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THE Assyrian came down like the wolf on the
sea, When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.
Like the leaves of the forest when summer is green, That host with their banners at sunset were seen; Like the leaves of the forest when autumn hath
blown, That host on the morrow lay wither'd and strown.
For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the
blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he pass'd; And the eyes of the sleepers wax'd deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and forever grew
And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide, But through it there roll'd not the breath of his
pride: And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf, And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.
And there lay the rider, distorted and pale,
And the widows of Ashur1 are loud in their wail,
1. Ashur is the Assyrian form of our word Assyria.
2. Baal was the chief god of the Assyrians.
Note.—This charming story may be found complete in the book of Ruth in the Old Testament by those who wish the literal Bible narrative as it is there given.
Little is known as to the date of the writing of the book of Ruth. Some authorities believe that it was written earlier than 500 B. C, while others contend that it was not written until much later. As to the purpose, also, there are differences of opinion; is the book merely a religious romance, told to point a moral, or is it an historical narrative meant to give information as to the ancestry of David? Whichever is true, the story is a delightful one, and we enjoy reading it just as we do any other story, apart from its Biblical interest.
I f~^ ^faOW it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled in Judah that there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem-Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife and his two sons. Together they came into the land and continued there; but the man died, and the wife was left, and her two sons.
And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other was Ruth; and they dwelled there about ten years. Then the two sons died also both of them; and the woman, Naomi, their mother, alone was left of the family that came into Moab.
Then she arose with her daughters-in-law, that she might return from the country of Moab; for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.
Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.
But Naomi said unto her two daughters-in-law, "Go, 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 you that ye may find rest again, each in the house of her husband."
Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voices and wept, and said unto her, "Surely we will return with thee unto thy people."
Naomi said, "Turn again, my daughters, why will you go with me? Have I yet any more sons that may be your husbands? Nay, it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me. Turn again my daughters; go vour way."
Again they lifted up their voice and wept, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clave unto her.
Naomi said, "Behold, thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods; return thou after thy sister-in-law."
And Ruth said, "Entreat me not to leave thee, or 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: where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me."
When Naomi saw that Ruth was steadfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her. So they two went until they came to Bethlehem.
WHITHER THOU GOEST, I WILL GO
There it came to pass that all the city was moved about them, and the people said, "Is this Naomi?"
"Call me not Naomi," she said unto them. "Call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.1 I went out full and the Lord hath brought me home again empty: why then call me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?"
So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.
II AOMI had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth; and his name was Boaz.
And Ruth said unto Naomi, "Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace." And Naomi answered, "Go, my daughter."
And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz.
And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem and said unto the reapers, "The Lord be with you."
And the reapers answered him, "The Lord bless thee." Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, "Whose damsel is this?"
And the servant 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."
1. Naomi means pleasant, while Mara means bitter.