew up and met Eli.
I missed my family and friends, and always wanted to go back to Bethlehem. 

Ruth - Naomi, Naomi (getting her attention), I heard in the market that the famine in Bethlehem is over. There is plenty of food there again. 

Naomi - This is a happy day. I can finally move back home. But what about my Eli, and my two sons? (gesturing to tombstones) I will have to leave their graves. And what about you Rutha and Orpah? 

Ruth and Orpah - We will go with you!

Naomi - Oh, no. This is your home. This is where your families and friends are. These are your people. The people in Bethlehem are much different that the people here in Moab. 

Ruth and Orpah - We will go back with you to your people. 

Naomi - Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? My sons are dead. I can not care for you. You are better off here in Moab.

Orpah - I will miss you Naomi. Goodbye. (She exits downward)

Naomi - (to Ruth) Look, your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.

Ruth - Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, your friends will be my friends. Your God will be my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried next to you. 

Naomi - Okay, Okay Ruth. You can come with me.

Naomi - (to audience) When we arrived in Bethlehem, we saw my old friends and family. We were still very poor, but at least I was home. 

Boaz - (entering from below on the side of the stage away from Ruth and Naomi, speaking towards the audience) (yelling, as if into the fields of workers) Harvest the wheat carefully. Be sure to leave a little on the ground for the poor members of our community to glean for their cupboards. It is our way of helping the less fortunate. May the Lord be with them.

Ruth - (to Naomi) Who is that man?

Naomi - That is Boaz. He is the cousin of my late husband Eli. These are his fields. He is a fair man.

Boaz - (to Ruth) Hello. Who are you?

Ruth - I am Ruth. May I glean in your fields, behind your harvesters? My mother-in-law and I are very poor and have nothing to eat. 

Boaz - My dear, listen to me. Do not go and glean in another field. Stay here with my workers and follow them. They will make sure enough is left behind for you. When you get thirsty there is a bottle of water over there for you. 

Ruth - Why have I found such favor in your eyes? I am I foreigner from Moab. 

Boaz - I have been told about all you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband. You left your father and mother and your homeland to come and live with strangers to care for your mother-in-law who has nothing. May the Lord repay you for your kindness and all you have done. (Ruth and Boaz exit downward)

Naomi - Can you believe that Ruth and Boaz became dear friends? They eventually married and had many children. Boaz being a generous man took me into his house and cared for me too. God has watched out for Ruth and me. He will watch out for you as well. Take care of your friends!

Ruth - (from off stage) Naomi, it is time to swim in the river. Your grandson, Obed, has his swimming trunks on. 

Obed - (from offstage) Come on Nana

Naomi- (as she exits downward) I’m coming, wait for me!



This excellent script was originally posted by member Julie Shaw.


Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Editor's Note:

The following two scripts were originally posted by LD Mackenzie, one of our most creative script writing volunteers. Her informal kid-friendly language is always welcome, and often quite funny. You'll especially note that in the following script for OLDER children.

Presentation notes:

These could be use with puppets, or live actors in a variety of ways.  For example, kids could say and act the lines, OR, one kid could say a line while the other has "improv" act it out in real time. After doing this, switch roles, as the kids will learn from each other and get better at presenting the story.

LD's use of the term "tableau" in these scripts probably refers to a concept of actors "freeze framing" the scene on cue as the story is read.

Ruth Rotation

Background Notes

Reversal of fortunes.
The story begins when three women are left unsupported and somewhat outcast after the deaths of their husbands. Their fortunes turn when they make use of Israelite legal codes and traditions that 1. allow foreigners, widows and the poor to gather or glean grain during the harvest season (see book intro in NRSV); and 2. require a widow's next of kin to marry and provide for her (see intro to this story in Lois Wilson's Miriam, Mary & Me. )

Not from around here.
It's significant that while Naomi the matriarch has Jewish roots, Ruth does not. Ruth is quite distinctly from someplace else. Lois Wilson, in the book cited above (which can be found in the St. John's Resource Centre), sets the story up this way: "Most commentators believe that this artistic tale was written in the fourth century BCE as a protest against the prevailing hostility to the Moabites… The book of Ruth advocates an attitude of tolerance toward people of other nations."

Where's Moab?
Check a map. Or two. There's an old-fashioned one at https://www.blueletterbible.or...y/south_palestine1_b .

Here's another good little map: https://biblearchaeologyreport...-modern-maps-jordan/

Harvest theme.
Ruth and Naomi's fortunes turn in the barley fields. Ruth, the destitute foreigner, goes on to become the grandmother of a remarkable family.

Great poetry.
Poets have always been drawn to Ruth. John Keats's famous 'Ode to a Nightingale' features Ruth in verse 7. He makes liberal poetic use of the harvest imagery from this grand story. Look up this poem at: .

Questions For Discussion:

1. What kinds of fears, worries or concerns do you think were running through Ruth’s mind when she had to choose whether to follow Naomi into a foreign country or to go home?

2. What about Boaz. Do you think he had any fears or concerns about marrying an ‘outsider?’ Do his and Ruth’s actions say something about how they or their culture respected the elderly?

3. What about Orpah. What fears or concerns would she have about returning to her ‘mother’s house’? Can you think of a parallel situation in today’s world? [maybe Afghan women returning or staying home to try to educate the current generation of girls.]

4.  Let's make a list of all the fears that people YOUR AGE might have today.  Parents?  What message does the story of Ruth and Naomi GIVE THESE PEOPLE and their problems?

Preschool Script

Wherever you go, I will go
(The story of Ruth)
adapted from the Good News Bible © LDMcKenzie

CAST: Narrator, Naomi, Orpah, Ruth, harvesters, Boaz, townsfolk, Obed

Long ago in a far off land called Moab, there were three women. Their names were Naomi, Orpah and Ruth. Naomi was older. Orpah and Ruth were younger. Their husbands had died and they were very sad and didn’t know what to do.
Naomi decided to go back to Israel, the country she originally came from. Orpah and Ruth thought maybe they should go with her. (Naomi was pretty old after all. Maybe she could use their help.)

The three women began the long trip together.
But then Naomi thought it would be better for the girls to go back home. They were all very sad about the thought of leaving each other. But Orpah agreed, and returned home.

However Ruth said:
No way. I want to stay.
Where you go, I’ll go.
Where you live, I’ll live.
Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.

So the two women continued the journey together. Finally they came to Bethlehem. They arrived at harvest time, which was the time for bringing in crops from the fields.

[insert tableau here of several people harvesting, with Ruth following behind]

Ruth had an idea. She thought it might be good to gather grain in the barley field.
She just happened to end up working in a field belonging to a rich man called Boaz. He was in fact a relative of Naomi’s husband. Boaz noticed a new girl gathering grain.
Boaz had heard about how good and kind Ruth was to Naomi. So he made sure Ruth found lots of extra grain to gather.
[Then Ruth picks up heavy bundle (use blanket) and heads home. Plunks sack/bundle down on floor.]

Naomi was amazed at the HUMUNGUS amount of grain Ruth brought home. This gave Naomi a good feeling. Everything was going to be all right.

As time went on, Boaz became awfully fond of Ruth. He told he thought they should get married. Ruth was very happy.
So Ruth got married to Boaz. And then they had a baby. They called him Obed.
[go to scene of the happy couple with Naomi showing off their new baby to some townsfolk]

This was an incredibly happy ending for Ruth and Naomi. Naomi of course became a gramma and gave Obed too many presents.

Obed grew up to be a fine young man anyway. And in time he became the grandfather of a king David.

Script For Bigger Kids

"Wherever you go, I will go"
(The story of Ruth)

adapted from the Good News Bible © LDMcKenzie

Narrator, Naomi, Elimelech, Mahlon, Chilion, Orpah, Ruth, harvesters, Boaz, Foreman, townsfolk


Long ago in Israel, there was a famine in the land. So a man named Elimelech from Bethlehem went with his wife Naomi and their 2 sons to live for a while in the country of Moab.
While they were there, Elimelech died. This left Naomi alone with her sons and their wives from Moab, Orpah and Ruth. Ten years later, Naomi’s sons died too.
Then Naomi heard good news.

Girls, I hear things are growing like sixty in Judah. Maybe we should head back.


[the women start walking]

Hang on. You two really should go back home. That’s where you belong.

Orpah & Ruth [with lots of crying, hankies, etc]:
No. We won’t go. We want to stay with you.

No. Seriously. You don’t belong with an old woman like me. I love you both dearly. But coming to my country with me is a very bad idea for you.

Orpah [still sniffling]:
Okay. Maybe you’re right. My mom might need me. Good-bye. Make sure you write. Or send an email...

Naomi to Ruth:
What’s your problem. You should go home too.


I mean it.

Too bad.

Seriously. I want you to turn around and go back.

That is just too bad because wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God.

You’re a hard case.

You got that right.

Fine then. Let’s go.

[the pair walk a minute without saying anything]

Well here it is. Bethlehem. And it looks like we’re just in time for barley season.


What about this idea. Why don’t I try to gather some grain behind the harvest workers.

Okay. Give it a whirl, girl!

[insert tableau here of several people harvesting with Ruth following behind and picking up leavings]

So Ruth went out to the barley fields to pick leftover grain. She happened to end up in a field belonging to Boaz. He was a wealthy man and a relative of Naomi’s husband. The boss noticed Ruth.

Boaz to Foreman:
Who is that young woman?

She’s the foreigner who came back from Moab with Naomi.

Boaz to Naomi:
Excuse me. Okay, listen carefully. Gather your grain only in this field. Not anywhere else. The men and women here will look after you.

That’s awfully nice of you. Why?

Because you’ve been so good to Naomi since her husband died. I’ve heard the whole thing. I hope God showers you with many blessings.

Aww shucks. That’s so sweet. [she goes on working]

Boaz to Foreman:
Look out for her, will ya? Leave a few extra barley tops lying around for her to find...

[Ruth picks up heavy bundle (use blanket) and heads home. Plunks sack/bundle down on floor.]

Oh my goodness. Where did you get all this?

From this guy, Boaz. He was really nice to me.

This is incredible. He is a relative of ours. Stick with him, and we’ll be all right.


As the harvest season marches on, Boaz and Ruth have an interesting conversation at the threshing place.

You know, Ruth, you’re an awfully special gal, looking after Naomi the way you do. Know what, I think we should get married. But first I’d like to have best wishes of some of the older wiser people in town. Just let me check that out with them.

Oh wow. That would be really nice.

[insert tableau of Boaz meeting with/sitting in circle with townsfolk (harvesters from before). They shake hands as if agreeing on something.]

Narrator [over tableau of happy couple with Naomi showing off their new baby to same townsfolk]:
So Boaz took Ruth home as his bride. Later on they had a baby, a little boy.

Folk 1:
He looks just like his father.

Folk 2:
Naomi, you are so lucky. Who would have thought you’d be such a happy grandmother after all you’ve been through.

It’s so true.

Folk 3:
Of course, you’ll name him Obed.

Why not?! Obed. I like it. It has a nice ring to it.

Obed went on to become the father of Jesse, who was the father of an uncommon shepherd that became king, called David.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Here is a video presentation of the Story of Ruth told with a special "storytelling bag".

Sold by Salt and Light Ministries at https://www.saltandlightmin.or...less_Story_Bags.html

Perhaps the bag could also be MADE by the students, so that each student could learn to tell a shortened form of the story using their own bag.

Luanne adds:  Here is a pattern for making a 'Story Bag' I found at The Agape Puppets" website.

and the page the link is on...

See the discussion between members about how to make a 'Story Bag', how kids can make them in class.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Ruth: Drama Play for 7 to 11-year-olds

I teach ages 7 to 11 and have a fairly small class so we often double up on parts.  I've listed (below) who can "double up" in order to keep people involved in the story for the maximum amount of time. There are other parts who can double up (not listed); we did this with just 3 kids and 2 leaders the week I ran it as most of the class were absent (Typical!)...


Boaz (and traveler)
Elimelech  (and  Wheat Sheaf Collector 1)
Mahlon (and Closest Kinsman Redeemer)
Chilion (and Townsperson 1)
Orpah (and Wheat Sheaf Collector 2)


Narrator:  A long time ago in a country far far away….


Narrator:          No, no, no – it’s not that kind of story.  This one is a REAL story.  But there are deaths, there are good guys and, well, OK, there’s no bad Darth Vader style characters, but it’s still a good story and it happened a Long Time Ago in a country far far away… 
There was once a small family.


Mahlon:          I’m hungry

Chilion:          Me too.  Muuuum.  When’s dinner?

Mahlon:          Muuummm… what’s for tea?

Naomi:          Nothing boys.  Same as yesterday.

Mahlon:          But we had nothing yesterday.

Chillion:          And the day before yesterday.

Elimelech:          And there’ll be nothing today either.  This is what famine is like boys.  No food.  Nothing to eat for days on end.

Naomi:          We can’t live like this.

Elimelech:          No.  That’s why people around here are dying Naomi.  You can’t live on no food.

Naomi:          Can’t we do something about it?

Elimelech:          We could move.  There’s no famine in Moab.

Naomi:          Er… didn’t God want us to stay in Israel?

Elimelech:          Yes.  But there’s no food.  Let’s move. 

Mahlon:          If there’s food in Moab – I say – let’s go to Moab.

Chilion:          Me too.

Narrator:          So they moved.  And they stayed.  And the boys got married to two local girls.  Orpah and Ruth.


Narrator:          Aw… isn’t a double wedding lovely?


Narrator:          You may now kiss the bride

Mahlon & Chilion:           Yuk.  I don’t think so.  Not with everyone watching us.

Narrator:          OK.  Well, I guess this is only a story.  Anyway, you won’t have to stay married for long.

Mahlon & Chilion:          Oh?

Narrator:          No.  You die.


Elimelech:          Oh dear.  That’s not so good.

Narrator:          Elimelech?  What are you still doing here?  You died too.  First. 

Elimelech:          You never said.

Narrator:          I am now.  Queue death scene.


Narrator:          There – that’s better.

Naomi:          (SOBBING) I’ve lost both my boys and my husband (SOB SOB) how is that better?

Narrator:          Oh – not for you obviously… just better for the story.  We’re back on track.

Orpah and Ruth:          (sob sob sob) What will we do?  What will we do?  We’ve lost our husbands. 

Naomi:          And I’ve lost my husband. There’s nothing I can do for you. I can’t give you a new one. He’d be a bit young for you even if I did manage to get pregnant today—which is unlikely given I have no husband. Oh, woe is me, I am such an unlucky, unlucky woman.

Orpah and Ruth:          Me too; us too.

Naomi:          Oh! Is that a traveler from home I see?


Traveler:          Hello Naomi, Hello Ruth, Hello Orpah. Where are your husbands?

Naomi, Ruth Orpah:          Dead. All dead.

Traveler:          Oh.  That’s er… awkward.  Still, erm… nice to see you.  Things are better back home now. Plenty of food and all that. Well, I guess I’ll best be seeing you…


Naomi:          Oh how I miss my old country. All my old friends. All my family. People that speak my language and worship my god.  (sob, sob)

Narrator:          Say, Naomi?

Naomi:          Uh huh.

Narrator:          Why don’t you go home then?

Naomi:          Good idea. Girls! I’m going home. Well, home to my country. You both belong here.  I’m sure your family will sort you out some new husbands if you go home. Bon voyage. Bye!


Naomi:          Why are you following me? Go home. Both of you, shoo.

Orpah:          But we love you. We want to be with you.

Ruth:          We can’t leave you alone.

Naomi:          Nonsense.  Orpah—you’ve always been the sensible one. Take Ruth and go back to your families. Things will be better for you here. You’re strangers to Israel. No one likes the Moabites; they attacked us, they tried to curse us—there was even a talking donkey involved in that story… Everyone HATES Moabites. You’ll not get a husband there. They’ll not want anything to do with you.

Orpah:          No. We still want to come with you.

Naomi:          Didn’t you hear me? No one will want anything to do with you. Your only hope of marrying is if I have another baby—and trust me—that isn’t going to happen. See sense Orpah.  GO HOME.

Orpah:          OK. What you say makes sense I suppose. 


Naomi:          Now you.  Ruth—shooo!

Ruth:          No.  I’m staying with you. Where you go, I will go. Where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people, whether they like me or not. And your God will be my God.

Naomi:          OK then… I can see there’s no reasoning with you—you'd better come with me.

Narrator:          So they went back to Israel. Now… to cut a long story short—Ruth met a man.

Wheatsheaf Collector 1:        Hey!  Hang on a minute!

Wheatsheaf Collector 2:        You can’t just skip us like that!

Narrator:          No?

Wheatsheaf Collector 1 and 2   NO! We’ve got union rights. Contracts. We’ve been promised a part in this drama.

Narrator:          OK then… in this long, long story, it came to pass one day that Ruth was out in the fields in Israel gleaning behind the harvesters.


Wheatsheaf Collector 1:        Who’s that girl?

Wheatsheaf Collector 2:        The Moabite woman?

Wheatsheaf Collector 1:        Yes—the foreigner.

Wheatsheaf Collector 2:        She’s Naomi’s daughter-in-law. 

Wheatsheaf Collector 1:         Oh. Unlucky. Best keep away. Bad luck could be catching.


Boaz:          Who’s that woman?

Wheatsheaf Collector 1:       Which woman?

Boaz:          The foreigner collecting behind you. Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed her.

Wheatsheaf Collector 2:        What us? We’re busy, boss. Collecting all this wheat. No time to gossip or notice the people behind us.

Boaz:          OK, I get it, you’re busy busy busy. But WHO is she?

Wheatsheaf Collector 1:        Ruth.

Wheatsheaf Collector 2:        The unlucky Moabite daughter in law of Naomi. Touch her and you die.

Wheatsheaf Collector 1:        Stop exaggerating. She must be bad luck though. Three men dead. All in the same family. Spooky.

Boaz:          Well, leave her alone. In fact, make sure she gets enough food when she’s gleaning.  Pull out a few extra stalks and purposefully leave them behind for her. I’ve heard she’s taking care of Naomi, and Naomi is a distant family member of mine. Keep her safe too—no one is to do anything to her; not throw rocks, not call names, not harm her in any way.

Wheatsheaf Collector 1:        As if we would! 

Wheatsheaf Collector 2:        OK boss.

Narrator:          Anyway—to cut a long story short—Boaz and Ruth get together.

Closest Kinsman Redeemer:  (COUGHING)     Erm… you can’t go missing me out like that. I have rights too you know and a contract that says…

Narrator:          OK. OK. No fast-forwarding. Except for this bit.  Ruth, Boaz, Naomi—no chatting —just act out what I say…

          So… late one night Naomi tells Ruth…


…to get dressed all smart and run down to the threshing floor and do something weird with a blanket.


 So she does.  She waits until Boaz finishes working threshing wheat and goes to sleep under a blanket …


…  and then Ruth comes in, lifts up the blanket by his feet and goes to sleep next to them with the blanket over her. 


Weird or what.  Anyway—the next day Boaz sets this plan in motion… Right—clear off the stage you pair.  Work to do… chop chop.


Narrator:          So…where was I?

Closest Kinsman Redeemer:       You were about to skip my part.

Narrator:          Yes. That was it. OK. Well, Boaz goes to meet the town elders at the city gates—as this is where this sort of stuff is talked about. Well, go on then, you and all the other out-of-work actors—on stage, pretend to be elders at the city gate. Old men, chatting.  Might as well get our money’s worth out of you.


Narrator:          And then Boaz walks up.

Boaz:          My close relative Naomi wants to sell her fields. I’d like to buy them if I may.

Closest Kinsman Redeemer:      Oi! I’m the next of kin. Surely I should get first dibs on the land.  That land is rightfully mine!

Boaz:          OK. Well, just so you know, the land comes with her daughter-in-law Ruth.

Closest Kinsman Redeemer:      It what?

Boaz:          She won’t sell the land unless the buyer also takes Ruth as a wife.

Closest Kinsman Redeemer:      She can do that?

Townsperson 1:           Yes. It’s in the law God laid out. The next of kin is supposed to marry the widow to ensure the family line is maintained.

Closest Kinsman Redeemer:      Me? Marry Ruth? Oh!  My wives are never going to go for that.  Trust me. Nor will my sons. A foreigner? With access to our land and profits when I die? No no no that will never do.

Boaz:          So I can redeem it?

Closest Kinsman Redeemer:      More fool you—but yes you can. I’ll even take off my sandal to prove it.


Narrator:          And that’s was how it was done. It’s not quite what you expect from a romance story—but one sandal down, and bob’s your uncle, Ruth is remarried.



Narrator:          I guess you may now kiss the bride


Narrator:          I guess not. But you’ll never guess who you both raise?

Ruth:          No.

Narrator:          Only Obed.

Boaz:          OBED?  What sort of a name is that? I would never name a child THAT!

Naomi:          No – but I do.

Boaz:          Figures.

Narrator:          And Obed is the father of Jesse, and Jesse is the father of David… which makes Ruth’s story quite important as she’s also the great great great great great… well a lot of greats anyway, great-grandmother of Joseph who was the father of Jesus.


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