A Paper on the Book of Ruth In Biblical Hermeneutics Presented to Michael Szuk Columbia Bible College
By Justun Chan March 17th 2008
1. Working independently of Bible study helps make an outline of the book of Ruth. To do this, read it through in one sitting, noting the overall flow of what the author writes. Re-read the narrative two or three times noting the main points and sub points of the epistle. 1:1 – Introduction
1:1-7 – Family Origins and Details
1:1-2 – Family Background
1:3-5 – Family Problems
1:6-7 – Lord's Intervention
1:8-22 – Departing From Moab
1:8-18 – A Decision was Made
1:8-15 – Naomi's Suggestion
1:16-18 – Ruth's Desire
1:19-22 – The Return of Naomi
2:1-23 – Ruth Meets Boaz
2:2-3 – Ruth works in the Field
2:5-8 – Boaz notices Ruth
2:9-16 – Boaz flirts with Ruth
2:17-23 – Naomi advises Ruth to stick to Boaz
3:1-18 – Ruth and Boaz at the Threshing Floor
3:1-6 – Naomi Instructs Ruth
3:5-6 – Ruth listens and obeys
3:7-15 – Ruth meets Boaz in the Threshing Floor
3:7-9 – Ruth begins the plan and approaches Boaz
3:10-13 – Boaz replies Ruth
3:16-18 – Ruth returns and reports to Naomi
4:1-12 – Ruth Marries Boaz
4:1-6 – Boaz brings the elders and the kinsman-redeemer
4:7-11 – Boaz redeems Elimelech's estate and marries Ruth 4:13-22 – Genealogy of David & Conclusion
2. In Ruth 1.1, the author identifies the time period as “when the judges governed.” Discuss this time in biblical history considering both the internal and external evidence. Based on the data what characterized Israelite society.
When the book of Ruth provides the setting of the Judges period, it alludes to many facts and characteristics that help the reader understand several things. First, the Judges period is often known of the bloody battles. Israelites went through cycles of apostasy that eventually lead to suffering, death, the rise of judges, and good learning experiences (Sakenfield). This cycle of apostasy is a cycle of faithfulness to God, warnings from God, judgement from God, a crying out to God, the coming of Judges, and peace, then starts over again. One would think that the Israelites had a strong learning curve, however, God's chosen people did not learn and were thrown into mass warefare.
The judges period was also known for the survival of the Benjamite tribe. This is important to know because the Benjamite tribe was the only tribe not given land as result of sin, yet they survived. Their survival reflects the mercy of God and his grace. The repeated disobedience to God coupled with the struggle to be faithful to God plus the survival of the Benjamite tribe altogether create a theme of both destruction and love. As the author of Ruth provides this detail of setting, readers can automatically relate to the story of Ruth.
Commentaries have noted that Israelites were characterized to be disobedient, quick to speak and slow to listen. This characterization filters down to the story that the author writes about. Readers of the book will understand that the characters of the story will somewhat relate to the characteristics of the Israelites in this Judges period. Elimelech, a character that is introduced in Ruth, is understood to be a character of disobedient and unfaithful because of the characteristics of the Judges period. 3. The author identifies Ruth as a Moabitess. Identify the geographic location of Moab. From the Old...