What’s behind the name Ruth?

Ruth's_Wise_Choice_(Bible_Card)Hebrew names have meanings. It always fascinates me to learn the meaning or the story behind people’s names. I’ll start with my name:  Ruti = Ruth = רוּת .

Ruth means: Compassionate; friendly. If you open an unabridged English dictionary you would find that the entry for ruth is: “feeling of pity and compassion”.  I bet you know the word ‘ruthless’ right?   having or showing no pity or compassion for others: a ruthless manipulator: ruth + less.

what’s the story behind the name?   Ruth was a Moabite who married her deceased husband’s kinsman Boaz and bore a son, Obed, who became grandfather to King David. (this the story in a nutshell.)

In Hebrew, and this is my own interpretation,  רוּת comes from the word:  רֵעוּת reh-oot which means: ‘ strong friendship’; ‘deep friendship’; ‘affection’; ‘fondness’.

The word רֵעַreh-ah comes from the same root means: friend, comrade.

The word: רַעְיָה means wife.

Ruti is a pet name for Ruth. It’s like “Ruthie”. Since there’s no ‘th’ sound in Hebrew, we are left with the ‘t’ alone. Thus: Ruti  רוּתִי

This is just a side joke: When people ask me: “Is Ruti short for something?” I answer: No! It is long for something…”  Ruth has only one syllable. Ruthie = Ruti has two.


Naomi and her family left Judea because of the femin and moved to live in Moab (currently where Jordan is). Ruth the Moabite princess and Orpah (another blog will be dedicated to that woman) married the sons of Naomi.  Shortly after Naomi’s  husband and sons died.

Naomi decided to return to her homeland, Judea. She asked her daughters-in-law to return to their fathers’ homes and remarry. Orpah agreed but Ruth insisted to go with Naomi. Her response was: “Wither you go I go. Your people– my people, your God my God.  Ruth obviously showed COMPASSION and PITY to the woman who lost her whole family. Once back in Judea (and this is a very romantic story, I urge you to read the book of Ruth), she ended up marrying Boaz.

Ruth has converted to Judaism and is considered the first convert. That is why we find many converts that changed their names to Ruth.

If you’re curious to know the meaning of your Hebrew name, please send me an e-mail and I’ll write about it.

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