Plot Structure in the Book of Ruth
Prologue: A famine in Bethlehem results in Naomi and her family moving from Bethlehem to Moab (1:1-2).
Introduction of Problem: The death of Naomi’s husband and two sons, and the subsequent abandonment of one daughter-in-law leave her feeling empty both relationally (without a family) and spiritually (1:3-21).
Development of Plot: Naomi and her other daughter-in-law Ruth return to Bethlehem during the time of the barley harvest which ultimately provides for their physical sustenance, but does not address Naomi’s familial or spiritual emptiness (1:22-2:23).
Turning Point: Ruth, following Naomi’s suggestion, comes to the threshing floor at night to ask Boaz’s to redeem her (3:1-9). Boaz offers to redeem Ruth (3:10-13).
Consequence: Ruth spends the remainder of the night at the threshing floor and is given a gift of grain to give to her mother-in-law (3:14-18).
Resolution: Boaz addresses the final obstacle (a closer kinsman) to full redemption of Naomi and Ruth, marries Ruth, and provides a “son” to Naomi through Ruth (4:1-17).
Epilogue/Coda: The narrator, stepping into the present, provides a genealogy linking the Naomi’s “son” (Obed) to King David (4:18-22)
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