Raymond B. Dillard and Tremper Longman III
An Introduction to the Old Testament
The book of Ruth is a brief lull in the midst of a storm (Fewell and Gunn, 11). In modern versions of the Bible it occurs right after the book of Judges, the time period in which the story is set, and right before 1 and 2 Samuel, which it serves as an introduction. In contrast to Judges, however, Ruth narrates the account of the moral strength of its characters, and its plot resolves peacefully. Over against Samuel with its familial and national politics and strife, Ruth’s sexual intrigue has a blissful rather than a destructive ending. On first reading, the book’s plot is simple, clear, short, yet engaging, once again in contrast with the surrounding narratives. Although not all the characters are courageous, they are admirable, even noble. No one can be called evil in the book of Ruth. Nonetheless, behind the simplicity and clarity stand a number of difficult issues that must be addressed in order to read the book with understanding.