Who Wrote Ruth In The Bible


The Book of Ruth is part of the Hebrew Bible and is one of the books from the Tanakh comprising of 20 books known as the ‘Writings’. It is seen as an interesting yet complex book, discussing the loyalty and devotion between the three persons Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz in a foreign world. As Ruth is mentioned in the first four words of the book, it is said that she is the key figure in this narrative. Ruth’s life of loyalty, obedience and love, place her in impressive light among biblical figures. Being an ancestor of King David and a link to Jesus going on to form the ultimate love story, she has become a symbol of devotion and strength.

Expert Opinion

Most scholars of biblical criticism agree that the authorship of the book of Ruth can most likely be attributed to some unknown scholar in the sixth century BC possibly from the southern region of Judah. The majority opinion is that the author was likely a skilled and creative storyteller of the time. Scholars have mentioned phrases and concepts which suggest that the author was likely embedded in the customs of the time, and human beings of that period. The books unified structure, language and narrative manner suggest that it was likely as compilation of various narratives from different sources, pulled together into a unified piece by an unknown author. However, many suggest that thoughts and ideas attributed to the author may have been written by a much earlier unknown author or even authors.

Research Perspective

The book of Ruth is characterized by its unique structure using a series of dialogue, scenes, and items to convey aspects of the life of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz. Many researchers agree that this literary form most likely would have been originally intended to be heard. The composition suggests it may have been a professional work as quality of the book must have required a competent author who was familiar with the methods of the ancient story-teller, along with his trade. The extraordinary yet brief character portrayals, despite only being four chapters long, offer a great insight into the economic, religious and social aspects of the time. The author may have aimed to show something of the richness of culture and tradition of their own time to illustrate the greatness of God, among other topics of interest.

Personal Opinion

It is hard to say who the actual author of Ruth could have been and probably we may never know. No biblical experts have attributed the authorship to a single person. It seems quite likely that several unknown authors living in different time periods and places, have contributed to the overall creation of this remarkable book. What is clear is that, whoever or whatever was the source, it was an inspiration of God and it is the work of a master storyteller. Ruth is one of those characters who made a great impact and continues to inspire us thousands of years later.

Alterative Perspectives

The authorship of the book of Ruth has been debated and is still discussed by scholars to this day. There are a few alternative theories that some researchers consider. One of the theories suggests that Ruth was written by a female author, as the book includes female perspectives which could not have been written by a male. It is also questioned whether the book should be seen as part of canon and if so, which source it could have been based on, as there are some similarities to other ancient texts. Nevertheless, the book still stands as an incredible story and writing that continues to touch many lives.

Historical Context

Ruth is traditionally seen as having been written in the 600s BCE during a time of immense transition due to the Babylonian exile. It is within the context of transition and exile that the key events of the book, such as Naomi and Ruth leaving foreign land and finding safety and prosperity, are appreciated most. This transition politically, religiously and socially can be seen reflected in the book of Ruth, as there is a sense of faith and hope being offered by God and his messengers, even in the midst of challenge and suffering. It is quite likely this is something the ancient author wanted to portray to their audience.

Significance of Characters

The characters within the book of Ruth have different roles and meanings, primarily Ruth and her loyalty. Ruth represents the foreign stranger and the outsider and through her faithful love for Naomi, is adopted into the faith and covenant of God. This is then strong enough to draw Boaz into the story and connect the three, who form a bond of faith, love, and trust. The unconditional love and hospitality between Ruth, Naomi and Boaz and their recovery from suffering, while staying true to their faith and people, paints a positive outlook and sets a strong example of fidelity and kindness to the reader.

Thematic Analysis

The overarching theme of the book of Ruth is a story of loyalty, love, and redemption. The book’s main message is of God’s unwavering faith and his never-failing promise. It emphasizes God’s incomparable loyalty and kindness to others, as well as his mercy and undeserving grace to us. This is expressed through Ruth’s determined and selfless love for her family and for Naomi. Through the story of these characters, the author shows there is hope, even in the midst of deep suffering and darkness.

Symbols and Imagery

Throughout the book, various images and symbols are often used to represent different aspects of the narrative. Most notably, the key characters are seen as symbols and progenitors of faith. Boaz is offered a symbol of steadfastness and aid to Ruth, while Naomi and Ruth’s relationship is seen as a symbol of allegiance. In addition, Ruth is often described utilizing world pairs; being portrayed both as a redeemer and reclaiming through her acts of mercy.

Life Application

The life of a devoted Ruth offers us an example of strength, resilience, redemption and grace. Her journey of migration, grief and commitment convey valuable lessons of loyalty, faithfulness, and perseverance. We are reminded of the importance of an unwavering relationship with God, even in times of despair and transition, in order to recognise and experience his many blessings. Ruth is ultimately a reminder of God’s love for us and provides us with an example of how to become more like Ruth by being devoted, compassionate, and enduring: our loyalty and love for God will be rewarded and will take us from one loyalty to a greater, more divine loyalty.

Hilda Scott is an avid explorer of the Bible and inteprator of its gospel. She is passionate about researching and uncovering the mysteries that lie in this sacred book. She hopes to use her knowledge and expertise to bring faith and God closer to people all around the world.

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