The remainder of Judges shows continuing decline. The book of Ruth tells of an incident that occurred sometime during the time of the judges. The famine most likely happened when Israel turned against God, so Elimelech and Naomi leave Israel to go to Moab. Once the famine is over, Naomi wants to return to Israel. The proper thing for an Israelite woman to do in Ruth’s situation is to marry a relative of her dead husband so his land inheritance would stay in the family (see Deuteronomy 25:5-10). Recognizing that Ruth was not from Israel and that Naomi had no other sons, Naomi released Ruth from this obligation. Ruth’s response shows her love of Naomi and desire to follow God, even when inconvenient. Due to Ruth and Naomi’s need for food, Ruth is introduced to a relative named Boaz. We see that Boaz is a generous man who follows the law of Leviticus 19:9 and 23:22, which says that he should leave some grain behind for the poor to gather.
These chapters demonstrate how God intended for his laws to be used for the benefit of people. God did not want people to be stuck in hopelessness; he wanted people to have a way out, and part of the way out was based on the generosity of others. It still took faith. Ruth had to have faith that God would provide, even when no solution was evident, and Boaz had to have faith that his generosity would be rewarded.