THOUGH CLEARLY AN IMPORTANT historical document of its period, the narrative of Ruth is told with dramatic intensity and movement. The story moves quickly through its various stages, each part marked with elements of irony and suspense, all contributing to a symphony of divine providential fulfillment. The Lord inspires Naomi's return, Ruth's covenant faithfulness, and Boaz's righteous adherence to the law. The book closes with a genealogy of King David, the descendant of Boaz the Israelite and Ruth the Moabite, a young woman who took refuge under the Lord's wings (2:12) and was rewarded by God, who "gave her conception" (4:13)
Ruth and Boaz are part of a longer line that often shows God's grace combined with human frailty. One of David's ancestors was Perez (4:12, 18), son of an irregular union between Judah and his own daughter-in-law, Tamar, who was "more righteous" than the patriarch himself. (Gen. 38:26). The closing few verses of Ruth (4:18-22) are commonly said to be a later addition to the book, but genealogies are not unusual in ancient narratives. Also, this genealogy underlines a particular value of Ruth, its revelation of the mixed ancestry of King David and, through him, of Jesus Christ.
Looking beyond this witness to the legitimacy of David's kingship, we should note the significance of the book in the light of the gospel. Ruth follows the faith of Abraham, as she leaves home and family to go to a foreign land under the Lord's care. The universal scope of the gospel comes to light as Ruth the Moabite finds the blessing promised to all the nations in Abraham's descendants. Finally, Ruth becomes an ancestor of Christ, who in Himself will reconcile to God such different nations as Moab and Israel.
- The Reformation Study Bible
Published by Ligonier Ministries, Sanford FL
Permission to quote granted by Ligonier Ministries