Rev. Haak is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Lynden, Washington.

The book of Ruth begins with a sad picture of famine and sin, of death and a door closed on begetting covenant seed. But what a bright and beautiful picture it is with which the book closes. Boaz takes Ruth to be his wife, and she bears a son. And beyond this, God unfolds His purpose to continue the line of Christ. The beauty of the book of Ruth, along with all the Bible, is the salvation which God gives us in Christ, who was born in that line of Boaz, Obed, and David (Lamentations 3:22, 23).

In Boaz’s marrying Ruth, several great truths are brought to the fore. In the first place, it shows that the Old Testament did not maintain mere legalistic bars against the heathen. Although Ruth was a Moabitess, her faith in Jehovah constituted more than ample credentials for her to be received into the nation of Israel. Although there may well have been naturalistic prejudices which she also met, they were not there in men of faith, such as Boaz. By him she was received as a child of God, and that was sufficient for him. Ruth’s confession in chapter one is now sealed in her marriage to Boaz.

Secondly, in the closing verses of the book of Ruth, we see the working of God towards the fulfillment of His covenant promises, especially those given inGenesis 3:15 and Genesis 49:10. In the midst of a day when there was much wickedness, and through people who themselves were not faithful (Naomi, Elimelech), God not only preserved a remnant of believers, but preserved the Seed of the woman, who is Christ. (Compare Genesis 3:15 with Galatians 3:16.) God, who knows the end from the beginning, brings Obed, and thus continues the promised line of Christ. This is wondrous in our eyes (Ps. 118:22, 23).

In addition it should be noted: 1) How it is emphasized that God gave Ruth conception (vs. 13). 2) That Naomi had to experience the truth of Romans 8:28. 3) That Ruth is specifically mentioned in the genealogies of Christ given in Matthew 1 (vs. 5). This corresponds to what the women say to Naomi concerning Ruth in verse 15.

Rev. Heys brings his comments on the book of Ruth to a fitting conclusion with these words: “Having promised through Jacob that the sceptre would not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh come, God brought Ruth to the promised land and moved Boaz to take her as his wife, so that Christ could and would be born in Bethlehem, and salvation with all its blessings might be given to us. Think highly of Boaz and Ruth. But think far more highly of God, who gave them the strength to do what He brought them into being to perform, and used them so that our salvation was earned, and will be a blessed reality for us when He sends His Son to bring us into that of which Canaan was only a type and shadow.”

May God bless the study of the book of Ruth to our hearts and lives!

Memory Work

Psalm 72:17-19

His name shall endure forever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed. 

Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. 

And blessed be his glorious name forever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.

Points to Ponder

1. The people at the gate readily and publicly acknowledged themselves as witnesses to the marriage of Boaz and Ruth and went on to bless them (vs. 11, 12). Does this teach that marriages should be publicly witnessed?

a. How do we give our blessing to couples as they marry?

b. Are we giving our blessing by our presence?

c. Outline the blessing given to Ruth and Boaz. What is meant by the reference to Rachel, Leah, and the house of Pharez, in verses 11 and 12?

2. Was Ruth’s conception a miracle? (Had she been barren? Was Boaz old?) Discuss this in light of other passages (Ps. 127, e.g.) and in light of our present evil day of abortion, etc.

3. How was Ruth better to Naomi than seven sons (vs. 15)?

4. What is the meaning and significance of the name “Obed”? Why did the neighbors name Obed (vs. 17)?

5. How was Naomi a nurse to Obed (vs. 16)?

6. From Matthew 1, write out the line of Christ from Abraham to Christ, and, from Genesis 5 through 11, from Adam to Abraham.

7. Returning to our introductory lesson and the five points under significance, do you see these and/or others now?

8. Write out the personal benefits you have received from this study.

9. Review your memory work and write it from memory!