25 November 2014
English- Bible as Literature
Of all the stories in the Bible, the Book of Ruth stands out due to its brevity and story content. What makes it a curiosity, is the main character is a woman, living in a time when women were not easily seen as central figures in tales told then. Except for a handful of female characters ( Mary , Mary Magdalene, Sara, etc) women were relegated within stories as second class citizens, sexual playthings or other not- so-important personages in Biblical history. Ruth could have been one of these swept aside women, but her story seems to have something important to say. Why else would her story be included among the other stories in the Bible? Not even the other of Christ gets her own book. What makes Ruth’s story special? Or is it special?
Ruth’s story is short, however, it provides running commentary on day- to- day activities during her return to Bethlehem. In “Ruth-Bible Women” Women of the Bible, Chapeter1:16-18, Ruth beseeches her mother –in-law that she will not be turned back.
“But Ruth replied, “Don’t 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
The story does cover the details of how Ruth, upon the her return with Naomi goes about obtaining work and eventually setting up the marriage with one of the relatives of her husband. At this point, it is Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, who gives Ruth the instructions on how to approach the man to whom she becomes she is to marry.
(3:1-4) One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home[a] for you, where you will be well provided for. 2 Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. 3 Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.”
The actions play out in precisely the ways they are meant to for the assurance of the marriage of Boaz and Ruth. The bond of the two eventually produce a son. With Jenkins 2
the presence of this son, Naomi is now seen as restored. Her bitterness s abated by her inclusion in the life of a grandchild. She feels she has a purpose now. Ruth…