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The Book of RUTH
1: 1 - 13.
pp. 195 - 200
Tucked away in the O.T. Scriptures between Judges and the First Book of Samuel is
this tiny Book of Ruth. The Books of the O.T. in the Hebrew Canon of Scripture, you
will remember, are divided into three--the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms or Writings.
In the Jewish Scriptures Ruth is placed among the Psalms, and together with the Song of
Solomon, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther, form the Megillath or Scrolls. These
Books were and are today always read in the synagogues at feast days. The Book of Ruth
placed second is always read at Pentecost, the period of harvesting in Israel, the reason
being that it is concerned with reaping and gleaning.
In the O.T. there are two Books with the names of women, Ruth and Esther. Ruth, a
Gentile, married a Hebrew husband. Esther, a Jewess, married a Gentile.
In the Greek translation of the Hebrew O.T. Scriptures, the Septuagint, Ruth is placed
after the Book of Judges, as we have it in our Bibles today. It would seem to be the right
place for it, as in chapter 1: 1 we read:
"Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled . . . . .".
This Book of Ruth therefore describes events which took place during the period
covered by the Book of Judges. In the last verse of the last chapter of Judges, the Book
ended on a tragic note indeed:
"In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his
own eyes" (Judges 21: 25).
It would be difficult to exaggerate the deplorable condition of the nation of Israel
during the intervening periods not covered by the men God raised up to lift the people
from their unbelief and idolatry as recorded in the Book of Judges.
On the other hand, while one of these judges ruled over the nation, the events recorded
in the Book of Ruth took place. In fact, they must have taken place during the early
period, because we read that the mighty Boaz was the son of Salmon and Rahab. There
can be no reasonable grounds for NOT supposing her to be the Rahab of Jericho who so
greatly helped the men Joshua sent to spy out the land, before his conquest of Canaan.
Rahab also is recorded in Heb. 11:, where only two women are included in the list of
those who lived in O.T. times, whose outstanding faith in the Word of God receives such
honourable mention. Sarah, of course was the other noble lady. What a truly great
woman Rahab must have become in Israel.