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Author: Unknown
Date: approx. 1,100 BC


This book counters the depressing image at the end of the Book of Judges. In the time of the Adjusters, life was hard and difficult. The book of Judges ends with the comment that everyone did what was right in their eyes.

The book of Ruth tells of a famine that forced Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and the family to leave Bethlehem and settle in neighboring Moab. Ruth  is a young woman from this region and wife of one of their sons. She is widowed early on. Her mother-in-law is also widowed and wants to return to Bethlehem. Ruth refuses to let her mother-in-law go alone and says: Your people and my people and your God is my God (1:16). These words of Rut have given strength to countless generations. Furthermore, this book tells how Boaz is related to Naomi. He marries Ruth and fathers an heir for Elimelech. Boaz is an ancestor of King David and therefore also of Jesus. It is significant that Ruth, who is not from the nation of Israel, is part of the ancestry of Christ Jesus.

Theological Themes

The religious elements in this book relate more to practical life than to abstract theology.

The central theme:

  • Fidelity,

  • love,

  • Kindness,

  • The value of the individual,

  • Mutual understanding.

The lesson of this book is: No matter how bad the times are, goodness can exist, if we will exert ourselves.

Main features

1. In a foreign country (1:1-22),
2. Ruth and Boaz (2:1-23),
3. The (redemption) of Rut (3:1-4:15),
4. The ancestors of David (and Christ) (4:16-22).