RUTH - INTRODUCTION
The setting for this book
is generally accepted as having been about 250-300 years after Joshua, possibly
during the judgeship of Gideon, for while Boaz is described in Mt 1:5 as the son of
Rahab the harlot who was saved when Jericho was captured by Joshua, the term
“son” is used there in the sense of ancestor.
It is a kaleidoscope of
typological pictures. For example,
Elimelech my God is King, head of the family, leaving his God-appointed place,
is a type of Adam, head of the human family, leaving his God-appointed place; and as
Elimelech died, so did Adam. The two
sons, Mahlon sickness, and Chilion consumption, represent the two lines
descended from Adam: the Jew, and the Gentile. As
Elemilech’s two sons were associated with sickness, so are Adam’s two “sons”
also spiritually sick; and as Mahlon and Chilion died, so are Adam’s two “sons”
spiritually “dead in trespasses and sins,” as it is written, “Jews and Gentiles
... are all under sin,” (Ro 3:9), and are therefore subject to death.
is, however, also a type of the disobedient believer.
Naomi, as a godly wife,
represents the principle of true spiritual life which can never die, and
significantly her death is not recorded. On
the contrary we read of the perpetuation of her life through her grandson, the line
from which the Messiah eventually came, so that in Him her life is perpetuated
eternally. (The ungodly wife in
Scripture represents the religion which the natural man mistakes for true spiritual
She is also a type of the
believing remnant of Israel, suffering in a measure the results of the chastisement
visited upon the unbelieving mass of the nation, whose broken association with God is
portrayed in her widowed state, for Scripture speaks of Israel as being a widow, but
a widow to be brought through tribulation, and restored to God as her Husband.
It is to be noted that relative to the child borne by Ruth to Boaz, the
neighbors said, “There is a son born to Naomi,” so that in a sense, she as it
were, had been married to Boaz. But Boaz
is clearly a type of the last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who, of course is God, and
Who is the Kinsman Redeemer of Jew and Gentile alike.
Orpah, the daughter in law
who returned to the people and gods of Moab, is a type of apostate Israel whose
apostasy will culminate in their worshiping the Beast in the Tribulation.
Ruth the Moabitess is a
double type: one, of individual saved Gentiles; and two, of the Church which is
composed mainly of Gentiles. I am aware
that some commentators view her as a type of the believing remnant of Israel to be
saved in the Tribulation, but Scripture lends little support to this view. All that is recorded of her emphasizes her Gentile origin.
As noted already, it is Naomi who symbolizes the believing remnant, as well as
the principle of spiritual life.
All of this will be
discussed in more detail as we continue our study, but it is felt that confusion will
be avoided by presenting these basic types at the beginning.