Study of Ruth


The book is named for the principal character, Ruth, the Moabitess. She was first of all the wife of Mahlon. After his death she married Boaz. She was the great-grandmother of David and, therefore, an ancestress of Christ.

The author of Ruth is unknown. It is also impossible to assign the date too precisely. However, Ruth 4:22 mentions David and it would seem likely that Ruth was written at some time during his reign (c. 1011 B.C. to 971 B.C.).

The purpose of the book of Ruth is to relate an episode in the ancestry of King David which accounted for the introduction of non-Israelite blood into the family line. It also demonstrates the grace of God to welcome even Gentile converts to the fellowship of His redeemed people. Most importantly, the book of Ruth shows the function of the goel or kinsman-redeemer which serves as a type of the Messiah. In order to fulfill his position as kinsman-redeemer, a man must be a blood relative, he must be able to purchase the forfeited inheritance, he must be willing to buy back the forfeited inheritance, and he must be willing to marry the wife of a deceased kinsman.

In the narrative Boaz represents Christ, and Ruth represents the believer. Christ became a blood relative of man by virtue of the Virgin Birth (Heb. 2:14-15); He was able to pay the price for sinners (I Pet. 1:18-19); He was willing in that He laid down His life of His own volition (John 10:17-18); and Christ will have for his bride the Church (Eph. 5:25, 27; Rev. 19:7).

The following outline is found in Gleason L. Archer’s, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, p. 267-268:


I.   Migration and Sojourn in Moab, 1:1-5


II.  Ruth’s Choice to Return with Naomi to Judah, 1:6-18


III. The Mournful Homecoming to Bethlehem, 1:19-22

IV. Boaz, a Friend in Need, 2:1-23


V.  Redemption Law Invoked, 3:1-18

VI. Boaz’ Acceptance of His Responsibility as Goel, 4:1-16

VII. The Promise and the Posterity, 4:17-22