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2015-11-05Schoolwork

【Reading Report】Ruth

Course: Old Testament History Books
Teacher: Rev. Dr. Moses Wong
Semester: 2015 Fall

Exegetical Problem

There are three major exegetical or literary criticism problems in Satterthwaite and McConville’s introduction (383-388 pp). Firstly, the exact form-time of Ruth. Even though all of the stories were occurred in the Judges Age and no earlier than Kings Age, whilst nobody knows when the book completed. In order to be more specific, the two scholars divide the topic into four minor parts: linguistics; law; the Israel-Moab connection; and the Ruth-Cannon connection (383-385 pp). Second, it seems that some law in the Pentateuch does not apply to the Ruth context (385-386 pp). Third, the role of the book Ruth in the Old Testament, especially the Moab identification of Ruth (386-388 pp).

Theological Themes

There are four major theological themes according to David Howard’s introduction (166-169 pp). At first he addresses the sovereignty of God and his steady fast and unchangeable natures from several aspects of Ruth. Besides, two hot spots of this part are God himself and God’s successive action in the whole redemptive historical drama (166 pp). Then he directs us to see a self-hidden God, who shows his steadfast, stable and quiet nature, in which communicate an information that God changes the destinies of those people who remain faithful to him. Third, God’s decree not only applies to Israel people but also extends to foreigners, through which reflects a universal community. The last part is a Monarchy theology.

Thematic Information

We can see some thematic information if we pick up Satterthwaite and McConville’s introduction (382-383 pp), they list it as two major themes. One is the culture of Israel, since the book does not directly present its theological concern, in order to discern it we need to interpret the story. There is a special environment throughout the whole book which says that the life in Ancient Israel is celebrated when the store achieves a happy end. The other is about the faithfulness and the law, that is, we have seen that the best personalities of the two protagonists, Ruth and Boaz through their interpersonal relations in daily life.

The two scholars explain that those Bethel citizens welcome the Gentile Ruth and accept her as one of the members of their community, who has no properties reflects that they are faithful to Jehovah and his law. It seems that the Bible law calls loudly in this story, that is, Jehovah will bless his people at the time when they live in the life style which designed by him. When it comes to the “Faithfulness and Law” theme, they point out Chapter 3:10 as a key verse of the whole book information, through which we can see the covenant role of Ruth, Naphtali and Jehovah, Ruth and Naphtali are the covenant partners of Jehovah who display the love (hesed). Moreover, we can regard the book Ruth as it respects to the law and keep the covenant relation without hesitation. However, the stress seemingly needs more considerations.

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