The Book of Ruth Survey

The Book of Ruth


Pr Edi Giudetti




The book surrounds the identity of four people who speak and who act and who’s names are given, four in who’s account the entire book might have its course. Before we enter into our study we will consider the historical placement of the book of Ruth.

It was The time when the Judges ruled” this we know for this is what is stated in the text in the first chapter and in the 1st verse. So we have now its setting in bulk. But the period of the judges spanned some years, so when can we consider the timing of the book of Ruth more specifically?

Certain that the writing of the book was much later than the events contained in its pages, for the last chapter refers to the historical generations of David who would be King. This in itself gives us also a hint of the historical setting, a genealogical account is always a reasonable marker.

The forth chapter tells of Boaz, who begat Obed, of whom came Jesse the father of David. Here we have it, within four generations!! But four generations from what?

For this we need to consider the line of Boaz; who where his parents?

Turn to Ruth 4:18

 Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron, And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon,  And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed,  And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.

So Salmon was the father of Boaz, does that give much of a clue as to the historical context? No, we need more information. We know there are many genealogies in the Bible, the one pertaining to King David is of particular interest to us as it is to the importance of the bible concerning the saviour of the world. Where do we find his genealogy?

We find reference to it in two of the Gospel accounts in the New Testament, but the one found in the gospel account of Matthew will be our source.

Let’s turn to Matthew 1:1-5

1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; 3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; 4 And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; 5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;

Rachab? This is that same Rahab of the Bible in the book of Joshua who hid the spies at Jericho. Not only did she do the great service to the people of God against the City of her nation, but the Lord rewarded her with an honour that places her in the direct line of the messiah. She was the wife of Salmon and thereby the mother of Boaz.

So we see now that we have some greater clarification of the placement historically. So many people have wondered at this history, and particularly the history of the book of Judges and its time span, claiming anywhere from 288 to over 400 years. Last week I mentioned this same thought not realising that the entire span of the judges is only four generations from the conquest of the promised land. Rahab was there when Israel crossed over Jordan, she became the mother of Boaz, who, in his later years is found written about in this small book of Ruth.

This then inadvertently tells us that, unless generations are skipped, the period of the Judges lasted only from Rachab to David at best, (although Saul also reigned as the first anointed King of Israel prior to David), limiting the time of the Judges to a more reasonable 200 – 250 years.

So two settings historically we do know with certainty,

  1. It was when the Judges ruled,
  2. It was within two generations of the conquest of the land.

Under which judge we do not really know. My best guess is that it was prior to Gideon, and only because the sojourn of Naomi and her husband Elimelech and the two sons, Mahlon and Chilion (Sickness and Consumption), occurred during a time of famine.

The only mention of famine in the Bible during the time of the Judges occurred in Judges chapter 6, where the Midianites (Of Midian, the half-brother of Isaac of Ketura the wife (Gen 25:1)/Concubine (1 Chron 1:32) of Abraham in his later years), it is when they took and pillaged all the land to starve the Israelites and bring them under servitude.

This seems to work as the book of Ruth describes Naomi hearing that the Lord “visited his people in giving them bread” this visitation was clear when Gideon destroyed the oppression of the Midianites. But this also means that there would have been overlap of Judges in the land, certain in some areas but not confident in all, for it is supposed that some of these judges were regional in Israel during that time, so it can be possible.

Nevertheless we now have our setting historically

Now to consider the people who feature and who are important both for the understanding of the purpose of the Book and a glimpse into the practical application of the information contained within the book.

If “whatsoever things that were written aforetime was written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” is true, then that which was written here might be of some wonderful value for us.

Jesus also said something most profound and informative concerning the scriptures when speaking to the Jews who sought to kill him in John 5:39

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

And few passages there are that can speak, not only of Christ and a man presented to us as a type of Christ, together with the doctrine that surrounds the work of Christ, than that which is found in the Book of Ruth concerning the Kinsman Redeemer. 

Four people will be our four points in this four-chapter book;

Orpah, The gentile who sought the world. 

Ruth, The gentile who sought the Lord

Naomi, The Jew who sought redemption for a gentile

 Boaz, The kinsman redeemer.

In all these I hope to unfold the beautiful account given to us in this small book of the one whom all scripture testifies, our Lord and our Saviour Jesus Christ. I do pray you enjoy this journey this morning, as we give a summary account of both the book and its relevance to us today. So, Four Chapters give an account of four people to which my four points shall relay one understanding.



Oprah, The gentile who sought the world.

Chapter 1 verse 4 tells us that Orpah was one of two Moabite women who married one of the sons of Naomi, her son Chilion. Chilion died as did his brother, neither brother had given children to their wives before their deaths.

It is interesting to remember that the names of those in the Bible also have meaning, we will see this a little later as Naomi desires to change her name to suit her situation. But for these two sons of hers their names are of interest only due to their sudden departure from this life.

Mahlon actually means “Sickness”, while Chilion means “consumption”.

Perhaps these two boys where known to have illness from their birth, perhaps this explains the early death of their father, perhaps it explains his willingness to depart from Bethlehem during the famine to find better nourishment for his young family elsewhere, even while his people yet remained in the land during that time. We can’t know for certain and I lay out only some possibilities.

Nevertheless these sons took on for themselves Moabites and their wives, these Moabites however where a cursed people from their beginning.

You will recall that Moab was born of the nephew of Abraham who’s name was Lot. He was concieved through the most vile manner by the daughter of lot making him drunk and laying within him in order to preserve the line of her father.

Both the Moabites and the Ammonites came from this perverse affair of Lots daughters.

These also retained the curse when Israel came out of Egypt and wandered through the wilderness. Balak the king of Moab hired Baalam to curse the people, but God turned the curse into a blessing and cursed the Moabites in return.

The Moabites where finally destroyed as a people altogether, this was prophesied in Jerimiah 48:42, Isaiah relates it as happening in one night (see Isa 15), he speaks of it as total destruction.

Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; Because in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; (v1)

In their streets they shall gird themselves with sackcloth: On the tops of their houses, and in their streets, Every one shall howl, weeping abundantly. (v3)

Isaiah speaks of “desolation”, “blood” and “destruction” concerning Moab, this is the end of that nation, this is the nation of whom Orpah and Ruth descend, this is the nation in which one of these two women return. Certain then that this City can be rightly thought of as a City set for destruction.

Now let us turn to the event that occurs in Ruth where one gentile makes a fateful decision.

Turn now to Ruth Chapter 1:8-15

And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept. 10 And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people. 11 And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 12 Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; 13 Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me. 14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. 15 And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.

Both of the women loved Naomi, both wept for her, both stated categorically that they would “Surely return with her to her people”. Naomi certainly had been a wonderful mother in Law to the girls, certain also that she spoke of the Lord to them, witnessed of his love and his goodness even through her affliction and trials. Naomi’s life and manner witnessed to the girls a distinction from the life and manner of the Moabite customs, to this at least one of the two girls was intimately drawn.

But it was not Orpah, Orpah returned to her people, back to that nation soon to be destroyed.


We don’t know why it is that when people hear of the Lord and know the truth of him, even when he is witnessed through the Godly lives of those who profess him, why they return back to the world set for destruction? We know however that;

 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Cor 4:3-4)

Ruth, the gentile who sought the Lord

See Chapter 1:15-18

15 And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. 16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: 17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. 18 When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.

Such love and commitment in five absolutes she predetermined she will do. “INTREAT ME NOT TO LEAVE THEE, OR TO RETURN FROM FOLLOWING THEE” Such strong language she used, categorically understating her most noble intention, no thought of herself, but fully placing herself to the care of the mother of her late husband.

O, and how will this play out for her? O that you might let me recount to you the nature and the reputation gained throughout the land by the virtue of a stranger. Listen as I recount it.

Turn to Chapter 2:1-12

2 And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter. And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech. And, behold, Boaz came from Beth-lehem, and said unto the reapers, The Lord be with you. And they answered him, The Lord bless thee. Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this? And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab: And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house.

Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens: Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn. 10 Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger? 11 And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore. 12 The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.


In a very practical level it must be known and understood that the good that we do will be known to all people, and that the evil that we do will also be known to all people.

All that we are is reflected, not in the words that we use, but in that which we do.


The words of God also betray the Character of God, unlike much of mankind, all the he does confirms and does not contradict any of his words.

Ruth had no thought of herself and this was known to all the people that surrounded her, and came to the knowledge of a kinsman of her late husband.

It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.

Nothing mattered to Ruth but to do that which was right for dear Naomi. This is VIRTUE.

Virtue was rare then, but is impossibly rare today. So rare that all who have it will stand well out from the crowd like a red rose in a dry valley.

Naomi, the Jew who sought redemption for a gentile

See Chapter 1:19-22

19 So they two went until they came to Beth-lehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Beth-lehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi? 20 And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me? 22 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 Beth-lehem in the beginning of barley harvest.

There are times when the Lord needs to empty our fullness, that we might recognise and see if the Lord is testifying against us. We have no clear knowledge of the reason for Naomi’s affliction of God, but certain it is that she knows it, else she would not have been so humbled by the events in her life.

Not even Job could answer for that which occurred to him, but willing rather to justify himself more than God under whom he had his affliction governed.

But time went on and Naomi’s hearing of all that had occurred to Ruth she in her encounter with the kinsman, she understood the opportunity that arose and set herself to bless the woman that so lovingly blessed her.

See Chapter 3:1-6

3 Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee? And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor. Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking. And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do. And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do. And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.

Naomi was instructing Ruth unto the legal and noble manner of approach toward the Kinsman and on how she may rightly propose to the man in the circumstance she is in, for him to fullfill his obligation as a Kinsman Redeemer.

Here then, in Naomi, is a knowledge both of the law God and of the nature of life. Here is both wisdom and care, opportunity is seen that God is at work in his own providence to bless this small family. Not Naomi, not Ruth and nor Boaz, all of whom virtue and wisdom seemed to abound, rose their eyebrow to that which Ruth would do unto him. Boas himself stated;

Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich. (Ruth 3:10)

Boaz, The kinsman redeemer.

And now we come to Boaz, the most important person in the account of Ruth, without whom the history of this account would have had little significance for us today. Turn to Ruth 2:1

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

This being now our introduction to Boaz and we can note several items respecting him.

  1. Most importantly he was a kinsman of the family of Elimelech, the husband of Naomi.
    1. Nothing is more important than this also, for if he was not a kinsman he could not do the kinsman’s part, to redeem both land and people, he had to be of the blood line of the family, it was the law set in old time. Only the Kinsman can legally;
      1. Redeem the land
      2. Redeem the enslaved
  • Redeem the family line, to bring up a child in the place of a dead husband
  1. And to avenge the murder of a family member. Also known as The ‘Avenger of Blood’.
  1. Any person that is not of the blood line can have no part in the matter.
  1. He was a Mighty man of Wealth;
    1. Boaz had the means to redeem both land and people. Should Boaz have been a poor man, he could not purchase lost land, free the enslaved or assist in the addition of a family line that is not his own
    1. The Kinsman Redeemer must be willing to perform the redemption on behalf of his Kin.

The account rolls on beautifully through chapter 2. The appearance of Boaz to his servants, his notice and enquiry of Ruth, his knowledge of her virtue and selflessness, his conversation with her and blessing of her, her humility and her excitement in telling of all that God had cause to pass through his providence.

Brethren, do not lose the reality of the providence of God in this story, do not lose the fact that it is God who is in control and always rewards the acts of selfless virtue. Recall that this is the line of David, this is the line of Christ, all things have a purpose. Even if we ourselves, trapped in time, are ignorant of any purpose, be sure to know that not a hair of your head falls to the ground without the knowledge of our Lord.

And then we move to chapter 3, Naomi desiring nothing but the redemption of Ruth.

 3 Then Naomi her mother in-law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee?

No question in her mind as to the purpose of her instruction to Ruth, “Shall I not seek rest of thee”, how great is her desire that Ruth would enter into that rest she so desires. For Naomi is old, she had opportunity in both husband and Children, she knows that it is well past for her to provide for Ruth or for any other, so she instructs Ruth in a manner spoken of earlier.

Lets take our passage from 3:7-11

And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down. And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet. And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman. 10 And he said, Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich. 11 And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.

And here we see his will to do the part of the kinsman, to redeem both land and person. And now all three elements respecting the Kinsman redeemer have come together, we note it again for the sake of reference, to be a Kinsman Redeemer under the Law of God, one must be;

  1. Kin to those he was to redeem
  2. Able to perform the act of redemption
  3. Willing to redeem and to pay the price of redemption.

Tell me, are you beginning to see a picture here? Who is it that fits this description more perfectly than any man alive? Is it not the Christ, our Lord and saviour?


Each of us live in a world that is under the curse of sin. Separated from God and unable to come to him on our own behalf.

Isaiah 59:2

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, And your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

The world is enslaved to sin, in a bondage that it cannot set itself free from. Jesus said (John 8:34)

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

We know we are bound by sin because we transgress the Law of God.

1 John 3:4 makes plain what sin is

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Please advise if you have never broken one of the ten commandments God has commanded! Will you consider them for the time past of your life, will you consider them for the time present?

Love for God



Breaking of the Sabbath

Honour to parents






Not only do we do these things, but the Bible tells us we take pleasure in them that do, do them (Rom 1:32) . Romans tells us more so plainly of our state, in fact a perfect description of our state. Rom 3:10-18

10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.

All of us live in this world, cursed.

But Christ was promised to come, God must have been manifest in the flesh in order to redeem us, he had to be of our bloodline. As he was to redeem the world he needed to be the kin of the world. This is why he was born to a woman.

 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (Gal 4:4-5)” 

To redeem man however he needed to also have the means, the ability, he could not be bounded by sin, he could not ever have sinned else all he could do was atone for himself. His value must also exceed the value of man, indeed his worth must be infinite, he must not only be man but God for his blood to atone for the sins of all mankind for all time, else a perfect life would only gain entry for himself, just as Noah, Daniel and Job could only deliver themselves through their righteousness (see Ezek 14:14). The Kinsman Redeemer needed to be able.

 Finally, though Christ was the kin of mankind, for he came as the second Adam, and though he was able, for he is also God, he also needed to be willing. Without the will to redeem the ability and the relationship counts for nought. And Jesus Christ was willing to obey the father and put himself on that Cross to pay the full penalty of the sin of mankind, for the redemption of all who believe.

Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. (John 10:17-18)

Orpah returned to the City of Destruction, even though she was witness to the God of Naomi through the person of Naomi. She turned back again and was counted with those to be destroyed.

Ruth witnessed the God of Naomi and was willing to seek him out, she counted the cost and desired to flee from that nation set for destruction and seek after the God of the people of Naomi.

Which of these are you?



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