Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ruth: a Book Report

The following is from a work-in-progress called "The Bible: a Book Report" in which I read each book of the Bible, and then summarize it in my own words.  I will also include biblical artwork by famous artists.

In the days when Judges ruled Israel, before there was a king, there was a famine in the land.  An Israelite man named Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons moved to Moab, a neighboring kingdom, hoping to survive the famine.

The two sons married Moabite women named Orpah and Ruth.  Then Elimelech and his sons died, and Naomi was left with only her two daughters-in-law.  By this time, the famine in Israel had ended, so Naomi returned home.  Ruth was kind and compassionate, and decided to accompany her mother-in-law.    She could see that Naomi was grieving, and that she had little chance of financial or social security.  So Naomi and Ruth lived together in Bethlehem.

There was a law in Israel that said that poor people and immigrants were allowed to pick up the leftover food from other people’s fields.  So Ruth went to this guy Boaz’s field and picked some food.  Boaz had compassion on Ruth and gave her extra food.

After a brief courtship, Boaz and Ruth got married.  Because Israel was an essentially patriarchal society, this marriage allowed for financial and social security for both Ruth and Naomi.  Boaz and Ruth had a son named Obed, who became the grandfather of Israel’s most famous king, David.

The book of Ruth seems to be emphasizing the fact that even Israel’s greatest kings had a mixed ancestry.  The tone of the book is much more gentle, compassionate, and inclusive than the bloody battles of Joshua and Judges.  Ruth is a brief moment of peace amidst a very turbulent story.

"Ruth and Boaz" by David Wilkie Winfield

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