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Ruth (eighth book of the Old Testament)

Ruth (eighth book of the Old Testament) 

(Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth)

By Ron Bedell


“Your God is my God” (Ruth 1:16)


This is what Ruth, the Gentile Moabites woman, said to her Jewish mother-in-law Naomi when Naomi was about to leave Moab and head back to Bethlehem.  


16 And Ruth said, 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)


The book of Ruth is the eight book of the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth).


There are two books in the Old Testament that are named after women – Ruth and Esther. Ruth marries a rich Jewish man (Boaz) and becomes the great grandmother of King David. Esther (a Jew) marries the Gentile king of Persia (Xerxes I or Ahasuerus) and she played a major role in saving and preserving the nation of Israel from destruction.  


There were five women listed in Matthew’s gospel of the genealogy of Jesus Christ: Tamar (Matthew 1:3), Rahab (Matthew 1:5), Ruth (Matthew 1:5), Bathsheba (Matthew 1:6), Mary (Matthew 1:16). Of the five women only Mary was Jewish. The other four women were Gentiles. And of the five women only Ruth and Mary had high moral values. Tamar and Rahab were harlots and Bathsheba was an adulterer. 


The events of Ruth took place during the closing days of the Judges rule (1160 B.C. and 1100 B.C.) but the book Ruth was actually written about the time of David’s anointing (Ruth 4:17-22). David reigned from about 1000 B.C. to 960 B.C. (40 years). The author of the book of Ruth could have been Samuel but no one knows for sure.


The events from the book of Esther took place about 478 B.C. to 473 B.C.


The book of Esther takes place during the Persian Empire period (539 B.C. – 331 B.C. after many Israelites returned from the Exile to the land of Palestine to rebuild the temple and set up the sacrificial system. (Dallas Theological Seminary - The Bible Knowledge Commentary, OT, Page 699)


Quick summary of Ruth:


The Book of Ruth is about Ruth and Orpah, two women of Moab, had married two sons of Elimelech and Naomi, Judeans who had settled in Moab to escape a famine in Judah. The husbands of all three women die; Naomi plans to return to her native Bethlehem and urges her daughters-in-law to return to their families. Orpah returned to her family and her gods while Ruth returned to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law Naomi.


Brief summary of Ruth: (from Got Questions)


Brief Summary from Got Questions: The setting for the Book of Ruth begins in the heathen country of Moab, a region northeast of the Dead Sea, but then moves to Bethlehem. This true account takes place during the dismal days of failure and rebellion of the Israelites, called the period of the Judges. A famine forces Elimelech and his wife, Naomi, from their Israelite home to the country of Moab. Elimelech dies and Naomi is left with her 2 sons, who soon marry 2 Moabite girls, Orpah and Ruth. Later both of Namoi’s sons die, and Naomi is left alone with Orpah and Ruth in a strange land. Orpah returns to her parents, but Ruth is determined to stay with Naomi as they journey to Bethlehem. This story of love and devotion tells of Ruth's eventual marriage to a wealthy man named Boaz, by whom she bears a son, Obed, who becomes the grandfather of David and the ancestor of Jesus. Boaz is a close kinsman to Naomi’s husband. Obedience brings Ruth into the privileged lineage of Christ.


Kinsman Redeemer


The theme of the book of Ruth is Kinsman-Redeemer. Boaz was a close kinsman to Naomi’s late husband, Elimelech, and therefore he qualified to marry Ruth according to the levirate marriage law.


“Another example of levirate marriage in the Bible is the story of Ruth and Boaz. Ruth’s first husband died without leaving a child (Ruth 1:1–5). Later, Ruth met a rich landowner named Boaz in Bethlehem, and he happened to be a relative of Ruth’s late husband (Ruth 2:20). Ruth asked Boaz to be her “kinsman-redeemer”; that is, to marry her and preserve the land her husband had owned (Ruth 3:9). Boaz agreed but informed Ruth that there was one other relative of nearer kin; the obligation to marry Ruth and redeem her land fell on him first (verse 12). As it turned out, the nearer relative officially transferred his right of redemption to Boaz, clearing the way for Boaz to marry Ruth and “maintain the name of the dead with his property” (Ruth 4:5).


Boaz was a “type of Christ.” Just as Boaz was Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer, Jesus Christ is our kinsman-redeemer. Jesus Christ became a close relative (kinsman) of mankind through His physical earthly birth through Mary. Whereas Boaz was the physical redeemer of Ruth, Christ was the spiritual redeemer of mankind when He died on the Cross and was buried and rose from the dead. We are redeemed (bought back) by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ). Boaz was the “physical” kinsman-redeemer for Ruth; Christ was the spiritual kinsman-redeemer for all mankind. Boaz Redeemed (bought back) Ruth out of the slave market; Christ bought us back out of the slave market of sin and freely gave us eternal life in Heaven. God created mankind (Adam and Eve) sinless. God created Adam and Eve to live forever. But the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden separated mankind eternally from God. Because of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden man would now experience physical death and spiritual death (Spiritual death meaning that mankind would be eternally separated from God – man would go to hell). But the second or last “Adam” (Christ) came to earth to die for our sins to freely give us eternal life in Heaven (1 Corinthians 15:45-48).


Paul is here pointing out the difference between two kinds of bodies, i.e., the natural and the spiritual in 1 Corinthians 15:45-48)  


21 For He (God) hath made Him (Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)  King James Version (KJV)


and be found in Him (Christ), not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. (Philippians 3:9)  New International Version (NIV)


16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)


For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)


The book of Ruth is read annually by orthodox Jews on the Feast of Pentecost. This feast commemorates the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai and occurs at the time of the beginning of the offering called the First-fruits of the Harvest (Exodus 23:16). Ruth’s betrothal took place during this festive harvest season, when barley was being winnowed (Ruth 3:2; cf. 1:22).


Ruth chapter 1:  (YouTube audio-King James Version) (New International Version-NIV)


Ruth chapter 2:   (YouTube audio – King James Version) (New International Version-NIV)


Ruth chapter 3:   (YouTube audio – King James Version) (New International Version-NIV)


Ruth chapter 4: (YouTube audio – King James Version) (New International Version-NIV)


Outline of Ruth


Ruth chapter 1


<!--<if !supportLists>-->1.       <!--<endif>-->Ruth 1:1-3.  Elimelech, driven by famine into Moab, dies there.


<!--<if !supportLists>-->2.       <!--<endif>-->Ruth 1:4-5.  Mahlon and Chilion, having married wives in Moab, die also.



<!--<if !supportLists>-->3.       <!--<endif>-->Ruth 1:6-7.  Naomi returning to Bethlehem.


<!--<if !supportLists>-->4.       <!--<endif>-->Ruth 1:8-13.  Naomi tries to persuade her two daughters-in-law from going back to Bethlehem with her.



<!--<if !supportLists>-->5.       <!--<endif>-->Ruth 1:14-18.  Orpah leaves Naomi and returns to her gods, but Ruth refuses to leave Naomi and Ruth returns to Bethlehem with Naomi.


<!--<if !supportLists>-->6.       <!--<endif>-->Ruth 1:19-22.  Naomi and Ruth go to Bethlehem where they are gladly received.


Ruth chapter 2


<!--<if !supportLists>-->1.       <!--<endif>-->Ruth 2:1-3.  Ruth gleans in the field of Boaz.


<!--<if !supportLists>-->2.       <!--<endif>-->Ruth 2:4-7.  Boaz takes notice of Ruth.



<!--<if !supportLists>-->3.       <!--<endif>-->Ruth 2:8-17.  Boaz shows Ruth great favor.


<!--<if !supportLists>-->4.       <!--<endif>-->Ruth 2:18-23.  That which Ruth got, she carries it back to Naomi.


Ruth chapter 3


<!--<if !supportLists>-->1.       <!--<endif>-->Ruth 3:1-4.  Naomi’s instruction.


Seeking redeeming love:


Naomi was no longer depressed. Naomi became a matchmaker and prepared Ruth to seek the love of her willing kinsman-redeemer, Boaz. The turning point in the narrative is at hand.


A plan for redemption:


During the weeks of the barley and wheat harvests (cf. 2:23), Naomi had time to put her plan together. When the time was right she acted.


<!--<if !supportLists>-->2.       <!--<endif>-->Ruth 3:5-7.  Ruth lies at Boaz feet.


<!--<if !supportLists>-->3.       <!--<endif>-->Ruth 3:8-13.  Boaz acknowledges the right as a kinsman.


<!--<if !supportLists>-->4.       <!--<endif>-->Ruth 3:14-18.  Boaz sent Ruth away with 6 measures of barley.


Ruth chapter 4


<!--<if !supportLists>-->1.       <!--<endif>-->Ruth 4:1-5.  Boaz calls into judgment the next kinsman.


<!--<if !supportLists>-->2.       <!--<endif>-->Ruth 4:6-8.  The first kinsman refused and he passed the right of redemption to Boaz.


<!--<if !supportLists>-->3.       <!--<endif>-->Ruth 4:9-10.  Boaz buys the inheritance.


<!--<if !supportLists>-->4.       <!--<endif>-->Ruth 4:11-12.  Boaz marries Ruth.


<!--<if !supportLists>-->5.       <!--<endif>-->Ruth 4:13-17.  Ruth bears Obed, the grandfather of King David.


<!--<if !supportLists>-->6.       <!--<endif>-->Ruth 4:18-22.  The generations of Pharez (Perez) to David.


The surprising genealogy – the genealogy of David (Ruth 4:18-22)


Perez’s family line provided documentation for God’s providential care. The seemingly ordinary events in the book of Ruth (such as, travels, marriages, deaths, harvesting, eating, sleeping, purchasing land) revealed the guiding activity of the sovereign God.


Ruth 4:18-20.  Perez was the son of Judah through Tamar (Genesis 38:12). Ram is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 2:9. Amminadab was the father-in-law of Aaron (Exodus 6:23). Nahshon was head of the house of Judah (Numbers 1:7; 7:12; 10:14).


Ruth 4:21.  Salmon was the father of Boaz. According to Matthew 1:5, Boaz’s mother was Rahab, the Canaanite harlot from Jericho. However Rahab lived in Joshua’s time, about 250-300 years earlier. Probably, then, Rahab was Boaz’s “mother” in the sense that she was his ancestress (cf. “our father Abraham,” Romans 4:12, which means “our ancestor Abraham”).


Obed, Boaz and Ruth’s son, became the father of Jesse, who became the father of David (1 Samuel 17:12). Jesus Christ’s lineage, through Mary, is traced to David (Matthew 1:1-16; Romans 1:3; 2 Timothy 2:8; Revelation 22:16). Christ is therefore called “the Son of David” (Matthew 15:22; 20:30-31; 21:9, 15; 22:42). Christ will someday return to earth and will sit on the throne of David as the millennial King (2 Samuel 7:12-16; Revelation 20:4-6).