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,