Ruth: Loyal Daughter-in-Law

Ruth is a beautiful example of living a loyal and faith-filled life.

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Pieter Lastman: Ruth Declares her Loyalty to Naomi

The story of Ruth, who was loyal to her husband Mahlon’s mother, Naomi, is a beloved Bible story. Ruth was a Maobite woman who married Mahlon. Her husband's family had emigrated to Moab because of famine. Mahlon's father died leaving behind Mahlon's mother, Naomi and brother Chilion who married Orpah.

Ten years later both Mahlon and Chilion died, leaving behind Naomi, Ruth and Orpah. With no one left alive from her immediate family, Naomi told her son's wives that she was going to go back to Bethlehem and that they should return to their families. Orpah didn't want to leave but decided to go back to her home village. Knowing that her life in Bethlehem would be difficult, Ruth refused to leave Naomi saying, "Don't ask me to leave.  Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your friends will be my friends and your God will be my God." 

Ruth and Naomi returned to Bethlehem together. It was a very long and difficult journey and Naomi could not have made it alone.  Shortly after arriving, Ruth met a rich land owner, Boaz, and she worked in his fields to provide for Naomi. Her dedication and loyalty impressed Boaz and they married and eventually had a son, Obed. Obed is the grandfather of David and is named as one of Jesus' ancestors in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke.

Here is her life story from the Bible.

• Ruth was a native of Moab
They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband. (Ruth 1:4-5, NIV)

• Ruth is the widow of Mahlon
I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. Today you are witnesses! (Ruth 4:10, NIV)

• Ruth loved her mother-in-law Naomi and vowed to stay with her
But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.  Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17, NIV)

• Ruth listened to Naomi’s advice
One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home for you, where you will be well provided for. Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.” “I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered. (Ruth 3:1-5, NIV)

• Boaz, the wealthy landowner,  notices Ruth
Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. (Ruth 2:11, NIV)

• Boaz agreed to buy Naomi’s estate and take Ruth as his wife
Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I. 13 Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it. Lie here until morning.” (Ruth 3:12, NIV).

•  Ruth gave birth to a son
So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. (Ruth 4:13, NIV)

• Through their family line came King David and ultimately Jesus, the Messiah
The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David. (Ruth 4:17, NIV)

Salmon the father of Boaz, Boaz the father of Obed, Obed the father of Jesse and Jesse the father of David. (Ruth 21-22, NIV)

Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife. (Matthew 1:5-6, NIV)

Read 10 Remarkable Women of the Bible.

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