An Overview of the Book of Ruth
I want to go out on a limb and say you’ve probably read or heard about the book of Ruth in the Bible. One of the most famous stories in our Old Testament, Ruth tells the story of a foreigner woman who chooses to live with her widowed mother-in-law and then ends up marrying a rich landowner. Makes for the perfect Hollywood love story, doesn’t it?
Only, what if the book of Ruth wasn’t really a love story between husband and wife? What if Ruth was a different link of a love story? Let’s dive a little deeper into the pages of history found in this small book and see how friendship-love is the theme.
When we read the book of Ruth, we see three main characters: Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz. Minor characters include Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, Mahlon and Chilion, Naomi’s sons, and Orpah, Naomi’s other daughter-in-law. Although we like to think the two main characters are Boaz and Ruth, we really don’t see Boaz until the second chapter. The relationship with Naomi and Ruth start out in the beginning of the book. And their bond at the end reveal how God used their sorrow to bond them together as they cared for this child together.
There are two main locations. The first is that of Bethlehem, which means “house of bread.” It is known today as “David’s town.” At the end of Ruth we will discover why! The second place is Moab, which was an enemy country for Israel. Both of the settings tell us that
Ruth’s devotion to Naomi begins when she leaves her hometown to go back to Bethlehem. When they return, it is Ruth who provides for Naomi and when Naomi has this crazy idea about going to a barn and asking Boaz to marry her, Ruth goes along with it for the sake of her love for Naomi. Ruth gives her son to Naomi at the end of the book as a gift to this woman who she loves.
In the end Ruth rescues Naomi. Yes, Boaz is the kinsman redeemer, but his role is simple. Ruth’s role was more complex and reveals a long, deep-seated affection for her mother-in-law.
Top 8 Verses from the Book of Ruth
Here are a few of my favorite verses from Ruth.
“Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had visited His people by giving them bread.”
“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.”
“And Boaz answered and said to her, ‘….The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.’”
“Then she took it up and went into the city, and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. So she brought out and gave to her what she had kept back after she had been satisfied.”
“Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, ‘Blessed be he of the Lord, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead’”
“Then she said, ‘Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.'”
“And all the people who were at the gate, and the elders, said,’We are witnesses. The Lord make the woman who is coming to your house like Rachel and Leah, the two who built the house of Israel; and may you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem.'”
Then the women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel!'”
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