Ruth In The Bible

By lan Warner


Name: Ruth
Book in The Bible:
Ruth
Audience of Book: God's chosen people, the Israelites
Date of Book: During the time of Judges after David became king
Author of Book: Unknown
Book is Between: Judges and 1 Samuel 
Associated With: Boaz
Other Related People: Naomi, David
Role in God's Story: Ruth a Moabite lady, is used by God as an example of faithfulness during the period of Judges when God's people kept falling and needing to be delivered yet again. 

Ruth 1:16-18

16 But Ruth replied, “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. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.


Introduction to Ruth in The Bible

Ruth was a Moabite widow, and she stayed with her mother-in-law Naomi. Naomi was an older widow than Ruth was. They noth had to leave the land they were in to go to Judah. 

Naomi told Ruth that she should go back to her hometown. There she would not be a foreigner and would live a much better life. Naomi thanked her for being faithful and taking care of her even though her husband had passed. Naomi knew that Ruth still had a chance at finding a new husband.

Ruth decided that she would not leave Naomi on her own and that she would remain faithful to the mother of her dead husband. Naomi was very bitter at this time, and she felt like the Lord and turned away from her.

As the two are adapting to new lands, they ran into a man named Boaz's. He makes a point to take care of Ruth. He had heard how she was so faithful to Naomi, and he went out of his way to look out for the two widows. 

It was dangerous to be a widow because other men knew that no one was accounting for you. Widows were vulnerable and easily harmed, and yet Boaz cared for them and kept them safe. Boaz recognized that Ruth was a woman of excellent character. 

Important Context

At this time, women who were widows were treated poorly and often taken advantage of. 1 Timothy 5 speaks explicitly to the heart God has for widows. Scripture speaks to this because it's easy to not care for them. 

Important Bible Verses Featuring Ruth in The Bible 

Ruth 2: 11-12

11 Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for 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 didn't know before. 12 May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”

Ruth 3: 1-9

One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home for you, where you will be well provided for. Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in 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.”

“I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered. So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.

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; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet!

“Who are you?” he asked.

“I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.”


Ruth 4: 13-22

13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14 The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”

16 Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. 17 The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

The Genealogy of David

18 This, then, is the family line of Perez:

Perez was the father of Hezron,

19 Hezron the father of Ram,

Ram the father of Amminadab,

20 Amminadab the father of Nahshon,

Nahshon the father of Salmon,

21 Salmon the father of Boaz,

Boaz the father of Obed,

22 Obed the father of Jesse,

and Jesse the father of David.

What You Can Learn From Ruth in The Bible

Positives

  • The right thing takes great sacrifice
  • Be a person of great character at all times 
  • God uses unlikely people
  • There is always hope even through hard times
  • The past does not have to be the end of your story

Negatives

  • Don't assume the worst of people
  • The vulnerable are not always taken care of like this story

How Ruth Points Back to Christ

The book of Ruth makes many different points that we can reflect on. The book of Ruth is full of biblical truths that point back to God's character and the ministry of Jesus Christ. 

1. The Right Thing Takes Great Sacrifice

God gave up his one and only son so that we may have redemption through him. That is the ultimate sacrifice. The story of Ruth shows how doing the right thing requires personal sacrifice. 

She gave up a more comfortable life in her hometown to stick with Naomi because she knew she was more vulnerable than she was. 

2. Be a Person of Great Character at All Times

Ruth was ultimately awarded because of how amazing her character was. She was not putting on a show for anyone, she was just being who God called her to be. 

You never know who is watching you. If you don't have a God-honoring character, you will eventually be caught being who you really are. 

3. God Uses Unlikely People

God used a foreign-widow in such a powerful way. Most people would not give Ruth a chance or a second thought in the way that Boaz did. But her loyalty and character caught his attention, and he took care of Ruth and Naomi. 

The recurring story throughout The Bible from Moses to Paul is God choosing people who don't make a lot of sense. When we are called, we can never boast in ourselves, because all of the Glory should go to Jesus. 

4. There is Always Hope

Naomi and Ruth were in a hopeless place at the start of the book. Especially Naomi. Scripture says that she was bitter about her situation. She felt that she was doomed as an older widow. 

God not only takes care of them but also redeems them, becoming the bloodline for David and King Jesus. How amazing is that? There is no situation that God cannot work through and bless. 

5. Don't Assume The Worst of People.

Naomi was bitter because she knew what it meant to be an old widow. She was not trusting that God would take care of her. 

When you look at the ministry of Jesus Christ, he saw the best in people when others could only see their brokenness. He did not come to hang out with the rich, but he looked to serve the broken. 

Many times we come into situations in life lacking faith. We know that certain people get treated poorly in the past and assume that this will continue on going forward. 

6. Take Care of The Vulnerable

When it comes to Boaz's role in this story, it clearly shows that God has a heart for taking care of those who are vulnerable. We are called to look out for the:

  • Sick
  • Poor
  • Widowed
  • Old
  • Minorities 

Boaz clearly exemplified this in the story. He took two women who could do nothing for him, and he loved them and looked out for them. He did this not because they were physically attractive, but because of Ruth's character.

lan Warner

About the author

Ian Warner is a believer, husband, and father of three. He grew up running track in Toronto before earning a scholarship to Iowa State University. At Iowa State, he became an All-American and made the 2012 Olympic team. He currently helps people to build better habits and follow Jesus Christ.

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