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Summary of the Book of Ruth
Posted In: Religion Articles  5/30/12
By: Yona Williams

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When the Book of Ruth is written, the nation of Israel is still ruled by the judges and the many people had taken a more unfaithful turn towards God. However, Ruth was different and she remained faithful. For this, she was rewarded with a new husband named Boaz. She was also within the lineage of King David – being his great-grandmother. Out of all the scriptures that the Jews and Christians followed, the book of Ruth is one of the shortest. There are only four chapters to read.

The author of the book is not identified, but many believe that Samuel wrote Ruth. It is thought that the book was written during the Persian period around 500 BC – when Israelites were accepting of marrying converts to Judaism. Other than that, there is no concrete evidence to prove when the text was written. The narrative tale of Ruth sheds light on the abilities of the author. The style of writing suggests that the author possessed some sort of level of writing talent. While other books read like a list of facts and historical information, the Book of Ruth unfolds in the same manner as a drama that includes four acts. An epilogue and prologue is included in the writing.

In the first act, we see Naomi informing her daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, that they must stay in Moab after the deaths of her sons. She has intentions to return to her people. Orpah is in agreement, but Ruth decides to follow Naomi. In the second act, Ruth is collecting barley in the fields that belong to a relative of Naomi. His name is Boaz and he pays special attention to Ruth. In the third act, Naomi convinces Ruth to stay hidden at the threshing floor. Ruth hides until Boaz falls asleep and then she goes and lies at his feet. When Boaz awakens, Ruth tells him that she wishes to marry him. Boaz tells Ruth that another has already claimed him as their own. In the last act, the other kinsman takes back their claim at the city gate, and Boaz can now take Ruth as his wife. In the epilogue, Naomi is described as being full of joy. A list of some of Ruth's descendants is highlighted, which includes David. She gives birth to Obed, who becomes the grandfather of David and the ancestor of Jesus.

One of the themes found in the Book of Ruth is redemption, as the Israelites believed that people and land were redeemable. To them, it was important that the land they had in their family stayed with the future generations. Another theme in Ruth is how God shows concern for families regardless if they are experiencing good times or bad. It is obedience that brings Ruth into the lineage of Christ.

A few passages from the Book of Ruth include:

"But Ruth replied, 'Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.'" (Ruth 1:16)

"'Who are you?' he asked. 'I am your servant Ruth,' she said. 'Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer.'" (Ruth 3:9)


 

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