Old Testament Interpretive Commentary: The Book of Ruth

Old Testament Interpretive Commentary: The Book of Ruth

Introduction

 

 

“Ruth is an absolutely delightful little book. Mention its name and Bible readers gently smile, warmly praise its beauty, and quietly tell what it means to them personally…the book is, after all, profoundly human.”[1] This Biblical Book of Ruth expresses love and is a symbol of God’s love for us, even though we were not worth His love. It’s also a Book of Faith in an unfaithful situation. Through the disaster and death of Naomi’s husband, Elimelech, but also of Ruth’s offspring, Kilion and Mahlon, deaths. Naomi is depressed and sees no victory in an unvictorian type of situation. Ruth, insisting not to turn back to the way things were in her past life and with Naomi has the God given opportunity to see how God can bring nothing to something. The Book of Ruth while holding many perspectives of Faith and holding on, is also a reminder of Worship and steadfastness and waiting on God until he delivers every promise. Also introducing in how God is give an open door to those that are said to have the promise or “not entitled.” “Further, given the alien presence under David’s rule, the book adds that foreigners who, like Ruth, truly seek refuge under Yahweh’s wings (2:12) are welcome.”2

Historical Background

The Book of Ruth is a "chronicled enlightening short story" that has an issue-based theme and reports verifiable faith-based occasions. The preface sets the Book of Ruth inside the time and chronicle period of Judges (1:1), while the closing story-line (4:18-22) joins Boaz with a family ancestry and blood line that shows up in antiquated Israel's chronical records. Amid this authentic timespan lords or rulers were not put into the situations to govern over Israel rather the it was protocol for Judges to rule. The offspring of Israel didn’t regard nor adhere and obey to God and His directions and precepts; they were progressively centered and “hard-headed” around their shrewd and narrow-minded ways which God had the Earth not to bring forth her crops which in turn brought starvation within the Israelites, also the Israelites were able to assault and attack them because of their insubordination and selfish acts. The offspring and generations of Israel were required to comprehend that their mistreatment brought about their very own stupidity.

Predominant Conditions

During this biblical period, a grave drought eclipsed Israel reducing annual harvest that caused hunger and starvation throughout the land. The Book of Ruth begins during the post-starvation era that forced Elimelech to relocate his family from to Moab with the homes of a better quality of life.

Main Characters

Naomi and Elimelech are a couple. They are a Hebrew family, blessed with two sons. When death visits and takes away her husband and children, she decides to return to Bethlehem, her home, with despair slowly closing in on her. Ruth is a Moabite married to Mahlon. Calamity falls on her too and she also decides to journey home. She also contemplates renouncing her gods in the quest to fully commit to Ruth and together, they braced themselves for the future. Boaz, on the other hand, is of the Hebrew nation and Elimelech’s cousin. He is a wealthy landlord in Judah and begun to take interest in Ruth.

 

 

Major Arguments

It is uncontestable that God is loving and faithful and never forsakes his children. Even though the Israelites were disloyal, the Lord did not abandon them but instead used Ruth, Naomi and Boaz to fulfil his purpose for the chosen tribe. The fact that God used a common family, one that faced the hardest of times, to bring the people back to him by showing him them the way. He, however, maintained his requirements to His people; for them to remain faithful and serve only Him.

Themes

With the fangs of the famine piercing to deep, Elimelech decides to move his family to Moah (1:1-5). Naomi at this point faces her darkest moment as her loved perish. She makes plans to move to Judah but insists on her daughters to go back to their native lands (1:6-15). Ruth makes a crucial decision not to go home and instead makes Naomi’s path hers which leads them to Bethlehem where Naomi takes the name Mara due to her experience with the death of many in her life(1:20-22). Ruth works in the fields of Boaz picking up leftover stalks. It is in this process that Boaz begins to show interest to her. He also favors her because of her strict commitment to Naomi (2:4-23). Naomi is a keen observer and notices Boaz’s interest in Ruth, she advises her friend to ensure she shows loyalty (3:1-8). Boaz being the light of the family pursues the redemption of his cousin’s land (3:12-19). He also finally makes his interests official and cements it by marrying Ruth who gives him a son (4:13-18).

Exegetical Outline

  1. Death and Emptiness (1:1-22)
    • Elimelech takes his family to Moab due to famine in the land (1:1–5)
    • Naomi request for her daughters-in-laws to go back to their own hometowns (1:6–18)
    • Naomi and Ruth arrive in Bethlehem during harvest time (1:19–22)
  1. Ruth’s Faithful Works (2:1-23)
  • Ruth in the field of Boaz (2:1–17)
  • Ruth reports to Naomi (2:18–23)
  1. Ruth’s Faith in Naomi (3:1-18)
  • Naomi instructs Ruth (3:1–5)
  • Ruth at the threshing-floor of Boaz (3:6–15)
  • Ruth gives Naomi good news (3:16–18)
  1. Life and Fullness (4:1-17)

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