Who was Ruth?

July 1, 2023
By: The Open Bible

Ruth, a Moabitess, grew up on the high plateau south of the Arnon River, probably in a polygamous nation as a worshiper of the false god Chemosh.

A Hebrew family came from Bethlehem to Moab, and they were different. The mother, Naomi, was treated with respect by her husband Elimelech.

Ruth, who was asked to be the bride of Naomi’s son Mahlon, was thus introduced into a close, mentoring relationship with this wise, stable woman whom she came to love and admire. Ruth and her sister-in-law Orpah bonded closely with Naomi. The three women clung together as they watched their husbands die.

Who Was Ruth?

Ruth steadfastly clung to Naomi. Her name is a contraction of the Hebrew reuth, from the root for “sight,” meaning “something worth seeing,” or possibly “friendship.” Ruth understood that moving to Bethlehem meant total renunciation of her heritage and a lifetime of living as a foreigner. Her vow to Naomi stands as one of the most beautiful statements of commitment in history (Ruth 1:16-17).

Ruth lives in history as a model of womanhood, willing in joy and confidence to break with her past on the basis of God’s revelation taught to her by a loving mother-in-law. God uses the faithfulness of ordinary women to accomplish His extraordinary plans: He provided the bread for two widows through Ruth’s gleaning; He provided security for the young widow Ruth through her marriage to Boaz; He provided posterity for Naomi through Obed, the son born to Ruth and Boaz; God provided a great king for Israel and even the Messiah through this Gentile woman.

Who Wrote the Book of Ruth?

The author of Ruth is not given anywhere in the book, nor is he known from any other biblical passage. Talmudic tradition attributes it to Samuel but this is unlikely since David appears in Ruth (4:17-22) and Samuel died before David’s coronation (1 Samuel 25:1). Ruth was probably written during David’s reign since Solomon’s name is not included in the genealogy. The anonymity of the book, however, should not detract from its spiritual value or literary beauty.

Jesus in the Book of Ruth

The concept of the kinsman-redeemer or goel (Ruth 3:9, “close relative”) is an important portrayal of the work of Christ. The goel must (1) be related by blood to those he redeems (2) be able to pay the price of redemption (3) be willing to redeem (4) be free himself. The word goel, used thirteen times in this short book, presents a clear picture of the mediating work of Christ.



Content in this article is taken from the Woman’s Study Bible and the Open Bible.

The Open Bible

The Bible is a collection of 66 books written by many writers over a vast time period, and yet it’s the unified Word of God. The Open Bible offers easy navigation through the interconnected themes and teachings in Scripture with a time-tested complete reference system trusted by millions. Book introductions and outlines augment your study providing an understanding of context and themes from beginning to end. Click here to learn more about the Open Bible 

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