(An Addendum to Judges)
As with Judges, the author is uncertain though Jewish tradition points to Samuel. This is unlikely, however, since the author of Ruth mentions David, and Samuel died before David’s coronation (4:17, 22).
Title of the Book:
The book of Ruth gets its name from one of its main characters, a young woman of Moab, the great-grandmother of David and one who is in the genealogical line of the Savior (Matt 1:5). Another book ofthe Bible named after a woman is Esther.
Theme and Purpose:
Ruth is the story of a couple in Israel who, during a time of famine, moved to Moab. There the husband and his two sons died, leaving the mother (Naomi) alone with her two daughters-in-law (Orpah andRuth). Naomi decided to move back to Israel and Ruth insisted on returning with her. Once in Israel, they turned to a relative by the name of Boaz for help. Eventually, Ruth married Boaz. Like a brilliant diamond against black velvet, Ruth sparkles against the dark days of the book of Judges. Ruth is the story of loyalty, purity, and love in a day when anarchy, selfishness, and depravity was generally the rule. As such, Ruth serves as a positive picture of faith and obedience in the midst of apostasy and shows how such faith brings blessing. Ruth also serves as an important link in the ancestry of King David and, as mentioned, is found in the line of Messiah. Other purposes of Ruth are seen in the way it illustrates the truths of the Kinsman-Redeemer, the presence of a godly remnant even in times of great apostasy, and God’s faithfulness to those who will walk with Him by faith. Since Ruth was a Gentile, the book illustrates God’s desire to bring the Gentile world into the family of God.It may seem surprising that one who reflects God’s love so clearly is a Moabitess. Yet hes complete loyalty to the Israelite family into which she has been received by marriage and her total devotion to her desolate mother-in-law mark her as a true daughter of Israel and a worthy ancestress of David. She strikingly exemplifies the truth that participation in the coming kingdom of God is decided, not by blood and birth, but by the conformity of one’s life to the will of God through the “obedience that comes from faith” (Rom. 1:5). Her place in the ancestry of David signifies that all nations will be represented in the kingdom of David’s greater Son.
Kinsman (14 times), Redeem (9 times). In thought, a key term would be Kinsman-Redeemer.
1:15-17 Then she said, “Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her
gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or
turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will
lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. 17 Where you die, I will
die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but
death parts you and me.”
3:11-13 “And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my
people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence. 12 And now it is true I am a
close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I. 13 Remain this night, and when
morning comes, if he will redeem you, good; let him redeem you. But if he does not wish
to redeem you, then I will redeem you, as the LORD lives. Lie down until morning.”
Chapter 1 is a key chapter because it demonstrates Ruth’s decision of faith, devotion, and commitment to stay with Naomi, a decision that led to her redemption.
Chapter 4 is another key chapter because in this chapter, Ruth goes from being a widow and poverty to marriage and wealth through the Kinsman-Redeemer.
Ruth, Naomi, Boaz.
Christ as Seen in Ruth:
In the Old Testament, if a person or an estate were sold into bondage, they could be redeemed if certain requirements were met by what is called the Kinsman-Redeemer or goel, “close relative.” This is a perfect illustration of the redemptive work of the Savior. The goel must:
1. be a blood relative (a kinsman) of those he redeems (Deut. 25:5, 7-10; John 1:14; Rom. 1:3; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 2:14-15);
2. be able to pay the price of redemption (cf. 2:1; 1 Pet. 1:18-19);
3. be willing to redeem or pay the price (cf. 3:11; Matt. 20:28; John 10:15, 19; Heb. 10:7);
4. be free himself, as Christ was free from the curse of sin, being without sin (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:22; 1 John 3:5).
I. The Resolve and Return of Ruth (1:1-22)
A. Her Background, 1:1-5
B. Her Choice, 1:6-18
C. Her Arrival in Bethlehem, 1:19-22
II. The Reaping Rights of Ruth (2:1-23)
A. Her Right to Glean (2:1-3)
B. The Results of Her Gleaning (2:4-17)
C. The Report of Her Gleaning (2:17-23)
III. The Request of Ruth (3:1-18)
A. Suggested by Naomi (3:1-4)
B. Executed by Ruth (3:5-9)
C. Agreed to by Boaz (3:10-18)
IV. The Reward of Ruth (4:1-22)
A. A Husband (4:1-12)
B. A Son (4:13-17)
C. A Lineage (4:18-22)