Aquinas quotes Jerome's remark that "this Moabitess
shall become an Israelite in truth," but he still concludes that secular learning is even "commendable.
The Story of Ruth - In a story inspired by the scriptural tale, the Moabitess
priestess Ruth is drawn both to a Judean man and to his talk of a forgiving God.
Boaz chose Ruth the Moabitess, a foreigner, to be his wife and through this marriage God also honoured Naomi.
Ruth's decision, unlike that of her sister Orpah, who chooses to turn back to the god of the Moabites, is to follow the one true God, Yahweh, the God of Israel.
In this impossible, moving evocation of death, beautifully and freely translated, Agaat is the cradle of the mother become infant; she is Ruth the despised Moabitess
, who proved a faithful daughter.
The trauma of the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BCE and the Babylonian Exile gave Jews a more "international" focus, although an internal dialectic persisted between exclusiveness (the mass divorces, say, at the end of the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah) and inclusive-ness (the Book of Ruth, with a Moabitess
turning out to be the great-grandmother of David).
Indeed, in the first chapters of the Book of Ruth, the author emphasizes Ruth the Moabitess
(1:22, 2:2) And yet, Yose ben Kosma and Eliezer ben Yosef declare that the major purpose of the Book of Ruth is to delineate the ancestral line of King David (Zohar Hadash).
Ruth parallels the biblical Ruth, the Moabitess
who performs complete and universal loyalty--a woman who pays ultimate obeisance to patriarchal authority even as she manipulates it.
Then shall the captive bring to you many children; from a Moabitess
she shall become an Israelitish woman.
The brief introduction calls attention to four aspects of the lexical work in this volume: (1) the difference of treatment between articles on nouns and articles on verbs that list the same noun with the same verb; (2) the organizing principle of recording subjects and objects of verbs; (3) the avoidance of terms like prophetess, Moabitess
, shepherdess and the use instead of "prophet [fem.
2:1-3; 6:22-25) and Ruth the Moabitess
(Ruth 1:618; 4:7-22).
Was Naomi embarrassed to have a Moabite
daughter-in-law in light of the negative portrayals of the Moabites
in Israel's traditions?