Ruth is probably the most well-known woman in Jesus’ line after Mary. She even has her own book! She was a Moabite married to a Hebrew. After her husband died, her mother-in-law Naomi sent her back to Moab so she could be with her family and because Moab had plenty of food. But Ruth stayed with Naomi, saying that Naomi’s people were now her people and Naomi’s God was now her God. (Ruth 1:16) (Cueing U2).
Back in Bethlehem, Naomi’s hometown, Ruth meets Boaz. He takes care of her and Naomi by giving them barley and then purchasing Naomi’s husband’s land. He marries Ruth and they have Obed. (Ruth 4:13-17). Naomi is a widow, the bottom of the social totem pole, yet she offers her daughters-in-law a chance to leave her and go home to a better life. She’s selfless. Orpah is obedient and goes home. Fortunately, Ruth is loyal and stays. So it becomes two women looking after each other.
Like Rahab, Ruth is a faithful outsider. While the Hebrews are constantly spoken of as the chosen people, they are made up of a lot of converts, pathing the way for Gentiles to be included in Christianity. Ruth’s story starts unhappily, the death of the male family members, and ends with a storybook ending, a happy marriage. That’s probably why it’s still so popular, but I think all the family dynamics—Ruth and Naomi, Naomi and Orpah, Boaz and Naomi, Ruth and Boaz—are important.