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Summary of the Book of Ruth

According to the Book of Ruth, Moabite ladies Ruth and Orpah married the sons of Judean refugees Elimelech and Naomi, who had fled to Moab during a famine in Judea. After the passing of their respective husbands, Naomi intends to return to Bethlehem, where she was born, and she strongly encourages her daughters-in-law to do the same.

the book of ruth can be found in the old testament in the bible and tells the story of ruth who is a moabite princess who’s father dies and she goes to judah to find work. her mother in law a very religious jew offers to pay ruers to marry their son however purely out of affection to ruth she offers to give them money so when they leave they take gleaning ears of corn with them but do not go until dawn comes. rahab agrees and asks her husband why he agreed and he replies because i love her and does not want to see her or his children hurt which makes rahab proud of him. as a result she gives him 2 blankets, an ephod and five goatskins

So, who’s Ruth? The. Book. Is. Entitled. Ruth. Why is the book named after her!? There are a lot of people in the book, but her story is told in just 4 chapters! Ruth was a foreigner or an alien who chose to follow God and leave her country for Israel where she met Boaz, a rich educated man who married her and became her family. That’s it!

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summary of the book of ruth

Book of Ruth,  Old Testament book belonging to the third section of the biblical canon, known as the Ketuvim, or Writings. In the Hebrew Bible, Ruth stands with the Song of SolomonLamentationsEcclesiastes, and Esther; together they make up the Megillot, five scrolls that are read at prescribed times on Jewish religious festivals. Ruth is the festal scroll for Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, 50 days after Passover.

The book is named for its central character, a Moabite woman who married the son of a Judaean couple living in Moab. After the death of her husband, Ruth moved to Judah with her mother-in-law, Naomi, instead of remaining with her own people. Ruth then became the wife of Boaz, a wealthy kinsman of her former husband, and bore Obed, who, according to the final verses of the book, was the grandfather of David. This attempt to make Ruth an ancestor of David is considered a late addition to a book that itself must be dated in the late 5th or 4th century BC. Its author apparently wrote the story to correct the particularism that characterized Judaism after the Babylonian Exile and the rebuilding of the Temple of Jerusalem (516 BC). The redactor who added the genealogy of David (4:17–22) carried the correction one step further by making David the great-grandson of a foreign woman.

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 two sons, who soon marry two 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 Naomi 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 1:15-18Proverbs 31:10-12) and faithfully dependent upon God (Ruth 2:12Proverbs 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.

Our story opens on a nice Jewish family with a problem. Famine has hit Bethlehem, which forces Elimelech and his wife, Naomi, to move east to Moab with their two sons to get some grub. There, they set up shop, eat some food, and live for about ten years. The sons marry two local girls, Ruth and Orpah, during this time. Life is good. Or so it seems.

One by one, Elimelech and his two sons die. Bummer. This leaves Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah man-less and in need of help. Naomi decides to head back to Bethlehem (ten years is enough time to get over a famine, right?) and her daughters-in-law pack their luggage and join her. Naomi begs the girls to stay behind and, while Orpah is convinced and high tails it back to Moab, Ruth pledges her devotion to Naomi, forsaking her god and her people to become part of Naomi’s life. Ruth’s stubbornness pays off and Naomi lets her tag along.

In Bethlehem, things are not good for the ladies. Naomi is feeling down and out and Ruth is reduced to gleaning in the barley fields. There, Ruth happens to run into a well-known rich guy named Boaz, who instantly takes a liking to her and offers her all kinds of sweet gleaning privileges. Boaz also happens to be a relative of Naomi’s late husband, which is very, very important, since Boaz would have an obligation to marry Ruth and provide for her as family.

When Naomi hears about Boaz and what a stand-up guy he is, she hatches a plan for Ruth to snag him as a husband. She tells her daughter-in-law to visit Boaz at night in secret and lie at his feet (it’s sexy, trust us). Ruth does what her mother-in-law asks and Boaz is pleasantly surprised to see the cute girl from the fields is interested in him. He tells Ruth that he would love to marry her, but that there’s another relative with even closer ties to her in-laws. Boaz sets out to meet the guy and everyone is left to hold his or her breath while we wait to find out whom Ruth will end up with.

As it turns out, this random relative is interested in buying some land that Naomi has, but he’s much less interested in taking her daughter-in-law as his wife. So a deal is struck—the other guy renounces his claim on Ruth and Boaz is free to marry her. Wedding bells start ringing and everyone is happy.

Soon, Ruth and Boaz have a son, which makes Naomi über happy. The women in town name the baby Obed and, surprise, surprise, he goes on to be the grandfather of King David. Talk about a happy ending.


NIV Application Commentary Judges/Ruth by K. Lawson YoungerJudges & Ruth: Holman Old Testament Commentary by W. Gary PhillipsMore insights from your Bible study – Get Started with Logos Bible Software for Free!


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