L[SWG1]IBERTY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF DIVINITY Interpretive Commentary on Ruth Submitted to Professor Dr. Steven Guest in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion of LEAD OBST 515-D05LUO Old Testament Orientation 1 by Avery Clementin December 9, 2018 [SWG2]Commentary of RuthThe book of Ruth in the Old Testament is named after a young woman of Moab by the Name name Ruth. She is the main character in the book, and Ruth was the great-grandmother of David. In other words, Ruth was an ancestress of Jesus Christ. The story of this woman is set in the time of judges. According to the book of Judges, this is a period of national disunity, moral and religious degeneracy, and frequent foreign oppression. However, the book of Ruth reflects a time of peace between Moab and Israel. Also, Ruth shows piety in the time of judges and presents a delightful account of the remnant of true faith. This was a relief from the dark picture of that era.The author of the book of Ruth is not mentioned, but Jewish tradition assumes that it was written by Samuel. However, the mention of David in chapter 4 verse 17 and 22 invalidates the argument because it implies a later date. Additionally, the book uses Hebrew style, and this suggests that it was written during the monarchy period. Regarding location, the story as based on two different ancient locations: Bethlehem and Moab. Most of the actions took place in Bethlehem, but the hometown of Ruth was Moab. Moab provides important background to the main character and the struggles she went through.Exegetical Outline of the BookThe Old Testament book of Ruth contains a love story and some key Genealogy. It was written during the time of judges by an author who is not known. Even though Jewish people assume Samuel to be the author, some content reveals that prophet Samuel was not alive when the book was written. The book of Ruth was written between 1046 B.C and 1035 B.C. The key characters in the story are Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz. The story was meant to show the faithfulness and love of God for humankind. It demonstrates the consequences when people or nations fail to act by the covenant of God and when nations or people follow in faithfulness within the covenant. In such a scenario, the judges never followed in obedience while Ruth was faithful to the covenant.In chapter one of the book, Ruth is portrayed as being loyal to Naomi who was her mother-in-law. She stayed with her after the death of her husband and also in-laws. Naomi decided to part with Ruth and returned to her homeland alone. The homeland of Naomi was Bethlehem. However, Ruth was not willing to accept the request, and she insisted on remaining with her until death. In Ruth 1:16, she promised to adopt the God of Naomi as her own.Chapter 2- Ruth goes to work in the fields of Boaz who was Naomi’s relative. Out of obedience to the law and compassion, Boaz allowed Ruth to glean but leaves some grain for her. In Chapter 3, Naomi encouraged Ruth to marry Boaz as a kinsman redeemer. Ruth did not hesitate. She asked for her rights and Boaz agreed. Boaz, on the other hand, wanted to confirm that there were no other people with first rights. Lastly, in chapter 4, Ruth marries Boaz, and they are blessed with a son named Obed.Interpretive Commentary on Ruth Chapter 1[SWG3]Background: Ruth 1:1 mentions a man of Bethlehem who left the land of Israel and went to stay in the country of Moab as a result of famine. Bethlehem was rich regarding agriculture, but during this time, things were tough. Also, it is recorded that there was famine in the land of Israel[SWG4] although God had promised abundance in their land. However, the condition was that the Lord would ensure plenty if the Israelites obey.The implication of this is that famine was a product of the disobedience of the nation. They were not obedient to the Lord, and that is why He allowed them to suffer (Deuteronomy 11:13-17). The man could not withstand the situation and he, thereby, resolved to live in a pagan land of Moab. In verse 2 of Ruth chapter 1, the name of the man who went to sojourn is Elimelech. He went to the land of Moab with the intention of returning to Israel after the famine.1However, he never returned to his country. Even though the name Elimelech meant “God is King,” he never trusted in his supremacy.Chapter 2 through 5 explains the tragedy in Moab. The name of the man addressed in this chapter is Elimelech, and his wife is Naomi. His two sons were Chilion and Mahlon. They all went to live in Moab. The husband of Naomi died while still in the foreign country. Naomi was left with the two sons who later married women of the Moab. The two women are Ruth and Orpah. They lived in the country of Moab for ten years than the two sons died. Naomi was then left with the two wives.Life in Moab was not as expected. Rather than enjoying life, Naomi went through a series of troubles. My assumption is that the troubles were a direct hand of the judgment of God against them. Rather than moving to a pagan land, the family could have trusted in God for provision. Also, it wasn’t allowed for Israelites to marry foreigners. All this was disobedience to the commands of God. Sometimes we tend to move away from our problems, but we find we just added to the problems. No matter where you go, Gods punishment is inevitable. In the ancient world, being a childless widow was very unfortunate. It was the most disadvantaged class. In such a case, Naomi had no one to take care of her, and she depended on strangers for survival. It was a desperate situation for her since she had no family in Moab.
In Ruth 1:6-7, Naomi decided to go back to Israel since she got a report that the Lord was doing great things in the land. She wanted to be a partaker of these great blessings. Before she left, she pleaded with her daughters-in-law that they might go back to Moab. This was the best thing she could do since the two daughters had stronger family ties in the country, unlike Naomi. It, therefore, made sense for them to remain in Moab. Naomi blessed them and prayed that they might get other husbands to marry. After blessing them, she extended a kiss which was a sign of real relationship of love between her and the daughters.In verse 10-13, Naomi pleaded with the daughters-in-law to remain in their country since she had no other sons to give them. Naomi realized that the suffering was a punishment from God for their disobedient. They left the land of Israel and also allowed their sons to marry women from Moab. She felt a lot of guilt since she was the one who pushed the family to move to Moab and pushed the sons to marry Moabites.
Oprah went back to Moab, but Ruth promised to go with Naomi. By faith, Ruth promised to adopt the family and God of Naomi. She was ready to share in the experiences of her mother-in-law. Naomi tried discouraging Ruth, but Ruth was too committed to their friendship. By embracing the God of Naomi, Ruth was willing to forsake the gods of their country. She decided to follow the Lord.Naomi and Ruth then returned to Bethlehem. The distance was long, and the trip was uphill. After arrival, the whole city was excited. Naomi changed her name to Mara which means “bitter.” This is because her time away from God was not pleasant but bitter. Naomi came back to the land honest and repentant. The Lord had afflicted her for her disobedience. Through her repentance, God was going to forgive and bless her.Interpretive Commentary on Ruth Chapter 2In chapter 2 verse 1, Ruth gleans in the field of Boaz. Naomi had a kinsman by the name Boaz. He was of the lineage of his husband, Elimelech. Boaz was of great wealth. From chapter 2 and 3, Ruth requested permission from Naomi to go to the field and gather grains after Boaz with the aim of seeking favor from him. On her initiative, Ruth left to the field to glean to support her and Naomi, her mother-in-law. The implication of this is that Ruth was a spiritual and hard-working lady. She understands the importance of working rather than idling at home and begging for assistance.Ruth came to the section of the field that belonged to Boaz. All that Ruth did was under the control of God. He had a good plan for her life. This shows how God can use some desperate occasions to fulfill his purpose in our lives. If Ruth had not experienced all that happened to their family, she probably might have waited longer or even missed the blessing. However, she experienced the power of the invisible God.Boaz notices Ruth in chapters 4 and 7. When Boaz Came from Bethlehem, he inquired about Ruth and what she was doing in the field. The servant in charge of the reapers informed him that she had come to gather after the reapers so that he can support her and Naomi. He even [SWG5] confessed of her hard-working personality. Her hard work and commitment impressed Boaz. In verse 8, Boaz approached Ruth and spoke kindly to her. He requested her to join other ladies who performed the work of tying together the cut stalks of grain3 By so doing, Ruth would receive better treatment. It is only by Gods power that Ruth went to the field of Boaz. In the field of Boaz, Ruth was likely to find not only protection but companionship as well. He was protected in that Boaz commanded the young men in the field not to touch him and the companionship was from the young women. In the field, Ruth also found refreshment. The kindness of Boaz was exceptional and wonderful. At this point, there is no romantic relationship between Ruth and Boaz, but Boaz could not withhold good from her. In most cases, people do good expecting something in return, but this was not the case with Boaz. Boaz expressed true kindness by helping Ruth who had almost nothing to offer.Ruth 2:10-13 shows the appreciation of Ruth to Boaz. The attitude of Ruth was wonderful and positive. She never complaint of the past but concentrated on the good that befalls her. The fact that the lady was a foreigner made the kindness of Boaz appear more precious. The favor of Boaz upon Ruth is still evident in verse 14 through 16. By allowing her to dip bread in his vinegar, it was a sign of romance. He also invited her to share fully in the meal. Ruth was fully satisfied because she enjoyed the privilege of other servants. When Ruth went back home, she reported all that had happened to Naomi. In Ruth 2:17-18, she brought the fruits of that day to Naomi. Naomi was filled with joy. She praised and thanked God for being faithful to her and her daughter-in-law.Interpretive Commentary on Ruth Chapter 3 Chapter three begins by Naomi giving instructions to Ruth and seeking security for her. After the harvest time was over, Ruth and Boaz spend some time together covering the wheat and barley harvest. During this time, they got to know each other. However, they could not be assumed to be in a romantic relationship as it is in our modern culture. They were not married. Naomi then felt Ruth should be married to this man. She felt Ruth deserved security and rest in the home of a new husband.By telling Ruth that Boaz was their relative (3:1c), Naomi meant that Boaz had the duty to deliver them from problems. He was supposed to ensure continuity of the family name by marrying a childless widow. Therefore, Ruth had the right to ask for marriage. It might sound weird and unnatural today, but it was very right during their time.4 Failure to do so would destroy the name and family of Elimelech.Ruth 2b-5: Naomi talked to Ruth regarding the role of Boaz in preserving the family of Elimelech. She educated her on how to petition Boaz to perform his duty as a kinsman. She told Ruth to smell good and look pretty as she approaches Boaz. She then went and lay down near Boaz. She uncovered his feet as a sign of total submission and humility. Boaz was known to be a godly and good man and, therefore, Ruth expected a good response.In verse 6 and 7, Ruth lays down at the feet of Boaz. Boaz was sleeping on the threshing floor because of the social and political instability in the country. Thieves could have stolen the grain. Ruth then joins him with the purpose of accomplishing her goal. Boaz woke up and was shocked to find a woman next to him. Ruth explained her problems with boldness and courage. She heeded the advice of her mother-in-law. At this moment, Ruth was still humble although it was a right to be married by the kinsman. She asked Boaz to take her in marriage.Ruth 3:10-11, Boaz responded to the request of Ruth. He accepted to take her in marriage because she had a good image and reputation. Ruth was kind and that was known all over the country. He was attracted to her because of her character. Boaz could, therefore, not fear living with her as a wife. The plan of Naomi worked perfectly. Boaz later suggested another man who was also a relative. He waited to see if he would take Ruth in marriage. If he fails, then Boaz would perform his duty as a kinsman-redeemer. The following morning, Boaz sent Ruth home with some grains. Upon arrival, Ruth explained all that happened to Naomi. It was already confirmed to Ruth that she would get married whether to Boaz or the other kinsman. She was full of anxiety; wondering whether it was Boaz or the man. However, there was satisfaction in her heart since she had accomplished her goal as instructed by the mother in law.Interpretive Commentary on Ruth Chapter 4rom Ruth 4:1-2, Boaz meets the man who was to marry Ruth at the city gates. He wanted this man to redeem the family of Elimelech who was already dead. He thought he had the first priority since he was closer to the family than him. The city gate was a place where judicial matters were handled since it was a kind of outdoor court. The matters were resolved by elders, and that is why Boaz called other ten elders while approaching the kinsman. The kinsman came by the city gate, and Boaz saw him. The message from Boaz was a complete surprise to him. The [SWG6] name of this man is not mentioned in the book of Ruth because he was a respected person. Unfortunately, this man declined to exercise his responsibility as a redeemer.In verse 5, Boaz informed the kinsman of his role as a redeemer of the posterity and property of Elimelech. He disclosed to the man that the main agenda was not the property nor Naomi but Ruth who was a childless widow. Regardless of the wisdom and conviction of Boaz, the man failed to perform the duty of kinsman-redeemer. He was willing to take care of the property but not Ruth.In verse 6, the kinsman openly confessed that he could not redeem the family of Elimelech lest he destroys his inheritance. Most probably, the man had already divided his inheritance to his children and, therefore, having other children would bring troubles. Also, the man was married and bringing a second wife would be disrespect to the first one. It is also a weird scenario. Verse 7 and 8 of Ruth talks of the custom of the sandal in a transaction. According to Deuteronomy 25:5-10, a ceremony was conducted in Israel when a kinsman declined his responsibility. The kinsman unwilling to perform his duty removed a sandal and the woman who was rejected spat in his face. However, in the case of Ruth, there was no lack of honor. The ceremony was conducted normally. Boaz was permitted to be the kinsman-redeemer. Ruth 9-10. Boaz publicly announces his new role to the people and elders.5 He joyfully sealed the transaction. He was willing to redeem both the posterity and the property of Elimelech. He also took Ruth as his wife. In Ruth 11-12, the witnesses blessed the wedding of Ruth and Boaz. All the people in the ceremony were happy about the new couple. The occasion was lovely and romantic. Ruth and Boaz lived happily, and Ruth bore a son. This was a sign of God’s blessing upon the family of Elimelech. Naomi was happy to meet the son. He took him and laid him on her bosom. She assumed the role of a nurse. The name of the son was Obed. Ruth and Boaz are the reason why Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Joseph was of the lineage of Obed. In conclusion, the family of Elimelech was blessed through Ruth who declined to part with her mother-in-law after the death of her first husband.ConclusionA[SWG7]pplication from Ruth for Our Lives Today:The following three lessons are learned from the story of Ruth: there is no unimportant person in the eyes of God. Many people both in Moab and Bethlehem saw Ruth as an ordinary and unimportant person. She was a Moabite, and the nation of Moab originated from an incestuous encounter between Lot and his daughter (Genesis 19:30-36). The husband of Ruth died a few years after marriage thus making Ruth a childless Widow. She was also poor and living in Bethlehem which was a foreign land away from her birth family.However, God saw Ruth as an important person and His plan for her culminated in her been made a key player in the lineage of Jesus. Ruth was the grandmother to David, the king of Israel and ancestor of Jesus Christ. God uses anybody regardless of their socio-economic status, race, and ethnic group. He also uses people who are considered unimpressive or unimportant from the perspective of men. According to 2Corinthians 12:9, the strength of God is made perfect in the weaknesses of men.[SWG8]2 Secondly, God uses little things to accomplish great plans. In several occasions, God manifested His power in weak vessels. From the beginning, God had good plans for the life of Ruth. He had an intention to make him part of the story of the Lineage of Jesus Christ. He, therefore, caused calamities such as famine, the death of husband and returned to Bethlehem to accomplish His plans. He made her be part of Boaz’s bloodline to ensure that she is part of His plan. Today, God still uses weak vessels to accomplish great plans.[SWG9]Last, God has a redeemer in place who can rescue us from the bondage of sin. Jesus is the redeemer for our lives. Boaz was a prophetic symbol of Jesus and his redemptive work in the lives of Christians today. All humans are desolate due to their sinful nature. Just like Naomi, we are empty and need assistance. Sins have rendered humans desolate and empty spiritually. However, Jesus is willing to redeem them. He is in the business of rescuing us from the penalty of sin[SWG10].[SWG11]Bibliography[SWG12] B[SWG13]eattie, Derek Robert George.Jewish Exegesis of the Book of Ruth. [SWG14]Department of Biblical StudiesPlaceofPublication:,University of Sheffield, 1977.Bible, K. J. V., & Version, K. J. (2014). Bible Gateway.Accessed July,10.[SWG15]De Villiers, Gerda, and Jurie Le Roux. “The Book of Ruth in the time Time of the Judges and Ruth, the Moabitess.”Verbum et Ecclesia37, no. 1 (2016): 1-6.Fewell, D. N. (2015).“Space for Moral Agency in the Book of Ruth.”Journal for the Study of the Old Testament,40 no. (1),(2015): 79-96.Michael, Matthew. “The Art of Persuasion and the Book of Ruth: Literary Devices in the Persuasive Speeches of Ruth 1: 6-18.”Hebrew Studies[SWG16](2015): 145-162.Beattie, Derek Robert George. Jewish Exegesis of the Book of Ruth. Department of Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield, 1977. Gerda De Villiers, Gerda,and Jurie Le Roux. “The Book of Ruth in the time Time of the Judges and Ruth, the Moabitess.” Verbum et Ecclesia 37, no. 1 (2016): 1-6. usually the footnote refers to specific content on a specific page number Fewell, D. N. (2015). Space for Moral Agency in the Book of Ruth. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, 40(1), 79-96. I will not continue to correct all of your footnotes for formatting Michael, Matthew. “The Art of Persuasion and the Book of Ruth: Literary Devices in the Persuasive Speeches of Ruth 1: 6-18.” Hebrew Studies (2015): 145-162.[SWG1]see LUO sample paper for formatting requirementsCompare your formatting to https://www.liberty.edu/media/1162/2015_writingguide/SoD_Sample_Paper_081215.docx. Also compare the LUO Turabian Formatting – Quick Guide: https://www.liberty.edu/divinity/index.cfm?PID=28160See Turabian §A.2.2.4 for heading style requirements. See also https://www.liberty.edu/media/1162/2015_writingguide/SoD_Sample_Paper_081215.docx[SWG2]I normally use a page break at the end of the pageTable of Contents?page numbers?word count: 3349[SWG3]the instructions indicated that your commentary outline should be more detailed than simply counting the chapters. You need to subdivide the chapters into literary units[SWG4]normally, the footnotes are formatted using TNR 10pt font[SWG5]the footnote identifier number usually comes immediately after the punctuation at the end of a sentence. Otherwise, you have the chance, like this, that your identifier number will not be “attached” to what it references.[SWG6]Avery, the instructions indicate that you should have 3-4 citations per chapter in your commentary on Ruth[SWG7]It seems that all of your applications were sourced from the website: http://religiopoliticaltalk.com/tag/book-of-ruth/[SWG8]3) There is no such thing as an unimportant person in God’s eyes.At a surface level, few saw Ruth as an important person. She was from Moab, which was a nation that originated from an incestuous encounter between Lot and one of his daughters (see