Ruth ~ Bible Study Questions

Ruth Study 1

Read Ruth Chapter 1

1. Who was Ruth, and how did she end up in Bethlehem?

2. What motivated Ruth to stay with Naomi rather than return to Moab?

Read 1 Kings 11:7 and 2 Kings 3:26-27

3. What kind of gods did the Moabites worship?

Read Ruth Chapter 2

4. What do we learn about Boaz?

5. What was it about Ruth’s character and actions that impressed Boaz?

6. How did God look after Ruth and Naomi?

7. How does God provide for us today?


Ruth Study 2

Read Ruth 3

1. How did Naomi plan to help Ruth?

2. What bold move did Ruth make? Why?

3. How did Boaz respond to Ruth’s actions?

4. What stopped Boaz from proposing marriage to Ruth immediately? What did he promise?

5. Why did the first kinsman decide not to redeem Naomi and Ruth’s land?

6. When Boaz declared he would marry Ruth, what was the reaction of the townspeople?

Read Ruth 4:9-17

7. Naomi adopts Ruth’s first son Obed as her own. He becomes her kinsman redeemer (verses 14-16) and inherits his grandfather’s portion. In just a couple of generations, the prophesies of the people of Bethlehem come true. For what are Boaz, Ruth and Obed now “famous”? (See Matthew 1:5)

Read Galatians 4:4-5 and 1 Peter 1:18-19

8. Who is our kinsman-redeemer? What sacrifice did he make to redeem us?

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A Brief Prophetic History of Israel

by Deborah Horscroft

Below is a brief historical outline from Abraham to Jesus to help put our People of the Old Testament Bible studies into context.

The Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were the fathers of the nation that came to be known as Israel. Jacob (renamed Israel) had 12 sons and his descendents became the 12 tribes of Israel. They settled in Egypt around 1876 BC.

Moses and the Law: Moses led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt around 1446BC. After 40 years of wandering in the desert, the generation who had rebelled against God and worshipped the golden calf had all died (other than the faithful Joshua and Caleb). Moses gave the people God’s law but did not enter the Promised Land. Joshua led the people into Canaan.

The Judges: For 480 years God’s people were ruled by Judges. Samuel was the last.

The Golden Age of Israel: Kings Saul, David and Solomon reigned over the united kingdom of Israel from 1050-930BC. Psalms and Proverbs were written during this period.

The Divided Kingdom: The Kingdom split into the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern Kingdom (Judah), which maintained the dynastic line of David and contained the holy city of Jerusalem. Elijah, Jonah and Amos were prophets of this period.

The Fall of the Northern Kingdom 722BC: The Assyrians conquered Israel. Isaiah and Hosea were prophets during this period.

The Fall of Jerusalem 586BC: The people of Judah were taken into exile in Babylon. Jeremiah was the prophet of God’s judgement. Daniel and Ezekiel were written during the exile.

The Restoration 538BC: When Cyrus, king of Persia, conquered Babylon the Jewish exiles returned under Ezra and Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. Esther and Zechariah were also written during this period.

Between the Testaments 432BC-5BC: After the last group of exiles had returned under Nehemiah and the last prophet, Malachi, had spoken, there was a time of scriptural silence until…

The Birth of Jesus the Christ 5 BC: Now under the rule of the Great Roman Empire, Israel awaited the promised Messiah, born in Bethlehem in the line of Judah.

This very sketchy history, including all the dates, was gleaned from the very useful notes in the Zondervan NIV Study Bible, especially the historical timeline.

Ruth and Jubilee

by Deborah Horscroft

Every seven years the Israelite Sabbath year laws provided for the freeing of all slaves, the cancellation of all debts and the laying fallow of the land. After seven sabbaths on the Day of Atonement a “Jubilee” year was called, and in addition to these other liberations all land was returned according to the original Mosaic distribution. In this way land was not so much bought and sold, as leased until the next year of Jubilee (and priced accordingly).

One’s land could also be recovered before the year of Jubilee by redemption. Either the owner or a kinsman could redeem the land for a price proportionate to the number of harvests before Jubilee. This is what Boaz did for Ruth and Naomi.

The basis for the release of slaves, debts and land was God’s ownership of both the people and land. Since he had delivered them from Egypt into the Promised Land, neither they nor the land could ever be sold.

When Jesus teaches in the synagogue in Nazareth, he reads: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19, Isaiah 61:1-2)

Passages in the Old Testament such as this were part of a growing understanding by the people of God that as they had been redeemed from Egypt and Babylon, so the Messiah would bring liberty to God’s people. Jesus claimed that he was the fulfillment of these prophecies. (Thanks to R.B. Sloan’s excellent article on Jubilee in the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship, IVP 1992)

Book Recommendation: A Lineage of Grace (Unshaken) by Francine Rivers

Back cover blurb:

2009 Retailer’s Choice Award winner! In this compilation of the five books in the best-selling Lineage of Grace series by Francine Rivers, we meet the five women whom God chose – Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. Each was faced with extraordinary – even scandalous – challenges. Each took great personal risk to fulfill her calling. Each was destined to play a key role in the lineage of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World.

Narelle: Ruth’s story is one of my favourite Bible stories. A Moabitess by birth, she married an Israelite who had moved to Moab with his family. She lost her husband, father-in-law and brother-in-law, leaving Ruth with her mother-in-law Naomi and sister-in-law Orpah. Naomi decides to move back home to Judah and Ruth insists on accompanying Naomi.

We journey with Ruth as she faces incredible hardships and remains loyal to Naomi. Ruth is prepared to take risks and follow her mother-in-laws advice, ultimately bringing justice for both herself and Naomi. I recommend ‘Unshaken’ to those looking for an inspiring and powerful story of love and hope.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Read first chapter for FREE at Amazon.com

Redemption in Ruth

by Deborah Horscroft

The book of Ruth is a beautiful love story, not only of a man and a woman but of a foreigner from Moab and her Jewish mother-in-law, and of a woman stripped of everything who finds joy in the grandson who will be her “kinsman-redeemer”, continuing the family name and looking after her in her old age.

Many old church songs talk about being “Redeemed”, for instance “by the blood of the Lamb” but it is a word which has lost almost all meaning outside Christian circles, and perhaps some within them.

The concept is reasonably straightforward and was a common one in Biblical times. To redeem something is to buy back something which was rightfully yours in the first place, like going back to a pawn broker to get your grandmother’s antique brooch out of hock. In the Old Testament, portions of the Promised Land could be redeemed by the original owner’s family, people could be redeemed from slavery and God was frequently redeeming his people from the consequences of their sin: usually being captured by foreigners. One of the great acts of redemption in the Old Testament is celebrated in the Passover, when God redeemed his people from slavery in Egypt. The Jews were told by Moses to mark their homes with the blood of a slain lamb, so that the angel of the Lord would pass over their homes as he killed the first born in each home in Egypt.

In the New Testament, Jesus is revealed as the one who redeems God’s people from slavery to sin, paying with his own sacrificial death.

Ruth followed Naomi home to look after her, but also to cast herself upon the mercy of Naomi’s God. She followed Naomi’s advice, gained a real catch of a husband and went on to become an ancestress (foremother) of Jesus Christ.