The story of Ruth takes place in the time of the Judges, approximately the last 100 years or so of that period, possibly around the time of Samson. It is a wonderful story and filled with prophetic significance.
Ru 1:1 ¶ Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.
2 And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.
There is a lot to be determined from these 2 verses. Bethlehem in Judah means the house of God or bread. God gave Israel manna, and Jesus is the bread of life. Elimelech the head of the house means God is king, or king. Elimelech was raised to know God, and trust in Him, obviously because of where he was raised and the meaning of his name. Bethlehem is also the birthplace of our Saviour, Jesus about 1000 years in the future. Naomi Elimelech’s wife means pleasant. Times were very tough and tried the faith and trust of Elimelech in his God, Jehovah. The LORD had promised Joshua that led Israel into the promised land that He would bless them and give them a land of milk and honey.
Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Joshua taught the people and led them into the land which they prospered and lived under the umbrella of God’s protection and provision. However, after Joshua died, they fell away from God several times during the time of the Judges, and were attacked by hostile neighbors. When Israel would cry before God, He would raise up a Judge that would deliver them. God was always good and would bless His people when they turned to Him and trusted in Him. Elimelech would have known this history and from his name and birthplace, his parents would have taught him of God’s faithfulness.
Hard times can drive one to drastic measures. We can see the times were hard on Elimelech’s family for he named his sons; Mahlon which means sickness and Chilion which means destruction.
Moab may have had what looked like a better life, but they were evil. They worshipped false god’s of Baal and Chemosh which required them to sacrifice their children in fire. God had cursed Moab and no Moabite was allowed to come near to the Tabernacle. They were hated by Israel.
Regardless of all the reasons why, Elimelech decided to take his family to Moab and did not trust in his God to deliver him in his own land.
3 And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.
4 And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years.
Elimelech’s decision ended up costing him his life, the Bible does not tell us how. Mahlon married Ruth which means friend, lover, mate. Chilion married Orpha which means back of neck.
5 And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.
6 ¶ Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread.
The Bible does not tell us how Mahlon and Chilion died leaving the two widows with Naomi. The Holy Spirit does tell us that Jehovah caused rain to come and the famine to end in Israel and Judah.
7 Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.
8 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.
9 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.
They both loved Naomi, which says a lot for her and her kindness to her daughters in law.
She wanted them to go home to their parents.
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.
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.
The faith that Ruth shows toward God, whom she was introduced to by Naomi and Mahlon, is great and we see that she has abandoned the gods of Moab, and is steadfast to return to Israel and be part of it the rest of her life…a new beginning for her.
19 ¶ So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, 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 Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.
Naomi is bitter over her loss of her husband and sons and in these days (and in OT times), God was often held accountable for all things good and bad. This is not accurate or fair as, there is a devil, who often is not given credit for bad things that happen. Plus the decisions that Elimelech had made had terrible consequences on his family. God is not responsible for our bad decisions. Jesus promised us that He would send us the Holy Ghost to lead and guide us in all truth. If we ignore that guidance and choose to go our own way, we are to blame for the consequences that follow. In these days the guidance of God was still available, however, one was not led from the inside by the Holy Ghost as we are now; one was led by the promises of God and their faith in His benevolence.
The famine was over, and so the barley harvest was a big one and all of Bethlehem was hopping with lots of work to be done.
Ru 2:1 ¶ And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz.
2 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.
3 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.
Boaz means strength is in him. The Holy Spirit shows here that Ruth was going to glean after the one in whose sight she would find grace. As we will see, Boaz here is a type or representation of Jesus, and Ruth is a type or representation of Gentiles. Naomi is a type or representation of Israel.
4 ¶ And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.
5 Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this?
6 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:
7 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.
Now word had spread quickly through Bethlehem about Naomi’s return and the damsel with her from Moab. But, when Boaz saw her, he was captivated by her beauty.
It was a law that the reapers were to leave some barley for the poor to glean. It was an act of charity, kind of like the tithe.
8 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:
9 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.
Boaz was attracted to her and their meeting was because of the circumstance that the LORD had caused, for her to want to glean in his field. It did not bother Boaz that Ruth was a Moabite. His own mother was a Gentile from Jericho whose name was Rahab. She had been a harlot that had hidden the spies from Israel from the authorities of Jericho and Israel saved her and her household during the conquering of the city. She had marked her window with a red cord which was a type of the blood of Jesus Christ. She married an Israelite, Salmon. The LORD had accepted her into Israel for her obedience and faith.
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.
13 Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens.
14 And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.
15 And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not:
16 And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.
You can see the love that Boaz had for Ruth; how he cared for her, fed her, made sure that she would have enough grain for both her and Naomi. He knew her heart was good by her commitment to Naomi and to Jehovah.
17 ¶ So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley.
18 And she took it up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed.
19 And her mother in law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned to day? and where wroughtest thou? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee. And she shewed her mother in law with whom she had wrought, and said, The man’s name with whom I wrought to day is Boaz.
20 And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.
21 And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said unto me also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest.
22 And Naomi said unto Ruth her daughter in law, It is good, my daughter, that thou go out with his maidens, that they meet thee not in any other field.
23 So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law.
The Grace that in the heart of Boaz for Ruth saw to it that her and Naomi’s provision was taken care of. She took home a bushel of grain, enough for several days food. Jesus is our provider as well. Ruth now knows who re redeemer is and with Naomi’s advice will stay in Boaz’s field to the end of the barley harvest.
Ru 3:1 ¶ 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?
2 And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.
3 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.
4 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.
5 And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do.
6 ¶ And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.
7 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.
So she got all cleaned up and perfumed as Naomi had told her. And after the day of harvest in the field they had a party where they would feast and drink. After Boaz had feasted and well drunk he lay down to sleep. Then she went where he lay and laid herself down at his feet. This is the perspective bride presenting herself before her groom without spot or blemish.
It is so awesome how the Holy Ghost writes so many stories that foreshadow the events of the future in the very things that are happening then, as Solomon wrote in Eccl; there is nothing new under the sun. Our God is all knowing, and all understanding, His will be done.
8 And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet.
9 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.
12 And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.
13 Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman’s part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning.
We can see from this set of scriptures that Boaz was not a young man. He also said that their was a closer kinsman than himself. The symbolism of this man is a type of the law, for he is never named and is unbending, as we shall see. Boaz on the other hand is a symbol of Grace and a type of our Lord Jesus. The Grace of God has always been His will for man.
14 ¶ And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor.
15 Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city.
16 And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her.
17 And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law.
18 Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.
As our Lord does, Ruth could not leave until he had blessed her with abundant food to take home for her and Naomi. In Jn 10:10 Jesus said; …I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly. In the Amplified, I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance, (to the full till it overflows).
Naomi’s wisdom and faith here also is shown; for she tells Ruth to be patient, sit still and to trust, for Boaz will not be in rest till he finishes his work. Our Lord never slumbers or sleeps and will finish the good work that He has begun in us, and has finished the work of our redemption.
Ru 4:1 ¶ Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down.
2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down.
3 And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech’s:
4 And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it.
5 Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance.
Boaz has set the scene here with 10 elders (witnesses of proceeding and law) and has laid out the requirements of what the un-named kinsman needed to do by redeeming the land and marrying Ruth to raise up children to her dead husband.
6 And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it.
7 Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel.
8 Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe.
This un-named kinsman represents the law in this story of history, and the law is unbending; perfect, but not with compassion, or understanding. So, he says he cannot redeem it for himself lest he mars his own inheritance. The symbol of the shoe is interesting, because the law walks on us and condemns us, but here the shoe comes off, a symbol of having no more control over Ruth or Naomi or the land. The symbol here for us to see is that when we are under Grace, there is no condemnation of the law, for Jesus bore that condemnation for us.
9 ¶ And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi.
10 Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.
11 And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem:
12 And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give thee of this young woman.
So now it was all legal and had the blessing of the elders. God had brought a Gentile into the fold of Israel once again because of her faith. Naomi was redeemed from the oppression she was in, sickness (Mahlon) and destruction (Chilion) were lifted off and away from her and Ruth. All of the debt owed under the law was paid by Boaz and he took the responsibility of it all. Jesus has done this same thing for us, who brought us into the fold of God by our faith, not our works. Jesus took all of the condemnation, sins, sickness, poverty, even death so that we could be free in Him before God. In Him is our righteousness, justification, health, provision, and life, even life eternal.
Ga 3:7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
Jn 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
13 ¶ So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son.
14 And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel.
15 And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.
16 And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it.
17 And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
18 Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron,
19 And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab,
20 And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon,
21 And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed,
22 And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.
Obed means serving. He was the grandfather of David. The Christ line that followed Adam through Seth and Noah through Shem, then Abraham through Isaac, now would now end up through David.
In 2 Sam 7, God promises David that his son would sit on the throne forever. Of course this prophecy is and is being fulfilled in Jesus, who humanly is a descendent of David, but Divinely, the Son of God. Born by Divine conception of the virgin Mary.
Matthew records the Kingly lie of Jesus through David’s son, Solomon. (Joseph)
Luke records the common side of Jesus through David’s son, Nathan. (Mary).
A study of how this all came together through the times of the Kings, the captivity of Israel and the guiding hand of Jehovah is very rewarding. Truly our God is an awesome God.
All of the scriptures here are from the Authorized KJV unless another version is stated.
The pictures are all from the Internet with credit given where known.
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