Facts About the Book of RuthEdit

  • Ruth has 4 chapters and 85 verses making Ruth a rather short book in the Bible
  • Ruth is the eighth book of the Old Testament
  • Ruth takes place during the same time span as the Book of Judges when there was a famine.
  • Ruth is among two or three biblical texts bearing the name of women

Important Characters in RuthEdit

  • Naomi: Ruth's mother-in-law
  • Ruth: Moabite convert to Judaism, ancestor of David and Jesus
  • Orpah: Ruth's sister-in-law
  • Boaz: Second husband of Ruth, "redeems" Ruth through marriage

Ruth SummaryEdit

Ruth 1: An Israelite family tries to escape famine in Bethlehem by moving to Moab. The sons, Mahlon and Chilion, marry two Moabite women: Mahlon marries Ruth and Chilion marries Orpah. Then the two sons die and so does Elimelech, Naomi's  husband. The mother, Naomi, who has also been widowed, decides to return home because the famine has ended. She tells her daughters-in-law to return to their own mothers, and remarry. Orpah reluctantly leaves; however, Ruth, the second daughter-in-law, refuses — she adopts Judaism and returns to Bethlehem with Naomi, saying, "Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me." Naomi tells ruth to go work in the fields to get food.

Ruth 2-3: Ruth meets Boaz in his field, a relative of her mother-in-law Naomi, who is generous with food. Naomi recommends that Ruth marry Boaz as part of Levirate law which obligates men to marry the widows of deceased brothers (or some other close relatives) and protect them. Such marriage was regarded as "redeeming" the widow. Ruth 4: Ruth marries Boaz. Property is transferred and they have a son, thus making Boaz a "redeemer" for Ruth.

Who Wrote the Book of Ruth?Edit

Traditionally, the authorship of the Book of Ruth has been ascribed to Samuel, an Israelite prophet who plays an important role in the Book of Judges and the Books of Samuel. Today, though, scholars have concluded that the text was written much later than Samuel would have existed.

When Was the Book of Ruth Written?Edit

If the Book of Ruth had indeed been written during the time of the Book of Judges and by the prophet Samuel, it would have been written during the first half of the 11th century BC. Scholars have concluded, however, that Ruth was probably written during the Hellenistic era, making it one of the last books of the canon to be written.