Book Of The Month: "Entreat Me Not To Leave Thee"

Michael Foresha

The Book of Ruth does not concern politics, wars, victories, defeats, etc. It is a domestic book. Its main character is a woman by the name of Ruth, a Moabitess. It is the only book of the Bible devoted wholly to the history of a woman, although two books bear the names of women: Ruth, a Gentile who married a Hebrew, and Esther, a Hebrew who married a Gentile king. The book of Ruth is the eighth book of the Bible, the third in the History section. Ruth contains 4 chapters, 85 verses and 2,578 words. The book covers a 10 to 15 year time span.

It occurs in the time of the judges. 1:1 Some scholars place the book between the 12th and 13th chapters of Judges. 

Though the book of Ruth takes place “in the days when Judges ruled” (1:1), the books are complete opposites. The book of Judges describes the dark ages of Jewish history. It is a very depressing book, full of scenes of crime, bloodshed, lawlessness, revenge, strife, all sorts of apostasy and departure from the will of God as they were “doing that which was right in their own eyes.” Judges 21:25 However, Ruth is a bright spot, the societal, moral, and spiritual conditions were terrible, but the book of Ruth demonstrates there were still those who were faithful to God. 

Ruth is a book of simple devotion. Read again Ruth’s words in Ruth 1:16-18. Notice the lesson of devotion in Ruth, as Robert L. Hubbard, Jr. writes, “One further word about Ruth’s immortal words. They encompassed both the vertical and horizontal dimensions of life. In geography, they covered all future locations. In chronology, they extended from the present into eternity. In theology, they embraced Jehovah the God of Israel. In genealogy, they merged the young Moabitess with Naomi’s family securely sealing all exits with an oath.” 

Going to Moab. 1:1-18 The book of Ruth introduces us to a family who lived in Bethlehem: Elimilech, Naomi, and their two sons Mahlon and Chilion. They journeyed to the east across the Jordan River into the land of Moab to escape the effects of the famine. (This is the first famine recorded since the Israelites entered Canaan.) They lived in Moab for about a decade, during which time the husband (Elimilech) died. The two sons met Moabite girls and married them. The names of those girls were Ruth and Orpah. During the decade they lived there, both boys (Mahlon and Chilion) died and left the mother of the family, Naomi, widowed and childless, and her two daughters-in-law without husbands. Naomi urged her daughters-in-law to go back to their own people and secure new husbands. Orpah returned or remained in Moab, but Ruth did not. Ruth’s sincere plea to go with Naomi is recorded in 1:16,17. So, together they left Moab and moved back to Palestine.

Returning to Bethlehem. 1:19-22 Naomi returned to her hometown of Bethlehem and changed her name to “Mara” or bitterness. She and Ruth returned at the beginning of the barley harvest.

In Bethlehem. 2:1-4:22 Ruth was very industrious. While she was gleaning in the fields she crossed paths with Boaz, a wealthy farmer who is impressed with her character and industriousness. Romance budded, blossomed, and bloomed into the marriage of Boaz and Ruth. Boaz was next in line in the levirate marriage law to replace her husband and to maintain the name of the deceased man along with the tribal land allotment, which belonged to that family. The book closes informing us that the union between Boaz and Ruth resulted in the birth of Obed who begat Jesse who begat David the king. Hence, David and one greater than David – the Lord Jesus Christ – came from Ruth as an ancestress. Matthew 1:55ff –Rt 2 Box 303 A, Ripley, WV 25271.

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