Who was Ruth in the Bible?

Author: BibleAsk Team


The Book of Ruth, found in the Old Testament between Judges and 1 Samuel, is a captivating narrative that unfolds against the backdrop of the turbulent period of the Judges in Israel. The story revolves around a woman named Ruth, whose life becomes intertwined with the destiny of God’s chosen people. As we study this biblical account, we witness a profound record of faith, loyalty, and redemption.

A Journey of Loss (Ru. 1:1-5)

The story of this woman commences in the town of Bethlehem, a place that would later become renowned for the birth of the Messiah. However, at this juncture, Bethlehem was shrouded in a cloud of despair. A famine forces Elimelech and his wife Naomi to migrate to Moab with their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion. Tragically, Elimelech dies, and Naomi finds herself bereaved in a foreign land.

In a heart-wrenching turn of events, both of Naomi’s sons also succumb to death, leaving her a widow in a land not her own. Ruth, who had married one of Naomi’s sons, chooses loyalty over convenience, opting to stay by Naomi’s side. Her declaration, “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God” (Ru. 1:16 NKJV), echoes through the ages as a testament to unwavering fidelity.

The Gleaning in the Fields (Ru. 2:1-7)

Upon returning to Bethlehem, Naomi and Ruth face the challenge of providing for themselves. The daughter-in-law, guided by divine providence, finds herself gleaning in the fields of Boaz, a wealthy and righteous man. Boaz, struck by her humility and industry, extends grace and protection, instructing his workers to intentionally leave extra grain for her to collect.

This encounter sets the stage for a love story that will unfold in the chapters to come. Boaz emerges as a kinsman-redeemer, a figure who plays a pivotal role in the Levirate marriage customs of ancient Israel. The narrative, therefore, not only showcases this woman’s resilience but also introduces the theme of redemption that will later reach its zenith.

Boaz’s Promise (Ru. 3:1-9)

Naomi devises a plan to secure Ruth’s future and the family lineage. The young woman, following Naomi’s instructions, approaches Boaz at the threshing floor and uncovers his feet, a culturally significant gesture that invokes the principles of redemption. Boaz, recognizing Ruth’s noble character and understanding the weight of the situation, assures her that he will take the necessary steps to redeem her.

This episode foreshadows the redemptive work that Boaz will later undertake, mirroring the broader theme of God’s redemption of His people. Ruth’s humility and Boaz’s integrity set the stage for a redemptive union.

Redemption and Restoration (Ru. 4:1-10)

The final act of the drama unfolds at the city gate, where legal matters and transactions were traditionally conducted. Boaz, as the kinsman-redeemer, confronts a relative with a prior claim to Naomi’s property and Ruth’s hand in marriage. In a meticulous display of legal acumen, Boaz navigates the details of redemption, ensuring that both Naomi and Ruth are secured in their rightful inheritance.

Boaz’s commitment to redemption extends beyond legal obligations; it reflects God’s redemptive plan for His people. The namesake of the book, Ruth, becomes an integral part of the lineage of King David and, ultimately, the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Ruth’s story becomes part of God’s grace and providence.

Conclusion: Lessons

The Book of Ruth, though seemingly simple, transcends time and culture. Ruth’s journey from loss to redemption, from a foreigner to an esteemed ancestress, embodies lessons of faith, loyalty, and the providence of God. Her story is a beacon of hope, illustrating that even in the midst of adversity, God orchestrates a symphony of redemption for those who place their trust in Him.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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