On Sunday you were introduced to Ruth, the great-grandmother of last week’s character, David. Ruth’s story gets off to a rough start: she is a young, childless widow in a society that honors mothers and wives. She is also from Moab, a community that isn’t exactly getting along with Israel at this time. In more ways than one, Ruth is an outsider.
Along with her mother-in-law, Naomi, Ruth finds herself in Bethlehem after both women are widowed. In order to meet their physical need to eat, Ruth goes to the fields to take from the extra crops. This process is called gleaning, and is actually mandated according to Jewish Law (Leviticus 23:22, Deuteronomy 24:19), so the field owners would have intentionally left extras from their harvest for widows, orphans, and foreigners to glean.
The man who owns the field where Ruth gleans is named Boaz, and he takes special interest in Ruth, even though she could be seen as an outsider. After some time, Boaz marries Ruth and welcomes her into the family. Ruth is saved from poverty, brought into a close-knit community, and becomes a mother! Several generations later, her great-grandson David is the King of Israel. Several generations after that, Jesus is born in Ruth’s family line as well.