Ii Author: It Is Reasonable To Ascribe Authorship Of The Book Of Ruth To The Prophet Samuel
A. Strictly speaking this work is anonymous since no author is named
B. External Evidence: Though not definitive, the external evidence allows for Samuel as the author of Ruth
1. The Talmud ascribes authorship to Samuel,2 but it is very difficult to date this conclusion
2. Many argue against the possibility of Samuel as author because they hold to a late date for Ruth for some of the following reasons:
a. The explanation of levirate marriage , but if the custom had ceased during Samuels day, he would have needed to explain its meaning for his generation and for those to follow
b. The genealogy presupposes that David was a well known figure at the time that it was written, but if this would have been written later, surely Solomon would have also been mentioned
c. Proposed purposes of post-exilic, ethnic toleration in view of reforms by Ezras and Nehemiah, but the ethnic emphasis may well be explained by the portions of the Law which existed in Samuels day and in fact would have historically undone Ezras reforms
d. The presence of Aramaisms, but these are not necessarily an indication of a late date since they were present in Palestine from at least the Amarna Age (Fourteenth century B.C.3
3. It is reasonable to adhere to an early date for the book of Ruth which allows for Samuel, or possibly Nathan, as its author
C. Internal Evidence: Internal evidence allows for Samuel as the author of Ruth
An Argument For Why Ruth Could Have Been Written During The Era Of Ezra And Nehemiah
The main reason for this date is the positive disposition of the narrator toward Ruth the Moabite, which suggests to many that this narrative was written to protest Ezra and Nehemiahs strict policies against mixed marriages in the early fifth century BCE, outlined in Ezra 10 and Nehemiah 13:2331.
In the face of hardened attitudes toward Ammonites and Moabites in particular, the author of Ruth is supposedly combating the narrow anti-foreigner stance of the ruling authorities by portraying the alien Ruth as:
- the embodiment of family loyalty and feminine nobility ,
- as the great grandmother of king David , and
- a matriarch in Israel alongside Rachel and Leah .
However, by highlighting Ruths Moabite origins the author has portrayed both Naomi and Boaz as exceeding the letter of the law in Deuteronomy 23:36 and grasping the spirit of the Mosaic Torah.
Ruths original readers and hearers would know that a true Israelite is devoted to Yahweh, as outlined in several passages in Deuteronomy, including 6:45 and 10:1211:1as opposed merely to being a descendant of Abraham via Jacob. In that case, then an outsider who identifies with Israel and declares allegiance to their God is a true Israelite.
Thus, the book of Ruth is a strong argument against the anti-foreigner climate of Ezra and Nehemiah.
One reason this date isnt convincing, however, is that overtly polemical features and an overtly polemical tone are absent from the book.
Ruths Declaration Of Loyalty
Ruth remains with Naomi, while the realistic Orpah accepts Naomis reasoning that the daughtersinlaw need not become refugees in turn. The text needs no embellishments:
Entreat me not to leave you, or to return from following after you. For wherever you go, I will go. 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
It is a statement of loyalty and faith which endures through all generations. And the loyalty is soon put to the test, as Ruth goes out to glean in strange fields. There, in the field of Boaz, several patterns converge. Naomi has a plan which will obligate the kinsman to support her. Ruth has her own ideas which will, if realized, change her own position as well. And Boaz moves from an initial position of utter correctness and minimum courtesy to a granting of extra privileges which reflect a change within himself of which he is not fully aware at this point.
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The Story Of Ruth In The Bible
Ruth, as you may recall from Sunday school, is a woman who, after being widowed, remains with her mother-in-law. The story is told in the Book of Ruth, part of the biblical canon called Ketuvim, or Writings. Ruths story is celebrated during the Jewish festival of Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, 50 days after Passover.
According to the Talmud , the prophet Samuel wrote the book of Ruth.
The Book of Ruth chronicles the story of Ruth and Orpah, two women of Moab who were married to the sons of Elimelech and Naomi. They were Judeans who had settled in Moab to escape the famine in Judah.
Sadly, all three of the husbands die leaving Ruth, Orpah and Naomi widows. After the death of her husband, Naomi decides to return to her native Bethlehem and urges her daughters-in-law to return to their families.
Orpah willingly goes, but Ruth refuses to leave Naomi, proclaiming,
Dont urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.Ruth 1:1617
Ruth goes with Naomi to Bethlehem and, in Gods perfect timing, a kinsmen redeemer is revealed, Boaz. Ruth would later marry Boaz, but more on that in a minute.
Grab your free printable on the Key Verses from the Book of Ruthsneak peak below. Click on the image for the download.
Chapter 4 Bible Theme: Ruths Reward
Boaz agrees to marry Ruth as a close relative, but reveals the next morning that he must first ask another closer relative, to see if that man wanted to fulfill the levirate custom. The man declines, thus permitting Boaz to marry Ruth.
God blesses Ruths faithful devotion by giving her a husband in Boaz and a son, Obed, who would later be the grandfather of the famous future king of Israel, David, and whose ultimate ancestor is Jesus Christ.
The book of Ruth gives us an important analogy of the work of Christ. Like Boaz, Jesus is related to us by His physical birth, able to pay the price of redemption, willing to redeem, and able to redeem. And like Ruth, you must choose to accept redemption and leave the transaction to Jesus, who makes the redemption a reality.
Ruth Chapter 1 Bible Study
Hey guys!! I am so excited to start this new Bible study on Mondays!! I want to study the book of Ruth with you for the next four weeks!! This week we read through chapter 1 and get the setting and beginning of Ruths story!! There will be a podcast each week that goes along with the blog post so you can listen to it on the FaithFully Yours podcast which is on iTunes and Spotify.
Ruth is such a fierce woman. I relate to her on so many levels its unbelievable. I love when you find someone you feel like would just get you and I feel like her and I would be best friends!! Ruth goes through some pretty tough situations but she is so loyal and faithful that she allows God to bless her beyond belief. She perseveres when things are hard and is so selfless when it comes to others. I am so excited to share with you what I have learned this week in Ruth chapter 1!!
- Ruths author is thought to be Samuel but it is unknown and we can only speculate who wrote the book.
- Ruth takes place in Moab and Bethlehem. Moab is modern day Jordan and runs along the eastern shore of the Dead Sea.
- Takes place during the time of judges which was a time that Israel had no leader. People did what they wanted.
KEY POINTS OF CHAPTER 1
LESSONS FROM RUTH CHAPTER 1
Be sure to so you dont miss a post!! Read chapter two for next week and listen to the podcast for more in depth detail and my thoughts on chapter one!! xoxo -A
MORE BIBLE STUDIES ON RUTH:
Who Wrote The Book Of Ruth In The Bible
The author isn’t known. It has been suggested that Samuel or David were involved in its final edition.
The Book of Ruth contains a mixture of Hebrew styles, both archaic and modern as well as some Aramaic.
If the archaic Hebrew is part of the original book, with the later Hebrew and the Aramaic inserted later, it would have been written somewhat early in the first millennium BCE, but this would still not inform us exactly who wrote the book.
On the other hand, the later Hebrew and Aramaic texts could have been part of the original text, with the archaic Hebrew added later to give the book the appearance of antiquity, in which case a date around 500 BCE is preferred. The content of the book supports the late date of authorship.
A plausible conjecture is that the Book of Ruth was written by a woman, but there is no evidence to support this. We simply do not know who the author was.
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The Story Of The Book Of Ruth
An analysis of the book read on Shavuot.
Ruth is a book for all times, whether written in postexilic days or based upon very old oral traditions. It is set in the time of the judges not the best ones, if we assign it to the period of Gideon and Samson and it attempts to define the rights of widows and aliens within a society fallen upon hard times.
The Book of Leviticus comes to life here, with its injunctions to leave part of the harvest for the needy, and with all of its concern and compassion for the underprivileged within the society. The text contains complexities yet these fade away against the simple message of a Divine plan fulfilling itself among decent people: Ruth, Naomi and Boaz all occupy the stage in turn, and Gods purpose is fulfilled through their actions.
We read the Scroll of Ruth on Shavuot, the time of the Giving of the Law. The authority for this is found in Soferim an eighth-century Palestinian text and the rabbis find many reasons why Ruth and Shavuot are linked: harvest time, the Giving of the Torah and its acceptance as we see it in the life of Ruth and David, the offspring of Ruth, who died on Shavuot and it is a happy book for a season of joy.
Lessons From The Book Of Ruth
The Book of Ruth is the kind of high drama that would have played well in Jewish oral tradition. A faithful family is driven by famine from Judah to the non-Jewish land of Moab. Their sons’ names are metaphors for their misery .
The loyalty that Ruth shows Naomi is richly rewarded, as is her fealty to the one true God of her mother-in-law. Bloodlines are second to faith . When Ruth becomes the great-grandmother of Israel’s heroic king, David, it means that not only could a foreigner be completely assimilated, but he or she might be God’s instrument for some higher good.
The placement of Ruth alongside Ezra and Nehemiah is interesting. In at least one aspect, Ruth acts as a rebuke to the others. Ezra and Nehemiah demanded that Jews divorce foreign wives Ruth shows that outsiders who profess faith in Israel’s God can be fully assimilated into Jewish society.
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V Purposes Of The Book Of Ruth:
A. To provide a biographical sketch of the pious ancestors of David the King
B. To contrast the reproach brought upon Bethlehem in Judges 17–21 with the account of the righteous in Bethlehem
C. To emphasize the fulfillment of Gods covenant promises through Judah at a time when the nation Israel had lost her first king–Saul from the line of Benjamin
D. To demonstrate how YHWH supplies for the enormous needs of his people both individually and nationally in accordance with his covenant promises
1 See Kitchen, Ancient Orient and Old Testament.
2 Bab. Bath., 14b.
3 See R.K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, 79, 1061 John Bright, A History of Israel, p. 109.
4 Harrison, IOT, 106.
Research Papers On The Books Of The Bible: Ruth
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Ruth, however, refuses to leave, telling Naomi that the Lord has commanded her to stay with this new family, supporting them as long as she can. She and Naomi thus travel to Bethlehem, where Ruth works in the fields for a resident by the name of Boaz. This man is especially kind to her after hearing of her dedication to her mother-in-law, and expresses interest in marrying her.
Naomi tells Ruth to go to Boazs home late at night and find him there, she asks him to spread his cloak over her. In Biblical times, this expression was a womans way of asking a man to marry her. Boaz tells Ruth of a conflict over appropriate lineage in his own family, and cannot marry her until such concerns are addressed. After speaking with the town elders, the other male relative refuses to marry Ruth, and authority to do so is given to Boaz. The story ends with the two marrying and property being transferred from one family to the next.
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What’s With The Genealogy
The author is clearly drawing a connection between David and his great-grandparents, but why the second, bigger genealogy? The short genealogy in Ruth 4:17 makes the longer one in 4:18 22 technically unnecessary within the framework of the story. The longer one is a strategic effort to weave Ruths story into the narrative of Genesis and into the future hope of the prophets. The opening phrase, these are the generations of in Ruth 4:18, is identical to the same phrase that divides the book of Genesis into ten parts. It occurs one other time in the Torah . This makes the appearance of this key phrase in Ruth 4:18 the twelfth occurrence in the entire Old Testament and thats hardly a coincidence. Twelve is symbolic of the unified tribes of Israel, and this story points to the future king of Israel who will unify the tribes in one kingdom. Also, 4:18 22 is a ten-person genealogy and there are only two other ten-person genealogies in the Hebrew Bible, Genesis 5 and Genesis 11:1026 . It is an indication that a new age was beginning as it did with Noah, and then with Abraham, so too it would with King David.
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Moral Of The Story Of Ruth In The Bible
Right now, in the homes of seemingly unimportant people who are living and dying with little public awareness, God may be fully engaged in shaping the future history of the world. God looks deep inside all people. He is taken not by the size of their bank accounts, popularity, authority or intellect, but by the quality of their character, just like He was with Ruth.
This is a powerful moral of the story we can learn from this remarkable woman. Read the book of Ruth. Imitate her conduct. Find real meaning for your life.
For a quick link to all the other books of the Bible, see Books of the Bible on the Learning Center.
About the Author
Roy and Pauline Demarest have been married for more than 50 years and have three sons and six grandchildren. Roy served as pastor of the Orlando, Florida, congregation of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, until his retirement in 2020.
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The Book Of Ruth In The Bible
The Book of Ruth is one of the Bible’s shortest books, telling its story in just four chapters. Its main character is a Moabite woman named Ruth, the daughter-in-law of a Jewish widow named Naomi. It’s an intimate family tale of misfortune, crafty use of kinship ties, and ultimately, loyalty.
The story is told in an odd place, interrupting the grand sweep of history found in the books around it. These “history” books include Joshua, Judges, 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, 1-2 Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah. They’re called the Deuteronomistic History because they all share theological principles expressed in the Book of Deuteronomy. Specifically, they’re based on the idea that God had direct, intimate relationships with the descendants of Abraham, the Jews, and was involved directly in shaping Israel’s history. How does the vignette of Ruth and Naomi fit in?
In the original version of the Hebrew Bible, the Torah, Ruth’s story is part of “the writings” , along with Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah. Contemporary biblical scholars now tend to categorize the books as “theological and didactic historiography.” In other words, these books reconstruct historical events to some degree, but they tell the histories by means of imaginative literary devices for purposes of religious instruction and inspiration.