The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Ruth, Book of
RUTH, Book of, one of the canonical books of the Old Testament. By many ancient and modern writers it has been regarded as an addition to the book of Judges, because the transactions which it relates happened in the time of the judges of Israel. (Ruth i. 1.) The book contains the history of Ruth, a Moabitish woman, who, after the death of her husband, a Hebrew emigrant from Judah, left her home, and followed her mother-in-law Naomi to Bethlehem, where Boaz, a relative of her deceased husband, attracted by her appearance as a gleaner in his field, married her. She was the mother of Obed, whose son Jesse was the father of David. The mention of comparatively late national customs (as in iv. 7), and the occurrence of Chaldaisms, are considered sufficient proofs that this book was composed in the times of the Hebrew monarchy. The alleged proofs of its composition long after the time of David, in the later Chaldee period of the language, are not conclusive, while there are clear indications of an earlier date. (See “Ruth, Book of,” added to the American edition of Smith's “Bible Dictionary,” p. 2755, and the authorities there referred to.) Christ's descent from Ruth (Matt. i. 5) is authenticated in this portion only of the Old Testament. Its canonical authority has never been questioned.—See Bertheau, Richter und Rut (Exegetische Handbuch, 1845); Keil, Biblische Commentar, Josua, Richter und Ruth (1863; translated in Clark's “Foreign and Theological Library,” vol. viii.) ; Wright, “Book of Ruth, in Hebrew and Chaldee” (1865); Cassel, Das Buch der Richter und Ruth (in Lange's Bibelwerk, 1865); and Wordsworth, “The Holy Bible with Notes” (1865).