Ruth is about the romance
Ruth gets its title from
the heroine of the book. She is a foreigner, from
the land of Moab, who becomes the great grandmother
of King David. It is not fiction, but is the real
story of the lineage of the king and the future
Messiah. She is the widow of Mahlon, the son of
Naomi and Elimelech who were living in Moab because
of famine. Ruth was a Moabitess, a descendent of Lot
(Gen. 19:37), who lived in the area east of the Dead
Sea. The god of the Moabites was Chemosh, to
which children were sacrificed.
Never measure a book by
its size. This little booklet of a few pages "is one
of the rarest and most beautiful idylls in
literature." It is a delightful picture of the
domestic life in time of anarchy and poverty from
famine. It is as Clyde T. Francisco says, "one of
the master short stories of all time." This is the
story of how God has a witness during the darkest
days of Jewish history. God is all-sufficient for
those who trust in Him.
of Ruth is unknown.
The setting for the events in the book of Ruth is
stated in 1:1. "Now it came about in the days when
the judges governed, that there was a famine in the
land." Therefore it is placed in the dark ages of
Hebrew history, a time of deterioration, apostasy
and disorganization. The land was in social chaos.
The time covered is about twelve years. Ruth serves
as a bridge in the history of Israel between the
Judges and the monarchy.
It was probably written
during the reign of David, but before Solomon began
his reign since it gives only a partial genealogy of
One of the purposes of the book is found in the
genealogy in 4:17-22 demonstrating the lineage of
the Messiah through Obed, Jesse and David. The
majestic sovereignty of God is seen in the unfolding
of the plan of redemption through the lineage of
David and the Messiah. God did not allow the lineage
to be broken even during the dark ages of Hebrew
history. A thousand years have passed since God
called Abraham to be the father of a nation and
another thousand will pass before the coming of the
greater Son of David, the Messiah, Jesus Christ
(Matt. 1:1-16; Luke 3:31-38). Ruth is important to
us because of its teaching on the lineage of the
messiah. This foreigner was included in God's grace.
This is a picture of the wonder of God's love in the
midst of human depravity at its worst. God's eternal
purposes were not thwarted by the sinfulness of
mankind. He had His person to continue the lineage
of the Messiah. The world's most unimportant people
are God's most important. This Moabitess was
excluded by the law, but received by God's grace.
The main purpose of this
book is to make practical application of the law of
the kinsman. Ruth demonstrates the providence of a
loving God in the lives of ordinary, unimportant
people during turbulent times.
The most important theme is redemption with its main
teaching centering on the Kinsman redeemer as a type
of the Messiah. The Goel is the one who
redeems. He must be a blood relative, have the
ability to purchase, be willing to buy the
inheritance and be willing to marry the widow of the
deceased kinsman. God has provided a kinsman
redeemer (Goel) for His people (Lev.
25:23-25, 47-49). "Blessed is the LORD who has not
left you without a redeemer today, and may His name
become famous in Israel" (Ruth 4:14). Boaz is
Naomi's kinsman redeemer who marries Ruth and keeps
the family line alive and illustrates God's
redeeming work to come through Jesus Christ (Titus
2:14; 1 Pet. 1:18-19). In the book of Ruth the
kinsman who is able and willing is Boaz.
of Ruth is more similar to 1 and 2 Samuel. It is a
literary masterpiece with a symmetrical narrative, a
romance that has as its theme the kinsman redeemer.
It is full of imagination with its entwined theme of
love and romance.
LAW OF THE KINSMAN:
Elimelech and Naomi were of the tribe of Judah and
the city of Bethlehem where they had rights of
ancestral property. They had lost their property
through foreclosure and debts and moved to the land
of Moab. After her husband and sons died she and
Ruth, her daughter-in-law, moved back to Bethlehem
hoping to receive back the property. The marriage
customs required the nearest relative of a deceased
man to marry his widow (Deu. 25:5-10). The offspring
of this marriage would carry the name and
inheritance of the former husband. Because of age,
Ruth became Naomi's substitute in marriage and bore
a son to perpetuate the family lineage. Boaz became
the goel (kinsman redeemer) and bought back
the property of Elimelech for the family. It fell
his duty to redeem the land (Lev. 25:25-28). This
person must be near of kin, able to redeem, willing
to redeem, and free of need of redemption himself.
He accomplishes redemption completely when the price
is paid in full. Goel or kinsman redeemer
pays the price of redemption. The word goel
means, "to redeem, buy back" and is applied to a
piece of property, farm, salve, etc.
OUR KINSMAN REDEEMER:
meets all of the law of the kinsman. He is our
nearest of kin through the incarnation (Jn. 1:14;
Heb. 2:10-18; Phil. 2:7; Rom. 8:3; Gal. 4:4-5). He
is able and He has the power to redeem (Heb. 1:2-3;
Col. 1:15-23; 2:9). Jesus is willing to redeem us
(Titus 2:14; Jn. 10:11, 15, 17-18; Matt. 20:28; Heb.
10:7). He is free to redeem us because He did not
need to be redeemed Himself (1 Pet. 2:21-24; 2 Cor.
5:21; 1 Pet. 3:18; 1:18-19).
stresses that the following kind of interpretation
is not always safe, "but who will say the original
meanings of these names have no significance in this
beautiful story?" He is referring to a suggestion of
George Adam Smith of the type of Christ in Ruth.
Ruth "poor and friendless lay at the feet of Boaz,
meaning 'Redeemer' or 'in Him strength.' Orphal
(Scull) turns back to death; Ruth (satisfied)
cleaves to Naomi (God is sweet) who brings her to
Bethlehem (House of Bread) and to Boaz who, like
Christ, was the Bread of Life, the Lord of the
harvest, and the Giver of Rest" (Gates and Keys
to the Bible Books, p. 67).
The book of Ruth
demonstrates God's providential care of His people.
Naomi and Ruth were common people in common settings
being guided by the supernatural hand of God to
prepare for the coming of David and the Messiah.
Everything that happens to God's people is
significant. God's faithfulness is prominent in this
book. He enters the poorest of social conditions and
works out His eternal purposes through them. God is
concerned with the little person, the insignificant,
the average person. God cares about you and has sent
His Redeemer to redeem you.
Naomi's Family (1:1-5)
Ruth's Choice (1:6-18)
Move to Bethlehem (1:19-22)
"Field of Boaz" (2:1-3)
Ruth Meets Boaz (2:2-7)
Boaz Provides for Ruth (2:8-23)
Naomi's Wisdom (3:1-4)
Ruth's Obedience (3:5-9)
Boaz's Response (3:10-18)
Boaz Negotiates (4:1-12)
A Son is Born (4:13-17)
A Greater Son (4:18-22)
Title: Introduction to
Series: Introduction to