The Book of Ruth
The Book of Ruth is a love story with a message.
The story is set in the time of the Judges, but it was a story written to promote unity among a divided people.
In the Books of Ezra & Nehemiah we hear how the leaders of the Jewish people have attempted to stamp out all foreign influences in Israel. This includes foreign women: all non-Israelite wives are to be divorced, and their half-gentile children are to be thrown out (Ezra 10:3).
The heroine of the Book of Ruth is – shock, horror – a Moabite – the worst kind of foreigner. She is, however, a woman of intelligence and tact and, as it turns out, more faithful and loving than her Hebrew sisters-in-law.
Eventually, after an intriguing courtship, she bears a son who is
- the grandfather of Israel’s greatest King, David, and
- the great-grandfather of the celebrated King Solomon, who built the 1st Temple in Jerusalem.
The Book of Ruth was probably written much later than the events it describe – like a historical novel about real events.