Hitchcock's Bible NamesRuth
Smith's Bible DictionaryRuth
(a female friend) a Moabitish woman, the wife, first of Mahlon, second of Boaz, the ancestress of David and Christ,and one of the four women who are named by St. Matthew in the genealogy of Christ. A severe famine in the land of Judah induced Elimelech, a native of Bethlehem --ephratah, to emigrate into the land of Moab, with his wife Naomi, and his two sons, Mahlon and Chilion. This was probably about the time of Gideon, B.C. 1250. At the end of ten years Naomi now left a widow and childless, having heard that there was plenty again in Judah, resolved to return to Bethlehem, and her daughter-in-law Ruth returned with her. They arrived at Bethlehem just at the beginning of barley harvest, and Ruth, going out to glean, chanced to go into the field of wheat, a wealthy man and a near kinsman of her father-in-law, Elimelech. Upon learning who the stranger was, Boaz treated her with the utmost kindness and respect, and sent her home laden with corn which she had gleaned. Encouraged by this incident, Naomi instructed Ruth to claim at the hand of Boaz that he should perform the part of her husband's near kinsman, by purchasing the inheritance of Elimelech and taking her to be his wife. With all due solemnity, Boaz took Ruth to be his wife, amidst the blessings and congratulations of their neighbors. Their son, Obed, was the father of Jesse, who was the father of David.
ATS Bible DictionaryRuth
A Moabitess, who having returned with her mother-in-law Naomi to Judea, probably about the time of Gideon, soon afterwards married Boaz, a kinsman of Naomi. From this marriage descended David, and through him our Saviour Jesus Christ, Matthew 1:5.
THE BOOK OF RUTH contains this history, told in a most simple and affecting manner. The object of the writer, no doubt, was to trace the genealogy of king David. At the outset, he says that these events took place when the judges ruled in Israel-an intimation that in the time of the writer they had ceased to rule. At the close of the book the name of David is introduced; which shows that it was not written before his day, B. C. 1060. This book is inserted in our Bibles after the book of Judges, as a sort of sequel to it. Many of the ancient fathers made but one book of Judges and Ruth. The story of Ruth exhibits the frank and simple manners of the times, and the courtesy and charity of the Hebrew laws; gives an intimation of the future extension of the gospel to the Gentiles; and illustrates God's providential care of families, and the blessings which flow from filial piety and faith in God.
International Standard Bible EncyclopediaRUTH
rooth (ruth; Rhouth): The name Ruth is found in the Old Testament only in the book which is so entitled. It is a contraction for re'uth perhaps signifying "comrade," "companion" (feminine; compare Exodus 11:2, "every woman of her neighbor"). OHL, 946, explains the word as an abstract noun = "friendship." The Book of Ruth details the history of the one decisive episode owing to which Ruth became an ancestress of David and of the royal house of Judah. From this point of view its peculiar interest lies in the close friendship or alliance between Israel and Moab, which rendered such a connection possible. Not improbably also there is an allusion to this in the name itself.
The history lies in the period of the Judges (Ruth 1:1), at the close of a great famine in the land of Israel. Elimelech, a native of Bethlehem, had, with his wife Naomi and two sons, taken refuge in Moab from the famine. There, after an interval of time which is not more precisely defined, he died (Ruth 1:3), and his two sons, having married women of Moab, in the course of a further ten years also died, and left Orpah and Ruth widows (Ruth 1:5). Naomi then decided to return to Palestine, and her two daughters-in-law accompanied her on her way (Ruth 1:7). Orpah, however, turned back and only Ruth remained with Naomi, journeying with her to Bethlehem, where they arrived "in the beginning of barley harvest" (Ruth 1:22). The piety and fidelity of Ruth are thus early exhibited in the course of the narrative, in that she refused to abandon her mother-in-law, although thrice exhorted to do so by Naomi herself, on account of her own great age and the better prospects for Ruth in her own country. Orpah yielded to persuasion, and returned to Moab; but Ruth remained with Naomi.
At Bethlehem Ruth employed herself in gleaning in the field during the harvest and was noticed by Boaz, the owner of the field, a near kinsman of her father-in-law Elimelech. Boaz gave her permission to glean as long as the harvest continued; and told her that he had heard of her filial conduct toward her mother-in-law. Moreover, he directed the reapers to make intentional provision for her by dropping in her way grain from their bundles (Ruth 2:15 f). She was thus able to return to Naomi in the evening with a whole ephah of barley (Ruth 2:17). In answer to questioning she explained that her success in gleaning was due to the good-will of Boaz, and the orders that he had given. She remained accordingly and gleaned with his maidens throughout the barley and wheat harvest, making her home with her mother-in-law (Ruth 2:23). Naomi was anxious for the remarriage of Ruth, both for her sake and to secure compliance with the usage and law of Israel; and sent her to Boaz to recall to him his duty as near kinsman of her late husband Elimelech (Ruth 3:1 f). Boaz acknowledged the claim and promised to take Ruth in marriage, failing fulfillment of the legal duty of another whose relationship was nearer than that of Boaz himself (Ruth 3:8-13). Naomi was confident that Boaz would fulfill his promise, and advised Ruth to wait in patience.
Boaz then adopted the customary and legal measures to obtain a decision. He summoned the near kinsman before ten elders at the gate of the city, related to him the circumstances of Naomi's return, with her desire that Ruth should be married and settled with her father-in-law's land as her marriage-portion, and called upon him to declare his intentions. The near kinsman, whose name and degree of relationship are not stated, declared his inability to undertake the charge, which he renounced in legal form in favor of Boaz according to ancient custom in Israel (Ruth 4:6). Boaz accepted the charge thus transferred to him, the elders and bystanders bearing witness and pronouncing a formal blessing upon the union of Boaz and Ruth (4:9-12). Upon the birth of a son in due course the women of the city congratulated Naomi, in that the continuance of her family and house was now assured, and the latter became the child's nurse. The name of Obed was given to the boy; and Obed through his son Jesse became the grandfather of David (compare Matthew 1:5, 6 Luke 3:31, 32).
2. Interest and Importance of the Narrative:
Thus, the life and history of Ruth are important in the eyes of the narrator because she forms a link in the ancestry of the greatest king of Israel. From a more modern point of view the narrative is a simple idyllic history, showing how the faithful loving service of Ruth to her mother-in-law met with its due reward in the restored happiness of a peaceful and prosperous home-life for herself. Incidentally are illustrated also ancient marriage customs of Israel, which in the time of the writer had long since become obsolete. The narrative is brief and told without affectation of style, and on that account will never lose its interest. It has preserved moreover the memory of an incident, the national significance of which may have passed away, but to which value will always be attached for its simplicity and natural grace.
For the literature, see RUTH, THE BOOK OF.
A. S. Geden
RUTH, THE BOOK OF
1. Order in the Canon:
The place which the Book of Ruth occupies in the order of the books of the English Bible is not that of the Hebrew Canon. There it is one of the five meghilloth or Rolls, which were ordered to be read in the synagogue on 5 special occasions or festivals during the year.
In printed editions of the Old Testament the megilloth are usually arranged in the order: Cant, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiates, Esther. Ruth occupied the second position because the book was appointed to be read at the Feast of Weeks which was the second of the 5 special days. In Hebrew manuscripts, however, the order varies considerably. In Spanish manuscripts generally, and in one at least of the German school cited by Dr. Ginsburg (Introduction to the Hebrew Bible, London, 1897, 4), Ruth precedes Cant; and in the former Ecclesiastes is placed before Lamentations. The meghilloth constitute the second portion of the kethubhim or Haigographa, the third great division of the books of the Hebrew Scriptures. The Talmud, however, dissociates Ruth altogether from the remaining meghilloth, and places it first among the Hagiographa, before the Book of Psalms. By the Greek translators the book was removed from the position which it held in the Hebrew Canon, and because it described events contemporaneous with the Judges, was attached as a kind of appendix to the latter work. This sequence was adopted in the Vulgate, and so has passed into all modern Bibles.
2. Authorship and Purpose:
The book is written without name of author, and there is no direct indication of its date. Its aim is to record an event of interest and importance in the family history of David, and incidentally to illustrate ancient custom and marriage law. There is no ground for supposing, as has been suggested, that the writer had a polemical purpose in view, and desired to show that the strict and stern action taken by Ezra and Nehemiah after the return in forbidding mixed marriages was not justifled by precedent. The narrative is simple and direct, and the preservation of the tradition which it records of the descent of Israel's royal house from a Moabite ancestress was probably due in the first instance to oral communication for some considerable time before it was committed to writing. The Book of 1 Samuel also indicates a close relation between David and Moab, when during the period of his outlawry the future king confided his father and mother to the care of the king of Moab (1 Samuel 22:3 f), and so far supports the truth of the tradition which is embodied in the Book of Ruth.
3. Date of Composition:
With regard to the date at which the narrative was committed to writing, it is evident from the position of the Book of Ruth in the Hebrew Canon that the date of its composition is subsequent to the close of the great period of the "earlier prophets." Otherwise it would have found a natural place, as was assigned to it in the Greek Bible, together with the Book of Judges and other historical writings, in the second division of the Hebrew Scriptures. In the opening words of the book also, "It came to pass in the days when the judges judged" (Ruth 1:1), the writer appears to look back to the period of the Judges as to a comparatively distant epoch. The character of the diction is pure and chaste; but has been supposed in certain details, as in the presence of so-called Aramaisms, to betray a late origin. The reference to the observance of marriage customs and their sanctions "in former time in Israel" (Ruth 4:7) does not necessarily imply that the composition of Ruth was later than that of Deuteronomy, in which the laws arid rights of the succession are enjoined, or that the writer of the former work was acquainted with the latter in its existing form. Slight differences of detail in the procedure would seem to suggest the contrary. On the other hand, the motive of the book in the exhibition of the ancestry of David's house would have lost its significance and raison d'etre with the death or disappearance of the last ruler of David's line in the early period of the return from Babylon (compare Zechariah 4:9). The most probable date therefore for the composition of the book would be in the later days of the exile, or immediately after the return. There is no clue to the authorship. The last four verses, giving the genealogy from Perez to David (compare 1 Chronicles 2:4-15 Matthew 1:3-6 Luke 3:31-33), are generally recognized as a later addition.
4. Ethical Teaching:
The ethical value of the Book of Ruth is considerable, as setting forth an example of stedfast filial piety. The action of Ruth in refusing to desert her mother-in-law and persevering in accompanying her to her own land meets with its due reward in the prosperity and happiness which become hers, and in the honor which she receives as ancestress of the royal house of David. The writer desires to show in the person and example of Ruth that a sincere and generous regard for the claims of duty and affection leads to prosperity and honor; and at the same time that the principles and recompense of righteous dealing are not dependent upon race, but are as valid for a Moabitess as for a Jew. There is no distinctive doctrine taught in the book. It is primarily historical, recording a decisive incident in the origin of David's house; and in the second place ethical, indicating and enforcing in a well-known example the advantage and importance of right dealing and the observance of the dictates of filial duty. For detailed contents see preceding article.
LITERATURE. English commentaries upon the Book of Ruth are naturally not numerous. Compare G. W. Thatcher, "Judges and Ruth," in (New) Century Bible; R.A. Watson, in Expositor's Bible; the most recent critical commentary. is by L. B. Wolfenson in AJSL, XXVII (July, 1911), 285;, who defends the early date of the book. See also the relevant articles in Jew Encyclopedia, HDB, EB, and Driver, LOT, 6,454;.
A. S. Geden
Easton's Bible Dictionary
A friend, a Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, whose father, Elimelech, had settled in the land of Moab. On the death of Elimelech and Mahlon, Naomi came with Ruth, her daughter-in-law, who refused to leave her, to Bethlehem, the old home from which Elimelech had migrated. There she had a rich relative, Boaz, to whom Ruth was eventually married. She became the mother of Obed, the grandfather of David. Thus Ruth, a Gentile, is among the maternal progenitors of our Lord (Matthew 1:5
). The story of "the gleaner Ruth illustrates the friendly relations between the good Boaz and his reapers, the Jewish land system, the method of transferring property from one person to another, the working of the Mosaic law for the relief of distressed and ruined families; but, above all, handing down the unselfishness, the brave love, the unshaken trustfulness of her who, though not of the chosen race, was, like the Canaanitess Tamar (Genesis 38:29
; Matthew 1:3
) and the Canaanitess Rahab (Matthew 1:5
), privileged to become the ancestress of David, and so of `great David's greater Son'" (Ruth 4:18
Ruth The Book of
Was originally a part of the Book of Judges, but it now forms one of the twenty-four separate books of the Hebrew Bible.
The history it contains refers to a period perhaps about one hundred and twenty-six years before the birth of David. It gives (1) an account of Naomi's going to Moab with her husband, Elimelech, and of her subsequent return to Bethlehem with her daughter-in-law; (2) the marriage of Boaz and Ruth; and (3) the birth of Obed, of whom David sprang.
The author of this book was probably Samuel, according to Jewish tradition.
"Brief as this book is, and simple as is its story, it is remarkably rich in examples of faith, patience, industry, and kindness, nor less so in indications of the care which God takes of those who put their trust in him."
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
) Sorrow for the misery of another; pity; compassion.
2. (v.) That which causes pity or compassion; misery; distress; a pitiful sight.
Strong's Hebrew7327. Ruth -- "friendship," a Moabite ancestress of David...
<< 7326, 7327. Ruth
. 7328 >>. "friendship," a Moabite ancestress of David.
Phonetic Spelling: (rooth) Short Definition: Ruth
. ... /hebrew/7327.htm - 6k
4248. Machlon -- the first husband of Ruth
... << 4247, 4248. Machlon. 4249 >>. the first husband of Ruth. Transliteration: Machlon
Phonetic Spelling: (makh-lone') Short Definition: Mahlon. ...
/hebrew/4248.htm - 6k
5281. Noomi -- mother-in-law of Ruth
... << 5280, 5281. Noomi. 5282 >>. mother-in-law of Ruth. Transliteration: Noomi
Phonetic Spelling: (no-om-ee') Short Definition: Naomi. ...
/hebrew/5281.htm - 6k
6204. Orpah -- sister-in-law of Ruth
... << 6203, 6204. Orpah. 6205 >>. sister-in-law of Ruth. Transliteration: Orpah
Phonetic Spelling: (or-paw') Short Definition: Orpah. Word ...
/hebrew/6204.htm - 6k