What happens in the book?
- Elimelech and Naomi live in Bethlehem with their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion.
- There was a famine in the land of Israel, so they all went to live in the land of Moab.
- Mahlon and Chilion both married Moabite wives – Orpah and Ruth.
- The men in the family all die, and when she hears that the famine is over, Naomi prepares to return to Bethlehem.
- Orpah stays in Moab, but Ruth goes with Naomi.
- They arrive in Bethlehem at harvest time, and Ruth goes to work gleaning in the fields of Boaz, a relative of Naomi.
- Naomi suggests that Ruth ask Boaz to “redeem” her, i.e. to marry her in accordance with the Jewish law following the death of her husband to preserve the family line.
- Boaz agrees to this, and officially redeems Naomi’s land and also takes Ruth as his wife.
- Ruth and Boaz become the great-grandparents of King David.
What can we learn from this story?
Ruth shows true love and devotion to her mother-in-law and to the God of her mother-in-law.
“Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17)
- We can learn that respect and love are fundamental principles in our relationships with other believers, our families, and God.
The Gentiles are saved through the grace of God.
- God’s message went initially to the Jews through his law.
- By grace, the Gentiles (non-Jews) are accepted into his plan of salvation.
- Boaz is an echo of Christ, redeeming the poor and needy foreigner and showering her with blessings.
There is true rest with God.
- Ruth found her rest and redemption after on a difficult journey into a strange land where her personal savior redeemed her.
- The same is true for us on our spiritual walk following Jesus on the walk to God’s kingdom.
What place does this book have in the Bible?
- We are shown links between the period of the Judges and the life of David, who became a King of Israel.
- We learn that key Gentile characters are included in the genealogy of Jesus.
- We learn of the sanctity of love and marriage.
Next time: Bitesize book of 1 Samuel!