Role of Ruth and Esther in the Bible

Topics: Book of Esther, Purim, Tanakh Pages: 4 (1372 words) Published: November 15, 2008
Torah (the Law) "…means "teaching" or "instruction"…(Harris, 3) for mankind. The Torah includes both the Oral Law and the Written Law. In addition, the Law is an extension of sacred oral tradition, thus broadening the meaning of Torah to designate the entire body of Jewish laws, customs, and ceremonies.

Nevi'im( the Prophets) "…consists of narratives relating to Israel's …" (Harris, 3) history as a nation on its land and a "…collections of oracles" (Harris, 6) . Supporters of God's covenant do battle against the paganism of neighboring groups and among the Israelites themselves. The Prophets seem to have become a closed collection of books and status equal to that of the Law.

Kethuvim (the Writings) "…contains the most diverse material…" (Harris, 6), is a miscellaneous repository for all the books accepted later. It contains books of history, prophecy, wisdom, and poetry randomly tossed together in a mixed bag. Jewish books written in Greek such as the Apocrypha were not included as part of the canon of the Hebrew Bible. Apocalypses "…means an "uncovering" and "revelations"…(Harris, 6) symbolic visions to encourage the righteous to remain faithful despite persecution. The visions often use graphic symbols such as animals with bizarre features to represent national and political groups.

This paper explains their role as women in the Book of Ruth and the Book of Esther, from the Hebrew bible. Ruth and Esther are stories of heroines; the contrast in the purposes of Ruth and Esther sharply distinguishes the books.
The Book of Ruth basic plot is as follows: The prologue tells us how Naomi, her husband and two sons went to Moab, where her sons married. Eventually, Naomi’s husband and sons died, and she decided to return to Bethlehem in Judea (Ruth 1:1-7).

In the first act, Naomi tells her Moabite daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, to stay in Moab. Orpah eventually agreed, but Ruth refused to leave Naomi and accompanied her to Bethlehem (Ruth...

Cited: Harris, Stephen L. Understanding The Bible. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007
The New English Bible with the Apocrypha: Oxford Study Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992
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