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Characters: Ruth

Her name appears at: 1:4,14,16,22; 2:2,8,21,22; 3:9; 4:5,10,13 (12 times). 

At 1:22; 2:2,21; 4:5,10 (5 times) the phrase used is "Ruth the Moabitess", in addition at 1:4 the phrase "Moabite wives" includes her, also at 2:6 she is called "the Moabite maiden", being introduced as a foreign girl who accompanied Naomi on her return from foreign parts.

Clearly one thing the text wants us to understand is that Ruth is a Moabite.

Apart from being a foreigner, who is Ruth (according to the descriptions given in the text)?

We can sum up than saying that Ruth is 

faithful to Naomi and to the Lord, 
is a woman of recognised worth
so is blessed and becomes 
one of the Mothers of Israel

Which descriptions, in the book, give this information?
Can you add characteristics of Ruth? 
    (Where in the book are they shown?)

After doing the exercise above compare your answers with this list.

The use of her name to name the book reflects her central place in the action of the story, if the true "subject" of the story is the family of Elimelek it is nevertheless Ruth who represents and personifies this "subject".

© 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)