Author: The Book of Ruth does not specifically name its  author. The tradition is that the Book of Ruth was written by the Prophet  Samuel.

Date of Writing: The exact date the Book of  Ruth was written is uncertain. However, the prevalent view is a date between  1011 and 931 B.C.

Purpose of Writing: The Book of Ruth  was written to the Israelites. It teaches that genuine love at times may require  uncompromising sacrifice. Regardless of our lot in life, we can live according  to the precepts of God. Genuine love and kindness will be rewarded. God  abundantly blesses those who seek to live obedient lives. Obedient living does  not allow for “accidents” in God’s plan. God extends mercy to the  merciful.

Key Verses: Ruth 1:16,  “But Ruth replied, ‘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.'”

Ruth 3:9, “‘Who  are you?’ he asked. ‘I am your servant Ruth,’ she said. ‘Spread the corner of  your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer.'”

Ruth 4:17, “The women living there said, ‘Naomi has a  son.’ And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of  David.”

Brief Summary: The setting for the Book of Ruth  begins in the heathen country of Moab, a region northeast of the Dead Sea, but  then moves to Bethlehem. This true account takes place during the dismal days of  failure and rebellion of the Israelites, called the period of the Judges. A  famine forces Elimelech and his wife, Naomi, from their Israelite home to the  country of Moab. Elimelech dies and Naomi is left with her 2 sons, who soon  marry 2 Moabite girls, Orpah and Ruth. Later both of the sons die, and Naomi is  left alone with Orpah and Ruth in a strange land. Orpah returns to her parents,  but Ruth determines to stay with Naomi as they journey to Bethlehem. This story  of love and devotion tells of Ruth’s eventual marriage to a wealthy man named  Boaz, by whom she bears a son, Obed, who becomes the grandfather of David and  the ancestor of Jesus. Obedience brings Ruth into the privileged lineage of  Christ.

Foreshadowings: A major theme of the Book of  Ruth is that of the kinsman-redeemer. Boaz, a relative of Ruth on her husband’s  side, acted upon his duty as outlined in the Mosaic Law to redeem an  impoverished relative from his or her circumstances (Lev. 25:47-49). This  scenario is repeated by Christ, who redeems us, the spiritually impoverished,  from the slavery of sin. Our heavenly Father sent His own Son to the cross so  that we might become children of God and brothers and sisters of Christ. By  being our Redeemer, He makes us His kinsmen.

Practical  Application: The sovereignty of our great God is clearly seen in the  story of Ruth. He guided her every step of the way to become His child and  fulfill His plan for her to become  an ancestor of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5). In the same way, we have assurance that God  has a plan for each of us. Just as Naomi and Ruth trusted Him to provide for  them, so should we.

We see in Ruth an example of the virtuous woman of  Proverbs 31. In addition to being devoted to her family (Ruth 1:15-18; Proverbs 31:10-12) and  faithfully dependent upon God (Ruth 2:12; Proverbs 31:30), we see  in Ruth a woman of godly speech. Her words are loving, kind and respectful, both  to Naomi and to Boaz. The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 “opens her mouth with  wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness” (v. 26). We could search far  and wide to find a woman today as worthy of being our role model as Ruth.

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