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Ruth, however, would not liften to any calls but those of tenderness for Naomi. "Intreat me not to leave thee," said she to her," or to return from following after thee; for whither thou goeft I will go, and where thou lodgeft I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou dieft will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do fo to me, and more alfo, if ought but death part thee and me!" After this emphatic and determined declaration, Naomi no longer oppofed Ruth's going with her.
When they arrived at Bethlehem, they appear to have been in fuch diftreffed circumstances, that Naomi, upon hearing her old acquaintance exclaim, " Is not this Naomi?" replied, "Call me not Naomi, but Mara; for the Almighty hath dealt bitterly with me. I went out full, and am returned
In the fame city lived a young man whose name was Boaz; he was nearly related to Elimelech, Naomi's late husband, and was a person of great wealth. It being now the beginning of the barley-harveft, Ruth propofed to her mother-in-law, as the most
probable means of procuring a prefent fubfiftence, that she should fuffer her to go into the fields belonging to Boaz, and there to glean after his reapers; hoping to find greater indulgence from one to whom they were related, than from a ftranger.
Having received Naomi's permiffion, and dreffed herself as decently as her prefent circumftances would allow, Ruth went, as propofed, into the fields. Her beauty and comeliness did not remain long unobferved by Boaz. Seeing a stranger, he enquired who she was; and being informed, treated her with great kindnefs; not only allowing her to glean, but ordering the reapers now and then to let fall a handful on purpofe for
When he had learnt from fome of his fervants the whole of her ftory, he gracioufly accofted her, faying, "It has been
fhewed unto me all that thou haft done unto thy mother-in-law fince the death of thine husband, and how thou haft left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou kneweft not heretofore. -The Lord recompenfe thy works, and a full reward
be given thee of the Lord God of Ifrael, under whose wings thou art come to trust!" Having faid this, he gave directions that the fhould partake of what was prepared for his people, and be permitted to pursue her employment as long as the harvest lafted. Ruth received thefe tokens of favour with a grateful humility, and thanked him for the friendly notice he had taken of her.
When the returned to Naomi in the evening, and fhewed her the great quantity of corn fhe had collected, and likewise acquainted her with the favourable reception fhe had met with from Boaz, the good old woman began to entertain views for the future benefit of her dutiful and beloved daughter-in-law, that had never before entered her head.
As Boaz was fo near a relation of her late hufband,-was unmarried, and therefore, agreeable to the cuftom of the Jews, the moft proper perfon to take her to wife; fhe meditated how to bring about an union between them. The difference in their circumftances, fhe flattered herself, would not prove an irremoveable bar, as, to a man of Boaz's generous difpofition, the beauty and
virtues of Ruth might be esteemed equivalent with his wealth. She accordingly gave her daughter-in-law fuch prudential inftructions for ingratiating herself still farther into the esteem of their rich relation, that in a fhort time he married her.
Thus was an obfcure Moabitish damfel, through her prudent and virtuous behaviour, raised from a low eftate, to fuch an eminence, that mighty kings defcended from her.
INSTANCE THE FIFTH.
The lowlieft fwain may hope, if Nature give
The wreath of merit on his brow to bind,
ANOTHER fingular inftance of the muta
bility of fortune, is the elevation of David, the son of Jeffe, to the throne of Ifrael. Defcended from Boaz and Ruth, before mentioned, the father of David held a refpectable rank in the Hebrew nation, but not fo elevated as to afford him the leaft room to expect that the brows of any of his defcendants would be encircled with a crown. However, it pleased the Great Difpofer of events to confer that honour on his youngest son.
We read in the hiftory of the kings of Ifrael, that Saul, the first sovereign of that people, having so highly offended the theo
* First and Second Book of Samuel. Jofephus, book vi. chap. 9. and following.