Sep 2, 2021

Ruth’s Literary Low Points and High Points

A number of interpreters of the book of Ruth have rightly noted that although it is named after Ruth, Naomi is the main character. It is Naomi whose life is emptied and then filled. This can be seen in part in the following table.

Naomi Emptied and Filled:

Ruth’s Literary Low Points and High Points

(Modified from Boyd Luter & Barry C. Davis, God Behind the Seen, pp. 80-81)


Ruth 1:1-5

Point of Comparison

Ruth 4:13-17

Famine in Bethlehem

Initial Circumstances

Wedding in Bethlehem

Marriages and then deaths

Family Events

Back in the land:

land reestablished

Blessing of children withheld


Blessing of Children bestowed

No help in sight

Possibility of Help


Boaz and Obed

Widow of deceased son

Status of Ruth/Significance to Ruth

Better than seven sons

Emptiness/grief from loss of family

Naomi’s Emotions

Joy at Obed’s birth

Introductory “bookend”

Literary Function

Concluding “bookend”

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