Whoever wrote Ruth undoubtedly had the ending of the story in mind as they begun penning this brief book. It demonstrates themes like lovingkindness and the benefits of obeying God’s laws. Still, the great Biblical significance of Ruth and Boaz has to do with their great-grandson, King David. Yes, God provides for destitute Naomi and Ruth, and yes, Ruth shows hesed to Naomi. Of course, Boaz fulfills the obligations of a goel in a time where many Israelites dabbled with idolatry. Most notably, in the time of the Judges when everything is falling apart for Israel, off the beaten path of land battles and leadership failure, the small-town story of Ruth is shaping Israel’s future—and our future—forever. Through Ruth, God is raising up a King. Note I used the capital “K” because this story isn’t ultimately just about David. At the beginning of Jesus’ genealogy, Matthew goes to great lengths to clarify that Boaz’s mother is Rahab, a Canaanite, and his wife is Ruth, a Canaanite (Matthew 1:5). Through Rahab and Ruth, the genealogy leads to David, but ultimately to Jesus Himself.
Ruth is a story about how God is moving to bring salvation and hope while so many Israelites are toying with that which brings bondage and misery. It is God’s pleasure to work through the faithful, whether Israelite or Moabite, to bring His salvation, which benefits all people. The beauty of the ending in Ruth is that while Israel is destroying each other because they do not have a king, God is working to raise up a king to helpfully guide Israel in the near future, and also a King to guide the nations for all time. Ruth is a small-town story with world-changing implications.