Characteristics of Ruth in the Bible BF Blog

Characteristics of Ruth in the Bible

The story of Ruth in the Bible is one of my favorite books of the Bible. The Book of Ruth is a beautiful love story that begins with tragedy and ends with the commitment of a man and a woman. The book of Ruth speaks about the generosity, faithfulness, devotion, courage, and dedication it takes to love someone enough to move to a foreign land away from your own family. This is a testament to the characteristics of Ruth in the Bible.

This love story begins and ends with God’s provision and protection.  God was working in and through the character of Ruth. Therefore, Ruth was not only grafted into Naomi’s family but also the family of God. Through Ruth and Boaz God preserved our salvation through the line of David. Thereby, also protecting the lineage of Jesus Christ. Let’s study the story of Ruth, Naomi, Boaz, and God. They are the main characters of the Book of Ruth.

Naomi’s Family

Naomi with her husband and son left for Moab due to the famine in Bethlehem in Judah ruled by the judges. The husband and sons died leaving their wives, including Ruth alone to fend for themselves (Ruth1:1-5 NIV)

Ruth was a Moabite woman as stated in the Old Testament.  She left all that she knew upon the death of her husband to follow her mother-in-law to her homeland. Ruth decided to make Naomi’s God her God, Naomi’s family her family, and Naomi’s foreign land her home.

Ruth was a virtuous woman who was not afraid of hard work. Our God is an awesome God who chose a woman outside of the Jewish faith to become part of the lineage of the Messiah. Hence, this foretold God’s plan for non-Jewish people to be grafted into the family of God. Ruth was an ordinary woman used in an extraordinary way by God. Here are the characteristics of Ruth as we study Ruth’s story.

Ruth Was Faithful

Ruth a young widow clung to her mother-in-law faithfully claiming her allegiance to the mother of her husband. She wanted to die where her mother-in-law would die. She faithfully declared that the Lord should deal with her ever so severely if even death were to separate them. God proclaims this truth to us as well.  We can never be separated from his love.

“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

“neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:39 NIV

Ruth Was Courageous

It takes a lot of courage to leave all that you know to follow someone to an unknown place. I can only believe that God gave her the courage to keep moving forward. The Holy Spirit was leading Ruth to a new life with God and the people of God.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 NIV

Ruth Was Hard-Working

She went straight to work in the fields as they arrived in Bethlehem where the barley harvest was beginning.  Ruth immediately let Naomi know she was going to the fields to pick up leftover grain. God has always provided for widows and the poor. There were very few jobs for women in ancient Israel times, so they had to rely on the generosity of others. Boaz’s field provided this blessing to those less fortunate. Ruth worked in the field from morning until Boaz arrived. Ruth only took short rest periods in the shelter provided.

“So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.” Ruth 1:22 NIV

“And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.” Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” Ruth 2:2 NIV

“She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She came into the field and has remained here from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.” Ruth 2:7 NIV

Ruth Was Respectful

Upon giving her a source of income Ruth respectfully bowed down to Boaz. Affording him all the respect due to his station in life. However, it was God’s grace and God’s blessings that were truly providing for all her needs. Boaz also showed respect to Ruth by acknowledging all that she had done and was doing for Naomi. It was very noble to leave one’s mother and father and homeland to go to live amongst people Ruth did not know to care for another. Respectful Ruth thanks Boaz for putting her at ease. It was very courageous for her to go work in someone’s field not knowing how she would be received. However, the respect she showed Naomi proceeded her.

“At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?” 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. May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” Ruth 2:10-12 NIV

Ruth Was Generous

Not only did Ruth proceed to go to work to provide for their living. Her character was very generous with what she earned and what she was given.  After Boaz invited her to dine with him, she saved some of this food to give to Naomi. After she gleaned in the field until evening time, she then went to the threshing floor to thresh the barley she had gathered. She presented this to Naomi as well as the leftover food provided by Boaz.

“So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah. She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left over after she had eaten enough.” Ruth 2:17-18 NIV

Ruth’s Character Was Kind-hearted

Ruth was so kind-hearted to care for an elderly woman knowing she may not have the strength to provide for herself. Naomi was too old to find a new husband that could care for her. Ruth’s willingness to take care of her mother-in-law was the kindest and most generous thing she could have done for Naomi. Hence, this characteristic of Ruth was made known to all even to Boaz.

However, the Bible teaches that from within the heart of mankind comes all kinds of evil thoughts (Mark 7:21). However, Ruth’s heart was filled with kindness which led to the Lord blessing her and Naomi through Boaz’s kindness and blessings.

“Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!” Then Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. “The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz,” she said. “The Lord bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. “He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.” She added, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our guardian-redeemers.” Ruth 2:19-20 NIV

Ruth Was Steadfast

After sharing the news regarding Boaz being the owner of the field Ruth was steadfast in gleaning until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. Hence, she stayed close to the women of Boaz gleaning with them daily. She is also steadfast in her commitment to care for her mother-in-law by living with her and working in the field of Boaz. God’s desire is for our hearts to be steadfast by trusting in Him.

“So Ruth stayed close to the women of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law.” Ruth 2:23 NIV

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3 NIV

Ruth Was Obedient

After a time, Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi came to Ruth with the realization that she knew she needed to find a husband for Ruth. A husband that could provide well for them. Therefore, Naomi devised a plan that would require Ruth to step out on faith. Naomi knew that Boaz would be winnowing Barley on the threshing floor. She instructed Ruth to bathe, put on perfume, and her best dress. Ruth was told to uncover his feet and lie down at Boaz’s feet. As a close relative, Boaz would tell her what to do next. Ruth obediently did everything she was asked to do by her mother-in-law.  Hence, there were no questions, no complaints, and no whining. Ruth just did it.

“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.” Ruth 3:1-4 NIV

““I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered. So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.” Ruth 3:5-6 NIV

Ruth Was Noble

Time and time again Ruth’s life showed how she was devoted to her mother-in-law. When Naomi’s husband died Ruth devoted her life to caring for her. This unfailing devotion makes Ruth one of the most important women of the Bible. Ruth gave up her own people for Naomi and became part of God’s people. Hence, Ruth’s name will forever be linked to Jesus. Therefore, Ruth is a woman of noble character as written in God’s word. A strong woman who did the right thing for Naomi’s life beginning in the fields of Boaz where she worked to provide for others’ needs.

“And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character.” Ruth 3:11 NIV

“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” Proverbs 31:10 NIV

Our God Had A Plan

The moral of the story of Ruth is that God can do great things with any young woman regardless of what is going on in her personal life. Neither death, grief, nor being destitute prevented her from having a loving and compassionate heart for her mother-in-law whom she loved. Ruth’s love for her mother-in-law was God-like.

Only the one true God can use young women, young men, old women, and old men to complete His plan for our salvation and it included Moabites and the gentiles.  The mighty God of Israel had promised that no Moabite could join Israel, down to 10 generations because they would not the Israelites when they came out of Egypt. However, David would become King as the great-grandson of a Moabite woman named Ruth. The book ends with a ten-generation genealogy leading up to David (Ruth 4:18-22) and Ultimately Jesus our redeemer (Matthew 1:6:16 NIV).

Christ Jesus Our Redeemer

What started out as a story of a woman and her love for mother-law, blossoms into a story that fore-shadow Jesus our redeemer. As the story of Ruth unfolds, we learned that Boaz is a relative of Naomi and he is a guardian-redeemer. The purpose of a guardian-redeemer in biblical times was to buy back property the family had sold, provide an heir for a deceased relative, free a family member from slavery or avenge the murder of a relative. Hence, by telling Ruth to lay at Boaz’s feet the story of Naomi’s life was turned from bitterness to joy. From the first chapter, these things of God were part of a story of redemption that mirrors the redemption of all God’s people by Jesus.

Jesus came down from heaven to become human. Jesus Christ is the world’s Guardian-Redeemer. He walked the Earth to restore our relationship with God. As Boaz restored Naomi’s and Ruth’s lineage and allowed it to go on. Hence, Jesus will allow believers to go on to live in eternity with God. Therefore, as Boaz provided his protection to Naomi and Ruth, Jesus will provide protect His people. Boaz preserved the dignity and hope of Naomi and Ruth. Jesus will restore his people’s dignity and give them hope for a future. Jesus is the ultimate protector, and he will preserve the lives of those who follow Him.

The Word of God

This is the word of God and his plan for our future. A future filled with light and everlasting love. The Bible Story of Ruth is a beautiful picture of God’s plan for our future which is realized in Jesus. God has chosen to show his love for his people through the sacrifice of Jesus.

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—” Ephesians 1:4-5 NIV

Here is a Recap of The Nine Characteristics of Ruth in the Bible

However, there are so many more characteristics of Ruth in the Bible that can be written about.

Faithful – remaining loyal in affection or allegiance

Courageous – Not deterred by danger or pain

Hard-working – tending to work with energy and commitment; diligent

Respectful – feeling or showing deference, consideration, and regard for someone or something

Kind-hearted – having a kind and sympathetic nature

Generous – willing to give money, help, kindness, etc., especially more than usual or expected

Steadfast – resolutely or dutifully, firm, and unwavering

Obedient – complying or willing to comply with orders or requests; submission to another’s will

Noble – having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals

I hope you take the time to read the whole story of Ruth. It is filled with the hope of restoration for God’s people. Amen.

Additional Reading:

Jesus Taught Kindness and Compassion

20 Bible Verses About New Beginnings

Unconditional Love of God

Why Jesus Is Important

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