“All the City … Doth Know That Thou Art a Virtuous Woman”
Lesson 20 – Ruth; 1 Samuel 1
Although the book of Ruth is brief, it shows clearly that Ruth was a righteous woman. This lesson will discuss the righteous qualities of Ruth and two other women, Naomi and Hannah.
Ruth left her home to go to Bethlehem with Naomi.
Ruth 1:1-2 - Naomi and her family went to Moab to live because of a famine.
Ruth 1:6 - Naomi returned to Bethlehem after the deaths of her husband and sons because Bethlehem was her home, and the famine there had ended.
Ruth 1:4 - While living in Moab, Naomi’s sons had married Orpah and Ruth, who were women of Moab.
Ruth 1:7-13 -Naomi demonstrated her love and concern for her daughters-in-law when they offered to return to Bethlehem with her.
Discussion: Think about how Naomi’s example of concern for her daughters-in-law might help us in our family relationships.
Ruth 1:16-17 - One of Naomi’s daughters-in-law, Orpah, returned to her family, but the other, Ruth, insisted on going to Bethlehem with Naomi. We learn from her promise to Naomi that Ruth was loving, loyal, and willing to sacrifice.
Discussion: We can show greater loyalty in our families by being more selfless, following Ruth’s example…
Ruth, by going to Bethlehem with Naomi, gave up her homeland, family, friends, and religion. She gained in return the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can learn from Ruth about making sacrifices for the gospel.
Ruth 2:2 - After going to Bethlehem, Ruth gleaned to provide food for herself and Naomi. A gleaner was a person who was allowed to gather and keep the grain that was left in the fields after the harvest.
Ruth 2:1, 3 - Ruth gleaned in the fields owned by Boaz.
Ruth 2:5-7, 11 - Boaz was impressed by Ruth because he saw that Ruth was a hard worker. He also knew of all that Ruth had done for Naomi.
Ruth 2:8-9, 14-16 - Boaz showed kindness to Ruth by feeding her and then assuring that she gleaned in fields where his servants purposely left extra barley in the field for her.
Ruth 2:14, 17-18 - Showing her selflessness when she returned from gleaning, Ruth brought the grain that she had gathered home to Naomi, and she also brought Naomi some food she had saved from her noon meal.
Discussion: Think of how selfless acts by others have blessed your life.
Ruth and Boaz married and were blessed with a child.
Ruth 3:1-5 - Naomi counseled Ruth to perform a ritual that she hoped would result in the marriage of Ruth and Boaz. By lying at the feet of Boaz, Ruth would be, in effect, proposing marriage to him. Ruth’s obedience to Naomi’s counsel revealed her complete trust in Naomi.
Ruth 3:8-15 - Boaz responded with surprise and kindness when he woke up and found Ruth lying at his feet. Note that when Ruth said, “Spread … thy skirt over thine handmaid,” she meant, “guard me, protect me, care for me.”
Ruth 3:11-13 - When Ruth’s husband died, his nearest male relative was supposed to marry Ruth. Boaz was not the nearest male relative, but he agreed to marry Ruth if the nearest male relative did not wish to do so.
Ruth 3:11 – Ruth had a well-deserved reputation among the people of Bethlehem as a woman of virtue. This reputation benefited her in her relationship with Boaz as he promised to do all that he could for her.
Discussion: It is important that our family members, friends, and neighbors know what we believe in and what values we strive to uphold so that they will trust us and hopefully, follow our example.
Ruth 3:15; 4:1-8 - Boaz inquired of the rightful kinsman, asking if he wanted to marry Ruth. The kinsman declined.
Ruth 4:9-10, 13 - Boaz showed that he was a man of integrity by carrying out his promise to Ruth and honoring his social obligation to her late husband.
Ruth 4:17, 21-22 – David, the famous king of Israel was a descendant of Ruth and Boaz; he was one of their great-grandsons.
Matthew 1:5-16; John 7:42 - Another descendant of Ruth and Boaz was Jesus Christ.
Elder Thomas S. Monson called Ruth a heroine (in Ensign, Nov. 1974, 108). Elder Monson said Ruth is an example of fidelity and loyalty.
Hannah was blessed with a son, whom she gave to the Lord as she promised.
1 Samuel 1:1-7 - Hannah, wife of Elkanah, was childless. Each year at the temple she wept and prayed for a son.
1 Samuel 1:11 - Hannah promised the Lord that she would give her son to the Lord for his service. From this vow, we learn that Hannah was a woman of great faith and humility.
1 Samuel 1:9-12 – Eli, the priest, witnessed Hannah praying in the temple.
1 Samuel 1:17 - Eli blessed Hannah’s righteous desire after learning that he had misjudged her.
1 Samuel 1:18 - Hannah was no longer sad after hearing Eli’s words. Of course, comfort from Church leaders also helps us when we are troubled.
1 Samuel 1:15 - Hannah told Eli that she had “poured out [her] soul before the Lord”.
Discussion: Think about how we can make our personal prayers more sincere and meaningful.
1 Samuel 1:19-20 - In response to Hannah’s promise to the Lord, she was blessed with a son, Samuel.
1 Samuel 1:21-28 - Hannah kept her promise after Samuel was born and took him to the temple.
Discussion: The promises we make to the Lord include the covenants we make with him at baptism and in the temple. Hannah’s example should help us be diligent in keeping these promises as we remember to give willingly; remembering that everything we have comes from the Lord. How do you think Hannah felt about giving Samuel to the service of the Lord? What does the Lord ask us to give him? What should be our attitude about giving to him?
1 Samuel 1:24-25, 28; 1 Samuel 2:1-2 - When Hannah brought Samuel to the temple; she made offerings and sang praises to the Lord, thanking him for her blessings.
Discussion: Why is it important to remember to thank the Lord for the blessings he gives us?
1 Samuel 1:2; 1 Samuel 2:21 - Hannah waited many years before being blessed with children. Other Biblical characters like Sarah, Abraham’s wife, were also blessed for patiently waiting on the Lord.
Discussion: While the world says we should receive the things we want immediately, the Lord knows that sometimes, waiting patiently on the Lord’s time is best for us.
Ruth was not an Israelite by birth. When she left Moab to go to Bethlehem with Naomi, she also left her religion and followed the God of Israel, telling Naomi, “Thy God [shall be] my God” (Ruth 1:16). By marrying Boaz, Ruth became part of the royal line of Israel, an ancestor of King David and Jesus Christ.
2 Nephi 26:33; Alma 19:36; 3 Nephi 21:6 - Ruth’s conversion and acceptance intto the house of Israel reflects Christ’s attitude toward those who wish to join his Church—he welcomes them all, considers each equal with others, pours out his spirit on them, extends his arm to all, and adopts them into his family.
Discussion: As the Lord welcomes converts, how can we help converts feel welcome in the Church?
Righteous qualities—faith, loyalty, fidelity, selflessness, humility, patience, devotion, virtue, trustworthiness, diligence—have been exemplified by Ruth, Naomi, and Hannah in the scriptures we reviewed today. If we have learned from these scriptures, we will try to emulate the righteous qualities demonstrated by Ruth, Naomi, and Hannah because developing these qualities will bring us closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Elder John A. Widtsoe said: “I believe that the busy person … who has his worries and troubles, can solve his problems better and more quickly in the house of the Lord than anywhere else. If he will [do] the temple work for himself and for his dead, he will confer a mighty blessing upon those who have gone before, and … a blessing will come to him, for at the most unexpected moments, in or out of the temple will come to him, as a revelation, the solution of the problems that vex his life. That is the gift that comes to those who enter the temple properly” (quoted by David B. Haight, Ensign, Nov. 1990, 61).
These lessons are found on the Internet at http://www.geocities.com/jeninstitute/