What is the Book of Ruth?
THE BOOK OF RUTH
so called, not from the author, but from the chief person, Ruth the Moabitess, is properly inserted between Judges and Samuel, as it is an appendix to the former and an introduction to the latter. The history relates to the time of the Judges, Ruth 1:1, perhaps during the judicature of Gideon, about b.c. 1241 or later, and forms a bright contrast to the dark and chaotic state of society at that time. It is a beautiful episode of domestic life, showing how domestic virtues may be practised and domestic happiness enjoyed even in periods of revolution and anarchy. By the urgency of famine, Elimelech was obliged to emigrate with his family from Canaan to Moab where he died, leaving a widow, Naomi or Noami, and two sons, who married women of Moab by the names of Orpah and Ruth. On the death of the sons the widowed mother resolved to return to her country, and thereby she put the filial affection of her daughters-in-law to a severe test. But Ruth accompanied her with a devotion that was prepared for every sacrifice: "Whither thou goest, I will go, and where thou lodgest, I shall lodge," etc. Ruth 1:16-17. They arrived at Bethlehem in extreme poverty, and Ruth went out to glean after the reapers in the harvest-field of Boaz, a wealthy kinsman of her deceased father-in-law. Attracted by her personal appearance and filial devotion, he encouraged her return from day to day, and, after redeeming the patrimony of Elimelech, married her. From this union sprang Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David, and through him our Saviour according to the flesh. Matt 1:6. The age and authorship of this book cannot be definitely ascertained, but it cannot have been written before the time of David, since he is mentioned as the last in the genealogy. Ruth 4:18-22. It has been variously ascribed to Samuel, Hezekiah, and Ezra. The practical lessons of the book are manifold and impressive - the sure reward of filial devotion and trust in God; the true use of the calamities of life; the overruling providence of God in the private affairs of a humble family as well as in the palace of princes and the public events of nations. It also shows that God had children outside of Canaan and the Jewish theocracy, and the incorporation of Ruth into the Church of the O.T. may be regarded as an intimation of the future call of the Gentiles to the gospel salvation.
Bibliography Information Schaff, Philip, Dr. "Biblical Definition for 'book of ruth' in Schaffs Bible Dictionary". bible-history.com - Schaff's