Women of the Bible Series
By Trudi Blount
Ruth || Her history
The Book of Ruth begins towards the end of the era of Judges, sometime between 1385 – 1051.B.C.
Ruth is probably one of the most lovable women in the Bible and her story is certainly the most beautiful love story.
Ruth’s name is one of the most widely used Bible names that people use to name girls. Ruth is actually my own Mother’s name. In Hebrew It is ‘Reu’ which means companion; friend; vision or the act of seeing, Reu-el means friend of God.
Jewish historians say that Ruth is a descendant of Lot. In the more literal sense, she was his great- great-great granddaughter. The Sages ( Jewish historians) say that Ruth was the granddaughter of Eglon, the king of Moab.
It is believed that Elimelech (Ruth’s father in law) and and his family came from an aristocratic background of high status.
Ruth 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, Ephratites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.”
Elimelech and his sons are described as Ephratites, one translation of this word is “princes”. One would naturally then expect that they would marry into the royal family of Eglon.
The story begins with a famine. The family of Naomi,
(whose husband Elimelech) was one of the leaders of the generation in Israel. He was a man of great wealth and highly developed character. But he made a big mistake.
During this famine Elimelech left Israel for the adjoining kingdom of Moab, a country out of covenant with God!
When they got to Moab, Elimelech died. Because of this Naomi lost everything. Ruth’s two sons Mahlon, and Chilion, (thought to be twins) married non-Jewish women. But Mahlon and Chilion also died.
When the family arrived in Moab they had been wealthy and of a high status. The Book of Ruth tells us that at this
point Naomi was now old and destitute. Rather than give up on life, Naomi made the decision to return to Israel. Her two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, wanted to go with her on this journey.
Naomi discouraged them from following her, with her husband and sons now dead the trip would be hard. Her daughters in law could help her, but she knew that it could be difficult for them to be accepted and fit in with the Jewish people. Ruth and Orpah came from Moab, where people were idol worshippers and considered out of covenant.
As we read about Ruth you will be become aware of the transparency and unselfishness of her character. She never seems to express doubt or wavering. She never seems to question things. You never hear a complaint escape her lips.
Ruth’s character reveals her heart, her trust for God and submission to authority. She follows Naomi away from her homeland to Bethlehem. Ruth is the perfect follower.
I certainly don’t mean to imply that she did not make brave personal judgements at the crossroads of her life. On the contrary, her steadiness and courage are outstanding. Her choices and decisions are paramount. Ruth wisely chose good role models to follow as we will discover.
There are times in life when we lead, and times in life our greatest strength is to follow.
Naomi had a hard road to walk, so God sent her Ruth to walk it with her.