Apr 26, 2010

Interesting Post on the Book of Ruth


I found this
post on the Book of Ruth quite interesting. I especially liked these lines:

"However, I do not think the book of Ruth is about love. It’s about חֶסֶד hesed (an amalgam of faithfulness to family or covenant relationships and great kindness). This virtue was a primary family and social value in Ancient Israel. Love was a luxury, but חֶסֶד hesed was what made the world go round."

I have contended that we often read passages in the Bible involving love and marriage with what I call a "Hallmark hermeneutic." That is, we often read these texts based on the sentiments of greeting cards and through the lenses of the current romantic zeitgeist. I think such readings and subsequent applications can be misguided. In any case, read the entire post above.

4 comments:

Kevin Ray Gabriel said...

Agreed. I have taught through the book of Ruth on two occasions. It is very tempting to "sell" the class as a "love letter."

I know I am oversimplifying when I say: Naomi's despair was driven not by lack of "Hallmark" love, but by the futility, hopelessness and social disenfranchisement of not ever (so she thought) having any future family lineage.

dave bish said...

Ruth's a great story of salvation - from the curse of chapter 1, the "refuge under your wings" of chapter 2-3, to the motif of great increase and the coming of the king... classic.

Charles said...

Interesting point Dave. One might rightly ask who is being "saved" Ruth or Naomi (both?). I think that it is worth noting that at the beginning of the story Naomi is emptied and at the end of the story she is filled. Therefore, it could be argued that the main character of the book is Naomi.

dave bish said...

Agreed - Obed saving Naomi, as Boaz saves Ruth... both pointing towards the "God & his people" salvation of the LORD for his people.