The Book of Ruth in the Bible

Did you know that there are only 2 books in all 66 books of the Bible named after faithful women? One of them is Ruth, a Moabite brought up in a pagan culture who is fully redeemed by the Lord. Christian women can harvest the fruit from this godly woman’s strong character traits in the Bible. 

Book of Ruth in the Bible

Who is Ruth? Ruth was a Moabite girl raised in a pagan culture who worshiped false gods. She ended up marrying a Jewish man named Mahlon after his family moved to Moab. This was in direct disobedience to God’s word even though Mahlon was raised by godly parents, Elimelech and Naomi.

Who wrote the Book of Ruth and why?

The book of Ruth, based on Christian tradition and the Talmud(a compilation of ancient Jewish beliefs), confirms that Samuel, the prophet bore by Hannah, was the author of the Book of Ruth. 

When was the Book of Ruth Written

Ruth was written somewhere during the time of the Judges as indicated in Ruth 1:1, stating during the time of the judges there was a famine in the land of Judah. The events of Ruth may have occurred between 1160 BC and 1100 BC, which is the latter period of the judges. 

Summary of the Book of Ruth

Let’s back up for a minute. Mahlon’s parents, knowing God and his rules, had moved their entire family to Moab since a famine spread across Israel, including Bethelem their hometown. Yet, instead of trusting in God to provide for their needs, Elimelech and Naomi disobeyed God’s word and left the “house of bread”(Bethlehem’s meaning) with their two sons. 

Here are some facts about the people in Moab to give you a clearer picture of what kind of evil lifestyle this Jewish family was walking into. The Moabites were descendants of Lot and worshipped an idol called Chemosh (Numbers 21:29). Sadly, Ruth’s people sacrificed humans to their god. (2 Kings 3:27)

Yet, the book of Esther gives us a clear indication that the Jewish people who stayed in Israel were taken care of by God. One Jew decided to obey God and stay in Bethlehem. And, he is the ultimate picture of obedience to God even during difficult times. He reaps a bountiful harvest in more ways than one. 

What is the most famous line from the Book of Ruth?

Ruth and her in-laws are living together in Moab for 10 years when Elimelech and Naomi’s two sons die. This is when she decides it’s time to go back to Bethlehem. Sadly, Naomi urges her two daughters n laws, Ruth and Orpah, to return to their people. While Orpah heads back, Ruth refuses and says:

Intreat 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. Ruth 1:16 KJV

Ruth turned her back on her people, relatives, land, and gods to walk toward the true God, Jehovah. This is a beautiful and poignant picture of repentance in the Christian life. She was trusting in God just as the baby bird trusts his mother under her wings of protection. 

How Did Ruth Meet Boaz

As Naomi and Ruth arrive back in Jerusalem, they had to find food. Thankfully, God is taking care of them. Boaz and Ruth’s first meeting is a beautiful picture of redemption. Ruth finds a field to glean from and asks the owner Boaz if she can pick up the leftover wheat after the harvesters finish their work. 

Boaz notices her right away; her good character, hard work, and perseverance in finding food for her and her mother n law. He instructed his servants to be kind and respect Ruth. He even invited her to eat with him and his reapers. 

Ruth and Boaz Story

Naomi, a mature woman, recognizes Boaz’s fondness for Ruth. While Boaz does not pursue her, possibly because of the significant age difference, Naomi hatches a plan. She wisely advises Ruth to approach Boaz privately to avoid rejection in public.

Despite the age gap and Ruth fair to look upon, she takes the advice of her mother n law and approaches the godly man. In the privacy of his house, she asks him to spread his skirt over her, signifying his agreement of protection in marriage. 

What is the meaning of the Book of Ruth in the Bible?

The best part is next and reveals the true meaning of Ruth’s story in the Bible. Boaz becomes Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer based on Jewish law, which typifies Jesus Christ becoming a man to redeem sinners. In addition, Boaz fills the role of a brother to Ruth’s husband (Deuteronomy 25:5). 

It even gets better. Ruth and Boaz are actual descendants in the line of Christ! They have a child named Obed, who is the grandfather of David. 

What is the main point of the Book of Ruth?

We see the amazing grace of God in Ruth’s story. God redeemed a pagan Moabite who was cursed under the law (Deuteronomy 23:3). Yet, she obtained a blessing and honor because of her loyalty and faithfulness to the Holy One. She is actually in the genealogy of Christ!

Spiritual Lessons from Ruth

As we discover, Boaz typifies Christ as our redeemer and bridegroom. Here are some godly characteristics we find from Boaz:

  • Boaz was righteous and honorable (Ruth 2:4)
  • Boaz was kind (Ruth 2:8-9)
  • Boaz was obedient. 
  • Boaz was faithful to God. 

Why is Ruth so Important? Ruth was a sweet, humble, and grateful spirit. Here are some Ruth-type godly traits we can glean from her:

  • Ruth was virtuous. (Titus 2:9)
  • Ruth was wise.(Ruth 3:5)
  • Ruth was respectful.(Ruth 2:7)
  • Ruth was humble.(Ruth 2:13)
  • Ruth was a hard worker.(Ruth 2:17)
  • Ruth had a good testimony. (Ruth 3:11)

How Do I Apply This?

The book of Ruth is a refreshing story that comes out of a dismal time period during Israel’s fateful history. God’s people suffered for a long time, yet, this is how God brings back His people by reminding them that He will take care of them. We can certainly apply these lessons today. If a nation doesn’t focus on God’s will, there will be a huge price to pay. Let’s learn from Ruth’s steadfast loyalty to her family and most importantly, her God. Are you like Ruth? 

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