Rooting The Book Of Ruth

I took out time to do a summary on the book of Ruth. You can follow me on this short journey. Ruth is a short book with just 4 chapters but it contains messages on the goodness of God, redemption, hope, love and loyalty.

The Book of Ruth, Chapter 1

Elimelech did what any other person would do — look for greener pastures. He left Israel for Moab. Originally Israelites were not to be yoked with Moabites but hey…..the grass was greener there. No qualms. They were to learn a bitter lesson; that help cometh from above and not abroad. The walk of faith is moving from the known to the unknown.[1]

Verse 6 said “for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.” It is obvious that bread — what to eat, where to lay thy head, raiment etc — was very very very important to this family. This is because they kept keeping tabs on where things were happening.

In verse 8, we see Naomi thanking both Ruth and Orpah for their kindness towards her and her family. So both women were good people and they looked out for their mother-in-law even in trying times. She blessed them in departing.

Verse 13” God has dealt me a hard blow.” This is the confession of Naomi. You fill in the blanks.

Verse 16 “And thy God my God”. Why did Ruth say this? She could have ended the speech by just saying I want to come and take care of you. Why did she swap gods?

These are my thoughts — I think she has heard about the heroics of the God of the Israelites from her conversation with her husband and their family. She wanted this God. Apart from the fact that she was a kind person and really wanted to be with Naomi (which Orpah was also), I think the main reason she made this life altering decision was to be linked to this God and His people. She had faith. She had a higher motivation.

Verse 22 — Food matter again. So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.”

Pictorial Description of Ruth Gleaning

The Book of Ruth, Chapter 2

Verse 1 “And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz”.

The intriguing question in my mind is, when and where did Boaz become a mighty man of wealth? Is seems obvious he stayed back in Israel during the time of famine. How would he have made money in famine? My thoughts — I think it was a matter of scarcity (recession) not necessarily that the money failed (hyper-inflation). We can have an economic discourse with Jeffrey Sachs (Harvard educated Professor of Economics) on this one.

Verse 2 “I’m going to work; I’m going out to glean among the sheaves, following after some harvester who will treat me kindly”.

This demonstrates that Ruth was thoughtful, hardworking and resourceful. Who told her about gleaning — the act of leaving some harvest behinds so that widows, destitutes, and the under privileged in the society can have something to eat. Again I am sure she learnt these from her in-laws.

Verse 3. She wandered into Boaz farmland. Definitely the spirit of God led her there without her knowing. She was going about what she had set out to do. Getting here was by “chance” though orchestrated by the spirit of God. Serendipity.

Verse 4–23 Talks about the kindness that Boaz showed to Ruth. Why did Boaz notice Ruth? Think about it, this man is used to seeing people glean from him and also having any workers. God made Ruth to stand out. Yes, he has heard of her but certainly has not met her before. There was something about Ruth.

He showed her special kindness. Ruth thanks him. He said “don’t mention. I should be thanking you some more given the kindness you have shown to our relative”. He allows her to each lunch with the workers. Now that was unusual. A gleaner is already happy that he/she was allowed to glean; eating other people’s meal is not part of the arrangement but she is invited. Waoh !!! Favoured.

He leaves instruction about her protection and more provision for her. She is also told she can always come here to glean as Naomi is a relative and this is now family business. La familia.

Ruth gets home and informs Naomi of the favour she got today. Naomi is elated because Boaz is family and that she will be safe while gleaning. Both women were looking out for each other.

Verse 12: “The Lord……..under whose wings thou art come to trust”. These are the words of Boaz to Naomi. Coming to Israel was not just about coming to take care of Naomi. Ruth changed allegiance from her gods to God Almighty. I think this move was more about coming to know this God that she had heard of from her in-laws.

The Book of Ruth, Chapter 3

Verse 1 : Naomi comes up with a plan for Ruth. It seems Ruth’s dedication is to Naomi and also to know the God of the Israelites. Faithfulness pays. Both women care about each other’s welfare. We can see from here that Naomi is a good person at heart because she is also thinking of Ruth’s welfare and well-being. It is obvious from here that terrible things happen to good people. Life is a series of trials that we have to overcome. Don’t take things personal. Never feel that God has left you.

Ruth did not come to Israel to just move around and seek a new husband. She did not bring up that matter. Her mother-in-law came up with the plot to look for a husband for her. This is the only thing she can do for Ruth.

Verse : 5 Ruth said, “If you say so, I’ll do it, just as you’ve told me.” This is the new testament’s conversation between Mary, the Mother of Jesus and those at the wedding — do anything Jesus tells you to do. The conversation indicates trust from a higher authority/ mentor. Ruth trust Naomi’s intention and methodology.

Verse 6: Execution of the plan that Naomi gave to Ruth.

Verse 10 -13: Boaz is impressed with Ruth. He definitely seems not to know how to make a move. I think he did not want to take advantage of the situation. But he is genuinely pleased that Ruth came to him. He gets the message. He knows this is Naomi’s handiwork and that Ruth has Naomi’s consent to do what she is doing and he is even further impressed that Ruth did not go for the young and eligible men but rather she came to a solid character.

Verse 14–17: Boaz is a discreet man and conducts his affairs properly. He is a giver at heart. This is seen by the gift he sends not just to Ruth but also to Naomi. He has been helping without expecting anything in return.

Verse 18: The wisdom of the aged speaks forth. Naomi knows the ball has been set rolling and things will fall in place. This is why Paul advised that the young women should be taught be the elderly ladies. There is something the elderly ladies know that needs to be passed across in godliness and also in human relationship.

The Book of Ruth, Chapter 4

Verse 1–4 : Boaz is a procedural man in the things of God. He goes to the man with the right of first refusal in the family to take over the things of Elimelech. He gives the man the deal in the presence of other elders. The man takes the deal. Boaz then tells him the implication of the full deal and the man rescinds.

Verse 5–10: Boaz was knowledgeable in the law and also knew what he wanted and set out for it. He was prepared. The deal is sealed in the presence of the elders with some symbolic gestures. He takes Ruth for a wife.

Verse 11–12: The couple Ruth and Boaz are blessed by the elders. They quote precedence between Tamar and Judah — another foreigner and a Jew.

Verse 13: The Bible records that by God’s graciousness Ruth bare a child for Boaz. I think this was significant. It was either Ruth could not bear children and God had to step in. the God of the Israelite, the God of redemption and salvation.

The child is born. The people are joyous of God’s goodness.

The women name the child — Obed, who becomes the grandfather of David, from whose lineage the Messiah came from.

> The End <

[1] From my study about people who walked with God, it was always a move from the comfortable to the unknown and not vice versa. Abraham left his father’s house (known) to a land where God called him to (unknown). Isaac wanted to flee to somewhere else (known) rather than stay in famine (unknown). In the case of Lot, he went from the unknown (being with Abraham and not sure of his place in the house) to the known (Sodom & Gomorrah, a great place as at that time).

God moves us from the known to the unknown and makes a success out of the process and the people involved so that the people can look back and testify that this was really the work of God. In the words of Oswald Chambers, (paraphrasing), the experiments of God never fails.



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