Ruth is the Moabite daughter-in-law of an Israelite woman named Naomi. After the death of both Naomi’s and Ruth’s husbands, they return to Bethlehem, where Ruth declares “your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16).

In Bethlehem Ruth meets a man named Boaz, a relative of Naomi’s husband. Boaz takes Ruth in, allowing her to work his fields unharmed and giving her enough food for herself and Naomi. Some time later Boaz asks another, closer relative if he will buy Naomi’s lands and marry Ruth, to keep the lands in the dead husband’s name. The man refuses, and so Boaz buys the land and marries Ruth in his place.

Ruth then has a son, Obed, who turns out to be the grandfather of David. This seems to be a story of the Israelite society working out the way it was designed to. Naomi treats Ruth as her own daughter. Ruth stays with Naomi, keeping the promises she made when she married Naomi’s son. Boaz is kind, and offers aid to his relative’s widow and her daughter-in-law. And at the end we learn one of the great Biblical characters comes from their marriage.

It’s a nice story, albeit a short one. I felt refreshed not having to read about a massacre of a city or of a plague. Ruth is a short story on loyalty, human kindness and compassion. It’s also the first book in which God does not have a direct role.

Thank you for reading,

AR

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2 thoughts on “Ruth

  1. While I understand why you said God does not have a direct role, you are also correct in stating these people lived out the society He created to its finest. It is about all those things you said – love and loyalty and kindness. It’s in sharp contrast to how most of the world lived in that day. It was the goal, and product, of God’s direction. It is also a story of acceptance – Ruth was a Moabite. She was “adopted in”. She clearly had great character, and was drawn to the God of the Jews. She was drawn to a family of great character. The Jewish society stipulated that a man in the family of the deceased husband (who was available) marry the widow to keep not only to keep the land in the family, but to take care of the women, who still have no standing on their own in the greater society. Until he married her, Boaz DID take care of Ruth and Naomi by (as you stated) allowing her to glean enough food from his fields and giving her his physical protection as well. All of this is in all those rules earlier written about. It was called redeeming the widow. It is also a foreshadowing of Christ’s redemption of us. He pays the price (his life) and we are adopted in and taken care of. And it goes further in that Ruth was not a Jew, illustrating, that while the Jews were chosen to develop the society, anyone who wanted to join was welcome.

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  2. Good analysis by your mom. This is another historical story of the Jewish people. Boaz was the son of Rahab. So a child of a prostitute marries an outsider (or ‘other’) and their child is the grandfather of David, Israel’s greatest king and in whose lineage Jesus is born.

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