The book of Ruth largely focuses on the relationship between Ruth and Boaz. Ruth was a Moabite woman had come to Israel as the widow of an Israelite man. She had returned with her mother-in-law, Naomi, who had also lost her husband. They lived together in a humble situation, and Ruth would go to the fields each day to glean food in the fields during the harvest.
Boaz was a landowner where Ruth came to find grain. He knew of her situation and told his workers to leave plenty of grain for her to find. Boaz also offered her food with the other workers and encouraged her to work in the safety of his fields throughout the harvest.
Naomi noted that Boaz was a close relative who, according to Jewish law, had the right to marry Ruth after the death of her husband. Naomi encouraged Ruth to go to Boaz in the evening and present herself willing to accept a marriage proposal from him. When she did, he was pleased, yet noted that there was one relative who was closer in line to marry Ruth.
The next day, Boaz met with this relative and presented the situation. The relative turned down the offer as he felt it would cause harm to his own family situation. Boaz then made a commitment in front of the town’s leaders that he would take Ruth as his wife.
Boaz and Ruth were married and soon had a son named Obed. Naomi’s misfortune had turned to joy as she became a grandmother. Obed would later become the grandfather of King David, who would also serve as an ancestor of Jesus Christ.
Ruth is one of four women specifically named in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus. Matthew 1:5–6 says, “Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.”
The story of Ruth and Boaz offers many wonderful insights for today. Among them is the principle that God often works through those who have endured tragic situations to change the lives of many others. Second, God will work through unlikely means. Ruth was a poor widow and a foreigner, yet God used her as part of the family line of both David and Jesus. Third, God’s sovereign power can be seen. He is in control of everything that happens, even when we do not understand the situation.