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THE BOOK OF RUTH – INTRODUCTION


I. TITLE OF BOOK:

A. “Ruth” – may be a Moabite modification of the Hebrew, “reeiut” meaning “friendship, association”.


B. Ruth, the principle character of the Book, lives up to her name admirably      (Ruth 1:16).


II. PLACE OF BOOK IN THE HEBREW CANON AND OUR BIBLE

A. The third division: Kethubhim or Hagiographa (“Writings”) cf. Luke 24:44.

1. First division: “The Torah” (Law) – Genesis – Deuteronomy

2. Second division: The Nebhiim (Prophets)

a. “Former Prophets” – Joshua, Judges, I & 2 Samuel,  I & 2 Kings

b. “Latter Prophets ” – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the 12 minor Prophets  

3. Third division (Writings) – Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, I & 2 Chronicles.

B. Properly fits next to Judges in our Bibles:

1. “…in the days when the judges judged” (Ruth 1:1)


III. DATE AND AUTHOR OF BOOK

A. Time of the Judges (Ruth 1:1)

1. Famine (cf. Judges 6:4)

2. Ehud and Moabites (Judges 3:12-30)

3. Gideon and Midianites (cf. Judges 7-8)

4. Ehud – Gideon (1316 B.C. – 1151 B.C.)

B. Written at the earliest  in the time of David

1. Ancient custom has to be explained to readers (Ruth 4:7)

2. David is mentioned (Ruth 4:17,22)

C. Author unknown – Some say Samuel wrote it.


IV. JEWISH CUSTOMS IN BOOK

A. Law of “gleaning” the fields – blessing to the poor (Ruth 1:21, 2:2, Lev. 19:9-10, 23:22, Deut. 24:19-21)

B. Law of the “near kinsman” – “goel” (Ruth 2:20, 3:9, 12, 4:7-8, Deut. 25:5-10)


V. FEATURES OF THE BOOK

A. Historical account of some of the days of Moabite Ruth who is in the lineage of David’s genealogy and ultimately Jesus’ (Ruth 4:17-22, Matt. 1:5).

B. How true friendship, godliness and kindness can thrive in the difficult and sometimes             dark times of the Judges

1. Ruth with Naomi (Ruth 1:16)

2. Boaz with his reapers ( Ruth 2:4)

3. Boaz with Ruth (2:8-9, 3:17, 4:10)

C. Contrast of the two books in the Bible named after Women:

1. Esther: a woman (Jew) marries a man - King (Gentile)

2. Ruth:  a woman (Gentile) marries a man – prosperous land owner (Jew).


VI. OUTLINE OF THE BOOK:

A. Sojourn of Elimelech’s family in Moab (1:1-5)

B. Naomi’s return with Ruth to Bethlehem (1:6-22)

C. Ruth gleans in the field of Boaz (2:1-23)

D. Ruth appeals to Boaz to perform his part as the nearest kinsman  (3:1-18)

E. The council at the gate of Bethlehem (4:1-12)

F. Marriage of Boaz and Ruth – Birth  of Obed (4:13-17)

G. Genealogy of David (4:18-22)