Ruth lived about the 13th century before Christ. She was the great-grandmother of David, the King of Israel.
During a time of famine in Israel, Elimelech and Naomi of Bethlehem took their sons and traveled to the nearby country of Moab. Elimelech died, and the sons married Moabite women. The older son, Mahlon, married Ruth. After about ten years, the two sons died and Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem. Rather than stay in her home country, Ruth returned with Naomi, vowing to make Israel her nation and to worship Israel’s God.
According to the law of Moses, farmers were to set aside some of their grain for the widows to gather. When Ruth was gleaning in the field of Boaz, a cousin of Naomi, he met her and treated her kindly. And as a close male relative of Ruth’s late husband Mahlon, he was obligated under the law to marry her, ensuring she was provided for. Boaz and Ruth were married and had a son, named Obed, who was the grandfather of David.
Ruth was a gentile who became an ancestor of Christ, showing even this early in history of Israel that God’s plan for salvation would include the entire world. She is commemorated together with all the ancestors of Christ on the Sunday before Christmas, known as “the Sunday of the Genealogy.”