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
I am totally non-religious and am generally bored by the Bible, but I really like Ruth.
That’s good to know. I had wondered how much of my enjoyment was just from the contrast to Joshua and Judges.
My high school English teacher agreed because Ruth was the only part of the Bible that we read in school (though I don’t actually remember much of it). It sounds so nice, though!
😀 I got Job in high school.