What's with the Genealogy
The author is clearly drawing a connection between David and his great-grandparents, but why the second, bigger genealogy? The short genealogy in Ruth 4:17 makes the longer one in 4:18 – 22 technically unnecessary within the framework of the story. The longer one is a strategic effort to weave Ruth’s story into the narrative of Genesis and into the future hope of the prophets. The opening phrase, “these are the generations of…” in Ruth 4:18, is identical to the same phrase that divides the book of Genesis into ten parts. (See Gen 2:4, 6:9, 10:1, 11:10, 11:27, 25:12, 25:19, 36:1, 36:9, and 37:2.) And, it occurs one other time in the Torah (see Numbers 3:1). This makes the appearance of this key phrase in Ruth 4:18 the twelfth occurrence in the entire Old Testament, and that’s hardly a coincidence. Twelve is symbolic of the unified tribes of Israel, and this story points to the future king of Israel who will unify the tribes in one kingdom. Also, 4:18 – 22 is a ten-person genealogy and there are only two other ten-person genealogies in the Hebrew Bible, Genesis 5 (Adam to Noah) and Genesis 11:10–26 (to Abram). It is an indication that a new age was beginning; as it did with Noah, and then with Abraham, so too it would with King David.
This is a BIG message in a SHORT story. It shows how God is weaving his grand story out of the small, seemingly inconsequential stories of everyday people. This little story is intentionally framed at the beginning and end by the larger storyline of the Bible, and Ruth shows how God is at work in the day to day activities of average people. All the characters face life’s normal challenges (death, moving, lack of financial resources, familial responsibilities, etc.) and find God is weaving a story of redemption out of all the details. The Book of Ruth encourages us to view our day-to-day lives as part of God’s bigger plan for our lives and world.