Introduction to RuthThe Historical SettingThe book of Ruth is appropriately named after the main character, a faithful young Moabite woman, great-grandmother of David, and forbearer of Jesus Christ (Ruth 4:22). Ruth begins, “In the days when the judges ruled” (Ruth 1:1, ESV).1This means the events seen in Ruth occurred sometime between the judges Othniel (Judges 3) and Samson (Judges 13-16).2There are two geographical entries mentioned in this book. The first is the city of Bethlehem (“House of Bread”) in Judea. Bethlehem is situated in the southern section of the Judean Hills, approximately 6 or 7 miles south of Jerusalem. Second is Ruth’s hometown of Moab, which is located on the east side of the Dead Sea near the modern-day kingdom of Jordan. Ruth takes place at a time of peace between Israel and Moab, which is in stark oppositionto the previous book of Judges, which presents a period of moral evil and external oppression. Although there was peace between Israel and Moab, there was a lack of peace between Israel andGod, as Israel’s unfaithfulness and disloyalty to the ways of God had grown.3Because of Israel’s unfaithfulness and disloyalty God brought judgments upon his people, judgments that included conflicts and famines (Ruth 1:1). The beautiful narrative in the book of Ruth begins with a crisis,a famine in the land of Bethlehem. It is this famine that leads to hope. Hope through Ruth’s loyalty to Naomi (Ruth 2:6-18), hope through Ruth’s relationship to Boaz (2:1-4:16), and hope through Ruth’s great-grandson, David (4:17-22). 1 Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced employ the English Standard Version.