We’ve begun working through the Book of Ruth in our Sunday School class. It’s a relatively short book, and a lot of folks probably haven’t given it much thought. But the four short chapters are actually loaded with important redemptive-historical theology. The central theme is the “kinsman-redeemer,” a close relative who redeems a widow by marrying her. Ruth explicitly connects this to God’s own redemption when Boaz discovers her at his feet: “Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a kinsman-redeemer.” (Ruth 3:9; compare with the “under whose wings” of 2:12)
This theme becomes even more significant when we realize that King David is a descendant of this redemptive marriage (Ruth 4:17). However, there are even more points to consider. Ruth is a Gentile who is redeemed by an Israelite. Further, the reason that Naomi and her family ever went to Moab in the first place was because of a famine, the same reason that Israel went into Egypt. Therefore, the redemptive marriage takes place immediately after an exodus. Ruth’s story is Israel’s story in microcosm.
And you can’t go very long at all in the book of Ruth without running into references about the barley harvest (see Ruth 1:22, 3:2). From what we know of ancient Israel, the barley harvest would have occurred around the same time as Passover, and so Ruth’s exodus narrative reaches its climax during Passover, in the setting of a harvest festival. She is redeemed, and a new creation comes forth (offspring).
Here are the outlines for the first four classes in our series:
As Christians, we look back and Ruth and see an important link in the line of Christ (Matt. 1:5), but we also see a picture of the redemptive marriage between God and His people. As the Bride of Christ, we know that we were formerly separated from Him and only redeemed when He cleansed us and made us His own. Therefore, in the Book of Ruth we see a picture of our own salvation. Thanks be to God!