Research Papers on the Books of the Bible:
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- The book begins with the death of the father of an Israelite family.
- Immediately following this, the man’s two sons marry Ruth and her sister, Orpah.
- Shortly thereafter, the two brothers also die; their mother, Naomi, tells Ruth and Orpah to return home to their mothers and remarry.
Ruth, however, refuses to leave, telling Naomi that the Lord has commanded her to stay with this new family, supporting them as long as she can. She and Naomi thus travel to Bethlehem, where Ruth works in the fields for a resident by the name of Boaz. This man is especially kind to her after hearing of her dedication to her mother-in-law, and expresses interest in marrying her.
Naomi tells Ruth to go to Boaz’s home late at night and find him; there, she asks him to spread his cloak over her. In Biblical times, this expression was a woman’s way of asking a man to marry her. Boaz tells Ruth of a conflict over appropriate lineage in his own family, and cannot marry her until such concerns are addressed. After speaking with the town elders, the other male relative refuses to marry Ruth, and authority to do so is given to Boaz. The story ends with the two marrying and property being transferred from one family to the next.
This story provides an example of a strong female character from the Christian Bible. While stories of Mary are common in the New Testament, Ruth is one of the most prominent female figures in the Old Testament. She is a strong, dedicated woman, representative of the traits that Christian women should also possess. This story tells of the dedication she has, not only to her new family, but also to a man that has been kind to her. While this book is somewhat short, the presence of her character provides great insight into the nature of true Christian behavior in both men and women.