The small Book of Ruth in the Old Testament is one of my favorites because of the wonderful picture it paints of the relation of the Church with the Lord. The Book of Ruth is a foreshadow. There are many details which go beyond the scope of this short lesson. Here are some of the basics.
The story is about a Jewish family who had to leave their home in Bethlehem (house of bread) because there was a famine in the land. They went to Moab where the two sons married two gentile women, Ruth and Orpah. In the course of time the husband and both sons died. The mother, Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem because the famine had ended. She encouraged the two wives of her deceased sons to remain with their people in Moab.
The two Moabite women are a picture of the two religions, Christianity and Islam, that are associated with the Jews through blood. One through blood relation (Ishamael, son of Abraham), and the other through the blood of Jesus. Orpah, which means stubbornness, is a type of Islam. Orpah remained in Moab. Ruth, which means friend or companion, is a type of Christianity. Ruth told Naomi, "Your God is my God." (Ruth 1:16)
When they returned to Israel Ruth gleaned grain in order to have food to eat. Ruth, as a type of Christianity, worked in the harvest field. Naomi did not. Christian missionaries work in the harvest fields of this world. There are few Jewish missionaries.
According to the law (Deuteronomy 25:5-10), a relative of a deceased Jew could marry his widow in order to keep the land of the dead man in the family. While she was working in the field, Ruth met Boaz. Naomi recognized that Boaz was a kinsman-redeemer and instructed Ruth on how to approach Boaz. On the last night of the barley harvest Boaz and the men slept in the field with the harvest to protect it. The barley harvest is the early harvest and takes place in the Spring. According to Josephus, this night was Pentecost night.
Unbeknownst to Boaz, Ruth slept at his feet. When he discovered Ruth in the middle of the night, he told her that he would begin the process of redemption in the morning. Ruth arose early the next morning and slipped away before she could be recognized. Before she left, Boaz gave her six measures of barley, the equivalent of six days wages. Perhaps this represents six millennial days wages. Ruth would have to work in the fields no longer.
Boaz began the process the next day, on Pentecost. The process involved him marrying Ruth. Boaz was the redeemer and a type of Jesus the Redeemer. Ruth is a type of the Church, the gentile Bride. And she was redeemed on Pentecost!!, the "birthday" of the Church. Jesus has promised to come for His Bride, the redeemed Church. When this occurs the Church will no longer work in the harvest fields. I look forward to that wonderful day.