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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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The book of Ruth is so called from the name of the person, a native of Moab, whose history it contains. It may be considered as a supplement to the book of Judges, to which it was joined in the Hebrew canon, and the latter part of which it greatly resembles, being a detached story belonging to the same period. Ruth had a son called Obed, who was the grandfather of David, which circumstance probably occasioned her history to be written, as the genealogy of David, from Pharez, the son of Judah, from whom the Messiah was to spring, is here given; and some commentators have thought, that the descent of our Saviour from Ruth, a Gentile woman, was an intimation of the comprehensive nature of the Christian dispensation. We are no where informed when Ruth lived; but as King David was her great-grandson, we may place her history about B.C. 1250. This book was certainly written after the birth of David, and probably by the Prophet Samuel, though some have attributed it to Hezekiah, and others to Ezra. The story related in this book is extremely interesting; the widowed distress of Naomi, her affectionate concern for her daughters, the reluctant departure of Orpah, the dutiful attachment of Ruth, and the sorrowful return to Bethlehem, are very beautifully told. The simplicity of manners, likewise, which is shown in Ruth's industry and attention to Naomi; the elegant charity of Boaz; and his acknowledgment of his kindred with Ruth, afford a pleasing contrast to the turbulent scenes described in the book of the Judges. The respect, likewise, which the Israelites paid to the law of Moses, and their observance of ancient customs, are represented in a very lively and animated manner, Ruth 4. It is a pleasing digression from the general thread of the sacred history.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Ruth'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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Tuesday, October 20th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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