Some have stated that Ruth is a type of Mary, which is a total misunderstanding of what a ‘type’ or ‘shadow’ (some call these idioms) is, or is a failure to recognise the distinction between the Church and Israel. Usually, however, it is a plain lack of understanding of Scripture.
The Book of Ruth is a rich source of types, which need to be applied carefully; and only where the application has been defined by Scripture. It is very easy to get carried away in creating types that are mere human inventions lacking any real connection to Scripture. Notwithstanding types are useful in illustrating future events: they occur in Scripture where the Holy Spirit has selected events that have occurred in the ordinary course of history which represent future patterns that will occur.
Ruth cannot possible by a type of Mary because:
Ruth was a gentile, therefore cannot be a type of Mary, since Mary had to be of the line of Judah, and thus an Israelite. It is true that Ruth was a Moabite and a descendent of Lot, a relative of Abraham, but not Abraham himself – Ruth was not a Jew. It is through Mary that Jesus (Yeshua) has the legal right to the throne of David, circumventing the curse of Jeconiah (Jeremiah 22:30). The genealogy that traces Mary back to the throne is recorded by Luke in chapter 3, who, according to custom, does not mention the woman, Mary, but uses her husband’s name (which she would have been known by, as did women of my mother’s generation, a rule also followed in Ezra 2:21, and Nehemiah 7:63).
Ruth was not a virgin. Although reading some translations of the English Bible, it could be misinterpreted that Ruth was a virgin when she went with Naomi to Jerusalem, she cannot have been. Indeed the struggle Naomi had was that her two daughter-in-law’s were widowed (Ruth 1:5) and Naomi could not provide further husbands for them. Therefore, since Ruth had been married she could not have been a virgin. Of importance to note is Mary was a virgin - this has important doctrinal consequence, and is prophesied by Isaiah 7:14. The Jews debate this hotly; but then they must, as Scripture states they would and do – to accept that Christ was born of a virgin would be tantamount to accepting Christ as Saviour! Isaiah deliberately uses a word to denote that the woman in question was to be a virgin. This turned out to be Mary.
Although some so-call Christians claim Mary could not have been a virgin, and given birth to Jesus Christ, such heresy is contrary to Scripture. These liberal Christians make many other claims such as miracles are untrue and thus deny the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:5, 2 Peter 2:1). In doing so they blaspheme the name of Our Lord. Not only does the Old Testament state that the Christ would be born to a virgin, but the New Testament in Matthew 1:18, 23 and Luke 1:27 clearly states that Mary was a virgin and was ‘found to be with child of the Holy Spirit’. Indeed Luke elaborates and reports that Mary was incredulous when an Angel told her she would conceive the Son of God, since she had had no sexual intercourse with a man (Luke 1: 34).
Since Ruth was a gentile and widow her life cannot be likened to, or form a shadow of, the spiritual life of Mary. Note however the Book of Ruth does yield useful types. Boaz is the Kinsman Redeemer and is a type of Christ, that saves Ruth, a gentile who is a friend of the Jews (as Jesus states in John 15:15). If Boaz represents Christ, Ruth represents the church, who had enough faith to place her trust in Boaz (Matthew 12:21) who redeemed her – she represents the Church as the bride.
Ruth was not a prostitute or harlot. Some have tried to besmirch the name of Ruth by calling her a harlot. There is absolutely no evidence in the text that suggests this to be true. Ruth was a widower who loved her mother-in-law to the extent she was willing to follow her to a foreign land – and in particular she emphasised that “Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.” (Ruth 1:16). Furthermore, the Hebrew prevents this interpretation – she is referred to in Ruth 2:5 & 6 as a young woman or girl. One cannot translate this as prostitute, although a young girl of course could be a virgin.