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Lesson Prep

Background Scripture (read 2-3 times during the week)

Ruth 1-4

Story Summary

There wasn't enough food in the land of Judah. So a man went to live in the country of Moab for a while. He was from Bethlehem in Judah. His wife and two sons went with him.

The man's name was Elimelech. His wife's name was Naomi. The names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. (Ruth 1:1-2)

Elimelech died and Naomi was left with her two sons. Mahlon and Kilion married Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth. After about 10 years, Mahlon and Kilion also died. Naomi was left without her husband or her sons. 

With the famine now over, Naomi made plans to return to her homeland. Orpah returned to her family, but Ruth insisted on going with Naomi.

But Ruth replied, "Don't try to make me leave you and go back. Where you go I'll go. Where you stay I'll stay. Your people will be my people. Your God will be my God. 17 Where you die I'll die. And there my body will be buried. I won't let anything except death separate you from me. If I do, may the Lord punish me greatly." Ruth 1:16

As they had no money and no men to take care of them, when they got to Bethlehem, Ruth went into the fields to gather whatever grain she could. This process was called gleaning. (at this point in the story, show an example of barley)

Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers' fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest. Some ancient cultures promoted gleaning as an early form of a welfare system.- from Wikipedia

She went to Boaz's field. He was a relative on Naomi's husband's side. Boaz, noticed Ruth and asked his workers to be kind to her and leave plenty of grain for her and her mother-in-law. 

After a while, at Naomi's insistence, Ruth went to Boaz at the threshing floor and asked him to become the kinsman-redeemer for them. Before Boaz could accept the care of these two women he had to negotiate with another kinsman for the privilege. This other man was closer to Elimelech and therefore had the responsibility to care for the ladies. This man chose not to accept them into his care which left Boaz with the opportunity to buy Naomi's land and take Ruth as his wife. During this time, there was a practice that made transfer of land final.  One person would take his sandal off and give it to the other. That was how people in Israel showed that a business matter had been settled.

A threshing floor is a specially flattened surface, usually circular and paved, where a farmer would thresh the grain harvest and then winnow it. The threshing floor was either owned by the entire village or by a single family. It was usually located outside the village in a place exposed to the wind. -from Wikipedia

Winnowing, in its simplest form involves throwing the barley into the air so that the wind blows away the lighter chaff, while the heavier grains fall back down to be collected. 

So Boaz took Ruth as his wife and she had a son, Obed. Obed became the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David.

What You Will Need

Supplies
Bundle of barley stalks. They can be real or bought from a craft store.

Resource Sheet

Ruth Coloring Sheet

This coloring sheet depicts Boaz noticing Ruth as she worked in his fields.

Lesson

1. Warm Up

get your kids talking and engaged

Ask the children: what is your favorite movie? 

Today, we are going to talk about a story in the Bible that could easily be made into a movie.

2. Teach the Story

teach a holistic story

Read story from a Children's storybook Bible for younger children.

For older children, read story from an age-appropriate Children's storybook Bible or tell the story yourself.

3. Bible Mastery

give them basic Bible skills

Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud: Ruth 1:1-17, 2:1-12, 4:9-10, 4:21-22

4. Comprehension Questions

make sure they understand the story

First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?

  • Why did Elimelech move to Moab? (there was a famine in Judah)
  • Who was Elimelech's wife? (Naomi)
  • Who did Elimelech's son's marry and where were they from? (Ruth and Orpah, who were from Moab)
  • What happened to Elimelech and his two sons? (they died in Moab)
  • Who was left to live with Naomi? (her two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah)
  • Which of Naomi's daughters-in-law left and which stayed with her? (Orpah left and went back to Moah, Ruth went with Naomi back to Judah)
  • What did Ruth do to gather food for her and Naomi? (she went into the fields to glean leftover grain)
  • Whose field did she glean from? (Boaz)
  • What did Boaz do for Ruth? (allowed her to glean in his fields with the others, not waiting for the leftovers, and fed her)
  • What did Ruth ask Boaz for? (to be her kinsmen-redeemer, one in the family line who would marry a widow to carry on the family line)
  • Who was David to Ruth? (Ruth's great-grandson)

5. Faith Questions

help them apply the story to their lives and open up a conversation about faith and the gospel; close with prayer
  • Ruth was brought into the Israelites through marriage to Boaz. She was named as an ancestor to Jesus because of her great-grandson David.
  • Did you know that Jesus allows us to be brought into his family?

6. Memory Verse

hide God's Word in their heart
Nothing is impossible with God. Luke 1:37

Reinforcement Activities

Shoe pile

Heads up! This activity is best in summer time when kids are wearing sandals

  • Every child throws their shoes into a pile in the middle of the circle.
  • One child will cover their eyes and feel around for their shoes.
  • Which ever ones they pick - they have to guess who they belong to.
  • Boaz was given the kinsman-redeemer's sandal to make the deal to buy Naomi's land final.

Egyptian Barley Bread

Heads up! Prep time 3 hours, bake time 15-20 min.

Scripture So Ruth picked up grain in the field until evening. Then she separated the barley from the straw. It amounted to more than half a bushel. She carried it back to town. Her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out the food that was left over from the lunch Boaz had given her. She gave it to Naomi. Ruth 2:17-18

  • This bread has to rest for about 2 1/2 hours prior to baking.
  • Can mix up ingredients with students, but have one ready for students to eat. (Like on cooking shows)

Barley Stalks Craft

Scripture So [Ruth] went down to the threshing floor. She did everything her mother-in-law had told her to do. Ruth 3:6

Supplies Strips of cardstock, twine

  • Make barley stalks according to the directions below (see "On the Web")
  • Spread the strips of paper out on the table and have the children "gather their barley" before putting it in a bunch.
  • This craft was meant for Thanksgiving table place cards, but can be used for barley stalks.
  • Just ignore the directions about the name tag.

Jesus' Genealogy

Scripture Boaz was the father of Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse. Ruth 4:21-22

Supplies posterboard, marker

  • Begin a genealogy of Jesus.
  • Add Boaz and Obed to the list.

Barley Stalks Relay

Scripture So [Ruth] went down to the threshing floor. She did everything her mother-in-law had told her to do. Ruth 3:6

Supplies Toothpicks, pipe cleaners

  • Divide the class into teams.
  • Place the teams at a starting line and piles of toothpicks and pipe cleaners at the other end.
  • One student at a time from each team will run down, gather exactly 24 toothpicks and tie them together with a pipe cleaner.
  • The first team to win and have exactly 24 toothpicks in each of their barley bunches wins.
Barley Stalks Relay Example

Fruit Barley Muffins

Scripture So Ruth picked up grain in the field until evening. Then she separated the barley from the straw. It amounted to more than half a bushel. She carried it back to town. Her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out the food that was left over from the lunch Boaz had given her. She gave it to Naomi. Ruth 2:17-18

Supplies all purpose flour, barley flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, yogurt, eggs, brown sugar, olive oil, vanilla, dried fruit

  • Ingredients
    1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    1/2 cup barley flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
    2 eggs
    2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
    1/4 cup light olive oil
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 cup chopped dried fruit
  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • Spray muffin tin with cooking spray or use cupcake liners.
  • Sift dry ingredients together into a large bowl; set aside.
  • Whisk together yogurt, eggs, brown sugar, olive oil and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.
  • Pour into dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
  • Stir in dried fruit.
  • Put into muffin tins
  • Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Cool for 10 minutes.

Follow the Leader

Scripture Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Ruth 1:16

  • Play follow the leader.
  • Ruth followed Naomi back to her homeland.

Barley Water

Scripture So Ruth picked up grain in the field until evening. Then she separated the barley from the straw. Ruth 2:17a

Supplies water, hulled barley, lemons, honey

  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 cup hulled barley
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Place the water and barley into a medium saucepan; cover, set over high heat and bring to a boil. Once the barley comes to a boil, decrease the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. While the liquid is cooking, peel the lemons. Juice the lemons and place the juice along with the peel into a 3-quart pitcher and set aside.
  • After 30 minutes, strain the barley water through a fine mesh strainer into the pitcher. Discard the barley. Add the honey and stir to combine. Refrigerate.

Threshing and Winnowing

Scripture Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. Ruth 3:2

Supplies winnowing fork, winnowing basket

  • Threshing, the separation of grain or seeds from the husks and straw, is the step in the chaff-removal process that comes before winnowing.
  • Wind winnowing is an agricultural method developed by ancient cultures for separating grain from chaff.
  • In its simplest form it involves throwing the mixture into the air so that the wind blows away the lighter chaff, while the heavier grains fall back down for recovery. Techniques included using a winnowing fan (a shaped basket shaken to raise the chaff) or using a tool (a winnowing fork or shovel) on a pile of harvested grain.
  • Provide some grain from a nearby farmer, if possible for students to experiment with using the fork.

Ruth's Basket of Grains

Supplies 1. Paper plate 2. Coloured paper (yellow) 3. Paint (yellow, orange, brown, black) 4. Pencil 5. Scissors 6. Construction paper or cardboard for the back

  • Cut the paper plate into two halves. Paint the outer side of one half with a basket pattern. Use shades of brown and yellow and use black to create the lines.
  • Cut grain shapes from yellow paper. draw grain pattern on the cut out shapes of grain with pencil. colour them as well with tint of orange/brown
  • Take the construction paper and paste the painted basket on to it with the painted side facing out. You can staple the basket to make it stay. Arrange the grain pieces inside the basket.