Who Was Ruth in the Bible: Unveiling the Loyal Moabitess

Ruth is a prominent figure in the Bible, known for her unwavering loyalty and compassion. She was a Moabite woman who married an Israelite named Mahlon during the time of the judges. When Mahlon passed away, Ruth chose to stay with her mother-in-law, Naomi, rather than return to her homeland. Their journey brought them back to Naomi’s hometown, Bethlehem, where Ruth’s story unfolds. The tale of Ruth is found in the Book of Ruth, one of the sections in the biblical canon known as Ketuvim or Writings.

Unveiling the Loyal Moabitess
Unveiling the Loyal Moabitess

Through her dedication and kindness, Ruth ultimately met and married Boaz, a relative of Naomi, following the custom of Levirate marriage. This union not only provided for Ruth and Naomi’s future but also forged a bond between the Moabite woman and the Israelite community. Ruth’s legacy is significant as she became the great-grandmother of King David, establishing her place within the lineage of Jesus Christ. Our understanding of Ruth’s character serves as a reminder of the power of loyalty, compassion, and faith in overcoming differences and uniting people from diverse backgrounds.

Ruth’s Background and Early Life

who was ruth in the bible
Ruth’s Background and Early Life

Origins and Family

Ruth was a Moabite woman who married into an Israelite family. She is the great-grandmother of King David and an ancestor of the Messiah. Ruth is genetically linked to Israel through Lot, the nephew of Abraham1. Her origins lie in the ancient region of Moab, which was located in present-day Jordan2.

Marriage to Mahlon

Ruth was married to Mahlon, one of the sons of Elimelech and Naomi. Elimelech and Naomi were Judeans who settled in Moab to escape a famine in their native land, Judah3. Upon marriage, Ruth became a daughter-in-law to Naomi. Her sister-in-law, Orpah, also married a son of Elimelech’s and Naomi’s family4.

The Famine and Move to Moab

During the time of the judges, there was a famine in the land of Judah. As a result, Elimelech and his family left Bethlehem and moved to Moab5. Unfortunately, tragedy struck and Elimelech passed away, leaving Naomi a widow6. Soon after, both of Naomi’s sons, Mahlon and his brother, died as well, leaving Ruth and Orpah widowed7.

In light of these unfortunate events, Naomi decided to return to her native Bethlehem, urging her daughters-in-law to return to their own families in Moab8. However, Ruth famously chose to stay with Naomi, stating, “Whither thou goest, I will go.” Ruth’s loyalty and dedication to her mother-in-law eventually led to her conversion to Judaism9.


  1. (https://www.gotquestions.org/life-Ruth.html)
  2. (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Ruth-biblical-figure)
  3. (https://www.learnreligions.com/ruth-in-the-bible-2076723)
  4. (https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/hebrew-bible/the-story-of-ruth/)
  5. (https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-stories/story-of-ruth-in-the-bible.html)
  6. (https://www.gotquestions.org/life-Ruth.html)
  7. (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Ruth-biblical-figure)
  8. (https://www.learnreligions.com/ruth-in-the-bible-2076723)
  9. (https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-stories/story-of-ruth-in-the-bible.html)

Ruth’s Journey to Bethlehem

Ruth's Journey to Bethlehem
Ruth’s Journey to Bethlehem

Naomi’s Decision to Return

In the time of the Judges, there was a famine in the land of Judah. Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Kilion, migrated from Bethlehem to Moab to escape the famine. Tragedy struck when Elimelech and his sons passed away, leaving Naomi and her Moabite daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, widowed. Upon hearing that the famine in Judah had ended, Naomi made the decision to return to her homeland of Bethlehem.

Ruth’s Loyalty

Naomi urged her daughters-in-law to stay in Moab and remarry, as she had no more sons for them to marry. Orpah eventually decided to stay in Moab, but Ruth displayed immense loyalty to her mother-in-law. Ruth insisted on accompanying Naomi back to Bethlehem, even adopting her mother-in-law’s faith and people by declaring, “Your people will be my people, and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16). This act of devotion showcased Ruth’s unwavering loyalty to Naomi.

Arrival in Bethlehem

Ruth and Naomi arrived in Bethlehem at the start of the barley harvest in April. The timing was significant, as it presented Ruth with an opportunity to support her and her mother-in-law by gleaning barley in the fields. It was in Bethlehem that Ruth met Boaz, a relative of her late father-in-law Elimelech. Boaz was impressed by Ruth’s dedication and hard work, and eventually, their relationship developed into a marriage.

This journey to Bethlehem marked the beginning of Ruth’s transition from a widowed Moabite woman to an integral figure in the lineage of King David and eventually, Jesus Christ.

Ruth and Boaz

who was ruth in the bible
Ruth and Boaz

Ruth’s Work in the Fields

When Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, returned to Israel, Ruth found work in the fields to support both of them. As a foreigner and a widow, Ruth was entitled to glean in the fields during the barley harvest. We learn that Boaz, a wealthy landowner and relative of Naomi’s deceased husband, took notice of Ruth’s hard work and dedication.

Boaz showed kindness to Ruth by allowing her to:

  • Glean in his fields
  • Access water from his well
  • Eat alongside his workers

These gestures demonstrated Boaz’s grace and care for the well-being of Ruth.

Naomi’s Plan

Naomi recognized Boaz as a potential kinsman-redeemer, someone who could marry Ruth and provide for their family. As a widow with no children, Ruth needed a new husband to secure her future. So, Naomi devised a plan for Ruth to approach Boaz, asking him to fulfill the kinsman-redeemer role and marry her.

Boaz’s Kindness

Boaz’s kindness towards Ruth extended beyond providing for her physical needs in the fields. When Ruth approached him, instead of dismissing her, Boaz responded graciously, acknowledging her loyalty to her family and her faith in the God of Israel. Boaz agreed to marry Ruth, provided no other relative was a more eligible kinsman-redeemer.

Ultimately, Boaz and Ruth did marry, fulfilling the role of the kinsman-redeemer and securing the future of their family bloodline. This union ultimately led to the birth of King David and the lineage of Jesus Christ as well. The story of Ruth and Boaz showcases the beauty of loyalty, kindness, and redemption.

The Marriage of Ruth and Redemption

The Marriage of Ruth and Redemption
The Marriage of Ruth and Redemption

The Redeemer

In the book of Ruth, we find a story of love, loyalty, and redemption. Ruth, a Moabite woman, chose to remain with her mother-in-law Naomi after the death of her husband. Ruth’s devotion to Naomi led her to the land of Judah, where she met Boaz, a relative of Naomi. Boaz, recognizing Ruth’s efforts to care for her mother-in-law, took on the role of the redeemer.

A redeemer, in the biblical context, is someone who restores the losses or rights of a person who has experienced hardship or injustice. Boaz, being from the same family as Ruth’s late husband, was well-positioned to redeem and restore her situation by marrying her, as was customary in that time.

The Union of Ruth and Boaz

The relationship between Ruth and Boaz was not one of mere convenience or necessity. They both exemplified remarkable character traits, making their story a timeless example of love and commitment. Ruth’s selflessness and loyalty to Naomi, along with Boaz’s righteousness and kindness, set the stage for a beautiful union.

At the threshing floor, Ruth approached Boaz while he was sleeping and lay at his feet. This was a symbol of seeking protection and refuge under Boaz’s care. Boaz, moved by Ruth’s humility and devotion, took immediate action to marry her. Boaz went through the proper legal channels, ensuring the nearest kinsman-redeemer was given the opportunity to marry Ruth before he could, as dictated by the Levirate marriage law.

Birth of Obed

After their marriage, Ruth and Boaz were blessed with a child, Obed. This child was not only significant for Ruth and Boaz but also in the lineage of King David and, ultimately, Jesus Christ. Obed would become the grandfather of King David, and this lineage would eventually lead to the birth of Jesus, the ultimate Redeemer.

This story of Ruth’s marriage and redemption, rooted in love, loyalty, and integrity, demonstrates how God can work through ordinary individuals and circumstances to bring about extraordinary blessings and redemption.

Ruth’s Legacy and Genealogy

who was ruth in the bible
Ruth’s Legacy and Genealogy

The Genealogical Significance

In the Bible, Ruth’s story is an important link between King David and the lineage of Jesus. Ruth’s genealogy is significant because it includes the names of several key biblical women. Apart from Ruth, the genealogy mentions Tamar, Rahab, and Bathsheba, who all played crucial roles in shaping the biblical narrative.

Ruth was a Moabite convert to Judaism who married Boaz, becoming the great-grandmother of King David. Ruth’s ancestry includes her as both a Moabite princess and one who chose to follow the God of Israel. Her decision to stay with her mother-in-law, Naomi, after her husband’s death, portrays her loyalty and kindness.

Ruth in the Lineage of David

Ruth’s legacy and genealogy are further highlighted in the book of Matthew, where she is mentioned as one of the females in Jesus’ lineage: “Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.” (Matthew 1:5-6). This connection solidifies Ruth’s importance within biblical history.

Ruth and Boaz had a son named Obed, who became the father of Jesse, the father of King David. The table below briefly illustrates Ruth’s genealogical connection:


Ruth’s story is a strong reminder of how our actions can influence generations to come. Her life and legacy have left a lasting impact on biblical history, and her inclusion in Jesus’ genealogy is a testament to her devotion and faith.

In conclusion, Ruth’s legacy and genealogy are important components of the biblical narrative as they connect her to the lineage of both King David and Jesus. Her story, along with those of Tamar, Rahab, and Bathsheba, serves as a powerful reminder of the impact women had on shaping Israel’s history and the story of redemption.

Frequently Asked Questions

who was ruth in the bible
Frequently Asked Questions

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