Ruth 1 Commentary

Ruth 1 Commentary

The timing of this love story is the days when the Judges ruled. While the Book of Judges looks at the life of the nation of Israel, Ruth zooms into the life of an ordinary Israelite family. The Book of Ruth seeks to establish the point that the LORD had been at work ‘in the background’. At the national level, the tools used to deliver Israel were often raw, unpolished, and often very faulty. But in the background, the LORD was nurturing the seed. The Book, therefore, is about the LORD’s work of redemption wrapped in a love story.

If you have been through the Book of Judges, you will also appreciate the tone of the book with its strong godly connotations. It is such a relief!

Elimelek’s relocation to Moab during a famine gives you an impression that families amongst the various peoples were freely mingling. So we find Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah living freely in Moab. Elimelek’s family included his wife Naomi and two sons Mahlon and Kilion. While in Moab, Naomi lost her husband and her two sons. Having no reason to continue staying in Moab, and also having heard that back home there was now food to survive on, she returned home in the company of Ruth, her daughter-in-Law. It is this Ruth who becomes the main character of the book that bears her name.

“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” We can start from here. These famous words are important because they are a reflection of someone who had come to love and appreciate Naomi’s God. They represent Ruth’s integration into God’s family of believers.

Naomi is an evangelist. Her lifestyle ministered to Ruth. She sought the God of Israel because of this woman’s faith. This is the purpose for which the saint exists. Has anyone come to the LORD because of your lifestyle? Will someone want your God to be his God?

In the lineage of the LORD Jesus that the Gospel of Matthew presents, only five women are mentioned by name: Tamah, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. We read about Tamah in Genesis and Rahab in Joshua. We are blessed to read about Ruth today and in the next few days. We shall read about Bathsheba in the Book of Samuel. The fifth woman is the well-known Mary, the mother of the man Jesus Christ. Put in this context, the Book of Ruth has importance well beyond these few pages.

It is exciting to read about the women who carried in their wombs the seed of salvation. There is a reason why the LORD chose Tamah. There is a reason why the LORD chose Rahab. By reading the Book of Ruth, we can possibly guess the reason for her selection. The women the man Jesus Christ called moms; this can be an interesting study!

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Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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