Return to Ruth: contents page


Minor Characters

Among the minor characters, only one is both mentioned by name and speaks, Orpah. Her function in the story is simple, and explains her relative prominence. By her obedience to her mother-in-law - in leaving her (1:14-15) she shows up Ruth's extraordinary faithfulness - in refusing to obey (1:16-18).

Two other individual characters have "speaking parts" 
the chief harvester who is the occasion of a speech by Boaz, and 
the Goel who by declining to act - favouring his own family interests - shows up Boaz' family loyalty.  
This comparative function is a frequent one for minor characters (cf. the roles of Ruth and Orpah).  


© Dr Tim Bulkeley, 2004.

You may quote and use these study notes, subject to the usual provsions of fair use - like giving proper credit e.g.
Tim Bulkeley, "Ruth: Genre" in Study Notes on Ruth [downloaded today's date].

If you want to reproduce large sections you should contact Tim. (tim at

Tim teaches Hebrew Bible (First or Old Testament) at the University of Auckland, New Zealand and at Carey Baptist College his other sites include:
Amos - Postmodern Bible commentary
Study Notes on Jonah
Images of Archaeological Sites in Israel (Focusing on the Iron Age)