Ruth’s story is cast against the backdrop of an ancient patriarchal culture, where a woman’s identity and security depended on her relationships with men (especially her father and/or husband). Her value as a wife and contributor to society was measured by counting her sons. Under these cultural standards, it is puzzling that a Gentile outsider like Ruth—who for most of the story is widowed, childless, and barren—became a luminary of biblical history. Yet she is unquestionably one of the most significant women in the Bible.
Ruth’s story forms a historical and theological bridge from the era of the judges (Ruth 1:1), when the people of Israel did evil in God’s sight (Judg 2:10–19), to Israel’s monarchy. In contrast to Israel’s unfaithfulness to God, Ruth embodies the courageous, sacrificial character that God’s image bearers are supposed to possess. …
Barry, John D. et al. Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012. Print.