Ruth Study

Updated May, 2016

Pentecost and Ruth

During the days of Ezra; Ruth was appointed to be read on the Day of Pentecost.  Ruth is a profound allegorical prophecy and spiritual instruction and is also history leading into the family of David and the changeover from occasional judges [rulers] rising up; to the establishment of the permanent Davidic dynasty of hereditary kings.

After the background is set, the story begins during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. 

Since the harvest cannot begin until the Wave Offering Sunday; the story of the gleaning begins around the Feast of Unleavened Bread and ends at Pentecost.

The barley harvest began in the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the wheat harvest followed on its heels, being mostly completed by Pentecost.

The authorship of Ruth is generally ascribed to Samuel although the author is not named.  Samuel as we know was elderly when he ordained David king and died soon after, 1 Sam 25.  Samuel was probably born during the life of Obed and was of Ephraim, but probably knew the story of Ruth from direct contact with that family, and the fame of the story, as well as Divine inspiration.  Boaz and Ruth were undoubtedly righteous followers of the Word of God, even more so than the inhabitants of  Bethlehem appear to have been at that time.

The word Ephrata means “faithful” and refers to the waters of Bethlehem.  In this context Samuel is alluding to Elimelech as a faithful man.

Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

During the days of Eli his sons departed from God and Israel went astray. Then God afflicted them with famine and the sword of the Philistines.  It was at that time that Elimelech and his wife Naomi and two sons went out of Judea into Moab to find food and safety.  Then after many trials the people turned to God and God’s servant Samuel in repentance, pouring out water before the LORD.  From then on there was a period of peace and prosperity for a time, and it was during that time of peace that Naomi returned to Bethlehem with her daughter in law Ruth. 

Ruth quickly bore Obed who sired Jesse the father of David while Saul became king and turned away from God.  Then when David was just a teen the now aged Samuel was sent by God to anoint him king and soon after that Samuel died at the age of 90 years old.

When Ezra canonized the Hebrew scriptures, the book of Ruth was appointed to be read on the Feast of Pentecost.  After the preamble of the trials in Moab the story returns to Bethlehem beginning in the period of the spring harvest; beginning with the barley harvest after Wave Offering Sunday and continuing through the wheat harvest right up to Pentecost.

Ruth appears to have been written by Samuel.  The names used have considerable meaning and may be aliases used for the story.  Elimelech means “God is King”.  Naomi:  “Well favored, A delight to God and Man,”   Orpah means  “stubborn and stiff necked,” Chilion:   “pining away”.   Ruth: “A friend and companion”  Mahlon:  “sickly”  Boaz:  “In God is Strength;” which is also the name of one of the two pillars beside the entry into the Temple Inner Court.

The first part gives the background to the situation, with the real heart of the story beginning with Ruth accepting the God of Israel and her loyalty to her adopted family.

The book of Ruth shows the Covenant being extended to Ruth, a Gentile; by her being grafted into Israel and her marriage to Boaz. 

This is an allegory of and prophesies of the New Covenant calling together of both Jew and Gentile into a kind of spiritual Israel, which is to come in its fullness at the coming of Messiah and the pouring out of God’s Spirit on all flesh on a future Feast of Pentecost. (Joel 2:28, Acts 2)

The book of Ruth in its ultimate type, prophesies the calling out of all mankind and espousing all people then living to Jesus Christ (with the potential to overcome and be changed into spirit, and being added to His bride), and grafted into  the New Covenant; which will be extended to all flesh then living, at the establishment of the Kingdom of God on Pentecost when God’s Spirit is poured out on all flesh (Joel 2:28).

This event at Pentecost brings all who are still alive including Israelites, being spiritually Gentiles, not yet having been called into the New Covenant; into the spiritual New Covenant of espousal to Christ, at the establishment of the Kingdom of God over all the earth.

Ruth is a type of the first fruits of this world; with Boaz as a type of Christ: The book is a type of Christ’s love for his bride, and her love and faithfulness to the God she had dedicated herself to.

The harvest gleaning is a type of our diligent personal effort at seeking the Bread of Life, and Christ rewarding us and helping us in that effort just as Boaz helped Ruth.

Ruth 1:1 Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. 1:2 And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there. 1:3 And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.

1:4 And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years. 1:5 And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.

1:6 Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread. 1:7 Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.

1:8 And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. 1:9 The LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.

1:10 And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people.

This is a graphic lesson on the difference between mere words and deeds, for Orpah professed loyalty and quickly returned to her own ways and gods;  While Ruth professed allegiance to God and her marriage family and she WAS faithful.

That is a lesson for us today.

1:11 And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 1:12 Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons;

Now Naomi knew of the levirate law and that the next of kin of her husband or his next of kin should marry the widow yet she was testing her daughters in law; that she would be sure of her loyalty; even as God tests his people to see if they will make a worthy part of the collective bride of Christ.

1:13 Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me. 1:14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.

Orpah kissed her mother in law good by, and went back to her family and her gods.

1:15 And she [Naomi] said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.

Ruth however pledged her loyalty to God and to Naomi in the most thorough and loving manner; as we should also pledge our love and loyalty to our God our Father and to our espoused Husband Jesus Christ.

1:16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: 1:17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

Thereupon Naomi KNEW her daughter in law was diligently faithful and left off from testing her.

1:18 When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.

1:19 So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi? 1:20 And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.

1:21 I went out full and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me? 1:22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.

Naomi and Ruth come to Bethlehem where Elimelech owned a field. Elimelech having died, his son Mahlon inherited the field, but he and his brother both died childless,  now Ruth had control of the field until she bore an heir to her husband Mahlon by his next of kin.  If Ruth also died childless the land would then be inherited by the next nearest next of kin.

Naomi must have been aware of the natures of the two closest next of kin and she directed Ruth to seek Boaz, rather than to seek out the other.  Ruth hearing about Boaz from Naomi then sought him out to glean in his field; for Naomi must have spoken of him as a close kinsman who was of a generous mind.

Ruth 2:1 And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz. 2:2 And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn [grain, in this case barley]  after him in whose sight I shall find grace.

And she said unto her, Go, my daughter. 2:3 And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.

Boaz coming to his field to visit his laborers, notices Ruth and enquires about her, and then speaks to her.

2:4 And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.

2:5 Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this? 2:6 And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab: 2:7 And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house.

Ruth later takes a rest in the house [laborers rest shack] and was again enquired about by Boaz, who hearing of her good reputation and her loyalty to God and her adopted family, is willing to give her a blessing.

2:8 Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens: 2:9 Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.

2:10 Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger? 2:11 And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.

2:12 The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.

Brethren, this is an allegory of the love of Christ for those that God the Father has called to him; who are faithful and of good reputation; who love God the Father and Jesus Christ to whom they are called to espousal.  This story speaks of how those who are faithful to God and all his ways find favor with Christ and finally will be united in marriage to Christ at the Wedding Feast at the marriage of the Lamb in heaven (Rev 15, Rev 19).

2:13 Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens.

2:14 And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left. 2:15 And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not: 2:16 And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.

This gleaning of grain is about our quest for spiritual food and our zeal to internalize the “Bread of Life” Jesus Christ; and how if we work hard and diligently glean out the Words of truth; in his mercy and love our espoused Husband will instruct his angels to give us much increase.

As Ruth worked hard to find food, we are to work hard and are to diligently seek out that spiritual food of the Word of God;  diligently seeking to gather into ourselves:  the Word, commandments and very nature of God the Father and our espoused Husband Jesus Christ.

2:17 So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley. 2:18 And she took it up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed.

2:19 And her mother in law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned to day? and where wroughtest thou? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee. And she shewed her mother in law with whom she had wrought, and said, The man’s name with whom I wrought to day is Boaz.

Now Naomi when she saw the grain that Ruth brought, knew that the man felt strongly for Ruth to do her such a service, and remarked that he was a near kinsman; this too being part of the analogy, for Jesus Christ is near kinsman to all humans by virtue of being our Creator, and was of Judah and is therefore a near kinsman to physical AND Spiritual Israel, as Boaz was near kinsman through the husband of Ruth.

2:20 And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.

2:21 And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said unto me also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest. 2:22 And Naomi said unto Ruth her daughter in law, It is good, my daughter, that thou go out with his maidens, that they meet thee not in any other field.

Boaz entreats Ruth to come to only his field and no other man’s field, and Naomi tells Ruth that it would be good for her to go to Boaz only; so that she would not be seen by other potential suitors.

We can see the thoughts of love in the mind of Boaz and that he wanted her for himself, and in the mind of Naomi that she also preferred Boaz over the other near kinsmen.

This is analogous to the love of Christ for those called to him by God the Father;  and his jealousy that we should come to him alone.   

As Ruth was called by God to come forth from Moab to the field of Boaz; many are called out of this world to come to the field of Christ, there to learn of him by partaking of the Bread of Life the Word of God; which is Jesus Christ in print.

This gleaning period is a period of testing as is our time of espousal to Christ;  Ruth was tested and courted by Boaz; being blessed by him and no doubt conversing with him during the harvest.  In the same manner we are to be absolutely faithful through all our testing’s and to be in constant communication with God the Father

2:23 So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law.

In the larger area of Israel, the wheat harvest continued past Pentecost for a few weeks, however in the area by Bethlehem the barley harvest progressed into the wheat harvest which ended by Pentecost.

So it is near Pentecost that Naomi advises Ruth to seek marriage with Boaz.

Ruth 3:1 Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee? 3:2 And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.

3:3 Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking. 3:4 And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.

3:5 And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do.

Ruth was advised to make herself ready, to cleanse herself [spiritually picturing us being cleansed of all sin]  and put on her best [spiritually picturing the wedding garments of godly righteousness]; and to seek out Boaz asking him to cover her with his garment.  This is similar to God’s instructions to make ourselves ready for the coming of our Lord husband by cleansing ourselves from all blemishes of uncleanness and sin; so that he might cover us with the garment of His Righteousness.

Boaz had been “winnowing barley” on “the threshing floor.” He slept there in order to guard “the heap of grain” which he had been unable to transport into his granary. 

“At his feet”; The Hebrew word is not the usual noun for feet. Outside of this chapter it occurs again in Daniel 10:6 in the phrase translated “arms and legs.” The context suggests that Ruth “uncovered the place at his literal feet”.   She laid down at his feet, which was symbolic of her bowing down before him [spiritually picturing our bowing down before and accepting the authority of God over us in all things] accepting him as her husband, and accepting him as an authority over her.

The words “Spread thy skirt” is literally: “cover me with your wings.” To be covered by God’s wings is a euphemism for trusting and obeying God and placing ourselves  under his care and protection.

Now she asked her kinsman to let her find safety under his “wings.” However, she implied more. The same noun is used to denote the wings of a garment. The expression “to spread a skirt over” a woman means to take her in marriage; she placing herself under his care and protection (Ezekiel 16:8; Deuteronomy 22:30). 

3:6 And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.

3:7 And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down. 3:8 And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid [startled], and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet.

3:9 And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman. 3:10 And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.

3:11 And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.

Boaz then accepts Ruth to be his wife, but there is another who has first claim on her.  It is the very same with us today for sin has its claim on us and that claim must be paid.  We must be redeemed from our near kinsman, sin and Satan; by the payment of our debt of sin. 

Our Lord loved us so very much that he laid down his life for us in payment of our debt of past sin and redeemed us from our debt:

1 Corinthians 6:19  What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Ruth 3:12 And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.

3:13 Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman’s part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning.

3:14 And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor.

3:15 Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city.

3:16 And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her. 3:17 And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law.

3:18 Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.

Boaz acting quickly then goes to the near kinsman before the witnesses of the elders at the city gate, and asks the man about his intentions.

Ruth 4:1 Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down.

4:2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down.

4:3 And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech’s: 4:4 And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it.

4:5 Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance. 4:6 And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it.

This man knew that if he produced a child for Ruth,  that child would carry on in the name of Mahlon, and not his own name; and would inherit all that was Elimelech’s; which if Ruth had no son he would inherit himself being the nearest kinsman. 

4:7 Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel. 4:8 Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe.

4:9 And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi.

4:10 Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.

4:11 And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem: 4:12 And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give thee of this young woman.

4:13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son.

4:14 And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel.

4:15 And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.

4:16 And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it.

4:17 And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.

4:18 Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron,4:19 And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, 4:20 And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon, 4:21 And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, 4:22 And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.

Now Obed inherited all the land and wealth of Elimelech by the levirate law; and he also inherited all the land and wealth of Boaz. Becoming the head of a very wealthy and powerful family, out of which came David the king and into which family Jesus the Christ the King of kings was born.

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