Ruth – Introduction

Title: Ruth - Introduction

Bible Book: Ruth 1

Author: Donald Cantrell

Subject: Ruth



In this section we will look at the book of Ruth from a historical, practical and applicable point of view. The book of Ruth is of utmost importance in the canon of scriptures, if not for this book we could not link the house of David to the tribe of Judah.

Ruth 4:17-22 (KJV) 17 And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David. 18 Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron, 19 And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, 20 And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon, 21 And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, 22 And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.

Some Facts about the book:

1. The Title of this book: The book of Ruth is named after one its primary characters, though I don not believe she is the main character.

a. Name: “Ruth” stands for beauty or personality, one that is friendly.

b. Nationality: Ruth was a Moabitesh woman, from the land of Moab. The people of Moab were descendants of Lot. In leaving Sodom Lot fathered two incestuous sons with his daughters, the sons were named Ammon & Moab. The bible forbade the descendants of these countries from entering into the congregation of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 23:3 (KJV) An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever:

c. Need: The need of Ruth is that her family has faced much grief and sorrow. The men of their family have all died and there is none to carry on the family name. Because of this matter, the family must find a kinsman redeemer.

2. The Time of this book: It is easily believed that the book of Ruth was not compiled until after King David had risen to great prominence.

Ruth 4:17 (KJV) And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David. Ruth 4:22 (KJV) And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.

The actual author of this book is not known, though much speculation attributes it to Samuel. The time of this writing may have been early on in the kingship of David. In reality we do not know the exact timing of this book being written.

3. The Theme of this book: It is often disputed as to the actual reason for the book of Ruth being written. The thoughts are normally broken into two different camps, as follows:

a. The Genealogical Viewpoint: Those that believe this to be the main theme of the book of Ruth, justify their belief because of chapter 4, verse 17. The genealogy that follows gives a clear link between David and the tribe of Judah. This link can go all the back to the book of Genesis and all the way forward to the book of Matthew. Ruth therefore is the missing link that connects the past with the future.

b. The Doctrinal Viewpoint: Those that stand upon this viewpoint believe that the doctrine of redemption is the reason for placing this book in the canon of scriptures. The book of Ruth is the only book that goes into great length concerning the work of a Kinsman Redeemer. The book of Deuteronomy chapter 25 goes into the actual details of the role of a Kinsman Redeemer:

Deuteronomy 25:5-10 (KJV) 5 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her. 6 And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel. 7 And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother. 8 Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her; 9 Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house. 10 And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.

The fact is God must have a mediator to redeem and in this story Boaz would be that mediator that stood in for Ruth and paid the redemptive price for her. The significance of this is that it is the forerunner of the coming Kinsman Redeemer that would stand in as a mediator between God and mankind. The coming Boaz would be perfect and could beautifully pay the redemptive price for the salvation of the entire world.

1 Corinthians 6:20 (KJV) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

1 Corinthians 7:23 (KJV) Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

1 Peter 1:18-19 (KJV) 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

Colossians 1:14 (KJV) In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

I hope that we fully understand the significance of Jesus being our Kinsman Redeemer, were it not for him we would all go to hell for eternity.


I want us to look at several various areas of importance concerning the book of Ruth. The book is only 4 chapters long and it contains 85 verses, wedged in between the book of Judges and Samuel. We must not allow its size to diminish its significance in content. The book of Ruth is a ray of light in a dark dingy dungeon; it offers much insight and inspiration to those willing to read its truths.

1. Interaction of Places: In reading this book we are allowed to visit 2 primary places, Bethlehem Judah & Moab. Let us take a moment to look at the significance of these places to our story, as follows:

a. Consider Bethlehem Judah: The little city of Bethlehem is noted on several occasions in the book of Judges, chapters 17/18 & 19/21.

Micah 5:2 (KJV) But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Bethlehem is about 6 miles south of Jerusalem and is located upon a sloping hill. It was a small insignificant place, but a place that would be chosen to birth the very Son of God.

Bethlehem - “House of Bread

Judah - “Praise”

Bethlehem Judah - “House of bread and praise”

b. Consider Moab: The country of Moab was about 50 miles east of Bethlehem on the other side of the Dead Sea. Moab was a pagan country that had been rejected by God in how they had previously mistreated the nation of Israel.

Psalms 108:9 (KJV) Moab is my washpot; over Edom will I cast out my shoe; over Philistia will I triumph.

The country of Moab had a dirty and demented beginning as Lot committed incest with his 2 daughters in a cave. The boy grew up to become the founder of an ungodly and unjust nation, Moab. God considered Moab to be a place for garbage or waste; it was vile and unclean in its start and stand.

2. Interaction of People: In the book of Ruth we read of several characters that partake in the weaving of this dramatic drama. The characters all play significant parts in going from scene to scene. The people are allowed to feel pain, pressure, perplexity and they experience famine, faithlessness, funerals, fascination and faith. It is wonderful to read of the little story of Ruth because we can all relate to the people that interact in this intense drama, see them as follows:

a. The Father Elimelech: This man was the husband of Ruth and the father of Mahlon and Chilion, their family lived in Bethlehem Judah. The man was living in Bethlehem during the days of the judges and in the midst of a famine.

Note: The book of Ruth opens in the midst of great Famine, but closes in the midst of great harvest.

In the bible we have many times of famine, God allowed famines to restore his people and to revive his plan.

Elimelech - “My God is King” It is apparent that Elimelech did not act as though his God was the king. The poor decision that Elimelech made ended up being very costly to his family.

· Elimelech & his Faithless Decision

· Elimelech & his Fatal Departure

· Elimelech & his Foolish Demise

· Elimelech & his Fallen Descendants

· Elimelech & his Futile Destiny

b. The Wife Naomi: In her we find a woman that faced much difficulty in life and living. I suppose that Naomi left Bethlehem unwillingly and stubbornly, I allow that she went because she had to go with her husband. Naomi proved to be a woman of great faith and much fame when all is said and done.

Naomi - “Pleasant or Delightful” This would be her name and her disposition in life. In being around Naomi one would find her appealing to be around. It is good to see people that are delightful and pleasant in their attitude and actions.

· Naomi & her Simple Family

· Naomi & her Sorrowful Funerals

· Naomi & her Strong Faith

· Naomi & her Sincere Follower

· Naomi & her Splendid Future

c. The Son’s Mahlon & Chilion: In looking at the life of these 2 young men we know very little. The boys were the sons of Elimelech and Naomi. The age of these men is unknown other than both got married in the country of Moab. The sons experienced a downward plunge in the land of Moab.

Mahlon - “Unhealthy or Sickly” The young man apparently had much difficulty with his health. Mahlon must have been a person of continual sickness.

Chilion - “Pining or Puny” This one was not to be outdone by his sibling, for he was also a son that experienced continual unhealthiness. It must have been overbearing and overwhelming as Naomi tried to raise these sick sons.

· The Sickness of their Bodies

· The Sinfulness of their Brides

· The Sorrowfulness of their Burial

· The Seriousness of their Banishment

· The Sureness of their Blemishes

d. The Daughter-in-law Orpah: Orpah married one of the sons of Naomi and she was a native of the land of Moab. The main thing that we remember concerning Orpah is that she turned back and did not go to Bethlehem with Ruth.

Orpah - “Gazelle, Deer, or Fawn” The intent here is that she was very fleet footed and probably very active. Is it not amazing that she married into such a sickly environment? I suppose the fleet footedness of Orpah swiftly carried her back to her original family and faith.

· The Goodness that Orpah Shared (Ruth 1:8)

· The Grief that Orpah Saw (Ruth 1:5)

· The Groaning that Orpah Submitted (Ruth 1: 9, 14)

· The Gloom that Orpah Supposed (Ruth 1: 11 - 13)

· The God that Orpah Spurned (Ruth 1: 14 - 15)

e. The Daughter-in-law Ruth: In this story Ruth would be the heroine, the one that needed to be saved from a fatal outcome. In first looking at this story one would assume that Ruth was the star of the story, I do not believe this to be the case. I think that Ruth plays second fiddle to another, which would be Boaz. Ruth would represent the church standing in the need of redemption. Boaz would represent Jesus as the available ready Redeemer. Ruth also was one of the daughter-in-laws of Naomi. Ruth refused to turn back to her old gods and her old way of life, she would stay close to Naomi and go to Bethlehem.

Ruth - “Pleasant, Beauty, or Friendly” The girl must have been awesome in life.

· The Beauty that Ruth Showed

· The Beliefs that Ruth Shared (Ruth 1: 14 - 18)

· The Blessings that Ruth Sought (Ruth 2:13)

· The Barely that Ruth Shared (Ruth 3: 17)

· The Bride that Ruth Savored (Ruth 4: 13)

In this section I wanted to review the entire book of Ruth from her personal point of view. I believe it would do us good to see events through the eyes of the beholder.

I - Ruth Permanently Leaving & Going - Ruth’s Bold Flight

1. The Circumstance that Touched Ruth - Her Husband

2. The Crisis that Troubled Ruth - Her Hardships

3. The Call that Took Ruth - Her Heart

II - Ruth Probingly Looking & Gleaning - Ruth’s Barley Field

1. The Field of Boaz was Chosen - Haphazardly

2. The Focus of Boaz was Clear - Heartily

3. The Fervor of Boaz was Charming - Humorously

III - Ruth Patiently Laying & Gleaming - Ruth’s Believing Faith

1. Ruth Preparing for Boaz - Anointing Herself

2. Ruth Professing to Boaz - Acknowledging Herself

3. Ruth Proposing to Boaz - Announcing Herself

IV - Ruth Passionately Loving & Glowing - Ruth’s Beloved Family

1. The Thrilling Story of Ruth - The History

2. The Redeeming Saviour of Ruth - The Hero

3. The Exciting Son of Ruth - The Heritage

f. Boaz the Kinsman Redeemer: I believe that here we find the main character of our story and drama. Boaz comes onto the scene as the cowboy on a white horse. It is because of his goodness and his kindness that Ruth finds redemption and access into the commonwealth of Israel.

Ephesians 2:12-13 (KJV) 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Boaz - “Fleetness, Strength” The man was very influential man in the land of Bethlehem. Boaz was a very wealthy man, possibly a man of the law. The idea here is that Boaz immediately became attracted to this stranger that was gleaning barely in his fields. This is a grand picture of how Jesus loves those of us that are foreigners and strangers, deserving to die and go to a sinner’s hell. The righteous Boaz actually died to pay my price and purchase my liberty.

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