The book of Ruth is one of the Historical books of the Old Testament. It is a rather short book, consisting of only four chapters. The book of Ruth according to many scholars was originally part of the Book of Judges, but it was later separated from that book and made independently.
The story of Ruth contains four different episodes that together form a beautifully constructed novella:
1st Episode: The anguish of Loss (Chapter 1: 3-22)
During the time of Judges when there was a famine, an Israelite family from Bethlehem (Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and there sons Mahlon and Chilon) immigrated to the nearby country of Moab. Mahlon married a Moabite woman named Ruth. When Naomi husband and two sons died, she decided to return to her home town of Bethlehem. She had two daughter-in-laws Ruth, and Oprah. (All three were widows). Naomi tells her daughter in laws to return to their own mothers and remarry. Oprah decided to return to people, but Ruth could not be persuaded. She had shared loneliness, anxiety and grief with Naomi, and she could not bare to think of Naomi completely alone.
This part of the story contains Ruth famous speech of loyalty (Ruth 1:16-17) which states:
But Ruth said
“Do not press me to leave you
Or to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go;
Where you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people and God my God.
Where you die, I will die
There I will be buried
May the Lord do thus and so to me
And more as well
If even death parts me from you!’’
So the two women returned to Bethlehem in time for the autumn harvest of barley.
2nd Episode: The Love Story (Ruth Chapter 2:1)
“As it happened” Ruth went to the field of Naomi’s rich relative Boaz. This phase is often used in the Bible to suggest that God is setting the scene for something significant.
Naomi knew that Ruth was beautiful and respected, and knew that a rich husband for Ruth would resolve their problems....