A summary of the Book of Ruth Essay

This essay has a total of 2551 words and 9 pages.


A summary of the Book of Ruth




A Summary of the Book of Ruth

The book of Ruth is found in the Old Testament of the Bible, it is one of the five
scrolls. It takes place in a time of Jewish history when the judges ruled over Israel from
1370 to 1010 BC. The story tells of Naomi wife of Elimelech of the tribe of Judah.
Elimelech moved his family from the Promised Land to Moab during a severe famine. Naomi
stayed in land of Moab for 10 years, during this time she lost her husband and two sons.
Naomi returned to her hometown of Bethlehem impoverished. Her Moabite daughter in law Ruth
insist on following Naomi proclaiming your “people will be my people, your home my home,
your God will be my God.” Out of concern for her mother in law, Ruth begins to glean in
the fields. She happens to be gleaning in the field of a wealthy kinsman named Boaz. At
this point Ruth is unaware that Boaz can redeem her. Boaz has heard of Ruth’s kindness
towards Naomi and treats her well ordering his servants to leave a little grain behind and
to not rebuke her but to treat her well. By the end of the harvest Naomi knows Boaz is a
near redeemer kinsman and advises Ruth to seek out Boaz by night on the threshing floor.
Ruth entreats Boaz to accept responsibility of the next of kin and to redeem the fortunes
of the family. Boaz agrees, but does not dishonor Ruth on the threshing floor for he knows
there is a kinsman nearer then he. After dutifully asserting that the nearer kinsman will
not take responsibility, Boaz lawfully takes Ruth for his wife. She bears a son, who is
given to Naomi. The child’s name is Obed. He is to become the Grandfather of King David.

Ruth was a woman of courage, faith, and loyalty. She proves this by following her mother-
in- law into a land hostile to the Moabite people. Ruth is faithful to her mother in law
even though she could bear no more sons. Ruth proves her loyalty by not gleaning in any
other field and going to the threshing floor of Boaz as Naomi asked her to. Scripture
tells us in Deut. 23:3 that no Moabite could enter the temple of the Lord down to tenth
generation. We also read in scripture that the Israelites were forbidden to take a wife
from the Moabites presumably because the Moabite people came from the incestuous
relationship between Lot and his daughters. The Moabite culture was similar to that of the
Hebrew and they also shared the same language. The country was not that far in modern
time’s apprioxamenttly 50 miles from Bethlehem. According to the (Catholic Encyclopedia
Volume X), the highlands are the great bulk of these territories. They form a table-land
about 3000 feet above the Mediterranean, or 4300 feet above the dead sea, rising slowly
from north to south, having steep western slopes, and separated eastward from the desert
by low, rolling hills. The geology of this almost trees less plateau is the same as that
of the range of western Palestine, but its climate is decidedly colder. In the spring, its
limestone hills are covered with grass and wildflowers, and parts of the plateau are now
sown with corn. In Old Testament times, Moab was an excellent pastureland (IV kings iii,
4) and its population was much more considerable than at present day. At the time that
Naomi went into the land there was a period of friendly intercourse between Moab and
Israel.

The Moabites were polytheists. They worshipped Chamos as their national god; they also
worshipped Asthar and Baal. Their religion is not fully known but it is a common belief
that they sacrificed humans and did many impure rituals in there worship of foreign gods.
No wonder the Lord commanded his people to steer clear of these pagans and there
practices.

The Biblical account starts of telling us that the Judges ruled over Israel and that the
land was experiencing a severe famine. Elimelech in a weakened spiritual condition took
his family to stay in the land of Moab. I have to question this decision because the Bible
does not tell us of any others migrating out of Israel which leads me to believe that the
famine was not so severe that he could have survived it. Why did he not choose to suffer
with his people in the Promised Land? Elimelech was the father of two sons named Mahlon
and Kilion, which meant sickness and consumption. Were these names prophetic of the coming
time to the family or simply were they named that way due to the lack Elimelech and Naomi
were experiencing in the land of Bethlehem at the time of birth? Elimelech died in the
land of the Moabites I wonder if his bones were buried in his hometown or did they lay him
to rest in a foreign country and not the Promised Land? After his death, his sons married
Moabite women; one named Oprah and the other one named Ruth, transgressing the
commandments of God. Soon after they also died.

Ten years later Naomi impoverished, broken, and barren, hears that the Lord is providing
for his people. She longs for the familiar surroundings of home. Naomi packed her
belongings and headed for her homeland, her daughters- in- law journeyed with her all the
way she is talking to them of the Jewish customs. Custom by custom they moving further
from Moab. Oprah begins to wonder if she can live life accordingly and Naomi begins to
wonder if her Moabite daughters in law could handle the strict convents by which the
Jewish people lived. Naomi bid her two daughters- in- laws to go home, but they urged her
to let them continue. Naomi persisted until finally Oprah wept and kissed her mother in
law goodbye. Ruth clung to Naomi pleading with her to not insist she return to Moab. Was
Ruth so hungry to see the works of the mighty God that she would leave her family and
country? Surely she had heard how the Lord continually delivered and provided for his
people. Did she long to see him act on her behalf. She said to “Naomi your God shall be my
God, you’re home my home and your people, my people.” (King James)

Naomi and Ruth arrived in Bethlehem at the time of the Barley harvest. God had provided a
way of escape even though it was not yet made plain. Without food or provision and no man
in the household to care for them, the humble Ruth asked if she could glean in the fields,
in other words, she said I would beg for food to feed us. Naomi agreed what a desperate
state she had been reduced to.

Ruth gleaned all day in the fields with people she did not know. Not having permission
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