We will notice that Ruth is referred to, not just once but no less than seven times in this short text, as "Ruth the Moabitess
." And the Moabitess
was the quintessence of forbidden fruit.
Chapter titles include Rahab at Jericho, Ruth the Moabitess
at Bethlehem, Absalom's Rebellion in the Kidron Valley, and Elisha and the Wealthy Woman at Shunem.
As perhaps the only foreigner in a field of Bethlehemites, did she feel very much like the outsider (the foreman calls her "the Moabitess
(37) Though Jerome seems to endorse a type of secular learning that is purely in the service of the faith, Aquinas endorses such learning with the sole proviso that religious "avoid all that may be reprehensible." Aquinas quotes Jerome's remark that "this Moabitess
shall become an Israelite in truth," but he still concludes that secular learning is even "commendable." (38) Though St.
Boaz chose Ruth the Moabitess
, a foreigner, to be his wife and through this marriage God also honoured Naomi.
(673) 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, the Moabitess
sojourner, was the beneficiary of this law, when Boaz left gleanings for her specifically.
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.]"); and (4) the exhaustive treatment for all words, save the four noted above, which means that a high-frequency term like [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] which occurs over seven thousand times, is thus comprehensively covered.