Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Back Matter
 Back Cover

Group Title: An old story of Bethlehem : one link in the great pedigree
Title: An old story of Bethlehem
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00082686/00001
 Material Information
Title: An old story of Bethlehem one link in the great pedigree
Physical Description: 32 p., 6 leaves of plates : col. ill. ; 21 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Charles, Elizabeth Rundle, 1828-1896
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (Great Britain) -- Tract Committee
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (Great Britain) ( Publisher )
Publisher: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: [1887?]
Subject: Bible stories, English -- O.T -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Mothers and daughters -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Filial piety -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Courtship -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Marriage customs and rites -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1887
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Statement of Responsibility: by the author of "Chronicles of the Schönberg-Cotta Family" ; published under the direction of the Tract Committee.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00082686
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002223706
notis - ALG3957
oclc - 35952210

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
    Half Title
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 18a
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 20a
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 24a
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 28a
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 30a
        Page 31
        Page 32
    Back Matter
        Back Matter
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text


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T HE Story of RUTH comes down to us across
the thousands of years, with the rise and
fall of religions, of empires, and of civili-
sations, like a sweet familiar cradle-song. From the
far-off distance soft hands of loving women and
little children touch our hearts. Close to us,
familiar as a story of yesterday, because it belongs
not to the pomps and shows of states, which are
temporal, but to the tender depths of human life,
which are eternal.
We need no antiquarian learning to interpret
it; it moves among the reapers, the cornfields,
and the homes, shadowed by death, gladdened by
weddings and birthdays, hallowed by love stronger

An Old Story of Bethlehem.

than death. It is of to-day, because it is of "yesterday,
to-day, and for ever," of the love and faith and
hope which are the things that abide, and chiefly
of the chief of them, which is love. It is a poem
dwelling amongst the details out of which poetry
grows; a poem, because it reveals the depths
common to all human life, and so breaks through
the crusts of fashion, which are the death of
poetry because they are the destruction of truth.
It is one of the quiet corners of history which
are the green spots of all time, and which become
greener and greener as they recede into the dis-
But, to make us feel more the beauty of that
quiet, we must glance at the wild wastes of war
and lawlessness in which the oasis is set.
The repose and beauty of the story of Ruth
is greatly deepened when we remember that it was
in ancient days appended to the Book of JUDGES.
The period of the Judges has been compared
to the stormy times of the early European middle
ages. But out of those times of tumult ordinary

An Old Story of Bethlehem.

history brings us no such sweet strains of peace.
They are drowned in the din and the battle-cry.
Or at best it is but a note or a broken phrase of
the music that reaches us, as a prelude to some
tragedy, as in the story of the childhood of Joan
of Arc, giving up her bed to the fugitives, nursing
the sick child, weaving garlands under the Ladies'
Tree, praying on the forest-slopes at the sound of the
village church bell, whilst she watched the cattle.
Only in this history, because it is divine, the
human is never lost sight of. The pomp of the
Solomons pales before the glory of the lilies, and
therefore it is fresh as the lilies for ever.
The precise date of the story is not given, but
the fact of Ruth being the great grandmother of
David gives some measure of the period.
Centuries must have passed since the strong
hand of Joshua had led the tribes of Israel into
the Promised Land. They had been centuries of
warfare, of oppression, and of rescue.
No great national Temple had yet arisen to
gather the tribes together. No Holy City existed;

An Old Story of Bethlehem.

no Book of Psalms, at once the battle-songs, the
patriotic ballads, the liturgy of the nation. It is
difficult to think of the Hebrew people without a
Mount Zion, without a Temple, without the Psalms.
The Ark of God was indeed at Shiloh, but it
still dwelt between curtains. The Sanctuary of the
nation was still a tent, as in the wilderness of old,
and the whole people were still, as it were, encamped
around it in a tented field.
Around them still hovered the predatory tribes
allied to their race, Midian, Moab, and Ammon;
and among them still lingered, unconquered, frag-
ments of the earlier inhabitants, the Amorite, the
Jebusite, and the remains of the ancient nation of
the Hittites.
Many a time the very existence of the nation
had been imperilled. But the real peril to all for
which the nation existed was not from its wars,
but from its alliances and compliances.
The nation was the shrine of the Great Name,
just, merciful, judging, forgiving; the witness to
the Living God for whom all the world is athirst,

An Old Story of Bethlehem.

consciously or unconsciously; it was the keeper of
the great pedigree of the Incarnate Son. Never
could it be suffered to lose the glory and the
burden of its great destiny, to sink into the mere
prosperity of a large Syrian tribe, or to waste
itself on the poor ambition of rivalling the great
nations which preceded and surrounded it. It bore
on its banners the name of the Living God; it bore
in its bosom the ancestry of the Son of Man.
The wars of the Book of Judges are no mere
forays of wild border-warfare, marked by wild acts
of daring, and dark deeds of treachery under
chieftains reckless of life. They are the discipline
of the boyhood of the nation through whom all the
nations of the earth were to be blessed.
It is not said only, the Lord delivered them out
of the hand of Midian or Ammon, but "the Lord
delivered them into their hands." Those invasions
and oppressions are the beginning, not of ruin, but
of rescue; a trumpet-call to reawaken them to
their true glory and the divine meaning of their
national life.

An Old Story of Bethlehem.

But, in the midst of all these histories of
battles and sieges and stratagems, the question
may arise : Where, underneath all this tumult, is the
Holy One with whom Enoch walked, who called
Abraham friend, who revealed His gracious name
to Moses in the cleft rock ? Are there any homes
left in which human life is dear and sacred,
where God is feared and loved, where children are
received as His gift and trained for Him, where
masters are loyally served, and servants generously
trusted? What were the hopes and aspirations,
and the faith which sustained men and women in
sorrow, and made them unselfish in joy?
And in answer comes to us this Book of Ruth.
What would we give for such a book in the
midst of the stormy histories of the invasions
of the Goths, of the Moorish wars in Spain, of
the Crusades, of the hundred years' war in
France ?
For, what does this simple, tranquil story reveal
to us ?
Negatively, nothing, indeed, of a great national

An Old Story of Bethlehem.

ritual, or of the observance of the national. prohi-
bition of alliances with foreign nations.
But, positively, merciful divine commands faith-
fully observed ; generous recognition of the claims
of the poor, in the three permanent, inevitable forms
of poverty, the widow, the fatherless, the stranger;
an acknowledgment of the duties of property to
the destitute, and especially to kindred, which would
go farther than many a charter of rights to extin-
guish the bitter cry of poverty and wrong; in the
city a corporate life which stirred the whole town
like a heaving sea to welcome back two widowed
women belonging to it, which broke forth in glad
songs or hymns at the betrothal and the birth;
in the family life, tender reverence for old age,
gracious courtesies between master and servant,
based on a common religion; in relations between
men and women, chivalry, self-control, brotherly
protection, mutual respect, enduring affection, bind-
ing through life and death; in men an ideal of
character, high, courteous, self-controlled, dignified,
tender; in women a capacity not only for family

An Old Story of Bethlehem.

affection, but for steadfast and ennobling friendship,
a faith able to trust the Divine Hand that smote,
to take refuge under the wings which had seemed
to cast a shadow of death, to submit in sorrow,
and to adore in joy.
And so, having all of us the Book with the
beautiful old story in our hands, let us read it
together, and dwell on a few of its characteristic
When first the story opens, the home at
Bethlehem is complete. The father and mother,
Elimelech and Naomi, are living there on their
family inheritance, with their own cornfields and
vineyard and olive-garden on the slopes and on the
terraces around the little country-town, the sons,
Mahlon and Chilion, probably still in their boyhood;
the moment in family life when the home is in
fullest flower; childhood over, yet the children still
gathered around the parents, with no centre beyond
the father's house.
Then comes the danger of want of food, years
of drought or blight, when the corn and fruits

An Old Story of Bethlehem.

failed, and on each little community, depending on
its own products, began to fall the slow misery
of famine.
The fields lay hopelessly parched and brown,
the vines promised no grapes; whilst beyond, in
sight, in the near east, rose the mountain ranges
of Moab purple against the golden sky of morning,
crimson with the reflected glow of evening; Pisgah
and Nebo, pouring down from their cool heights
the living streams which watered the plains of
Moab below.
There, this drought would not be felt; there,
no doubt, the rich crops were yielding their abun-
dance, in sight of the famine-stricken villagers of
Intercourse with Moab had, indeed, been for-
bidden to Israel; those mountain heights were
dedicated to destructive gods, to Baal and Chemosh;
but, in the broken and scattered condition of
Israel at that time, these legal prohibitions seem to
have been forgotten, and the old ties of kindred
with the kindred of Abraham asserted themselves.

An Old Story of Bethlehem.

The family of Elimelech, at all events, in this, as
in a later generation, in the days of David, had
friendly relations with their neighbours of Moab.
And, before want and hunger had worn down
their strength, the little household of four, father,
mother, and two sons, abandoned their heritage at
Bethlehem, and took refuge on the fertile plains
"They went out full," as Naomi said after-
wards, not waiting to be driven forth by hunger,
but yielding to the attraction of the plenty so near
at hand, and in sight.
In Moab they found the welcome they expected.
The land of exile became their home, and, but for
the fresh sorrow which overwhelmed them there,
perhaps the old fields of Bethlehem-Judah might
never have been sought again.
"They came into the country of Moab, and con-
tinued there."
The first bereavement came. The father, Eli-
melech, died, and Naomi, the widowed mother,
was left with her sons. But still the thoughts

An Old Story of Bethleemn.

of 'the bereaved family did not turn back to
Naomi was not left alone. Her two sons were
with her. "And they took to them wives of the
women of Moab," apparently ignorant of the strict
prohibition of such an alliance to their race, since
no trouble of conscience seems to have come to
any of them about it.
Once more Naomi's house was full of life and
love. Ten years passed on with no sorrow, appa-
rently, but the father's death. Of these there is
no record, except from the glimpses we get back
into those bright days from the shadowed time
The little household must have been united.
Naomi won the affection of her daughters-in-law;
in a relation proverbially difficult no jar seems to
have arisen. Her character must have been gene-
rous and considerate, and truly unselfish.
For, afterwards, in her bereavement, it is the
desolation of the younger women which causes her
such bitterness. They had dealt kindly," she says,

An Old Story of Belhlehem.

with her and with her sons. Each had left the
house of a mother still living to make one home
with the Jewish mother and her sons. One, we
know, had not abandoned the gods of her people;
but the household was united with the union of
"hearts of each other sure."
At last, however, the blow came which severed
the tie to the land of exile.
Mahlon and Chilion died also, and the woman
was left of her two sons and of her husband."
All the living links to the land of her fathers were
broken; and then, with the yearning that so often
comes in sorrow for the scenes of past happiness,
as if the places of the lost love would bring back
the love which made them dear, the heart of Naomi
turned back to Bethlehem.
Then Naomi arose with her daughters-in-law,
that she might return from the country of Moab."
The occasion of their exile was, moreover,
past. "She had heard, in the land of Moab, how
that the Lord had visited His people in giving
them bread. Wherefore she went forth out of the

An Old Story of Bethlehem.

place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law
with her; and they went on their way to return
to the land of Judah."
With both of them the tie to the widowed
mother, woven by the lost love, the common
sorrow, and by Naomi's unselfish character, was
still stronger than any tie left them among their
own people.
But Naomi had no wish to involve their young
life in the desolation .of her own. They had to
live. She had to go home and die.
"And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law,
Go and return each to her mother's house: the Lord
deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the
dead, and with me.
"The Lord grant that ye may find rest, each in
the house of her husband."
She had none of the .selfish passion of grief
which would absorb the full life in her own
emptied life; not that her affections were frozen,
there was no icy stoicism or indifference in the

An Old Story of Bethlehem.

parting: "Then she kissed them: and they lifted
up their voice, and wept.
"But they said unto her, Surely we will return
with thee unto thy people.
And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters:
why will ye go with me? Are there yet any more
sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands ?
Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am
too old to have an husband. Would ye tarry for sons
of mine till they were grown ? Nay, my daughters;
for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the
hand of the Lord is gone out against me.
And they lifted up their voice, and wept again :
and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law; but Ruth
clave unto her."
We are perhaps apt in reading the story to think
too hardly of Orpah, as if her tears and kisses had
scarcely been genuine. But Naomi seems to have
had no such thoughts of her. To her it simply
seemed that Orpah had done the natural thing.
And she said to Ruth, "Behold, thy sister-in-law

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An Old Story of Bethlehem.

is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods:
return thou after thy sister-in-law." And Ruth
said, "Intreat me not to leave thee, nor to return
from following after thee: for whither thou goest,
I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy
people shall be my people, and thy God my God."
The tie between these two was not only in
the past, but in the present. Out of the relation-
ship had grown the friendship. As it is so often,
in the little trials and tests of every-day life had
grown up the character and the love which now
stood the great strain of sorrow. Beyond Naomi's
life, Ruth thought of no life for herself.
"Where thou diest," she said, "I will die, and
there will I be buried."
And then is revealed the deepest root of this
strong love which bound them. The entreaty and
the promise of affection are sealed with the religious
God do so to me, and more also, if ought but
death part thee and me."
B 2

An Old Story of Bethlehem.

"Thy sister-in-law is gone after her gods," said
Naomi; and Ruth's response is Thy God shall be
my God."
The Mighty Hand which Naomi said was against
her was nevertheless the Hand which both these
bereaved women determined to hold fast.
So when Naomi saw that she was steadfastly
minded to go with her, she left speaking to her.
"So they two went until they came to Beth-
lehem,"-" they two," not desolate or solitary, though
Silently the two lonely women make their way
up the village street, so familiar to the elder, so
strange to the younger.
The ten years have not changed Naomi beyond
recognition. The little town is moved around
her, heaving tumultuously like a storm-tossed sea.
The sympathy of her fellow-townspeople stirs
up the repressed anguish in Naomi's heart. The
strange echo of her own familiar name from the
familiar voices wakes up all the slumbering pain.

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An Old Story of Bethlehem.

" Call me not by any pleasant name," she says, call
me by some bitter name, such as suits me, not
Naomi, but Mara." Her sorrow comes back to her,
renewed and multiplied from the multitude of
pitying faces. She goes back from the national
Hebrew name of God to the old name revealed
to Abraham, father of the families of Israel, friend
of God : The Lord hath borne witness against
me; the Almighty hath afflicted me."
And so the two find shelter in some little humble
home, and for a time the veil falls over them.
But, around them, all the land is glad with the
joy of harvest. All around, the fields are golden
with the earliest harvest of the year, and musical
with the sweep of the scythe and the chant of the
reapers. The merciful commands of Moses are not
forgotten, and many an unswept corner of the rich
man's field, and many a forgotten sheaf not returned
for, gladdens the homes of the widow, the fatherless,
and the stranger.
And this lifts the veil of the home of Naomi

An Old Story of Bethlehem.

again for us, and we get another of those conversa-
tions between the mother and daughter-in-law,
which tell us so much of their happy relations to
each other, the tender submissiveness of the younger,
the loving thoughtfulness of the older woman.
Let me go now to the field, and glean ears of
corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace,"
Ruth said to Naomi.
And Naomi said to her, Go, my daughter."
Ruth goes forth alone into the common village
cornfield, "and her hap was to light on a part of
the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the
kindred of Elimelech."
Ruth knows nothing of Boaz, but the story has
already let us see who he is, and from the sub-
sequent story it is clear he had observed Ruth.
" Naomi," it is said, parenthetically, had a kinsman
of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the
family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz."
The subsequent story reveals his character, its
purity, generosity and dignity, and his quiet

An Old Slory of Bethlehem.

observation of the beauty of Ruth's piety and her
self-sacrificing affection for Naomi, though he did
not know her by sight. It is remarkable that the
word used in introducing him-" A man of wealth "
-is the same he afterwards uses to Ruth-" All
the city of my people knows thou art a woman of
virtue." It is like our own expression of "sterling
worth." There was weight, substance, in the being
and character of both, and the little community
recognized it, both in the destitute, virtuous young
stranger, and in the mighty man of wealth.
Interesting glimpses are given us into that old
life, in the scene in the harvest-field; the order in
the labour, the servant set over the reapers," the
courteous and religious greetings between master
and servant, his, "The Lord be with you," and
their "The Lord bless thee"; the brotherly care of
Boaz for Ruth, his charge to the reapers not to touch
her, and to let her quench her thirst from their
drinking vessels.
Though he had been interested in her history,
he had evidently not seen her before.

An Old Story of Bethlehem.

When he first perceived the young stranger
among his reapers, he asked, "Whose damsel is
this ? And the servant that was set over the reapers
answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that
came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab.
And she said, I pray you let me glean and gather
after the reapers among the sheaves : so she came,
and hath continued even from the morning until
now, that she tarried a little in the house."
Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not,
my daughter ? Go not to glean in another field,
neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my
maidens: Let thine eyes be on the field that they do
reap, and go thou after them : have not I charged
the young men that they shall not touch thee?
and when thou art athirst go unto the vessels,
and drink of that which the young men have
Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to
the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found
grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldst take know-
ledge of me, seeing I am a stranger ? "

wker sle was risev up L031 eav, a yo ne v
say:;-e no L6lter1av eiueT, an~ovg tfe sbeaves,ai~d reproacIk ker ppot.

An Old Story of Bethlehem.

And Boaz answered and said unto her:
It hath been fully shewed unto me, all that thou
hast done unto thy mother-in-law since the death of
thy husband: and how thou hast left thy father and
thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art
come unto a people which thou knewest not here-
"The Lord recompense thy work, and a full
reward be given thee of the God of Israel, under
whose wings thou art come to trust."
Then she said, I find favour in thy sight, my
lord; for that thou hast spoken to the heart of
thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of
thine handmaidens."
And Boaz said unto her, At meal time come
thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel
in the vinegar.
And she sat beside the reapers, and he reached
her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed,
and left.
"And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz

An Old Story of Bethlehem.

commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean
among the sheaves and reproach her not, and let
fall also some of the handfuls on purpose for her,
and leave them that she may glean them, and
rebuke her not.
So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat
out that she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah
of barley."
And then follows the bright hour of the home-
coming to Naomi, and one more of the quiet talks
between these two.
She took it up and went into the city; and her
mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned: and she
brought out and gave to her what she had reserved
after she was sufficed "-the remnants of her own
midday meal; a touching little suggestion of the
affection and the poverty of the two, and the little
thoughtful kindnesses which had bound them to-
"And her mother-in-law said unto her, Where
hast thou gleaned to-day? and where wroughtest

An Old Story of Bethlehem.

thou ? Blessed be he that did take knowledge
of thee.
And she showed her mother-in-law with whom
she had wrought, and said, The man's name with
whom I wrought to-day is Boaz.
And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, Blessed
be he of the Lord, who hath not left off his kindness
to the living and to the dead.
"And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of
kin unto us,-the kinsman who hath the right to
And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said unto me
also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until
they have ended all my harvest.
And Naomi said unto Ruth, her daughter-in-law,
It is good, my daughter, that thou go out with
his maidens, that they meet thee not in any other
So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean
until the end of barley harvest, and wheat harvest,
and dwelt with her mother-in-law." And so the

An Old Story of Bethlehem.

summer days passed, and the harvest was over, when
at the last Naomi explained to Ruth the custom of her
people on which the story turns, the right and duty
of the nearest kinsman of the dead husband to marry
the widow, so that the name of the dead should not
perish in Israel.
It is very beautiful in this old Eastern story,
with its customs so foreign to our Western ideas,
to see the dignity, the tenderness, the self-respect,
the regard and courtesy towards others which meet
us at every turn.
Ruth, by her mother-in-law's counsel, had to
claim this marriage from the rich kinsman. We
cannot but observe with what chivalrous respect
he meets her, recognizes the purity of her purpose,
speaks of the alliance as a grace and honour from
her to himself, dwells on the respect felt for her
throughout the community, guards her from any
breath of suspicion, and sends her home with the
generous gift, measured and laid in her veil by
his own hands, not for herself, but for Naomi,

nI'S Carrot redeem it foi irqvsclf es Ta i

o~um iqpbertaivce: redeen tbou ny r!~It to tb~vself for',carpvot redeem it,

An Old Story of Bethlehem.

as an acknowledgment to his aged kinswoman of
her right of kindred, For he said to me," Ruth
tells Naomi, Go not empty to thy mother-in-law."
But, through all his silence and self-control, in
his quiet admiration of her devoted, loving life, in
his reverent guard and care for her, in his delight
in her being honoured, in his respectful attention
to. the mother-in-law whom she loved, who can
fail to see the man's heart moved towards the
woman in whom he may safely trust ?
Naomi surely saw it, for she said:
"Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how
the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest,
until he have finished the thing this day."
Then follows the business-like negotiation with
the nearer kinsman, who had the first right, in the
,gate, the court of justice of the little town, ending
with the formal yielding of the claim to Boaz, and
the solemn public betrothal.
Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have
I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name

An Old Story of Bethlehem.

of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of
the dead be not cut off from among his brethren,
and from the gate of his place. Ye are witnesses
this day."
And, in response, the grave legal proceedings
break forth into a marriage-hymn.
"And all the people that were in the gate, and
the elders, said, We are witnesses. The Lord make
the woman that is come unto thine house like
Rachel (whose Benoni had been born close by), and
like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel;
and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous
in Bethlehem."
So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife.
But the lovely, tender story does not end with
Ruth ; it turns back to Naomi.
The marriage-song of the men was to Boaz; but
the birth-song of the women was to Naomi.
"And the women said to Naomi, Blessed be the
Lord, which hath not left thee this day without a
kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel.

.~~~1iJ O t woLcsad I be theco wbuic1? batlvot left
tl~ee tl~is day Lvitlout akii?si~rprt1at his qrqane n~ay be farvous Ii? rao'l
A-P.: 1?e s1~alf be uir~to tlhee restorer of thy life, arvd a Pourisleroftklle old ge

An Old Story of Bethlehem.

And he shall be to thee a restorer of thy life, and
a nourisher of thine old age; for thy daughter-in-
law which loveth thee, which is better unto thee than
seven sons hath borne him.
"And Naomi took the child and laid it in her
bosom and became nurse unto it.
"And the women, her neighbours, gave it a name,
saying, There is a son born to Naomi.
And they called his name Obed; he is the father
of Jesse, the father of David."
And so this old story of Bethlehem ends, with
sweet and sacred joy in a birth, and the name of
Ruth, daughter of the outcast nation, and of Naomi,
widowed and childless, are engraven in the pedigree
of the Son of Man, of Him through whom none are
outcasts, and in whom are no desolate hearts.
Glad and Holy Birthplace for all mankind,
Bethlehem! first, the birthplace of Benjamin, the
last-born of Rachel the beloved, the Benoni of her
dying anguish, the darling of her husband's old age.
Then the birthplace of the child of Ruth; the

An Old Story of Bethlehem.

son given to Naomi, filling the heart and home of
the bereaved with life and gladness through that
steadfast, unselfish love of the two generous-hearted
women, stronger than ties of kindred.
Next, the birthplace of David, grandson of the
son of Ruth, shepherd, king, and poet.
And, lastly, echoing through the night with the
songs of angels bringing the glad tidings of great
joy, when it became the Birthplace of Him in Whom
all hearts shall be satisfied, as the Christmas Song
floats on from age to age: not to Naomi only, but
to thee, and to thee: to us, to all, a Child is born,
a Son is given!" Son of Mary, son of David, the
grandson of that Ruth the Moabitess who was better
to Naomi than seven sons; Wonderful, Counsellor,
the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince
of Peace! "




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