Since then, a group calling itself Ruth Sent Us was formed. This pro-abortion group has threatened the Catholic Church with “burning the Eucharist” and disrupting Masses because four out of five of the concurring justices are Roman Catholic. The group uses the name “Ruth,” presumably because Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020) was an advocate for abortion her entire public life.
But, who was the Biblical Ruth, and what does her name mean?
“Ruth” means “friendship.” The Ruth of Scripture was a Moabite. The Moabites were despised by the Jews, yet Ruth married Mahlon, a Jew, when he migrated with his mother and father to Moab to escape a famine in the land of Judah (i.e., Israel). Ruth was a truly unlikely candidate for Jewish royalty, but she became the great-grandmother2 of David, the greatest king of Israel.3 When her husband passed away, Ruth stayed with her mother-in-law, Naomi, who was also a widow, and traveled with her to Bethlehem to be near her family.
But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother's house. May the LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The LORD grant that you may find a home, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. (Ru 1:8-9)
And [Naomi] said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said, “Entreat me not to leave you or to return from following you; for where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God; where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if even death parts me from you.” And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more. (Ru 1:15-18)
Widows were one of the most marginalized groups at that time in history. They had no societal status and little or no means to provide for themselves. If a widow had no children or family members to take care of them after their husband died, they were completely reliant on the generosity of the community to survive.
Ruth met her future husband, Boaz, a kinsman of Naomi, while gleaning grain from a field Boaz owned. Gleaning was something the poor did. They would enter a field that was already harvested and gather up the bits of grain left behind by the reapers.4 Ruth had no husband and no means to provide for herself, so she gleaned to survive.
Ruth caught Boaz’s attention while gleaning.
Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose maiden is this?” And the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, “It is the Moabite maiden, who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. She said, ‘Pray, let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.’ So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, without resting even for a moment.” (Ru 2:5-7)
Boaz developed a special love for Ruth, and she expressed her gratitude to him.
Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my maidens. Let your eyes be upon the field which they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to molest you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.”
Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, when I am a foreigner?” But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The LORD recompense you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” Then she said, “You are most gracious to me, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not one of your maidservants.”
Boaz took special care of Ruth.
And at mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here, and eat some bread, and dip your morsel in the wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her parched grain; and she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over.
When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. And also pull out some from the bundles for her, and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.” (Ru 2:8-16)
Following their first meeting, Boaz courted Ruth (or one might argue that Ruth is the one who courted Boaz) and they eventually married. Later on, Ruth gave birth to Obed, making Ruth part of the blood line that includes Jesus.5
Who is Ruth?
Ruth’s story is the story of a loyal woman who loved much and embraced humility.
Unlike today’s screaming and spitting “feminists,” Ruth was modest and humble. She stayed with her mother-in-law out of loyalty and respect. She adopted the Jewish faith out of love for God. Ruth was not too proud to glean. When Boaz was generous to her, she expressed great gratitude to him without being worried about showing her dependence on a man. Ruth recognized her place in society, as unfair as it may be considered today, and was aware that she needed others. She didn’t complain or, with a raised fist, fight for female independence from the patriarchy.
The Ruth of Scripture is basically the total opposite of the pro-abortionists who use her name today.
Roe v. Wade took from the states the ability to regulate abortion, effectively forcing all states to allow some form of abortion within their boundaries, regardless of what the votes want.
The mother of Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David.
After Jesus Christ, of course.
This was Jewish law and custom, to provide for the poor. See Lv 19:9-10, 23:22; Dt 24:19.