Cast of Characters
Elimelech (“God is my King”), a Hebrew from Bethlehem
Naomi (“pleasant” or “my joy”), his wife
Mahlon (“sickly”), their older son
Chilion (“wasting away”), their younger son
Orpah (“neck”), a woman of Moab and the wife of one of the sons
Ruth (“friendship”), a woman of Moab and the wife of the other son
Boaz (“strength”), a male relative of Elimelech
Another male relative of Elimelech
Ten elders of the city
Reapers, servants, et al.
Personality Profile: Personality Profile: Ruth
Name may mean: “Friendship” or “refreshment.”
Home: Born in Moab, but relocated with her mother-in-law Naomi (see Ruth 1:2) to Bethlehem in Judah after the death of her husband.
Family: Was the wife and widow of Mahlon (Ruth 4:10); remarried Boaz by an extension of levirate marriage; gave birth to a son, Obed, who figuratively was called the son of Naomi (4:13–17); was an ancestor of David and Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:5, 16).
Occupation: Originally a homemaker, later a maidservant of Boaz (Ruth 3:9), and finally a homemaker again.
Best known today for: Insisting that her mother-in-law Naomi allow her to come to Bethlehem, in order that Naomi’s people, the Israelites, could become Ruth’s people, and Naomi’s God Ruth’s God (1:16–17).
Word in life study Bible . 1997, c1996 (electronic ed.) (Rt 1.2). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
1. Ruth remains loyal to Naomi (1:1-22)
2. Ruth gleans in Boaz's field (2:1-23)
3. Ruth and Boaz are married (4:1-22)
When we first meet Ruth, she is a destitute widow. We follow her as she joins God's people, gleans in the grainfields, and risks her honor at the threshing floor of Boaz, in the end, we see Ruth becoming the wife of Boaz.
What a picture of how we come to faith in Christ. We begin with no hope and are rebellious aliens with no part in the kingdom of God. Then as we risk everything by putting our faith in Christ, God saves us, forgives us, rebuilds our lives, and gives us blessing that will last through eternity. Boaz's redeeming of Ruth is a picture of Christ redeeming us.