This book is both brief and beautiful. It occurred during the time of the Book of Judges yet shows the quiet ordinary life of the people and that the personal faith of many remained strong. Its main purpose is to tell of the ancestors of the line of David which in turn is the line of Joseph, Mary and Jesus.
1. Due to famine, a man of the tribe of Juda moves from Bethlehem to
the land of Moab which is on the far side of the Dead Sea. The man, Elimelech, dies. His
wife, Noemi, remains there with her two sons, Mahalon and Chelion. They both take Moab
wives. Mahalon marries Orpha and Chelion marries Ruth. They stay in the land of Moab for
ten years, during which time Mahalon and Chelion both die. Ruth 1:1-5.
2. The famine is over and Noemi arranges to return to her own land. She tells her two daughters-in-law to return to their mothers. Orpha returns home in the hope of a second marriage. But Ruth stays with Noemi. This was an act of love and sacrifice. Hope of finding a husband away from her own land was very remote. Ruth 1:6-18.
3. They reach Bethlehem at the time of the barley harvest. There is little work for widows but one such occupation is gleaning. (See Leviticus 19:9-10). Ruth offers to glean in the field of a kinsman of Elimelech, Booz, who is a rich and powerful man. Booz comes to the field and greets the reapers "The Lord be with you", they reply "The Lord bless thee". Regarding Ruth he asks "Whose maid is this?" He is told of her dedication to Noemi. Booz tells Ruth that he has heard of her sacrifice and that she must stay gleaning in his fields and eat and drink with his reapers. He also orders his servants to leave handfuls for Ruth to glean. At the end of the day Ruth returns to Noemi and tells her of Boozs kindness. Noemi explains that Booz is a kinsman. Ruth 1:19-22 & 2:1-23.
4. Noemi tells Ruth to wait till Booz is asleep and then lay down at his feet. (Under Levite law when a man died childless his brother was bound to raise an heir to him by the widow. This law extended to the next of kin, hence Noemis plan. Ruth, by her action, is claiming this right). Ruth 3:1-7. B.C.
5. Booz awakes to find Ruth at his feet. He understands the meaning of this action and is impressed by it. Nevertheless he is not her nearest kinsman but offers to take up her case. He gives her a gift of barley to take home to Noemi. Ruth 3:8-18.
6. Booz goes to the city gate which is the place for important assemblies and where legal business is transacted. The kinsman passes by and Booz explains to him, in the presence of ten men of the ancients of the city, that in order to fulfil the law the kinsman should buy Elimelechs field and take Ruth as his wife. The kinsman yields his right as he does not want to endanger the posterity of his own family. Booz, as the next kinsman, marries Ruth. She conceives and bears a son and calls him Obed. Ruth 4:1-22.