2013-08-25 - Ruth
In his introduction to Ruth, Henry Halley states:
"The lovely story of a lovely woman, following, like calm after a storm,
the turbulent scenes of Judges, is a delightful and charming picture of domestic
life in a time of anarchy and trouble. A thousand years earlier, Abraham
had been called of God to found a Nation, for the purpose of one day bringing
a Saviour to mankind. In this book of Ruth, we have the founding of the Family
within that Nation in which the Saviour would come. Ruth was the
great-grandmother of king David. From here on, Old Testament interest centers
mainly around the Family of David." 1
With this devotional, we are going to start a series on the book of Ruth.
In this introduction, we will examine the background of the book, review
the time of the Judges and talk about the Moabites. Finally, I want to touch
on the Orthodox Jewish perspective of the book.
The Time of the Judges
The People of Moab
The Jewish Perspective
Here we will consider the usual information, but we will also find there
is Little known about the book. The following was taking from The New
Unger's Bible Handbook and from Huey.
Background: The setting of the book is the time of the Judges.
Chronological uncertainties, however, make it impossible to date this period
more precisely than the last third of the second Millennium
Place in the Canon: Its events transpired during the period c. 1400-1050
b.c. (Ruth 1:1). Therefore Ruth is correctly placed after Judges. Its place
in the Hebrew Bible is in the third division of the threefold canon among
the five shorter books called Megilloth or Scrolls (Song of Ruth, Lamentations,
Ecclesiastes, Esther). It was apparently transferred from the second to the
third division for liturgical reasons, its scenery of the harvest field adapting
it for the harvest festival. 3
Author and Date: The general understanding is that the author of the
book is unknown. There is speculation that Samuel is the author, though nothing
in the text supports this. Nevertheless, this is the position of contemporary
Jewish scholarship. Scherman:
"The Book of Ruth begins with a phrase that, at first glance, appears designed
to place the story in a historic time frame: And it was in the days
when the Judges judged. Upon closer examination, however, we see that Samuel,
author of Megillas Ruth has, in fact, told us very
Speaking of the time of the writing of the book, MacArthur notes:
"This exquisite story most likely appeared shortly before or during David's
reign of Israel (1011-971 B.C.), since David is mentioned (4:17, 22) but
not Solomon." 5
Introduction to be continued.
Halley, Henry H., Halley's Bible Handbook, Zondervan Publishing
House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1965, p. 175.
Huey, F. B., The Expositor's Bible Commentary, "Ruth," Zondervan
Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1990.
Larson, Gary N., reviser, The New Unger's Bible Handbook, Moody
Press, Chicago, IL, 1966, p. 139.
Zlotowitz, Rabbi Meir, Translator and compiler, The Book of Ruth,
Mesorah Publications, Ltd., Brooklyn, NY, 1994, p. ix-xx.
MacArthur, John, Ruth & Esther, Word Publishing, Nashville,
TN, 2000, p. 1.
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