Movie Review: Ruth the Musical

John FarrellBy John Farrell7 Minutes

Are you looking for something entertaining to watch this weekend that is fit for the entire family and features catchy arm-swinging, hand-clapping ditties?

If you’re unfamiliar with the Book of Ruth, the eighth book of the Old Testament, you need to watch Ruth the Musical. You will quickly become a fan of Ruth and her story.

Ruth’s story is one of loyalty, bravery, and a new-found faith in Jesus Christ.


When Ruth’s husband (Mahlon), brother-in-law (Chilion), and father-in-law (Elimelech) all die in battle, Naomi (Elimelech’s widow) urges Ruth and Orpah (Chilion’s widow) to stay in Moab and return to their families. Naomi intends to return to Bethlehem—the land her and her husband along with their two young sons left years earlier when Israel was suffering from famine.

Since Ruth and Orpah are Moabite women and would be ridiculed and imperiled in Israel, Orpah decides to heed Naomi’s advice. However, Ruth chooses to stay by Naomi’s side with full awareness of the inherent risk that comes with the decision.

But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.” (Ruth 1:16 NLT)

Although the Moabites and Israelites were related by blood and neighbors geographically, separated by the Dead Sea, the two nations had many cultural differences and often viewed each other as rivals. Chief among these differences was their faith. The Moabites worshipped pagan gods, primarily Chemosh, while Israelites practiced Judaism. Another main point of contention between the feuding tribes was that the Moabites “did not welcome [the Israelites] with food and water when you came out of Egypt. Instead, they hired Balaam son of Beor from Pethor in distant Aram-naharaim to curse you.” (Deuteronomy 23:4)


When Ruth arrives in Bethlehem with Naomi, she knows she will not be readily accepted but instead be susceptible to discrimination and abuse. The suffering and judgment she receives at the hands of some of the Israelites have nothing to do with who Ruth is as a person but simply because she is from the Land of Moab—a land rife with immorality.

She shows an extreme amount of bravery just by entering into Judea and, for the most part, assimilating into the daily life of her newly adopted home. However, it isn’t always easy. In the movie, an Israelite man consistently harasses and attacks Ruth and Shayla—another young Moabite woman in Bethlehem. The common assumption is that since Ruth is from Moab she must be like all the other Moabite women, who had a reputation for whoring themselves to the Israelites.

The pain and ridicule get so bad that Ruth tells Naomi how much she hated being in Bethlehem and contemplates leaving. However, because of her selfless compassion, Ruth decides against it and chooses to stay by her mother-in-law’s side to take care of her.

New-Found Faith in Jesus Christ

Ruth is originally a pagan born and raised in Moab, far from the Jewish life she would come to know later in her life. When she arrives in Judah, she finds works in a barley field. Fortunately, Boaz, the brother of her deceased father-in-law, owns the field. Upon noticing Ruth, Boaz ensures that she is not harassed and is well taken care of while working in the field: “I have warned the young men not to treat you roughly. And when you are thirsty, help yourself to the water they have drawn from the well.” (Ruth 2:9)

As Ruth and Boaz grow closer together, the two eventually fall in love. However, before they can get married they must first clear one large hurdle—the Levirate Marriage Law. According to, the Levirate Marriage Law states, “if a married man died without a son, his brother was to marry the widow.” Since Ruth’s brother-in-law, Chilion, died alongside her husband and father-in-law, Elimelech, in battle, the duty of marrying her (and purchasing the land from Naomi) fell on other relatives; however, Ruth or the relative could decline without losing favor or grace.

Because Boaz was one of Elimelech’s brothers he was one of Ruth’s family redeemers, but Ami, another brother of Elimelech, was a closer relation. Therefore, Boaz had to give Ami the first opportunity to buy the land from Naomi, which he agreed to. However, when Boaz reminded Ami that by purchasing the land he was required to marry Ruth, he declined.

Then Boaz told him, “Of course, your purchase of the land from Naomi also requires that you marry Ruth, the Moabite widow. That way she can have children who will carry on her husband’s name and keep the land in the family.” (Ruth 4:5)

The longer Ruth stayed in Bethlehem the more she came to know and worship the God of Israel and adjust to the Jewish lifestyle through both Boaz and Naomi. She served as an example to other gentiles who converted to Judaism that they can become good Jews and exemplary followers of Jewish law.

Shortly after marrying Boaz, Ruth gave birth to a son named Obed. Obed fathered Jesse, who later became the father of King David, who was an ancestor of Jesus.

With catchy tunes and a spiritual plot that closely follows the Book of Ruth, Ruth the Musical is a movie that will leave you inspired.