In echoes of Abraham leaving everything he knew, Ruth likewise left her family, her home and her people, Moab, to go with her Israelite mother-in-law to Israel.
They were desperately poor: it was only the poor who went behind the harvesters and picked up stray heads of barley (see Deuteronomy 24:19; part of the instructions for social justice). Even so, Ruth stayed with Naomi and there is a suggestion that her work supported them both.
Her work didn’t go unnoticed, leading to some favour with Boaz, one of the landowners in the town:
Ruth 2:11-12 … I also know about everything you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband. I have heard how you left your father and mother and your own land to live here among complete strangers. May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.
We see this expression, the idea of taking refuge under God’s wings, again in Psalm 91, which opens with:
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.’