The Book Of Ruth
Chapter One

Chapter 1 Introduction
"Ruth's Reality"

J. Deering,

1.     Introduction 2.     Full Outline
3.     Horizontal Chart  


The book of Ruth Chapter One is a complicated chapter that has in its roots the sad story of a family who chooses to “walk away” from God during a time of adversity.

This part of the story is broken down into four main paragraphs which are made up of twenty-four individual elements.

The first paragraph (1:1-5) introduces us to the “times of the Judges.” A dark age in the history of Israel when “everyone did that which was right in his own eyes,” instead of nationally turning to God. Because of this God brought “Judges” or dictators into the lives of the Israelites to deal with their wayward hearts and stiff necks.

A great famine had overtaken the nation, most likely brought about by the Midianites (they probably lived in the area of Sinai then considered part of Egypt) who aggressively warred with Israel over several years (Judges 6:3-4).

A man and his family decide that the Hand of The Lord is too hard upon them and they forsake Him and their country in order to satisfy their needs. They have chosen to sojourn (go for a short time) to the land of Moab. This is the land where their distant cousins settled, the descendants of Lot through his son Moab – the Moabites.

After getting established in their new life Naomi’s husband dies and leaves her and her two male children. The boys forsake their Israelite heritage, and the law of their God, and marry foreign wives (gentile idolaters) from Moab. After ten years of married life both husbands also die leaving three women on their own in Moab.

At this point in their story we should understand that with the death of Elimelech, Mahlon, and Chilion, the physical line to Christ through Naomi to David has become broken. Apparently a brother of Elimelech is unwilling to continue the line. On top of that the Physical line to David is now broken from another direction because Boaz is wifeless and childless. We should consider this a very important time in history when the evil one has caused, what seems like, the destruction of prophesy – the promise given to Abraham as seemly been broken, and the promised Messiah cannot come. But God has a better plan already in place and at work.

As the second paragraph of the book evolves (1:6-10), the Elimelech’s wife, Naomi, and the two son’s wives, Orpah and Ruth, are now in the unenviable position of having no money, no inheritance, and no property (except whatever Naomi owns outright). When things seem at their darkest they hear that “the Lord of Israel has visited His people in giving them food.” Here we also note the length of the famine in Israel. Naomi determines that it is time for her to return to her country and her people – even though she will be as indigent there as in Moab.

In the third paragraph (1:11-18) The three begin their journey but as they approach the edge of Moab Naomi attempt to give the two Moabitesses their freedom to choose their own destiny. One, Orpah, chooses to remain in Moab and return to her people. The other, Ruth, has developed strong bonds with Naomi, Naomi’s Israelite heritage, and Naomi’s God, the Lord God of Israel. She chooses to return to Judah with Naomi.

And lastly the fourth paragraph (1:19-22), the story shifts to Bethlehem, near Jerusalem, and as Naomi and Ruth return to the city Naomi is full of anger, disappointment toward her God, but she is still a woman of faith. They arrive at that time of the year when the last harvest is about to be collected – the Barley harvest.

The movement of God’s hand across His people is a wonderful and rich study. The book of Ruth displays God’s dealings with at least three different ages and peoples.

First, of course, is the story of Elimelech, Naomi, Mahlon, Chilion, Orpah, and Ruth. Their story tells of the trials of a family trying desperately to survive in a hostile and cruel world. It is a story of a family who walks away from God, suffers terrible calamity, and then benefits from the wonderful grace of God when they return to Him.

Then it is the symbolic story of the Nation of Israel which goes its own way ignoring her God. It is the story of that same nation suffering greatly at the hands of those whom God has chosen to be chastisers of His wayward people – and the wonderful grace the nation will receive at the hand of God, the Messiah, who comes to liberate His people from the bondage of Sin.

Lastly, it also a symbolic story of how God deals with and loves His people in the current age, the age of “The Body of Christ,” His church.

1.     Introduction 2.     Full Outline
3.     Horizontal Chart  

The Book of Ruth, Bible Study, J. Deering,, study materials are a ministry of, and may be copied for use in Bible study groups, in limited numbers, providing that no charge is made for them.  No further distribution or use of these materials is allowable under U.S. or International Copyright Law without the express permission of ©2008, All rights reserved.