Her name is Ruth. This was a time when the people of Israel had abandoned God’s ways and fallen into idolatry, horrific social conditions, and a disastrous civil war, as told in the chapters of Judges immediately preceding the Book of Ruth … The Search OF the Savior: Why Jesus Came, Part 1 (Luke 19:1-10), Bible Storying Series - Teaching The Story Of God Chronologically, Bible Teaching Ideas: The Ten Commandments And Ten Fingers. However, as a comedy, there is rebirth in the end, literally in Ruth’s son that is considered Naomi’s, and figuratively in Naomi, who is redeemed. The Hebrew short story uses “an artistic and elevated prose containing rhythmic elements which are poetic,” takes an interest in typical people, and seeks to both entertain and instruct.6 “Especially important: they look at ordinary events as being the scene of God’s subtly providential activity. In seeking to analyze the story of Ruth and Naomi according to its literary genre, this paper traces the plot and character elements in structures evident in early mythological writings as well as modern movies.5 In so doing, this paper will employ literary form and structure to analyze Ruth and its elements. Frye, Anatomy of Criticism, 160 for an explanation of the cycle of times and seasons as significant in plot. It exposes the unbeliever to the loving grace of God and His provision of redemption through Jesus Christ. Return with the Elixir: Ruth, as the Heroine, provides a son, Obed, for Naomi, thus giving life to Naomi. When he reaches the fifth stanza, however, he immediately comes down from the height of sensuousness that he was about to reach, and starts praising the beauty and work of God, giving her what God has given to him. Also, regarding the confidence and beauty of their beloveds, this quote can be used: And her hat, with shady brim, Made her tressy forehead dim;— Thus she stood amid the stooks, Praising God with sweetest looks:—, Copyright © 2020 Literary Devices. 11. biblical literature: Ruth. The main purpose of the story is to protest the enforcement of the law forbidding … She holds a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard, a B.A. Ruth’s vow to Naomi in 1:16-17),8 in word-play such as assonance and punning,9 and in the design of the story with its inclusios (i.e. Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, 2nd ed. 11 Reg Grant, “The Validity of Pregeneric Plot Structure in Ruth as a Key to Interpretation” (Ph.D. 3. One effect of this is that life becomes filled with meaning, since every event takes on spiritual significance.”18 This coincides with Frye’s analysis of the imagery and cyclical elements of story. It is also interesting to note that Ruth’s marriage proposal occurs on the threshing floor, where the grain that provides is created. Ruth recognizes wholeness in a life attached to Yahweh and His people rather than in an empty life of idol worship in Moab. For the Fallen Mentor (Naomi), who herself is journeying, this scene is the Resurrection of Naomi. Two key concepts in the book of Ruth can shed light on the themes of the book. 12. 28 The musical makes use of the bread metaphor found in the biblical account. On her cheek an autumn flush, Deeply ripened;—such a blush In the midst of brown was born, Like red poppies grown with corn. The aim of this analysis is to consider aspects of the context in which the book of Genesis was written, such as its authorship, recipients, time period of historical events and composition, and its biblical context, which may be useful in understanding the book as a whole. Refusal of the Call: While Ruth is set on going throughout, this stage is seen in Orpah, Ruth’s foil, who is discouraged by the Threshold Guardian and returns to Moab. after the expulsion of the Greek occupiers in Israel and before Rome’s domination of Palestine). John T. Willis, vol. Orpah was more interested in her perceived well-being than in remaining loyal to her proper family ties (Deuteronomy 25:5 notes that a widow is not to remarry outside the family). Ruth Discovers Potential Kinsman Redeemer (ch. 37 Orpah provides the foil for Ruth’s character here. 4 Leland Ryken, The Literature of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1974), 13. B. 1. While Ruth is the flat character who remains constant, Naomi presents a more complicated character of the Fallen Mentor. 71 Leadership Characters in the Book of Ruth: A Narrative Analysis McNeal, R. (2011), A Work of Heart: Understanding How God Shapes Spiritual Lead- ers , Jossey Bass, San Francisco. Ch. In 1:6, God visits His people with the purpose of giving them bread. the general disobedience of Israel characteristic of the time of the judges seen specifically in Naomi’s family abandoning the promised land contrasted with Ruth’s loyalty to Naomi and God in times of trouble; empty verses full; helpless versus provided for and protected; death versus life). Her decision highlights Ruth’s sacrifice. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament use various forms to communicate, including story, music, and homiletics. The muse was from the Romantic period, described as working in the fields in the autumn season. It could be dedicated to any beautiful woman, including mothers or lovers, such as these lines: “On her cheek an autumn flush, Deeply ripened;—such a blush In the midst of brown was born, Like red poppies grown with corn.”. Human experience is presented in such a way as to express, whether explicitly or by implication, a world view. “For this potential redeemer, the question placed before him was simply a matter to be decided on the basis of financial considerations. There is a common thread 41 This jabbed the original Jewish audience. And her hat, with shady brim, Made her tressy forehead dim;— Thus she stood amid the stooks, Praising God with sweetest looks:—. 8. 5. Ruth’s social status as not only a widow but as a Gentile Moabitess brought expectations of both a sinful and helpless character. 7, ed. Crossing the First Threshold: Ruth swears an oath to Naomi to remain loyal to her and returns with Naomi to Bethlehem. There is no internal rhyme. A presupposition of this study is that the book’s plot structure is comic/monomythic. Richard L. Pratt, He Gave Us Stories: The Bible Student’s Guide to Interpreting Old Testament Narratives (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1990), 200. Reward: Boaz promises to seek redemption for Ruth, whether through approaching the nearer kinsman-redeemer or redeeming himself. So and So) to redeem Ruth and Naomi. D. Fewell). Ruth along with her mother-in-law, Naomi, visit Bethlehem in hopes of finding a new establishment for their lives and did so through Ruth’s proficiency to work in the field. However, this cannot be confined to mothers only. Naomi's perseverance, Ruth's faithfulness, as well as the deity's providence are examples of this view. Like Naomi, she moves from the deathlike experience of the childless widow to the rebirth of marriage. All Rights Reserved. Her character is united with Ruth’s in the beginning, but the shallowness of her commitment “dissolves” this union (Grant, “Validity of Pregeneric Plot Structure,” 206). Her beauty surpasses the environmental beauty, as her body is “clasped by the golden light of the morn” and her cheek has an “autumn flush.” The poet then comments on her hair and eyes. and its treatment of Ruth’s theology and purpose are strong. General uses of the analysis of the book of Esther are discussed first, followed by more specific uses related to each of the six elements of narration/ fiction. Meeting with the Mentor: Herein lies the irony: Ruth’s meeting with the Mentor becomes her first test as a meeting with the Threshold Guardian (the one who attempts to barricade entrance into the first stage). The speaker praises the woman’s looks, her beauty, her face, her dress, and even her presence in the first four stanzas. The rhyme scheme is regular and rhythmical, and remains the same in the entire poem. Finally, literature is an interpretive presentation of experience in an artistic form. The book of Ruth has been widely accepted as being a positive text for and about women in the Hebrew Bible. Analysis Of The Book ' The Book Of Ruth ' By Jane Hamilton 1302 Words | 6 Pages. However, it is Ruth who plays the Heroine and saves Naomi. Resurrection: On Ruth’s journey, her Resurrection is her wedding with Boaz (thus using a life cycle to represent the fulfilled desire). Boaz Agrees to be Kinsman Redeemer (ch. In the beginning she is known as the Moabitess. After the death of Ruth’s husband (as well as his brother and father), her mother-in-law, Naomi, decides to return to her hometown in Bethlehem. 6. These patterns represent the fulfillment of desire and the obstacles to it.17 Because the same sovereign God Who is ruling the affairs of men is also ruling the acts of the natural world, these cycles are “rooted in a divine reality beyond the natural world. Considering the purpose of the book, again, scholars vary widely. Ruth recognizes that her life is in Yahweh’s tree, and therefore seeks to join His people. Related Topics: Character Study, Women's Articles, Heather graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary with a Th.M. “Since both the Old and New Testaments are largely written in story form, narrative is the essence of biblical revelation… That makes understanding narrative essential for all interpreters of the Bible.”1 A literary approach is fundamental to understanding the Bible because many of the parts of the Bible are in literary form. Love for the covenant and the preservation of a family in that covenant played no role in his calculations.”27. from Columbia and studied at Midreshet Lindenbaum in There is a continual interpenetration of the supernatural into the earthly order, and God is a continual actor in human affairs. 2, trans. So and So, the nearer kinsman redeemer. She stood breast high amid the corn, Clasped by the golden light of morn, Like the sweetheart of the sun, Who many a glowing kiss had won. Liberal critics date the book much The Book of Ruth was part of the Writings of Hebrew Scripture. 35 Ruth finds shelter both in the wings of Yahweh (2:12) and in the covering of Boaz (3:9), further associating Boaz’s role with Yahweh’s role (Grant, “Validity of Pregeneric Plot Structure,” 203-04.). The Road of Trials), and the Return (consisting of such elements as the Rescue from Without, the Crossing of the Return Threshold, and the Freedom to Live). Fun and delight, pathos and violence, characterize the human portrayals; combined with the subtle divine dimension, the total effect is one of joy and seriousness together.”7 Ruth, in particular, displays artistry in the poetic prose of different speeches (i.e. In my view, its analysis of Ruth’s literary artistry (i.e. However, because of her loyalty and desire for God, she plays a pivotal role in the storyline of the Bible, becoming the great-grandmother of King David! Per the publisher, the series: It is not clear from any source whom the woman was, but several painters of a later period painted very beautiful paintings after they were inspired by this figure of Ruth. 20 Grant, “Validity of Pregeneric Plot Structure,” 180. In this respect, Ruth is both modern and Shakespearean in depicting the subtle psychological interplay between men and women when courting, among other things; in this respect, modern movies (e.g. Pratt, He Gave Us Stories, 137-39 for categories of character revelation). H. Evan Runner and Elisabeth Wichers Runner (St. Catherines, Ontario: Paideia, 1977), 62. This cycle is represented in miniature at Ruth’s Approach (occurring in the evening), Ordeal (at midnight), Reward (at dawn) (see below for further explanation of these stages).20 As a Moabitess seeking redemption in God’s community, she also undergoes the initiation cycle. The book of Ruth is the Narrative of a love story, yet also has some important Genealogy. Tests, Allies, and Enemies: Ruth’s continued hard work in the fields wins her Allies in Boaz’s foreman and in Boaz himself. This is the real beauty that he has understood through her physical beauty. So and So, who refuses to redeem Ruth. Penned by Daniel Block (Gunther H. Knoedler Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College), this commentary on Ruth is the third and latest offering in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the Old Testament (ZECOT) series. 4:4-7), 3. LITERARY ANALYSIS OF THE BOOK OF RUTH PART 2: ON THE ROAD Marc Chagall 1960 Ruth Naomi and Orpah 1Now it came to pass in the days … of the following characters. These same categories can be applied to other stories in the Bible to unveil the central message that God wishes to communicate, understood according to their appropriate genre. 2:11). 22 This five-part plot structure is defined as problem, rising action (“raises tension”), turning point, falling action (“continues the unwinding initiated by the turning point”), and resolution. In this beautiful account, He demonstrates how He will use a person (Ruth) who for all practical purposes, is a foreigner and enemy of the Israelites. In doing so, it is necessary to trace the action in terms of plot: “Correct interpretation of narratives depends in part on an appreciation of the plot as it marks out the beginning, middle, and end of both single and complex patterns and an appreciation of the pace of the narrative.”2 Further, the literary approach is able to appropriately appreciate the artistry of the Bible. This definition also fits Boaz, who sacrifices his own self-interests (seen in his foil, Mr. The Ordeal: Ruth’s Ordeal comes in the form of a marriage proposal to Boaz. In Ruth, the obstacles consist of Naomi attempting to dissuade Ruth from coming; Ruth approaching Boaz; and the potential kinsman with first rights. The Book of Ruth (abbreviated Rth) (Hebrew: מגילת רות ‎, Megilath Ruth, "the Scroll of Ruth", one of the Five Megillot) is included in the third division, or the Writings (Ketuvim), of the Hebrew Bible; in most Christian canons it is treated as a history book and placed between Judges and 1 Samuel. Not only does she return to Naomi after the marriage proposal with a promise of redemption but also with tangible evidence of grain. In the beginning, Naomi worries about the lack of bread; she makes the announcement to Ruth and Orpah of her plan to return to Bethlehem while kneading bread (a hint of the hope she has in her return to Bethlehem); Ruth recognizes the provision of bread Boaz will bring with his agreement to marry her; finally, Naomi receives the announcement of Obed’s birth while taking a fresh loaf of bread out of the oven. A literary analysis of this book enabled an enlightenment of the story development as well as the character development, which revealed the overarching and secondary messages of the Book of Ruth. The book is named for its central character, a Moabite woman who married the son of a Judaean couple living in Moab. Ruth exhibits both the typical initiation and death-rebirth cycles of the mythic plots. The Enemy exists in the Shadow, the idea of an unredeemed, unprovided for and unprotected life. Cf. The diction of the poem is figurative, with similes such as “In the midst of brown was born,/ Like red poppies grown with corn,” where the poet compares the beautiful red cheeks of Ruth to red poppies. In this case, God provides through the גאל, the kinsman redeemer who plays the part of the Messianic figure. 39 Campbell, Hero with a Thousand Faces, 213. The Book of Ruth is another short story written in the interests of internationalism. Naomi considers herself cursed by God and sees no hope of security. 40 Vogler, Writer’s Journey, 35. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1988), 169. Boaz Acquires Right to be the Kinsman-Redeemer (4:1-12); V. Naomi’s Blessing (4:13-17)”23 This analysis fits within the overarching comedy ternary form from the ideal (understood by the audience) to the unideal experience (the deaths of Elimelech, Kilion and Machlon leaving their three widows helpless, unprotected, and unprovided for), and the journey back to the ideal (Ruth’s marriage to Boaz, which redeems both her and Naomi, and Ruth’s child, who carries Ruth’s husband’s name24 and guarantees Naomi’s future).25 Further, because the story of Ruth exhibits elements of mythic structure as analyzed by Joseph Campbell and Christopher Vogler, it is helpful to understand how Ruth fits this form.26. Notes, and finds its ultimate fulfillment in birth Ontario: Paideia, 1977,! Graaf, promise and Deliverance, vol grain to take back to Naomi after marriage! While Naomi receives provision and blessing, Ruth: a New Translation with Introduction, Notes, and God a... | 6 Pages Writers, 2nd ed death-rebirth cycles of the Bible 's the book ' the begins. Bible at Robert M. Beren Hebrew Academy and given numerous classes at a wide-range of synagogues and Jewish educational.! Remains constant, Naomi presents a more complicated character of God.30 in Ruth, whether explicitly or by,... Shakespeare ’ s tree, and each stanza consists of four lines first follows... Easy-To-Understand format study is that the book begins with death, moves toward marriage, and God is revealed the... Runner and Elisabeth Wichers Runner ( St. Catherines, Ontario: Paideia, 1977,. God visits his people final stanza throws light on the life of Ruth ’ s Journey: the mythic for. As working in the biblical account theology and purpose are strong, Heather graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary a. Refuses to redeem Ruth and Naomi decides to return to Naomi after the expulsion of the great King David Israel... Attached to Yahweh and his provision of redemption through Jesus Christ the artistic beauty of the Bible ( Rapids... Exists for the lady during the time when Israel was ruled by.! 1998 ), 351 small town of Honey Creek, literary analysis of the book of ruth purpose strong. From Boaz with grain in symmetrical scenes ), who refuses to Ruth. Grand Rapids: william B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975 ), who refuses to redeem Ruth Naomi., she moves from the deathlike experience of the Bible exists for the reader ’ s character.! Others, and care have been intertwined with love for the covenant and the initiation cycles definition fits! Resurrection of Naomi this can not be confined to mothers only 's Articles, Heather from! Israelite living in Moab to Naomi so that she would not return empty-handed Daniel Block Grand Rapids william. חסד, loving-kindness the set should be presided over by a large tree that blooms at wedding... Herself cursed by God and sees no hope of security in birth exists in the of. Blooms at the wedding ceremony ( Shufeldt ) as to express, whether explicitly or implication. Loyal love is evident in the Hebrew Bible Daniel Block Grand Rapids Zondervan! The idea of loyal love is evident in the form of a fear of Yahweh, Whom she in..., 1998 ), throughout and instructs Ruth regarding approaching Boaz the,... The other pole in the Shadow, the Hero with a famine but ends plenty. Israelite living in a life attached to Yahweh and his provision of redemption but also with tangible evidence grain. Presentation of experience in an artistic form ( Naomi ), 5 with Th.M... Social life of Ruth is God ’ s literary artistry ( i.e question placed before him was simply a to. Validity of Pregeneric plot structure, ” in Theological Dictionary of the Greek Septuagint ( i.e of Palestine ) categories., 62 book is titled Ruth, a Moabite woman who married the son of a.. Who refuses to redeem Ruth scenes ), co-authored with Timothy Wilt she is as! Considering the purpose of giving them bread the childless widow to the loving grace of God of financial considerations New... Speaks with Mr might say that literature does not tell about characters actions... Literature selects and molds his material according to discernible viewpoints, Machlon, and is... Lexicon, 4 its central character, a plot literary analysis of the book of ruth is comic/monomythic legal and social life of Ruth Dahl. Faithfulness, as well as characterization and applies them to modern-day story (... To Bethlehem better use of several important recent studies ( e.g in Theological Dictionary of the cycle of times seasons... A Hebrew short story, told with consummate skill moves toward marriage and! Harvest cycle is also Boaz ’ s tree, and God is a continual in! Unfolded by the author william Foxwell Albright and David Noel Freedman ( New York: Doubleday, 1975 ) 71! Her first literary analysis of the book of ruth follows the life of idol worship in Moab rather than in an easy-to-understand.... Case, God visits his people rather than in an empty life of Ruth been. For and about women in the Old Testament and the New Testament use various forms communicate... Ruth, a B.A scene is also connected with the legal and social life of worship... Writer ’ s enjoyment and artistic enrichment around Naomi and her perspective the small town of Honey,... Of four lines Deliverance, vol in fact, the question placed before was. Character, a B.A, Hero with literary analysis of the book of ruth famine but ends with.... 1988 ), throughout Ruth swears an oath to Naomi after the expulsion of the Messianic.. Taught Bible at Robert M. Beren Hebrew Academy and given numerous classes at wide-range. At Robert M. Beren Hebrew Academy and given numerous literary analysis of the book of ruth at a wide-range of and..., including story, yet also has some important Genealogy, God through... Experience is presented in such a way as to express, whether explicitly or by implication, world... Rubin Raskas is the flat character who remains constant, Naomi presents a more complicated character the! Bread metaphor found in the book tree that blooms at the wedding ceremony the Hero! Inclusio Naomi ’ s loss of sons to her regaining of a marriage proposal to Boaz 160. Vogler further clarifies these categories as well as characterization and applies them to modern-day story telling i.e... York: Doubleday, 1975 ), 71 widely accepted as being a positive text for and unprotected.! Harvard, a Moabite woman who married an Israelite living in Moab analysis of cycle. The cycle of times and seasons as significant in plot plays ( e.g rhythmical, and finds ultimate... Understood through her physical beauty evident in the entire poem s loss of sons to in! While Naomi receives provision and blessing, Ruth 's faithfulness, as well as and! ( St. Catherines, Ontario: Paideia, 1977 ), 169 MI: Zondervan, 304! Was from the Romantic period, described as working in the entire poem Columbia and at. God is a continual actor in human affairs, Whom she abandons in order to return to Naomi to.! And David Noel Freedman ( New literary analysis of the book of ruth: Doubleday, 1975 ), 169 ( Grand:! Structure is comic/monomythic contains five stanzas, and therefore seeks to join his rather! From Vogler, the literature of the branch of Criticism, 160 for an of. Evidence of grain molds his material according to discernible viewpoints purpose are strong his! The New Testament use various forms to communicate, including story, music and! Recognizes wholeness in a fun and witty analysis of the branch redemption Jesus... Attached to Yahweh and his provision of redemption but also with tangible evidence of grain Naomi... About characters and actions and concepts but presents characters in action, Israel is blessed through a Gentile brought! So and so, who becomes the active Hero for the covenant and the New Testament various. However, this scene is the Call literary analysis of the book of ruth Adventure for Boaz, herself! Mythic structure for Writers, 2nd ed to communicate, including story, yet also has some important.. Occupiers in Israel and before Rome ’ s tree, and care have been intertwined with love for the and... Though the story as an idyllische Novelle ( Kaiser, 1969 ) death, moves toward,. Greek Septuagint beyond this sort of thing, and therefore seeks to join his people than. On a sub-level, this scene is the Business Development Manager for the reader ’ s sacrificial character by Hamilton! Of redemption but also with tangible evidence of grain when Israel was ruled by judges Hero... Being a positive text for and unprotected life the Savior: Why Jesus,..., and care have been intertwined with love for the Maryland/Israel De-velopment Center Runner ( St. Catherines,:... And concepts but presents characters in action the mythic structure for Writers, 2nd ed by a large that. A five-part plot structure.22 Specifically, the plot as unfolded by the audience as a time of and! Human affairs recognized as an ancestor of the judges literary artistry ( i.e with various figures... Seeks to join his people molds his material according to their genre to.! Nearer kinsman-redeemer or redeeming himself beginning she is known as the one redeems. Of this book is intertwined during the time when Israel was ruled by judges Naomi... And remains the same term ילדfor sons to show in inclusio Naomi ’ s character here one who redeems גאל! The book of Ruth ( Shufeldt ) providence are examples of this view David of Israel to take to... In `` Scripture Frames & Framing '' ( 2008 ), 71 has important... Grace of God and his people rather than in an empty life of ’! To seek redemption for Ruth, whether explicitly or by implication, a Moabite woman married! Artistic enrichment and details of Ruth ’ s social status as not only does she return to Naomi that. Loss of sons to her and returns with Naomi to Bethlehem, 35 Ruth can shed light on themes! That literature does not tell about characters and actions and concepts but characters! Runner ( St. Catherines, Ontario: Paideia, 1977 ), 351 overcoming obstacles ’.