The story of Jesus’ Great⁴³ Grandmother

Ruth is the 8th book of the Bible and through the next few weeks I’m going to work through the the book of Ruth. This will serve as an introduction to provide some background to the story of Ruth.

Ruth is the story of a foreign woman who came out of paganism and idolatry of Moab into the knowledge of the Lord God of Israel and was blessed.

The story of Ruth takes place “in the time of the Judges.” (Ruth 1:1) The story of the Judges “follow a consistent pattern: the people are unfaithful to God and he therefore delivers them into the hands of their enemies; the people repent and entreat God for mercy, which he sends in the form of a leader or champion (a “judge”); the judge delivers the Israelites from oppression and they prosper, but soon they fall again into unfaithfulness and the cycle is repeated.” (Wikipedia)

Ruth is described as a classic love story, a masterpiece of the storyteller’s art and German poet Goethe called it the ‘finest poem in human language. Legend has it that the story of Ruth was read to a group of atheistic, bible bashing, cultured Frenchmen. The names were altered so that it wouldn’t be instantly recognizable. After listening the group of men were delighted by the wonderful literary product and they wanted to know it’s origins. They were in shock when they learned it was from the Bible.

The author of Ruth isn’t known, though Jewish tradition as well as others believe it was Samuel that wrote it. It was written 150-180 years after the events took place. In Ruth 4:7 it talks about “former customs” which distances the events from the writing date. The genealogy that concludes this book ends with David, so it is reasonable to presume that he was the King when the book was written. The exact date isn’t known but it was likely written between 1010BC – 970BC.

We don’t know why it was written but it may have been written for King David. Ruth was David’s great-grandmother. This story was probably very special to David because of the connection with Ruth and the display of God’s grace towards her.

Among others there are 2 main reasons why Ruth is important to us today: The first is the genealogy that is provided. We have a genealogy of Ruth’s legacy that leads to King David and ultimately Jesus Christ. (Seen in Ruth 4:18-22Matthew 1) We also see the connection between the House of David(2 Samuel 7:12-13; Isaiah 9:7) and the Tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10) (Boaz is from the tribe of Judah) and without Ruth we wouldn’t see this connection. The second reason is that Ruth is an excellent display of redemption and we can learn about redemption through this story. Charles Spurgeon referred to the Lord Jesus Christ as “our glorious Boaz” and we will take a look at that comparison when we get to chapter 4.

So through the next 12 weeks or so I will hope to paint a picture of the story of Ruth and provide some practical aspects as well.

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