This is an extremely short book, only four chapters long. In some ways it reminded me of the Book of Job, since it’s a single story with more developed individual characters. For the first time, this is really a more focused story about family love and loyalty; goodness on the scale of individuals.
It was a much appreciated palate cleanser from the previous few books.
In this story, Naomi was a married woman with two adult sons who had each married. Over time, though, both her husband and her two sons died. While she directs both of her daughters-in-law to return to their families as being better able to care for the widowed women, one of them, Ruth, insisted on staying with Naomi.
Where you go, I will go: where you lodge; I will lodge; your people shall be my people; and your God my God — Ruth 1:16
I had known this quote, of course, but it had always seemed the epitome of romantic and I’d assumed it was spoken by a woman to her husband or lover. I’m actually rather pleased to discover that it is spoken by the widowed Ruth to her mother-in-law. This isn’t about marriage, it’s about found family.
Naomi returns to her homeland accompanied by Ruth but are poor beggers. They work together to identify and then seduce for Ruth a new husband, so that Naomi can have an heir and Ruth can have a household. And they succeed in finding a nice older man who is both wealthy and kind (and flattered at being approached by a younger woman.)
And they all live happily after.
It was nice.
Summary: Widowed Ruth follows her mother-in-law Naomi home to a strange land and, with Naomi’s assistance, finds a kind and wealthy second husband to take care of them both.
Moral: Loyalty and kindness can pay off in a happy ending.
Next up: Samuel 1