Book of the Week 8: Ruth

Hebrew Name: Rut

Human Author: Unknown                                                  

OT or NT: Old Testament

Number of Chapters: 4

Basic Facts

  1. The book of Ruth is the eighth book of the Bible.
  2. The book of Ruth is classified as a book of history.
  3. The authorship of the book of Ruth is unknown.
  4. The Hebrew name for the book of Ruth is Rut, which means “Moabitess” or, if we use the meaning of the name Ruth, “a friend.”
  5. This is the first book of the bible to be primarily focused around a female character.

Story of the Book

The book of Ruth is about a poor widow named Naomi who lived in a foreign land. Naomi’s husband and all her sons died, leaving her in poverty. When Naomi decided to return to her home, her daughter-in-law Ruth insisted upon staying with Naomi no matter what. When Naomi and Ruth returned home, they lived in poverty by taking a few spare bits of grain from the open fields after harvest, which was a type of charity system in Israel. Ruth and Naomi both acted in a righteous way toward Boaz (the owner of the field), and Boaz chose to act as the kindsman redeemer by marrying Ruth. This marriage ensured survival and financial well-being for Ruth and Naomi. God showed his faithfulness to Naomi and Ruth through Boaz as a kindsman redeemer. The book ends with a genealogy which demonstrates that the royal line of king David is descended from the marriage between Boaz and Ruth.

Jesus Foreshadowed in Ruth

The book of Ruth is a story of redemption. The story of Boaz acting as a kindsman redeemer for Ruth (and consequently Naomi) is an ancient form of adoption in Israel (Ruth 4:1-11). This righteous act of faithfulness to God and kin by Boaz led not only to a redeemed life for Ruth and Naomi, but the descendants of Ruth and Boaz would become the royal line of David in Israel. In addition, the royal line of David would ultimately become the family line through whom Jesus Christ was born (Matthew 1:1-17). The personal story of redemption in the book of Ruth ultimately points forward to the eternal establishment of David’s royal line (II Samuel 7:16-17). Jesus is reigning in heaven at the right hand of the Father in heaven. Through Jesus, this promise from II Samuel is eternally fulfilled through the everlasting kingship of Christ. Jesus Christ, the everlasting king who is of the royal line of David, is the one who has accomplished for us a greater and lasting redemption through his blood shed on the cross (Hebrews 9:11-22). The redemption story of Ruth is a small, temporary redemption. The redemption that Jesus offers on our behalf in the heavenly places is complete and eternal