In the Book of Ruth it has pleased God to preserve a history of a link in the genealogy of Christ that must be of great encouragement to all Gentiles who, forsaking country, kindred and gods, come to the Lord God of Israel to put their trust under the shadow of His wings (1:16: 2:12).
What an extremely improbable thing, humanly speaking, that a Moabitish young woman, in the chaotic times "when the judges ruled," should, by her faith and action, secure abiding mention the whole world over, and that too in the genealogy of Messiah; besides having a book in the Holy Scriptures bearing her own honoured name: Ruth = Friend, or Friendship.
But how much greater the honour that awaits her in the day of the manifestation of the sons and daughters of God! Truly the gathering together in one of all things in Christ presents to us glories that the heart of man is powerless to conceive. Meanwhile, we reach after a realization of it, as it were, by the power of the Word.
First, there is the "coming out." Would Ruth have attained to this great honour had she gone back with Orpah to the people and gods of Moab? Certainly not. Neither will Gentiles, however friendly, attain to the glory, honour, and incorruptibility of the coming kingdom, if in our later times they decline to "come out" from the people and gods of Moab of the latter days.
There are not many Ruths. Orpah is the prevailing type; but wisdom is justified of her children, no matter what the children of the marketplace think.
Then there is the "enduring unto the end." Ruth might have returned to Moab, just as it is said Abraham might have returned to Chaldea (Heb. 11.). An old man of Bethlehem might not seem so desirable as a young man of her own kindred, though her first husband was a Bethlehemite. But Ruth did not return to Moab, and as we may say, using the language of a later divine command, married "only in the Lord," with the result of the honourable divine mention we see, and the prospect of eternal life beyond.
To Gentile daughters of our day the "message" of Ruth is "Come out and be separate," and, having come out, think no more of Moab, but make your matrimonial alliances in the camp of Him who has purchased you, and to whom you belong, with your eyes upon the glory of his everlasting kingdom.
The book of Ruth was written after the birth of David (Ruth 4:22), and some have suggested that Samuel may have been the author. Be that as it may, the author lived after the events "in the days of the judges" v1 narrated, and felt the need to explain customs that were no longer practised in his day. See Ruth 4: 6-8.*