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The biblical book of Ruth is a narrative account that tells the story of Ruth (רוּת [rûṯ]), a Moabite woman, who marries a Hebrew man named Mahlon. Ruth and Mahlon's family leave their hometown of Bethlehem and settle in Moab, but tragedy strikes when Mahlon and his brother die, leaving Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi widowed.

Naomi decides to return to Bethlehem, and Ruth accompanies her, showing remarkable loyalty and devotion to her mother-in-law. In Bethlehem, Ruth gleans in the fields of a wealthy landowner named Boaz, who takes notice of her and shows her kindness and favor.

Through a series of events, Boaz becomes Ruth's kinsman-redeemer (גֹּאֵל [góél], participle of גאל; see Ruth 4:4, Ruth 4:6, and so on) and marries her, securing her place in the line of Israel's ancestors. The book ends with the birth of their son, Obed, who becomes the grandfather of King David.

The book of Ruth is part of the Ketuvim (Writings) section of the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible. Specifically, it is one of the five Megillot (scrolls) which are read on specific holidays throughout the Jewish calendar. Ruth is read during the holiday of Shavuot, which celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai and the first fruits of the harvest.

Key Theological Concepts

  • Covenant
    • The book of Ruth also emphasizes the importance of covenant relationships, both between God and His people, and between human beings.
    • Ruth's loyalty and devotion to Naomi are a model of covenant faithfulness, and Boaz's willingness to marry Ruth and provide for her is an example of fulfilling one's covenant obligations.
  • Providence
    • The book of Ruth teaches that God is actively involved in the lives of His people, even during times of hardship and suffering.
    • God's providence is seen in the way that He provides for Ruth and Naomi, guiding them to Bethlehem and leading them to Boaz's fields, where Ruth finds favor and protection.
  • Redemption
    • The book of Ruth is also a story of redemption, as Boaz serves as Ruth's kinsman-redeemer (גֹּאֵל [góél]), marrying her and providing for her and Naomi.
    • This concept of redemption is significant in the larger biblical narrative, as it points forward to Jesus Christ, who serves as the ultimate redeemer, redeeming humanity from sin and death.
  • The genealogy of Jesus Christ
    • The book of Ruth is significant in the larger biblical narrative because it is part of the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
    • This underscores the importance of Ruth's story and her place in God's redemptive plan for the world.


  • Prologue: Death and Emptiness (Ruth 1:1-22)
    • Setting the scene (Ruth 1:1-5)
    • Naomi returns home (Ruth 1:6-18)
    • Arrival of Naomi and Ruth in Bethlehem (Ruth 1:19-22)
  • Ruth Meets Boaz on the Harvest Field (Ruth 2:1-23)
    • Ruth in the field of Boaz (Ruth 2:1-17)
    •  Ruth reports to Naomi (Ruth 2:18-23)
  • Naomi Sends Ruth to Boaz on the Threshing Floor (Ruth 3:1-18)
    • Naomi Reveals Her Plan (Ruth 3:1-5)
    •  Ruth at the threshing-floor of Boaz (Ruth 3:6-15)
    • Ruth reports to Naomi (Ruth 3:16-18)
  • Epilogue: Life and Fullness (Ruth 4:1-22)
    • Boaz with the men at the gate (Ruth 4:1-12)
    • A son is born to Ruth (Ruth 4:13-17)
  • Genealogy of David (Ruth 4:18-22)


Word Meaning
וְ and
היה to be, become
בְּ in
יוֹם day
שׁפט judge
הַ definite article
רָעָב hunger, famine
אֶרֶץ earth
אִישׁ man; somebody; human being; each one
מִן from, out of