Ruth is a woman from Moab who serves Naomi, a Jew in Bethlehem and converts to Judaism. She meets the wealthy Israelite Boaz and becomes a model convert to Judiasm by following Jewish laws.
Ruth is the central figure in this book and was originally from Moab where she married a son of Naomi and Elimelech, a Jewish couple who had relocated from Bethlehem due to a famine. After Naomi's husband Elimelech and two son's die, Ruth becomes a widower, and Naomi decides to return to Bethlehem. Ruth insists on following Naomi back to Bethlehem pledging loyalty to Naomi until death (Ruth 1:16-17). While in Bethlehem gleaning (collecting surplus crops from a farmers' harvested field intentionally left behind) for herself and Naomi, Ruth meets Boaz, a wealthy landowner and relative of Naomi and a relationship develops between them. Naomi tells Ruth to secretively approach Boaz in the grain threshing area, uncover his feet and lay there beside him. She does this and then secures Boaz's consent toward commitment eventually leading to her and Boaz getting married. They conceive a son named Obed, the grandfather of King David.
Importance from Jewish perspective
Ruth is celebrated as a Jew-by-choice convert to Judiasm who respected and followed traditional Jewish principles. For example, Ruth tries to win over Boaz on account of her being the nearest relative to be kinsman redeemer according to Jewish law (Leviticus 25:25–55). Boaz also had to overcome the obstacle of having a relative with a stronger claim, per Deuteronomy 25:7–9, in order to marry Ruth. Abiding by these rules, they represented a legitimate and lawful union.
Importance from Christian perspective
Ruth is a distant foremother relative to Jesus through the lineage of David. Ruth is a great-grandmother of David whom Jesus is related to through Mary being betrothed to Joseph who is of the linage of David, when Jesus is born.