Ruth - The Virtuous Woman

  • The author is unknown.
  • This book is thought to have been written during the reign of David or Solomon and covers the period of the judges.
  • This heartwarming story of devotion and faithfulness records the life of Ruth, a Moabite widow who left her homeland to live with her widowed Jewish mother-in-law in Bethlehem during a time of famine in Israel.
  • Ruth, the heroine of this book, had several strikes against her. In this culture, people honored women with children; she had none. Women were dependent on their husbands; she was a widow. Communities were close-knit; she was a foreigner.
  • The theme of redemption permeates this book. Ruth was transformed from poverty to wealth, widow to wife, barren to fertile, and foreigner to Israelite.
  • Ruth, who had married one of the sons who died, decided to return to Bethlehem of Israel with her mother-in-law, Naomi.
  • For Ruth, this meant leaving the god of the Moabites (Chemosh) whose worship involved wild celebrations and even the rite of human sacrifice.
  • Boaz, a kinsman-redeemer who gave Ruth and Naomi a new life, is a key figure in the book.
  • The three men of the family died during the ten years spent in Moab.

An outline of the book:

  1. The tragedies of Moab (1:1-18).
  2. The return to Bethlehem (1:19-22).
  3. The fields of Boaz (2:1-23).
  4. The marriage proposal (3:1-18).
  5. The kinsman-redeemer (4:1-12).
  6. The marriage of Ruth and Boaz (4:13-17).
  7. The genealogy of David (4:18-22).