A charming OT story which comes as a relief after the savagery of Judges, and, placed before 1 Samuel, it serves as a bridge between two epochs in Israelite history; the judges and the monarchy. Ruth, a Moabitess, cared for her widowed mother-in-law Naomi, who in turn was instrumental in finding a husband for Ruth, whose husband had also died. The man chosen was from the tribe of Judah, by name Boaz (Ruth 2: 1), who was prominent and rich. The son born was called Obed (Ruth 4: 17) and was the grandfather of David. Because of the Moabite involvement, it has often been supposed that the book was written as a universalist tract (in the same spirit as Isa. 56: 6–8) in protest against narrow nationalism in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah after the Exile, when intermarriage with foreigners was prohibited (Neh. 13: 23–8). On the other hand, is it likely that at such a time after the Exile someone should deliberately ascribe a foreign ancestry to King David? Thus there is also an opinion that the book should be dated earlier—between the 10th and 8th cents. BCE, and not as late as 400 BCE—and could be a timeless story about vulnerable people in society.

Under the guidance of Yahweh the book restores hope and goodness to the human scene and notices the rewards which accrue for unconventional feminine initiatives. Even the patriarchal genealogy culminating in King David does not prevent the book bearing the feminine title.