than her choosing to stick with her aged mother-in-law.—Ruth 3:10.
Doubtless Ruth’s voice must have reflected some anxiety, prompting Boaz to reassure her: “Now, my daughter, do not be afraid. All that you say I shall do for you, for everyone in the gate of my people is aware that you are an excellent woman.” The hour being late, Boaz instructed Ruth to lie down. However, both of them got up while it was still dark, evidently to avoid starting any rumor that would cast a bad reflection on either one of them. Boaz also gave Ruth six measures of barley. This may have signified that, just as six working days were followed by a day of rest, Ruth’s day of rest was at hand, for he would see to it that she would have a “resting place.”—Ruth 3:11-15, 17, 18.
Upon Ruth’s arrival, Naomi, perhaps not recognizing the woman seeking admittance in the dark, asked: “Who are you, my daughter?” Or, it may be that this question pertained to Ruth’s possible new identity in relationship to her repurchaser.—Ruth 3:16.
Later, when the nearer relative refused to perform brother-in-law marriage, Boaz promptly did so. Thus Ruth became the mother of Boaz’ son Obed and an ancestress of King David and also of Jesus Christ.—Ruth 4:1-21; Matt. 1:5, 16.
RUTH, BOOK OF
This Bible book takes its name from one of its principal characters, Ruth the Moabitess. The narrative shows how Ruth became an ancestress of David by undergoing brother-in-law marriage with Boaz in behalf of her mother-in-law Naomi. The appreciation, loyalty and the trust in Jehovah that were manifested by Boaz, Naomi and Ruth permeate the account.—Ruth 1:8, 9, 16, 17; 2:4, 10-13, 19, 20; 3:9-13; 4:10.
With the exception of the genealogical listing (Ruth 4:18-22), the events related in the book of Ruth cover a period of about eleven years in the time of the Judges, though it is not stated exactly when it was during this period that they occurred.—Ruth 1:1, 4, 22; 2:23; 4:13.
Jewish tradition credits Samuel with the writership of the book, and this would not disagree with internal evidence. The fact that the account concludes with David’s genealogy suggests that the writer knew about God’s purpose respecting David. This would fit Samuel, for he was the one who anointed David to be king. Therefore, it would also have been appropriate for Samuel to make a record of David’s ancestral background.—1 Sam. 16:1, 13.
AUTHENTICITY AND VALUE
That the book of Ruth is historical is confirmed by Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus Christ, which lists Boaz, Ruth and Obed in the line of descent. (Matt. 1:5; compare Ruth 4:18-22; 1 Chronicles 2:5, 9-15.) Moreover, it is inconceivable that a Hebrew writer would have deliberately invented a foreign maternal ancestry for David, the first king in the royal line of Judah.
The historical record provides background material that illustrates and illuminates other parts of the Bible. David’s becoming a ‘man agreeable to Jehovah’s heart’ may partly be explained on the basis of his ancestral heritage as depicted in the book of Ruth. (1 Sam. 13:14) The application of the laws involving gleaning (Lev. 19:9, 10; Deut. 24:19-22; Ruth 2:1, 3, 7, 15-17, 23) and brother-in-law marriage (Deut. 25:5-10; Ruth 3:7-13; 4:1-13) are vividly portrayed. There is evidence of Jehovah’s guidance in the preservation of the line of descent leading to the Messiah and also in the choice of individuals for that line. Israelite women who were married to a man of the tribe of Judah had the possible prospect of contributing to Messiah’s earthly line of descent. (Gen. 49:10) The fact that Ruth, a Moabitess, was so favored illustrates the principle stated by the apostle Paul: “It depends, not upon the one wishing nor upon the one running, but upon God, who has mercy.” (Rom. 9:16) Ruth had chosen Jehovah as her God and Israel as her people and, in his great mercy, Jehovah granted to her a “perfect wage” in permitting her to become a link in the most important line of descent.—Ruth 2:12; 4:13-17.
OUTLINE OF CONTENTS
I. Naomi’s bereavement while residing in Moab (1:1-5)
II. Naomi and her widowed daughters-in-law Ruth and Orpah leave Moab (1:6-18)
A. On the way, Naomi recommends that Ruth and Orpah return to Moab (1:6-13)
B. Orpah kisses Naomi and departs (1:14)
C. Ruth sticks with Naomi and voices her determination to be a worshiper of Jehovah (1:15-18)
III. Experiences of Ruth and Naomi at Bethlehem (1:19–4:22)
A. Local reaction to their arrival (1:19-22)
B. Ruth gleans in the field of Boaz and is favored by him (2:1-23)
C. Ruth complies with Naomi’s instructions and requests Boaz to act as repurchaser (3:1-18)
D. Boaz extends opportunity to nearer relative to do repurchasing; upon that one’s refusal, he takes Ruth as his wife (4:1-13)
E. Boaz’ marriage to Ruth is blessed with birth of Obed, for whom Naomi serves as nurse or caretaker and who later becomes an ancestor of David (4:14-22)
[Heb., yohm hash-shab-bathʹ, from verb sha·vathʹ, to rest, desist from exertion; Gr., he he·meʹra tou sab·baʹtou, the day of complete cessation, making to cease].
The history of a weekly twenty-four-hour sabbath observance begins with the nation of Israel in the wilderness in the second month after their exodus from Egypt in 1513 B.C.E. (Ex. 16:1) Jehovah had told Moses that the miraculous provision of the manna would be double on the sixth day. When this proved true, the chieftains of the assembly reported the matter to Moses and then the arrangement for the weekly sabbath was announced. (Ex. 16:22, 23) That Israel was obligated from that time forward is shown by Jehovah’s words at Exodus 16:28, 29.
The weekly sabbath was made an integral part of a system of sabbaths when the Law covenant was formally inaugurated at Mount Sinai a short time later. (Ex. 19:1; 20:8-10; 24:5-8) This sabbatical system was composed of many types of sabbaths: the seventh day, the seventh year, the fiftieth year (Jubilee year), Nisan 14 (Passover), Nisan 15 and 16, Nisan 21, Sivan 6 (Pentecost), Ethanim 1, Ethanim 10 (Atonement Day), Ethanim 15 and Ethanim 22.
That the sabbath was not enjoined upon any of God’s servants until after the Exodus is evident from the testimony of Deuteronomy 5:2, 3 and Exodus 31:16, 17: “It was not with our forefathers that Jehovah concluded this covenant, but with us.” “The sons of Israel must keep the sabbath . . . during their generations. . . . Between me and the sons of Israel it is a sign to time indefinite.” If Israel had already been observing the sabbath, it could not have served as a reminder of their deliverance from Egypt by Jehovah, as shown at Deuteronomy 5:15. The fact that some of the Israelites went out to pick up manna on the seventh day, in spite of direct instruction to the contrary, indicates that sabbath observance was something new. (Ex. 16:11-30) That there was uncertainty in handling the case of the first recorded sabbath breaker after the Law had been given at Sinai also shows that the sabbath had only recently been instituted. (Num. 15:32-36) While in Egypt the Israelites, being slaves, could not have kept the sabbath even if they