Category: Ruth


In Ruth 1, we read that the husband of Naomi died in the land of Moab. Naomi’s two sons, the husbands of Ruth and Orpah, also died. Naomi then chose to return to Israel and encouraged her daughters-in-law to return to their families. In verse 8 she says, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me.”

Initially, both Ruth and Orpah refused, saying, “We will go back with you to your people” (Ruth 1:10). Naomi then argued that she could provide no more husbands for Ruth and Orpah. From Naomi’s perspective, Ruth and Orpah would remain widowed and childless unless they returned to the homes of their parents. After Naomi’s continued encouragement, Orpah agreed and returned to her family (Ruth 1:14).

Naomi then told Ruth, “Look . . . your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her” (Ruth 1:15). Ruth’s response revealed the difference between Orpah and herself. Ruth said, “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).

This response reveals an important detail about Ruth. In the first statement, in which Ruth and Orpah both said they would return to Israel with Naomi, they said they would return to “your people” (Ruth 1:10). But when Ruth answered this second time, she also added that Naomi’s God would be her God. She agreed to live with Naomi’s people and to follow the Lord.

Naomi and Ruth returned to the humblest of circumstances, yet God used this situation to work in a remarkable way. Ruth would not only join Naomi’s people; she would later marry one of Naomi’s relatives and give birth to a son named Obed—who became the grandfather of King David.

Ruth’s response is a powerful example of how we are to give allegiance to God even when we do not know what the future holds. When we surrender to Him, God sometimes works in unexpected ways to show His power and reveal His love.

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We can learn a lot from the relationship of Ruth and Naomi. Ruth was the daughter-in-law of Naomi. When both of their husbands died, Naomi planned to return to Israel from Moab and encouraged Ruth to return to her mother’s family. Instead, Ruth answered, “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). These beautiful words of commitment, which are sometimes included in wedding vows, show the deep loyalty between Ruth and Naomi.

Ruth and Naomi were family. They had lived closely for some time due to Ruth’s marriage to Naomi’s son. There had already been a strong relationship prior to this decision by Ruth to return to Israel with her mother-in-law. Ruth 2:11 says that Ruth “left [her] father and mother and [her] homeland and came to live with a people [she] did not know before.” Ruth certainly cared deeply for Naomi and had a close relationship with her both before and after the deaths of their husbands.

Ruth made a vow or covenant to remain with Naomi, calling judgment upon herself if she ever left her (Ruth 1:17). Once this vow had been made, she would have felt an obligation to keep this commitment to Naomi.

Ruth apparently had made a commitment to follow Naomi’s God as well. In her vow, she told Naomi, “Your God, my God.” Naomi was convinced Ruth was serious, too. Ruth 1:18 notes, “When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.”

This commitment to follow Naomi’s God is also seen in Naomi’s response prior to Ruth’s commitment. After further encouragement, Ruth’s sister, Orpah, returned to her family. Then Naomi said, “Look . . . your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her” (Ruth 1:15). Ruth contrasted Orpah’s commitment to the gods of her family with her own commitment to follow Naomi’s God.

Ruth’s loyalty certainly resulted in long-term good. In an unexpected way, God allowed Ruth to remarry and give birth to a son named Obed who became grandfather to King David. Despite Ruth’s status as a non-Israelite woman, God worked through her life to change many. Ruth serves as clear proof that God desires those from all backgrounds to follow Him and that He can work in our lives in important ways to influence the lives of many.

The book of Ruth largely focuses on the relationship between Ruth and Boaz. Ruth was a Moabite woman had come to Israel as the widow of an Israelite man. She had returned with her mother-in-law, Naomi, who had also lost her husband. They lived together in a humble situation, and Ruth would go to the fields each day to glean food in the fields during the harvest.

Boaz was a landowner where Ruth came to find grain. He knew of her situation and told his workers to leave plenty of grain for her to find. Boaz also offered her food with the other workers and encouraged her to work in the safety of his fields throughout the harvest.

Naomi noted that Boaz was a close relative who, according to Jewish law, had the right to marry Ruth after the death of her husband. Naomi encouraged Ruth to go to Boaz in the evening and present herself willing to accept a marriage proposal from him. When she did, he was pleased, yet noted that there was one relative who was closer in line to marry Ruth.

The next day, Boaz met with this relative and presented the situation. The relative turned down the offer as he felt it would cause harm to his own family situation. Boaz then made a commitment in front of the town’s leaders that he would take Ruth as his wife.

Boaz and Ruth were married and soon had a son named Obed. Naomi’s misfortune had turned to joy as she became a grandmother. Obed would later become the grandfather of King David, who would also serve as an ancestor of Jesus Christ.

Ruth is one of four women specifically named in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus. Matthew 1:5–6 says, “Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.”

The story of Ruth and Boaz offers many wonderful insights for today. Among them is the principle that God often works through those who have endured tragic situations to change the lives of many others. Second, God will work through unlikely means. Ruth was a poor widow and a foreigner, yet God used her as part of the family line of both David and Jesus. Third, God’s sovereign power can be seen. He is in control of everything that happens, even when we do not understand the situation.

Ruth was “of the women of Moab” but was genetically linked to Israel through  Lot, the nephew of Abraham (Genesis  11:31). Ruth had married the son of an Israelite family while they were  living in Moab, but at some point, her father-in-law, her husband, and her  husband’s only brother passed away. So Ruth had to make a decision whether to  stay in Moab, her home, or to go with her mother-in-law, Naomi, to a land she  had never known—Judah.

Ruth loved her mother-in-law, and had great  compassion for her, seeing that she had lost not only her husband, but both of  her sons. Ruth’s sister-in-law, Orpah, made the choice to go back to her people  in Moab, but Ruth could not bear to part from Naomi or from the God of Israel  that she had come to know. They made the journey back to Judah to the city of  Bethlehem, where they decided to settle. Ruth’s testimony preceded her, for the  owner of a nearby field, Boaz, had heard of her faithfulness, as recorded in Ruth 2:11: “Boaz replied,  ‘I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the  death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and  came to live with a people you did not know before. May the LORD repay you for  what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel,  under whose wings you have come to take refuge.’”

The custom of Israel  was that a man was to take his deceased brother’s wife in order to continue the  family line. Since Ruth’s husband’s only brother had also died, and there was  not an available male relative to claim her as a wife, she and Naomi would have  to fend for themselves. Boaz not only noticed Ruth’s beauty, inside and out, but  he saw to it that she had companionship of other females, that she was  protected, and that she had times of refreshing from her labor (Ruth 2:8-9). Ruth reciprocated by displaying humility and  appreciation (Ruth  2:10-13), which only ingratiated her more to Boaz. And he continued to show  her every courtesy (Ruth  2:14-16).

Ruth and Boaz had come to know one another very well, but  not in a romantic sense. They came to know each other’s good character, loyalty,  faithfulness, and sense of commitment, all of which go into making a strong  foundation on which to build lasting relationships and marriages. Naomi reminded  Ruth that Boaz was a male relative, a kinsman of Elimilech, Naomi’s husband;  therefore, Boaz was qualified to become Ruth’s husband. It was of the utmost  importance in Israel to perpetuate the name of every family of Israel, so this  gave Ruth the right to appeal to Boaz to fill that role. This is a custom that  seems foreign to modern society; however, it goes to show just how important  family ties and heritage are to God. This is why Satan continuously attacks the  God-ordained family unit.

Ruth had an open mind and a teachable spirit,  so she listened to her mother-in-law and took her advice (Ruth 3:2-5). Ruth followed Naomi’s instructions to the  letter; she trusted the Lord, and He rewarded her faithfulness by giving her not  only a husband, but a son (Obed), a grandson (Jesse), and a great-grandson named  David, the king of Israel (Ruth 4:17).  Besides these gifts (Psalm  127:3), God gave Ruth the blessing of being listed in the lineage of Jesus  (Matthew 1:5).

Ruth  is an example of how God can change a life and take it in a direction He has  foreordained, and we see Him working out His perfect plan in Ruth’s life, just  as He does with all His children (Romans  8:28). Although Ruth came from a pagan background in Moab, once she met the  God of Israel, she became a living testimonial to Him by faith. Even though she  lived in humble circumstances before marrying Boaz, she believed that God was  faithful to care for His people. Also, Ruth is an example to us that God rewards  faithfulness: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone  who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who  earnestly seek him” (Hebrews  11:6). Even though these promises are recorded in the New Testament, long  after Ruth lived on earth, God’s Word stands for all eternity.

The  kinsman-redeemer is a male relative who, according to various laws of the  Pentateuch, had the privilege or responsibility to act on behalf of a relative  who was in trouble, danger, or in need. The Hebrew term (go el) for  kinsman-redeemer designates one who delivers or rescues (Genesis 48:16; Exodus 6:6) or redeems property or person (Leviticus 27:9-25, 25:47-55). The kinsman who redeems or vindicates a  relative is illustrated most clearly in the book of  Ruth, where the kinsman-redeemer is Boaz.

The story of Ruth and  Boaz begins when Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, return to Bethlehem from  Moab where they had been living. Naomi’s husband and both sons, one the husband  of Ruth, had died, leaving the women penniless and without a male protector.  Upon arriving in Bethlehem, Naomi sends Ruth to glean in the fields of Boaz, a  wealthy relative of Naomi to whom they, through a series of divinely-appointed  circumstances, appeal as their go el. Boaz acquiesces, willingly takes  Ruth as his wife, and together they bear a son named Obed who became the  grandfather of David, the forefather of Jesus.

Jehovah is Israel’s  Redeemer, the one who promises to defend and vindicate them. He is both Father  and Deliverer (Exodus  20:2). There are numerous Old Testament appeals to God as rescuer of the  weak and needy (Psalm 82:4Daniel 6:27; Jeremiah 20:13) and the  sheep of Israel (Ezekiel  34:10-12, 22).

In the New Testament, Christ is often regarded as an example of a  kinsman-redeemer because as our brother (Hebrews  2:11), He also redeems us because of our great need, one that only He can  fill. In Ruth 3:9, we  see a beautiful and poignant picture of the needy supplicant, unable to rescue  herself, requesting of the kinsman-redeemer that he cover her with his  protection, redeem her, and make her his wife. In the same way, the Lord Jesus  Christ bought us for Himself, out of the curse, out of our destitution, made us  His own beloved bride and blessed us for all generations. He is the true  kinsman-redeemer of all who call on Him in faith.

Ruth was “of the women of Moab” but was genetically linked to Israel through  Lot, the nephew of Abraham (Genesis  11:31). Ruth had married the son of an Israelite family while they were  living in Moab, but at some point, her father-in-law, her husband, and her  husband’s only brother passed away. So Ruth had to make a decision whether to  stay in Moab, her home, or to go with her mother-in-law, Naomi, to a land she  had never known—Judah.

Ruth loved her mother-in-law, and had great  compassion for her, seeing that she had lost not only her husband, but both of  her sons. Ruth’s sister-in-law, Orpah, made the choice to go back to her people  in Moab, but Ruth could not bear to part from Naomi or from the God of Israel  that she had come to know. They made the journey back to Judah to the city of  Bethlehem, where they decided to settle. Ruth’s testimony preceded her, for the  owner of a nearby field, Boaz, had heard of her faithfulness, as recorded in Ruth 2:11: “Boaz replied,  ‘I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the  death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and  came to live with a people you did not know before. May the LORD repay you for  what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel,  under whose wings you have come to take refuge.’”

The custom of Israel  was that a man was to take his deceased brother’s wife in order to continue the  family line. Since Ruth’s husband’s only brother had also died, and there was  not an available male relative to claim her as a wife, she and Naomi would have  to fend for themselves. Boaz not only noticed Ruth’s beauty, inside and out, but  he saw to it that she had companionship of other females, that she was  protected, and that she had times of refreshing from her labor (Ruth 2:8-9). Ruth reciprocated by displaying humility and  appreciation (Ruth  2:10-13), which only ingratiated her more to Boaz. And he continued to show  her every courtesy (Ruth  2:14-16).

Ruth and Boaz had come to know one another very well, but  not in a romantic sense. They came to know each other’s good character, loyalty,  faithfulness, and sense of commitment, all of which go into making a strong  foundation on which to build lasting relationships and marriages. Naomi reminded  Ruth that Boaz was a male relative, a kinsman of Elimilech, Naomi’s husband;  therefore, Boaz was qualified to become Ruth’s husband. It was of the utmost  importance in Israel to perpetuate the name of every family of Israel, so this  gave Ruth the right to appeal to Boaz to fill that role. This is a custom that  seems foreign to modern society; however, it goes to show just how important  family ties and heritage are to God. This is why Satan continuously attacks the  God-ordained family unit.

Ruth had an open mind and a teachable spirit,  so she listened to her mother-in-law and took her advice (Ruth 3:2-5). Ruth followed Naomi’s instructions to the  letter; she trusted the Lord, and He rewarded her faithfulness by giving her not  only a husband, but a son (Obed), a grandson (Jesse), and a great-grandson named  David, the king of Israel (Ruth 4:17).  Besides these gifts (Psalm  127:3), God gave Ruth the blessing of being listed in the lineage of Jesus  (Matthew 1:5).

Ruth  is an example of how God can change a life and take it in a direction He has  foreordained, and we see Him working out His perfect plan in Ruth’s life, just  as He does with all His children (Romans  8:28). Although Ruth came from a pagan background in Moab, once she met the  God of Israel, she became a living testimonial to Him by faith. Even though she  lived in humble circumstances before marrying Boaz, she believed that God was  faithful to care for His people. Also, Ruth is an example to us that God rewards  faithfulness: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone  who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who  earnestly seek him” (Hebrews  11:6). Even though these promises are recorded in the New Testament, long  after Ruth lived on earth, God’s Word stands for all eternity.