The Book of Ruth

Naomi entreating Ruth to follow Orpah by William Blake

Ruth – NIV archaeological study Bible: An Illustrated walk through Biblical history and culture. (2005). Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan. 9780310938521.

Ruth was the fourth book I completed in the Read through the Bible Challenge. Another “History,” this book comes after Judges in the Christian Bible. Ruth differs greatly from the other “History” books in that it seemed like a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. Also, I read the whole book in one sitting.

In the time of the Hebrew Judges, a famine drove an Israelite family from Bethlehem into Moab. They were Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their sons Mahlon and Chilion. Elimelech died in Moab and both his sons took Moabite wives – Ruth and Orpah respectively. Then, Mahlon and Chilion died. Naomi embarked on a trip back to Bethlehem and her daughters-in law followed. When Naomi insisted these widows return to Moab, Orpah did so. Yet, Ruth eloquently stays with her mother-in law.

Upon their arrival, Naomi called herself Mara for the Lord has dealt with her bitterly. Ruth began gleaning the fields of Boaz, a cousin of the late Elimelech. Boaz permitted this due to Ruth’s loyalty to Naomi. From this point forward, Naomi pushes Ruth towards marriage with Boaz.

This book is part of the Hebrew Tanakh, more specifically the The Five Megillot. Ruth is remarkable in that this book relates a story of a non-Israeli woman who ultimately becomes part of the line of David and then Jesus Christ. While I may be uncomfortable with Naomi’s methods for ensnaring Boaz as a husband for Ruth, I did admire both Ruth and Boaz. Also, this book bears another one of my favorite passages from the Bible. The passage is often voiced during weddings but it began as something a devoted daughter-in law said to her mother-in law.

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. (Ruth 1:16-18)

For more on Ruth and Bible-Reading Challenge, check out the following links:

The Book of Joshua

Joshue, the first book of the Bible I completed in the Bible-Reading Challenge 2011

* Bible Log – 2011 « Jorie’s Reads

Joshua – NIV archaeological study Bible: An Illustrated walk through Biblical history and culture. (2005). Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan. 9780310938521.

This is my second year to attempt the Read through the Bible. Creator Michael Coley has a daily Bible reading plan outlined, helping participants to read in a year’s time. Throughout the week, I’ve been reading seven different parts of the Bible. Tuesday nights are for reading the Histories. Joshua was the first book I’ve finished in this challenge as well as a History. This year, I have resolved to do all this Bible reading in my Archeological Study Bible. This particular version possesses great side/margin articles, outlines, and beautiful pictures from the places.

An Old Testament book, Joshua is the first book of the Nevi’im, the second part of the Jewish canon. After Moses dies, his appointed successor, Joshua, son of Nun, is commanded by God to lead the Hebrews across the Jordan River. With Joshua, God holds up His end of the covenant with the Hebrews, regaining the Promised Land. The first twelve chapters, Part I, focus on Joshua’s heroic leadership of God’s people and the restoration of Canaan. Of course, this is when walls of Jericho come tumbling down as the song goes. Part II, (Chapter 13 – 22) focuses on the division of the land amongst the tribes of Israel. The Conclusion, Part III, holds Joshua’s farewell address, the covenant at Shechem, and the deaths of Joshua and Eleazer, a Levite priest and nephew of Moses. Throughout the book, Joshua’s devotion to God radiates from the pages. Oh, and God never fails!

Yes, I found some Joshua tedious, especially the division and distribution of Israel. However, the first part is pure marvel to me. One of the margin notes addresses Rahab’s the Prostitute’s house and it’s placement. It even contains one of my favorite passages

Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (1:6-9)

I’m proud I’ve gotten this far and please wish me well in this endeavor. Did I mention that this was my sole new year’s resolution?

For more on Joshua and Bible-Reading Challenge, check out the following links: