OT Lesson 20 Study Notes: Ruth; 1 Samuel 1

The story of Ruth occurs “in the days when the judges ruled” (Ruth 1:1). It is not, strictly speaking, in chronological order. Indeed, from here on out, you may wish to consult the Old Testament chronology in the Bible Dictionary if you wish to see the historical connectedness of the various stories.

What do Naomi, Ruth, and Hannah have in common? Why is it appropriate that this lesson is about these three women?

The story of Ruth is completely different than any of the stories we have read so far. God is only mentioned obliquely and plays no intervening role in the story, nor do any of his prophets or judges. It is not about a struggle between the forces of good and evil. It is a simple love story of sorts about common people, living common lives. They are not the heroic (or anti-heroic) individuals we have seen so far in the Old Testament. Why is this book scripture? How do we see Jesus Christ in it?

Ruth is short enough to read be aloud in one sitting. Try doing so, preferably with someone else, perhaps your spouse or children, or a good friend. Try reading for the full impact of the story. If you are the reader, you may even want to practice once or twice before you read it aloud for someone else. But as you read, don’t stop here and there to discuss what this or that might mean. After you’ve read the whole thing aloud, discuss it. See whether the experience of reading it aloud and hearing it read aloud doesn’t give you a feel for the story as a whole that you might otherwise miss.

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