Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Ruth
RUTH, a canonical book now placed in the Hagiographa of the Old Testament, between the Song of Solomon and the Lamentations. The English Bible, following the Septuagint and the Vulgate, arranges it between the Books of Judges and Samuel. During the times of the Judges, a certain Elimelech, of Bethlehem-Judah, i. e., of Bethlehem in Judah, as distinguished from Beth-le-hem in Zebulun (Josh. xix. 15), to escape a famine then raging, went to Moab with his wife Naomi, and his two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, who married two Moabitesses, Orpah and Ruth. There all the male members of the family died, and the widowed Naomi, hearing that the famine was over, thought of returning home. Orpah, after starting with her, was prevailed on to return; Ruth, the heroine of the narrative, could not be persuaded to go back, and having, after reaching Bethlehem, gone into the fields as a gleaner, she attracted the notice of Boaz, an aged kinsman, with whom she made a romantic marriage, ultimately becoming the great-grand-mother of King David and an ancestress of Jesus Christ (Matt. i. 5). The Book of Ruth is a beautiful idyllic composition. It was penned not earlier than the time of David (ch. iv. 22), and probably much later, for there had been time for customs existent in the days of Boaz and Ruth to change. The narrative is in pure Hebrew, but there are Aramseanisms in the dialogues. Most critics place its composition before, but Ewald during, the Exile. Its canonicity has never been doubted.