Re-Reading Ruth…or What Does It Mean To Be A Moabite?

Some of you know that I’m taking a class in Biblical Narrative this semester. At the beginning of the semester we were focusing on the book of Jonah. But for the last two-and-a-half weeks, we’ve been paying attention to the book of Ruth. Now…if you haven’t read Ruth in a while (or haven’t ever read it), I recommend it to you.

I heard Ruth a lot as a kid; mostly Ruth 1:16-17. I heard it mostly at weddings, and it was always (and only) the woman who said it. I’ve read it through a few times. But it’s really interesting to read it through the eyes of literary analysis. And with someone who can point out things that translation takes away.

For instance, in Ruth 2:1 the NRSV says, “Now Naomi had a kinsman on her husband’s side, a prominent rich man, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz.” Those of you who know the Hebrew will know that the words used to describe Boaz are gibbor chayil. In most other places where gibbor chayil is used, it is translated as mighty warrior.” It is sometimes even used to describe G-d. So why wasn’t Boaz described as a “mighty warrior?” hmmm…makes one wonder.

Anyway…for the paper we have to write, one of the questions that our professor has for us to ponder is this….Is Ruth a typical Moabite or not?

What does it mean to be a typicalanything? Especially when the only references one has of a group are negative (as in the case of the Moabites and Ammonites).

I already know what angle I’m taking with this paper (as it will connect with my final paper for this class), but I just thought I would throw this out there


6 thoughts on “Re-Reading Ruth…or What Does It Mean To Be A Moabite?

  1. Many years ago I read an essay on the Book of Ruth written by the sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov. In it Asimov suggested that to understood what a Moabite meant to the people of that time substute black for Moabite. The book is about tolerance. Nowadays, you can substitute GLBT for Moabite.

    Good luck with your paper

  2. Hi there. I found your web site via Google even as in search of a related topic, your website came up. It looks good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to check out later.

  3. You happen to be my intake, I personal couple of internet logs and pretty sporadically run out from brand . “Tis the most tender component of adore, each other to forgive.” by John Sheffield.

  4. It’s nearly impossible to find educated people for this topic, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

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