The Book of Ruth

The Book of Ruth
 

Dear >

I hope you’ve enjoyed our long read through St John’s Gospel and have found it refreshing to read and think about often unfamiliar passages.  We now turn to the Old Testament Book of Ruth.

This book, written in Hebrew in the 6th–4th centuries BC, tells of the Moabite woman Ruth, who accepts the God of the Israelites, as her God and accepts the Israelite people as her own.  Ruth tells Naomi, her Israelite mother-in-law, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”  The book is held in esteem by Jews who fall under the category of Jews-by-choice.  Ruth also functions liturgically, as it is read during the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.  The author is unknown but Ruth’s identity as a non-Israelite and the stress on the need for an inclusive attitude towards foreigners suggests an origin in the fifth century BC, when intermarriage had become controversial after the return from Exile.  Ruth’s inclusion as one of the few women in Matthew’s genealogy puts her in the Messianic line – an outsider as an ancestor of Christ. 

I hope you enjoy both the story and our reflections upon it.

with every good wish

Andy

The Rev’d Andy Braunston
Minister for Digital Worship

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