Also see: Ruth, the Book of
|RUTH, the person [Easton 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 4:18-22).|
|RUTH, the person [Smith Bible Dictionary]|
(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 husbandís 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.
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.
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
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