The book of Ruth study
by Alrinda Mulder
'But Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.'
- Ruth 1:16
As we read the first chapter in the book of Ruth we can truly empathize with Ruth’s loss, tragedy, and hardship. This also left Ruth with very difficult decisions to make for her future, but Ruth made the courageous choice to stay loyal and faithful to Naomi her mother-in-law.
Ruth decided not to return to her homeland, but instead, she showed a kind act of mercy towards Naomi. Ruth stayed by her side, and together they endured the hardship. Ruth's words to her mother-in-law are often quoted as a pledge of love and devotion in Ruth 1:16
Ruth didn't go back to what was familiar to her, but instead, she stepped out in faith and walked into the unknown.
Ladies, sometimes God will lead you to the unknown (outside your comfort zone), a place that will not always be comfortable as it is written in Hosea 2:3 “Lest I strip her naked and expose her”
Meaning, Abba Father will allure you and show you how to strip and rid yourself of everything that breaks HIS heart and is keeping you away from an intimate relationship with HIM.
Remember that Abba Father is your first love, the lover of your soul and HE desires that you get to know HIM, your Bridegroom, and return to HIM. We read in Isaiah 54:5 the following:
'For your Maker is your husband, The Lord of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.
- Isaiah 54:5
As we continue to read the story of Ruth, we see that her difficult choices in the present brought great blessing to her future. Her courage brought her to her divine destiny in Yahweh. She had to endure some suffering for a season, but she continues to find her strength in Yahweh.
Ladies, we all will experience difficult seasons in some stages of our lives. It might be the desert season, the pruning season or even the baptism of the fire (the burning away of the fleshiness), but let’s remember Peter 5:10 that says:
"may God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect establish, strengthen, and settle you."
I want to share this quote by Derek Prince:
“I have come to see, that some things only come by suffering. Suffering does something that nothing else will do; it prepares the soil”.
And also this quote by A.W Tozer:
“Learn to embrace the seasons of storms, tests, trials, and tribulations, as this is the preparation required that will lead you to your divine destiny in Christ Jesus. God never uses anyone greatly until He tests them deeply”.
Even in the midst of everything that Ruth was faced with, we see she remained loyal and faithful. No matter what, we see she continues to find her strength in God throughout the Book of Ruth.
As we all face difficulties in our lives from time to time, I encourage you to take your load (everything that makes you feel heavy) to Abba Father. Go and spend time at His feet, just as Ruth laid at the feet of Boaz till morning (Ruth3:14)
Press on in His presence, soaking in His unconditional love. Go boldly to the throne of grace and spend as much time as you need at Abba’s feet:
Come to ME, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take MY yoke upon you and learn from ME, for I AM gently and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For MY yoke is easy and MY burden is light.”
- Matthew 11:28-30
Abba will take you under HIS wing (Ruth3:9)
If you have never read the book of Ruth I encourage you to do so as there are deep, valuable and beautiful lessons to be learned. If you did read it, read it again. We can never get enough of the Word of God:
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in HIS law he meditates day and night.
- Psalm 1:2
I pray that you will commit yourself to be a humble and loyal servant for Yeshua, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour just as Ruth committed her life to serve HIM and others. To always seek Yahweh’s will for your life and not your own will. To stay faithful to your Bridegroom. Also to be faithful, loyal and merciful towards the people that Yahweh has placed in your life. Be courageous and bold as you walk in your divine destiny that Abba Father has called you for:
And now, my daughter, fear not. I will do for you all you require, for all my people know that you are a woman of strength. - Ruth 3:11.
Let's look at the deeper meaning of the Book of Ruth.
The in-depth study:
First of all, we know that the Bible is one massive beautiful love letter written by the hand of God to His children.
The whole Bible is written in Jewish marriage terms and the ultimate theme of Scripture is:
God's love for us, His beloved children.
We must know that all 66 books in the Bible are a single message system; every book, every name, every detail is there by God's design.
In the book of Ruth, every detail not only carries romance along with it but also carries romance of redemption. It gives us hints about God's plan (Kinsman - Redeemer, Israel and the Church)
As we look at the Book of Ruth we might think of it as one epic short story of romance and love. Well, it is exactly that.
The theme of the whole book of Ruth is:
Kinsman Redeemer, which of course is YESHUA, our Bridegroom.
Ironic that the word "love" is not used even once in the whole book of Ruth, but still it remains one of the most beautiful, flawless love stories of all times and in the centre of it we learn about true loyalty and love.
The whole Book of Ruth is written in only 85 verses, but do not let it fool you. There is a very deep and beautiful message hidden away between those pages.
The author of the book of Ruth is unknown, but it is believed that it might have been written by Saul.
It was written during the era of Judges.
Ruth plays a very important role in the genealogy of King David and Jesus Christ (WOW)
So, let's start.
1.) Ruth chapter 1
First of all, let's look at the meaning of the names that we will read in chapter 1:
Ruth - Beauty, desirable and friendship
Elimelech - God is my King
Naomi- Pleasant, but in Ruth 1:20 she says to call her
Mara - Bitter
Mahlon - Unhealthy (to blot out)
Chilion - Puny (to perish)
Orpah - Stubborn
Judah - Praise
Bethlehem - House of Bread (Bethlehem a city inside of Judah)
* Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, no wonder it is called the 'House of bread'. Also, Jesus said in John 6:35: "I AM the bread of life."
Also, we break bread when partaking in the covenant meal (communion) which represent Yeshua's body.
We read that Naomi's family are Ephrathites, which means that they are descendants of Ephrata. Ephrata was later renamed to Bethlehem.
Bethlehem was also the hometown of King David.
In chapter 1 we read that Elimelech and his family moved to Moab, because of severe famine in Israel. This shows us the severity and the seriousness of the famine because Elimelech and his family were devoted Jews (we see it in the meaning of their names) and for them to have moved to a pagan country must have been their ultimate last option for survival.
We read that Elimelech died and Naomi was left with her two sons who both later marries Moabite women. In those days it was inappropriate to marry gentile or foreign women. We read about this when Abraham asked Eleazar to go find a wife for Isaac from his own country which is pure and not a Canaanite woman.
(Canaanites, being not only idolaters, and very wicked people, degenerated yet more and more, but were the seed of the accursed Canaan; and who in process of time would be dispossessed of the land, and be destroyed.)
Also, we read in Genesis 9:25:
'Then he said: “Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brethren.”'
We also read in 1 Kings 11:2:
'from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. '
For this reason, also the Israelites and the Moabites despised each other and did not get along.
In the time of Israel's desert wanderings, the Moabite women deliberately seduced the Israeli men and then enticed them to participate in idolatrous sacrifices to their God's as we read in Numbers 25.
Let's look at the Moabites. Where do they come from?
Remember Genesis 19 when Lot's two daughters had sexual intercourse with their father?
Well, that was the beginning of the Moabites and Ammon.
The Moabites worshipped a god called Chemosh and this was the abomination of Moab. In Numbers 25 it also suggests that the Moabites served many other gods as well.
The worship of their god Chemosh was grotesque, which means it was repulsive or distorted (a very ugly figure or image) which was shocking and inappropriate. Many time their worship to Chemosh would involve human sacrifices. Moabite worship was also filled with erotic imagery and was very offensive in a sexual way.
So it is quite shocking to imagine that this is the tribe that Ruth is a descendant of and that she managed to marry a Jewish man.
By God's grace, anything is possible.
In Ruth 1:16 and 17 we read the following:
'But Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.”
As Ruth chose the God of Naomi, which we know is Yahweh, we also know that God chose Ruth, a Moabite woman, for a much bigger plan and purpose and to be adopted into the family of Israel.
A quote by Christine Cain said: "God doesn't call the qualified. He qualifies the called."
2.) Let's look at Ruth chapter 2
In chapter two we meet Boaz.
Boaz means: In him there is strength
Boaz is the Kinsman Redeemer in the Book of Ruth, which ultimately represents Yeshua, Jesus Christ.
Ruth represents the gentiles, which is us (me and you).
The theme of the book of Ruth: Kinsman Redeemer as mentioned previously.
Who can be a Kinsman redeemer?
A blood relative or family member.
3 Requirements to be a Kinsman redeemer:
- Had to be a near kinsman (ex. a brother)
- Must be able to perform
- Had to be willing (it was not required)
* If the near Kinsman was not willing, he will give the woman his shoe as a symbol of shame as he failed to do or fulfil the role as a Kinsman.
But if he did agree to do the Kinsman part, this will be called the Levirate marriage.
We can read about the Levirate marriage in Deut. 25:5-10.
What is the law of the Levirate Marriage?
The Levirate marriage dealt with a situation where you had a widow with no children. She could go to the next of kin and put a claim on him to take her to be his wife to raise children for the family. If the next of kin agreed, they will be married and this is then called the Levirate marriage.
In chapter 2 verse 1 we read Boaz is a relative of Naomi, which we know is a requirement for someone to be a Kinsman Redeemer.
In verse 3 we read that Ruth went and gleaned the field.
I want to tell you more about the law of gleaning. It was like a welfare system in those days:
If you were a landowner, you were allowed to make one pass through your field (harvesting). You could not go back a second time. The concept was that what the reapers missed, or what spilled, was left for the widows and the poor.
You can read more about the law of gleaning in Leviticus 19:9-10 and Deut. 24:19-21.
It makes perfect sense why Ruth went to go and glean the fields because widowhood in those days was extremely difficult. It almost always guaranteed life of extreme poverty.
That's why Paul urges young widows to remarry in 1 Timothy 5:14.
Also in verse 3, we read:
"And she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.'
Happened is not a "kosher" word. Happened or coincidence is pointing to when God is working behind the scenes or undercover!
3.) Let's continue with
Ruth chapter 3
Ruth 3:18 is the key verse for the whole Book of Ruth.
Ruth's redemption is being assured.
At the beginning of chapter 3, we read about the Threshing floor.
'Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. '
- Ruth 3:2-3
The threshing floor was a large flat parcel or piece of ground where there was a prevailing wind. The harvest involved harvesting the grain and preparing it for the market. After the grain had been ground, they would throw the grain up into the air and the wind would cause the grain to fall a little bit downwind. The chaff (shells or debris) would fall further downwind. If it was done properly, you would end up with two piles, the closer pile being good for the market or to be stored and the second, further pile would be burned as trash.
This time was not only a time of work but also of celebrating. During the day they would thresh grain and in the evening they would celebrate. The owners and seniors would sleep there to prevent theft of the grain.
* The threshing floor is the picture of the separation, the set-apart life. The Bride of Yeshua separated herself from the world.
Remember the following:
Boaz represents Yeshua
Ruth represents gentiles (us) and the ecclesia (church)
Naomi represents the Holy spirit
4.) Last, but not least, Ruth Chapter 4:
(Chapter of Redemption)
Boaz redeems Ruth.
By doing this Boaz also redeems the land back to Naomi.
When I say Boaz redeems back the land for Naomi, I am talking about the year of Jubilee.
Let me explain the year of Jubilee:
You, as a landowner can "sell" your land, which was more of what we would consider a "lease" (you sold the rights to use the land for a while). In the year of Jubilee, the land would return to the original owners. When you "sold" your land, the title deed would also include the rules for the title redemption. The law required a procedure so that if your next of kin would show up, there was some procedure where he could purchase back the unused years, called "redeeming the land".
The year of Jubilee was every 50 years.
In verse 2, chapter 4 we read that Boaz made sure to take 10 witnesses with him. This indicates the seriousness of the matter and how serious Boaz was about this matter.
The number 10 also symbolizes obedience and responsibility towards God's law.
In verse 7 we read that near Kinsman is unable to fulfil the Kinsman duty or role and give Boaz his consent to marry Ruth by the customary way: taking off his sandal and gives it to Boaz. (the same as shaking hands on a deal and signing a contract) The sandal is proof of the deal (contract).
If you know the story of Tamar and Perez, you might think it strange as the women are blessing Ruth and Boaz that they will mention Tamar and Perez (please read Genesis 38:6-29)
Well, this is neither a curse nor a blessing. It is a prophecy.
When we read Deut. 23:2 we will understand about an illegitimate son causes the line to be disinherited till the 10th generation. a Bastards line cannot inherit until the 10th generation; David is the 10th generation after Perez.
a Clear prophecy that David will be the house that God is going to build the Messianic line through.
Boaz and Ruth had a son, Obed.
Obed means: Worship
by John MacArthur
1.) Ruth's story begins with a description of her condition. How would you describe your present condition?
2.) Read Ruth 1:6-14.
How would you describe Ruth to someone who had never heard from her?
3.) Ruth expressed her commitment to Naomi and Yahweh (God). In doing so, she distanced herself from the gods of her past. From which "gods" or "idols" of your past do you need to separate from?
4.) Naomi's faith influenced Ruth. How does your faith affect other people?
Do you encourage people toward God or away from Him?
5.) Ruth returned to Bethlehem to support Naomi. Do you have this kind of relationship with another female? Why? or why not?
6.) Why did Boaz feel compassion towards Naomi and Ruth? Boaz is called the "redeemer" or "deliverer". Describe your first encounter with your Redeemer or Deliverer.
7.) Boaz paid a price to redeem Ruth. How did this change Ruth's perception of her value?
What is your value to God based on the price HE paid to redeem you?
8.) What life principals did you learn from the story of Ruth's life in Scriptures? How will you apply these principals to your own life?
The NKJ Bible
Nelson's Bible Dictionary
Abundant love in Yeshua,
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