Bible Study: Ruth

The Place

  • Bethlehem of Judea – stands in contrast to the last two Bethlehem stories in Judges and to the first in Ruth dealing with Elimelech and his departure
  • The Place of the book – 8th OT book – a new beginning after the dark night of Judges

The Period of Time

  • Ten years at the beginning of the book
  • In genealogy – ten generations
  • Times of the Judges
  • In chs.2-3 we have a time factor: ch.2, a morning and an evening; ch.3, an evening and a morning

The Prominent People

  • Elimelech – failure
  • Naomi – forgiveness and restoration
  • Ruth – fruitfulness
  • Boaz – fidelity
  • The nearer Kinsman – faltering

The Purpose

  • Practically – restoration of a soul
  • Prophetically – restoration of the nation through blessing to Gentiles
  • Topically – kinsman redeemer
  • Doctrinally – redemption
  • Historically – the link between Judges and then David the King
  • Devotionally – Christ as the Redeemer, the true Boaz

The Pictures

  • Naomi – Israel set aside; the title of the book could well be “Naomi,” as it is as much about her as about Ruth
  • Ruth – A Gentile whose blessing leads to the restoration of Naomi; can also trace the progress of a new believer
  • Boaz – A Kinsman Redeemer; seven mentions of the man in the book
  • The Nearer Kinsman – the Law which was weak to save

The Parallelism

  • Ch.1 and ch.4 are mirror images; ch.2 and ch.3 are mirror images
  • Two men in ch.4: one withdraws and one goes on; two women in ch.1: one stays and one goes back
  • Book begins with funerals and ends with family and birth
  • Begins with weeping and ends with a wedding
  • Begins with no king and ends with David
  • Begins with anarchy and ends with a monarchy

The Parts – Outlines

Ch.1 Deciding by Faith

  • Love’s Resolve
  • Returning
  • Famine and the Land

Ch.2 Gleaning by Grace

  • Love’s Response
  • Reaping
  • Fields of Boaz

Ch.3 Communing in Fellowship

  • Love’s Request
  • Resting
  • The Floor of Meeting

Ch.4 Resting in Redemption

  • Love’s Reward
  • Rewarding
  • The Fame of Boaz

The Peculiar Features

  • Aside from the name of Divine persons, this is the only book which ends with a man’s name
  • Seven mentions of Bethlehem; seven sayings of Naomi (1:15; 2:2,19,20,22; 3:1-4, 16-18)
  • Seven mentions of the fields of Moab, of the reapers, and of Boaz
  • Esther, a Jew among Gentiles; Ruth, a Gentile among Jews

The Character of God (in ch.1)

  • God’s Sovereignty – He will use the failure in leadership of Elimelech to bring about the conversion of Ruth and her place in the genealogy of the Messiah
  • God’s Government – With Elimelech and his family
  • God’s Timing – After ten years away, brought back at barley harvest (Passover time)
  • God’s Tenderness – He is kind even when Naomi speaks of His dealing in harshness with her