The shortest book in the section of history, Ruth, has at times bee appended to the scroll of
Judges, and even considered as part of that book rather than as a separate work by some.
However, the contents of Ruth stand in contrast to the contents of Judges. Ruth speaks of the
tender love and affection, first of Ruth for her mother-in-law Naomi; then of Ruth for Jehovah,
and finally of Boaz for Ruth. Judges spoke of the sin, bondage and blood-shed that
characterized that period of Israel's history. Ruth is the bright ray of light shining through the
dark clouds, showing not all is dark and dreary; for even within the wicked and violent times of
the judges, there were those who are faithful to God in their love for him and for others.
Ruth was read by the nation of Israel during the Feast of Weeks, during the month of Sivan.
This feast began with the first of the harvest, remembering the bondage of Israel in Egypt
(Deuteronmy 16:9-12). Ruth reminds them of the benevolence of the harvest, the leaving of the
gleanings, and what that has meant to the children of Israel in the ancestry of David, the
great-grandson of Boaz and Ruth.
The story of Ruth unfolds in the following manner: 1) Elimelech, of Bethlehem in Judah,
because of a famine takes his wife (Naomi), and his two sons (Mahlon and Chilion) to Moab.
2) Mahlon and Chilion marry two Moabite women (Orpah and Ruth). 3) Elimelech died before
the marriage of his sons, and now both Mahlon and Chilion die. 4) Naomi decides to return to
Judah. 5) Along the way Naomi advises Orpah and Ruth to return to Moab. 6) Orpah returns to
Moab, but Ruth will not forsake either Naomi, nor her God. 7) In Bethlehem, Ruth cares for her
mother-in-law by gleaning in the fields of a kinsman, Boaz, who is kind to her. 8) At Naomi's
urging, Ruth makes known who she is to Boaz, who then promises to perform the part of a
kinsman in making her his wife, if no one else claims the right. 9) Boaz, addressing the closer
kinsmen, claims Ruth. 10) Boaz and Ruth are married and live happily ever after.