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Psalm 78

(from the Book of Common Prayer)

1

Hear my teaching, O my people; * incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

2

I will open my mouth in a parable; * I will declare the mysteries of ancient times.

3

That which we have heard and known, and what our forefathers have told us, * we will not hide from their children.

4

We will recount to generations to come the praiseworthy deeds and the power of the LORD,* and the wonderful works he has done.

5

He gave his decrees to Jacob and established a law for Israel, * which he commanded them to teach their children;

6

That the generations to come might know, and the children yet unborn; * that they in their turn might tell it to their children;

7

So that they might put their trust in God, * and not forget the deeds of God, but keep his commandments;


Bible Plays for

Children H. Bruce Stephens HBS Publishing


© Copyright, 2008, by H. Bruce Stephens Hands Be Strong, Inc. www.handsbestrong.com The Bible Plays for Children book and CD are copyrighted materials. These resources are not shareware or public domain and may not be reposted on other websites, duplicated electronically or copied to media (e.g. CD, DVD), other than paper, without written permission. The Bible Plays for Children CD is part of your purchase of this book. You have permission to make paper copies of these resources and freely give it to your students, friends or fellow church members for their personal study. The Bible Plays for Children CD is licensed using the “Artistic License, Version 2.0” provided at the end of this book and with the CD. Translations of the CD are encouraged. Anyone may translate any of the materials so we can offer it to others for study. Therefore permission is granted for you to translate the plays on the CD provided you acknowledge the source and include the statement (used by permission, author: H.B. Stephens, www.handsbestrong.com Copyright ©2008 All rights reserved) and that you submit the translated material back to us so we can include it on the website and future revisions of the CD. 987654321 First Edition ISBN: 0-9742680-1-1 Library of Congress Control Number: 2008938305 Printed in the United States of America


This book is dedicated to my parents: Howard and Wilma Stephens And to all who labor to transmit their faith to the next generation.


Bible Plays for

Children


Table of Contents

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CONTENTS Preface ..................................................xi Introduction ........................................... 12 Christian Education ................................................. 13 The Dialog ................................................................ 14 Casting ..................................................................... 16 Properties................................................................. 16 Ages.......................................................................... 17 Acknowledgments .................................................... 19

Example Lesson Plan ................................. 20 Ruth Is Faithful ....................................... 23 Scene Summary ....................................................... 23 Scripture .................................................................. 23 Players...................................................................... 23 Special Props............................................................ 24 Script – Ruth Is Faithful ........................................... 25 Supplemental Information ....................................... 36 A Good Name ........................................................... 36 Reflection questions................................................. 37

New Testament Bible Plays Summary The Wise Men Follow The Star....................... John Is A Special Messenger ......................... Jesus Is Tempted...................................... The Lord’s Prayer ..................................... Healing Of The Centurion’s Servant ................. Jesus Stills a Storm ................................... The Kingdom Of Heaven Is Like… ................... Peter Walks On The Sea .............................. A Mother Pleads For Her Child ...................... The Unforgiving Servant ............................. The Laborers In The Vineyard .......................

40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50


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Who Is Greatest In God’s Kingdom .................. Healing Of Blind Bartimaeus ......................... Jesus Triumphantly Enters Jerusalem ............... Jesus Goes To Calvary ................................ The Wedding Feast ................................... The Last Judgment.................................... The Last Supper ...................................... The Passion According To St. Matthew .............. The Parable Of The Talents .......................... Friends Bring A Sick Man To Jesus .................. Jesus Chooses Helpers ............................... The Parable Of The Soils ............................. Jesus Heals Jairus’ Daughter ......................... Jesus Feeds 5,000 People ............................ Jesus Blesses The Children ........................... Jesus is Born .......................................... Boy Jesus Visits The Temple ......................... A Samaritan Helps A Traveler........................ Jesus Visits Mary And Martha ........................ The Friend At Midnight .............................. The Lost Lamb ........................................ The Lost Coin ......................................... The Prodigal Son Returns ............................ The Rich Man And Lazarus ........................... A Leprous Man Thanks Jesus......................... The Unjust Judge ..................................... The Pharisee And The Publican Pray ................ Zacchaeus Meets Jesus ............................... A Widow’s Generous Gift ............................. Jesus Is Alive Again ................................... Jesus Ascends To Heaven ............................ Jesus Turns Water Into Wine ......................... Jesus Teaches A Samaritan Woman ..................

51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83


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The Man Born Blind Is Healed ....................... Jesus Raises Lazarus To Life ......................... Upper Room Questions ............................... Stations of the Cross ................................. Thomas’ Doubt Turns To Faith ....................... Peter, John And The Lame Man ...................... Dorcas Helps Others ................................. Philip Teaches An Ethiopian Man .................... Saul Sees A Great Light .............................. Peter Meets Cornelius ................................ Timothy Learns To Serve God ........................ Paul And Silas Sing In Jail ............................ Paul Is Shipwrecked ..................................

84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 95 96 97

Old Testament Bible Plays Summary God Creates Land, Water And Plants .............. By faith, Abel… ..................................... Noah Builds An Ark ................................. Abram And Sarai.................................... Abraham Lets Lot Choose First .................... The Lord Will Provide .............................. Rebekah Is A Willing Helper ....................... Jacob and Esau ..................................... Joseph Has Strange Dreams ....................... Joseph Is Sold By His Brothers ..................... Joseph Is Kind To His Brothers..................... Baby Moses Is Kept Safe ........................... Moses Sees A Burning Bush........................ God Sends Plagues To Egypt ....................... Israel Crosses The Red Sea ........................ Joshua And Caleb Are Brave Spies ................. Lord Our Healer Jehovah Rophe ...................

100 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117


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Lord My Banner Jehovah Nissi ..................... Jethro Helps Moses ................................. God Gives The Law To Moses ...................... Ten & Two Greatest Commandments .............. Joshua And Caleb Are Brave Spies ................. Balaam Talks With His Donkey .................... The Walls Of Jericho Fall ........................... Lord Is Peace Jehovah Shalom ..................... Gideon - A Mighty Warrior ......................... Samson – Set Apart to God ......................... Ruth Is Faithful ..................................... God Gives Hannah A Son ........................... Samuel Lives In God’s House ...................... David Is Chosen To Be King ........................ David Is A Shepherd Boy ........................... David Meets Goliath ................................ David Spares Saul’s Life............................ Unmerited Favor To Mephibosheth ................ You are the man! ................................... Elijah Meets Baal’s Priests ......................... Elisha Helps a Poor Widow ......................... Naaman’s Leprosy Is Healed ....................... King Joash Repairs God’s House ................... Ezra Teaches God’s Word .......................... The Story of Job ..................................... The Heavens Declare ............................... The Lord Is My Shepherd .......................... Whoso Dwelleth..................................... The Song of Songs .................................. Daniel and His Friends Stand Firm ................ Daniel In The Lions’ Den ........................... Jonah Is Caught by a Great Fish ................... Scripture Index .....................................

118 119 120 121 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 147


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Preface This book and CD are designed to work together. Over one hundred complete Bible Plays for Children are included on the CD. The book provides a sample lesson plan that can be easily adapted for your Christian Education environment. The lesson plan uses the play “Ruth is Faithful” as an example in book and also on the CD. The Bible Plays for Children CD has been created with an easy to use table of contents so that you can quickly locate a specific play. The book provides an outline of each play along with a CD reference. For example, “CD: BPC112” indicates the Bible Play “Ruth is Faithful” can be located on the CD as file BPC112. The Bible Plays for Children have been ordered based on the books of the Bible beginning with the New Testament followed by Old Testament. Each play summary includes a SR designation that indicates Scripture Reference. Also, a Scripture cross reference is provided at the end of the book. May God continue to richly bless your ministry. H B Stephens Epiphany, 2008


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Introduction “We write this to make our joy complete.” (1 John 1:4) The sacred stories of the Holy Scriptures are of immeasurable value. They carry the message of the Good News, that God sent his only Son into the world to be our Savior. These sacred stories contain intrinsic power within themselves to convey their message directly into the heart. Handle carefully, they are alive and give life! Telling the sacred stories begins at home, where the child's first teacher is their parent and their first textbook is the Bible. “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and

minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.” (Deuteronomy 11:18-21)

As the body of Christ the Church we also shoulder the responsibility of teaching these truths. In some traditions, the baptismal service includes a question to the congregation, “Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support these persons in their life in Christ?” The answer is clear and strong, "We will!"


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The sacred stories are not being told to our children. The prophet Hosea writes, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6) It is our generation that sustains the transmission of our faith and it is our responsibility to tell our children. Our Lord said, “…when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8) Our purpose is clear and our mission is right. We have been given the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us, therefore we cannot delay. Tell the Good News! The Kingdom of God is here and now! Change your mind and believe the Gospel. Amen.

Bible Plays for Children provide another way com-

municating the sacred stories to our children. Hearing the story or reading the text has tremendous value and should not be discounted in any way, however acting out a story takes the message even further into the heart. Children learn by imitation and are innately capable of role-play. A child with a toy truck becomes a firefighter, with a small doll assumes the role of a caregiver, or with a simple stick becomes a Major League baseball player.

Christian Education In the time and space provided by most churches for Christian Education there is a unique opportunity to communicate with our children the sacred stories of Scripture. Within the environment of a normal classroom simple props and imagination can transport a child to the manger in Bethlehem, to the side of Jesus feeding the 5000, or to the tomb where Jesus is no longer lying, but alive again and forevermore. The


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capacity for learning while acting out the story cannot be overemphasized. It is a powerful teaching tool. Children learn by doing.

The Dialog The dialog in Bible Plays for Children has a dual purpose. The primary importance is to remain as close to the Scripture as possible. The reason for this is that in learning their lines of dialog the student are placing God’s word in their hearts. As the psalmist writes, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalms 119:11) Later in life when the student reads the Scripture, the Holy Spirit will bring those words forward and make them alive and real. They will be able to immediately respond to the text because the Word of God, as phrased in the King James English, is “quick” or alive. “Sharper than any double-edged sword, it

penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) The second purpose in the dialog is to use every day speech in the context of children. For example, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.” (Psalms 122:1) could be taken to a child's level of speech, “Let's go to church.” There is a delicate balance in altering any words of Scripture. Remember our audience is the young child and the amazing energy of the story itself conveys it own power to communicate and transform.


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If these plays are used as part of a regular Christian Education program, then a suggested learning exercise is to divide the speaking parts of the text among your students to take home for the week. The student’s assignment is to read over their part of the play each day and to become familiar with their part as well as the entire story. In the relaxed environment of the home, family members can be a significant help by reading the play with the student. When the group returns to perform the play, the students will be better prepared and they will be able to hear, understand and apply the Word of God. It is understood that you may or may not have speaking parts for all of the students, or the reverse could happen, where there might not be enough participants. Remember that having an audience is optional; everyone can be in the play. Also, multiple parts can be given to students. In these cases it is helpful to have the student try to differentiate the roles by using a different tone of voice, by their actions, or by their costume. By all means, if there is an audience of parents or younger children, explain to your acting company that they must disregard their normal speaking voice and raise the volume level, pretending to be outside speaking to someone across the playground. The audience must be able to hear. It is helpful to remind your students to face the audience when speaking. Use an open stance when actors dialog, halfway turned to each other and halfway to the audience.


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Casting The teacher is encouraged not cast parts based on gender. In all of these stories, either girl or boy can play a part. The purpose of these plays is to teach, to help the student learn the sacred story, to hear the scripture in a different way, to experience the dialog, to see the interpersonal interaction, to obtain a different viewpoint and to communicate truth on a different level than normal reading or listening. The purpose is to learn by doing. You may ask, “Can a girl play Jesus?� Yes, absolutely! What better way to learn about our Lord than saying His words and imitating His actions? It is sometimes helpful, especially with short plays, to have students swap roles. It gives everyone a chance to play their favorite part and also allows others to see how imagination of voice or actions can enliven and transform a character.

Properties Props for these plays are very simple. Remnants of colorful cloth, obtained at most fabric stores, can be used to create scarves, headdresses and other simple costumes. Scarves are made using a square of material folded in a triangle and tied under the chin. Headdress followed the same pattern as a scarf but with a small loop of rope or wire loosely fitting on top


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of the head. A larger square of cloth with a hole in the middle for the head to fit through can become a beautiful garment or can be used with a belt for an added place to carry a pretend sword or bag of money. The ideas for props are endless and heavily depend on the imagination of the students. For example, use a small piece of red cloth, bunched on the floor for a fire. Have the student sit around the "fire" and pretend it is very hot, holding their cold hands out to the flames to gather the warmth, rubbing them together. Keep your props in a special box, closet or place that is designated for that purpose. Opening the prop box should be an event that allows the students to enter with their imagination.

Ages Children of all ages will enjoy taking part in these plays. There are many parts that simply require the wonderful God-given gift of imagination that children seem to have in abundance. Share your heart and your thoughts with your students as they enter into the sacred story. Imagine being a disciple seeing Jesus walk on the water, heal the sick or feed the multitude. Imagine being a shepherd when angels filled the sky announcing the Messiah‘s birth. For children that are not of reading age there are many non-speaking parts that can engage your students in active learning.


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You can also use these plays for storytelling. Storytelling is ageless. It is an effective tool, stimulating the imagination of the child as you build a foundation upon God’s word in their heart. All of the plays are dependent upon the teacher to first imagine the story, and then convey that image to the child. Listed in this book and beginning each script on the CD there is a scene summary that provides an overview of the play and is helpful in visualizing the major points of the story. Bear in mind a worthy saying: "Keep it simple and just tell the story." Remember that the sacred story carries its own power to transform the listener.


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Acknowledgments Special recognition, honor and thanksgiving to Canon, Double 16 Productions for the Show-n-tell that formed the foundation of this work. Upon the shoulders of these contributions we humbly stand and gratefully acknowledge.

The scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. Zondervan’s web page: http://www.zondervan.com The NIV text may be quoted in any form (written, visual, electronic, or audio), up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses or less without written permission, providing the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible, do not comprise 25% or more of the total text of the work in which they are quoted, and the verses are not being quoted in a commentary or other Biblical reference work. This permission is contingent upon an appropriate copyright acknowledgment.

The cover graphic was created by Jim Sutton and used with permission. http://www.GospelGifs.com Illustrations/graphics supplied by GospelGifs.com are copyrighted and used with permission.


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Example Lesson Plan This is an example lesson plan using the Bible play “Ruth is Faithful.” This play is printed in the book and also located on the enclosed CD (CD: BPC112) along with all of the other plays listed in the table of contents.

Open in prayer: It is always good to begin with prayer. Christ said, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (Mat 18:20 NIV) This helps remind everyone that this time and place are very special. Introductions: Teacher's name and quickly take role.

Describe the goals for this session: In this

section we will be learning about Ruth and how she was faithful. Ask the students a series of questions concerning "faithful" such as 1) what does it mean, 2) give an example, 3) how are you faithful.

Read the story: The story is read from a children's Bible and the pictures are shown. As the teacher reads the story, a helper (or the teacher) writes the person's name (from the story) on the board. Note: this list will later be used to match the names of the actors to the play's characters.

Pass out the script: Go over the roles of each

character. Because of the time constraints (about 30-40 minutes) this play will only focus on the first scene in the story of Ruth. The teacher will assign


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roles and state that these may change depending who does the best job and who would like to try for a specific role. The narrator has the largest part and could be initially played by the teacher to get things going. For this play there are the following actors.

Players Narrator Elimelech Naomi Ruth Chilion Mahlon Orpah

The play’s “catechist” or teacher, should be a good reader with a clear voice. The husband of Naomi. He dies in Moab. A mother figure shares the main story line with Ruth. Naomi’s daughter-in-law, she is central figure in the story with Naomi. The son of Naomi. He dies in Moab. The son of Naomi. He dies in Moab. Naomi’s daughter-in-law. She is from Moab.

Students read scene 1: This will give the students a view of what will happen. After the initial read through, ask if anyone wants to try to read that did not get a chance the first time or, depending on the size of the group, you could switch out the entire cast with new students. Repeat as necessary. Explain how it is so very important to speak with a strong voice so everyone can hear. Blocking scene 1: The teacher will cast the initial group of actors. The "stage" area is then described


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to the students. In this first scene the stage is a road to Moab. On one side of the stage is their home in Moab. You will need a few props such as a bag to carry for their journey including some kitchen items such as cups or plates. Other props are optional (such as cloaks, veils, robes and headdresses) depending on the amount of time that you have. Walk through the play with the actors, showing how each part of the dialog works.

Run scene 1: Assemble the remaining students into an audience. Clear the stage. Start the action. Keep it going. Repeat with different actors. Closure: Gather the group together and discuss how Ruth was faithful. Encourage your students to read the remainder of the story of Ruth. Ask if anyone has something they want to pray about, and then close in prayer.


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Ruth Is Faithful Scene Summary The play “Ruth Is Faithful” presents the lives of a family dislocated from their country during a famine…separated not only from their home but also from their loved ones…but finding an oasis of faithfulness in Ruth, a foreigner from Moab…then a story of romance and love…a transformation from bitterness into a life of joy.

Scripture The teacher is encouraged to read the book of Ruth to the students prior to working with the script. A key passage is the words of Ruth to Naomi: “Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me." (Ruth 1:16-17 NIV) Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Players • •

Narrator – The play’s “catechist” or teacher should be a good reader with a clear voice. Elimelech – [E lim e leck] The husband of Naomi. He dies in Moab.


Ruth is Faithful

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Naomi – [Na o me] A mother figure shares the main story line with Ruth. Ruth – Naomi’s daughter-in-law, she is central figure in the story in the story along with Naomi. Boaz – [Bow as] The rich noble of Bethlehem who owns the field where Ruth picked to glean during harvest. Chilion – [Chill eon] The son of Naomi. He dies in Moab. Mahlon – [May lon] The son of Naomi. He dies in Moab. Orpah – [Ore pa] Naomi’s daughter-in-law. She is from Moab. Kinsman-redeemer – A man of Bethlehem who is the next of kin to Naomi’s husband. Servants of Boaz – These people are farmers who work for Boaz, harvesting the grain. Town Elders – These are the people Boaz calls to witness the transaction made between himself and the Kinsman-redeemer concerning Naomi and Ruth.

Special Props • • •

Normal items from the prop box such as cloaks, veils, robes and headdresses. Household items, such as a plastic dish, cups and tableware. A bag or pouch for carrying the household items.


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Script – Ruth Is Faithful [Opening scene is Elimelech, Naomi, Mahlon and Chilion walking across the stage. They are walking slowly because they are tired and thirsty.] Narrator: In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and his two sons Mahlon and Kilion were traveling to the country of Moab. Mahlon: But father, why did we have to leave our home in Bethlehem? Elimelech: There wasn’t anything to eat. Naomi: [to her sons] We have heard that there is food in Moab. Chilion: I am so tired and thirsty. Naomi: It shouldn’t be much further. [They arrive at the other side of the stage and begin to arrange the chairs and table to form a home] Narrator: They arrived in Moab and started a new home. [They are busy working around the house. Then Elimelech walks off stage. There is a pause then Naomi and the two sons begin to cry.]


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Narrator: Later, Naomi’s husband, Elimelech, died. [Ruth and Orpah enter on the opposite side of the stage making small talk to each other. Mahlon and Chilion go to meet them. They hold hands and bring them back to Naomi] Narrator: The sons married women from Moab. One was named Orpah and the other was Ruth. They lived and worked in Moab about ten years. [They are busy working around the house. Mahlon and Chilion walk off stage. There is a pause, then Naomi, Orpha and Ruth begin to weep and cry.] Narrator: Both Mahlon and Chilion died. Naomi: [crying] Why has this happened to me? First my husband dies and now my sons. Orpah: I am so sad. What are we going to do? Naomi: There is nothing left for me here in Moab. I have heard that there is food again in Bethlehem. I will return to my home. Narrator: Naomi, Orpah and Ruth gather their belonging and begin to leave. [They gather up their household things and put them in a bag. Then they walk slowly to the center stage] Naomi: Go back, each of you, to your mother's home. May the LORD show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me. May the LORD


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grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband. [They give each other a tearful hug] Orpah: We will go back with you to your people. Naomi: Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Return home my daughters. Start a new life. It is bitter for me, because the Lord's hand has gone out against me! Narrator: At this they wept again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-by, but Ruth stayed with Naomi. Naomi: Look, your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her. Ruth: Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me. Narrator: When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. [They continue to the opposite side of the stage. This ends the first act of the play. The stage can then be reset to Bethlehem on stage left. The townspeople of


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Bethlehem have gathered. Naomi and Ruth enter from stage left and proceed to the center stage.] Narrator: When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. Town Elder: Can this be Naomi? Naomi: Don't call me Naomi. Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me. Narrator: So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning. [They setup their “home� at a center stage table and are busy putting things in order.] Ruth: [speaking to Naomi]: Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor. Naomi: Go ahead, my daughter. [Naomi turns her back to the audience as Ruth goes out to stage right and begins picking up grain off of the floor.] Narrator: So she went out and began to glean in the fields behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech.


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[Boaz comes into Bethlehem] Narrator: [Pause] Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters. Boaz: The LORD be with you! Harvesters: The LORD bless you! [Boaz looks across the stage at Ruth gathering grain] Boaz: [to the foreman] Whose young woman is that? Foreman: She is the Moabitess who came back from Moab with Naomi. She said, 'Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters. She went into the field and has worked steadily from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter. [Boaz goes over to Ruth] Boaz: [to Ruth] My daughter, listen to me. Don't go and glean in another field and don't go away from here. Stay here with my servant girls. Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the girls. I have told the men not to touch you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled. Ruth: [bowed to Boaz] Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me--a foreigner? Boaz: I've been told all about what you have done for


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your mother-in-law since the death of your husband-how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, richly reward you. Ruth: May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord. You have given me comfort and have spoken kindly to your servant--though I do not have the standing of one of your servant girls. [The harvesters begin to gather around a table to eat a meal. Boaz goes back across the stage to join them.] Narrator: At mealtime, Ruth was invited to join them. Boaz: Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar. Narrator: When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over. [Ruth leaves the table and begins working again in the field.] Boaz: [to the harvesters] Even if she gathers among the sheaves, don't embarrass her. Rather, pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don't rebuke her.


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Narrator: So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered. She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left over after she had eaten enough. [This concludes the second act of the play. The stage is clear except for Naomi and Ruth’s home at the right center. Ruth goes back to Naomi and sits down at the table and shows her the large bowl of grain. The other side of the stage will be used for Boaz’s threshing floor.] Naomi: Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you! Narrator: Then Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. Ruth: The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz. Naomi: The LORD bless him! He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead. That man is our close relative; he is one of our kinsmanredeemers. Ruth: He even said to me, 'Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.'" Naomi: It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with his girls, because in someone else's field you might be harmed.


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Narrator: So Ruth stayed close to the servant girls of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law. Naomi: My daughter, should I not try to find a home for you, where you will be well provided for? Is not Boaz, with whose servant girls you have been, a kinsman of ours? Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. Wash and perfume yourself, and put on your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don't let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do. Ruth: I will do whatever you say. Narrator: So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do. [Naomi turns with her back to the audience. Ruth begins to straighten her dress and hair. Then leaves the stage. The harvesters come back on stage with Boaz. They are eating at a table.] Narrator: When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. In the middle of the night something startled the man, and he turned and discovered a woman lying at his feet. Boaz: Who are you?


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Ruth: I am your servant Ruth. Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsmanredeemer. Boaz: The LORD bless you, my daughter. This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. And now, my daughter, don't be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character. Although it is true that I am near of kin, there is a kinsman-redeemer nearer than I. Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to redeem, good; let him redeem. But if he is not willing, as surely as the LORD lives I will do it. Lie here until morning. Narrator: So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized. Boaz: Don't let it be known that a woman came to the threshing floor. Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out. Narrator: When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and put it on her. Then he went back to town and Ruth came to her mother-in-law. [Ruth goes back to Naomi with her load of grain] Naomi: How did it go, my daughter? Narrator: She told her everything Boaz had done for her.


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Ruth: He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, 'Don't go back to your mother-in-law emptyhanded.' Naomi: Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today. Narrator: Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat there. When the kinsman-redeemer he had mentioned came along Boaz asked him to sit down also. Boaz: Come over here, my friend, and sit down. Narrator: Boaz went and found ten of the elders of the town. They all sat down together. Boaz: [to the kinsman-redeemer] Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our brother Elimelech. I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line." Kinsman-redeemer: I will redeem it. Boaz: On the day you buy the land from Naomi and from Ruth the Moabitess, you acquire the dead man's widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.


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Kinsman-redeemer: [shaking his head] Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it. Narrator: Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel. Kinsman-redeemer: [taking off his shoe and giving it to Boaz] Buy it yourself. Boaz: [to all the people] Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelech, Kilion and Mahlon. I have also acquired Ruth the Moabitess, Mahlon's widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from the town records. Today you are witnesses!" Town Elders: We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. Narrator: So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Later, the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David. The End


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Supplemental Information There was a welfare system instituted by God through Moses for the poor in the land of Israel. “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.'” (Lev 23:22 NIV) The story of Ruth illustrates these laws in action as Ruth is allowed to glean after the harvesters. “If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you. Do not take interest of any kind from him, but fear your God, so that your countryman may continue to live among you. You must not lend him money at interest or sell him food at a profit.” (Lev 25:35-37 NIV) “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.” (Deu 15:11 NIV)

A Good Name It is one thing to have a good name, but a different matter altogether to have a life corresponding to that name. Elimelech’s name implies “God is King”, and expressive name given him by godly parents when the nation followed the Lord. But Elimelech belied the name he bore, for had he truly believed that God was King, he would have stayed in Bethlehem in spite of the prevailing famine.


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But one might argue that it was a wise thing to do to leave a famine stricken land for another land where there was plenty of food for his family. Surely that was a journey any father would undertake to have his dear ones from starvation. But Elimelech was a Jew and as such had the promise, “In the days of famine ye shall be satisfied.” Had he firmly believed in the sovereignty of God, Elimelech would have remained in Bethlehem, knowing that being in need can never throttle God. Had he not declared that bread and water for His own would be sure? Alas, however, Elimelech did not live up to his wonderful name! In going down to Moab, he stepped out of the will of God, who had forbidden His people to have any association with the Moabites. In Moab, Elimelech and his two sons found graves. Yet God overruled such a wrong move, for as the result of it, Ruth the Moabitess returned to Bethlehem with Naomi, who was to become the ancestress of our blessed Lord. From All the Men of the Bible by Herbert Lockyer

Reflection questions • • • • • •

Why did Elimelech and Naomi leave Bethlehem? Where did they go to live? What happened to Elimelech? Naomi’s two sons married two women from Moab. What where their names? Why did Naomi want to return to Bethlehem? Who stayed behind in Moab?


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38 • • • • • • • •

Who went with Naomi? How did Ruth get grain so that they could make bread? Who owned the field where Ruth went to gather grain? What did Boaz say to Ruth when he first saw her in the field? What did Naomi tell Ruth to do at the end of the harvest? What did Boaz do when he learned it was Ruth lying at his feet? Who did Boaz take to be his wife? What was the name of their first child?


Bible Plays for Children  

A new approach to Christian Education! Let the Scripture speak for itself in the ancient tradition of the theatrical play. The eBook is a...

Bible Plays for Children  

A new approach to Christian Education! Let the Scripture speak for itself in the ancient tradition of the theatrical play. The eBook is a...

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